Helen Clark: 12th Asia-Oceania Otolaryngology Congress in Auckland, New Zealand | UNDP

01 Mar 2011

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Speech to the Opening Ceremony of the 12th Asia-Oceania
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Congress
6 pm, Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Aotea Centre, Auckland, New Zealand

It is a pleasure to be invited to the opening ceremony of this prestigious conference. My thanks go to Randall Morton, the in-coming President of the Asia-Oceania Association of Otolaryngology Societies, for making this possible.

While I stand here today as UNDP Adminstrator, many in the New Zealand audience know me from my many years of involvement in public life in New Zealand, and perhaps especially as a health minister two decades ago.

In that capacity, I was personally inspired by the Alma Ata Declaration of the World Health Organisation’s 1978 International Conference on Primary Health Care. In proclaiming that health was a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and that its attainment rested on socio-economic and other factors far beyond the purview of the health sector, it placed improving health status in a broader developmental context.

As the head now of one of the largest development agencies, I see the relevance of the Alma Ata Declaration not only to a developed country like New Zealand, but also to developing countries around the world. It becomes very evident that poor health emanating from socio-economic and environmental conditions and/or from living in conflict zones is one of the many factors denying people the choices and capabilities they need to improve their lives. Poor health represents a very significant obstacle to human development.

Attaining higher development status, sustainability, and peace therefore are all central to lifelong health status. That, I am sure, is apparent to all attending this Congress.

In your professional lives you see daily how chronic infections left unchecked lead to more suffering and complications. You see how undetected cancers can progress to the point of incurability. You see congenital conditions unrepaired. You see hearing and vision loss going unaided.

In a profession like yours, what motivates you is a desire to see all that change, so that people are not denied the services they need to live a longer and healthier life. That is where your profession intersects with development.

The challenge is to get the systems, the professionals, the services, and the facilities in places in communities around the world which lack them right now. Achieving that goal has to be our dream.

The overall development status of a nation determines the extent to which that is possible. All the issues around that are those with which development agencies like UNDP grapple every day.

For example, how can we support more inclusive patterns of growth which see a country’s GDP growth actually reflected in poverty reduction and in a virtuous cycle of investment back into health, education, and infrastructure ?

How do we support countries to resolve their differences peacefully?

How do we support countries to install transparent and good systems of governance which will see their resources regularly applied to the benefit of their peoples?

How do we support nations to follow cleaner paths to development than those of the old polluting paths which have done so much damage to our climate and to our natural environment generally?

In meeting this overall challenge, there is a strong role for the principled and clear voice of this profession. You see the health conditions, and you know the needs. You can be – and I am sure you are – advocates for investment in what will make a difference for the better to people’s health.

Whatever a country’s development status, it is possible to make policy choices that are pro-poor and pro-health.

For those advocating for health services which are timely and relevant, the first line of defence must be prevention, and the second early detection. Both require basic health education and an awareness of what needs to be attended to.

The earlier a condition is detected, in so many cases the more likely it is that an effective and low-cost intervention will work.

For many people in poor communities, getting treatment for a condition which has progressed to a more serious state is just beyond their reach – either financially, or geographically, or both.

Tremendous work can also be done by teams of professional volunteers who make their services freely available to those in need of treatment.

In New Zealand, in the area of eye surgery, our late compatriot Fred Hollows was an icon, in devoting his life to restoring the sight of those who lacked access to services.

Fred was not alone. I am aware of countless other Kiwis who have volunteered their services in this way, and it all helps.

In my comments this evening, I also want to discuss a little further the central importance of health to human development, and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

In the not too distant past, it was commonplace to measure development progress through GDP per capita alone.

That began to change with the human development approach embraced by UNDP and the global Human Development Reports it launched two decades ago.

The simple, yet powerful proposition of the first global Human Development Report in 1990 was that “people are the real wealth of nations”. That report offered a new measure in the Human Development Index which combined life expectancy, education, and income measures.

Last year’s twentieth anniversary global Human Development Report contained a systematic review of the human development record over four decades. There is good news to report.

Overall, people today are on average demonstrably healthier, better educated, and wealthier than ever before. Since 1970, average life expectancy has risen from 59 to 70 years. School enrolment has grown from 55 to 70 per cent. Per capita incomes have doubled to more than $10,000 per annum in real terms.

It was noted that many countries made impressive gains in health and education even where their growth in income had been modest.

These findings suggest that there is much leaders can do to improve people’s lives even where growth is less impressive. Technologies and treatments available these days appear to make it easier for poorer countries to make substantial human development gains, including in health status. Improvements, however, are never automatic. They require political will, smart policies, and the continuing commitment of the international community. Here again, I encourage the committed advocacy of this profession to keep a focus on human development.

The Millennium Development Goals flowed naturally from the human development approach. It inspired calls for more effective global action against poverty, hunger, inequalities, and disease. That spirit culminated in the historic commitment of the UN’s Millennium Summit in 2000 and the drive to achieve the MDGs by 2015.

The MDGs remain the world’s most comprehensive set of agreed benchmarks for development progress. They represent time-bound and specific commitments by leaders of rich and poor countries alike to make a difference for the better for those denied the basics of a decent life. They set out to reduce poverty and hunger; empower women; increase access to education, healthcare, and clean water and sanitation; reduce the incidence of specified deadly diseases; protect the environment; and forge strong global partnerships for development.

The verdict on the MDGs to date is not dissimilar to that reached by the Human Development Report on human development progress overall. Considerable progress has been made, although it varies across and within countries and regions.

On a global level, the goal on poverty is likely to be reached, and gains have been made on getting all children into school, reducing infant and child mortality rates, increasing access to clean water, and turning back the tide of HIV/ AIDS and malaria.

But less is being achieved on tackling chronic hunger, providing universal access to sexual and reproductive health, and on reducing high maternal mortality rates, on gender empowerment, on improving sanitation, and on reducing biodiversity loss.

In the Asia Pacific region there have been many remarkable successes. The East Asia-Pacific region was the world’s poorest region in 1981. Between 1981 and 2005, extreme poverty – defined as the proportion of the population surviving on under $1.25 per day – fell from nearly eighty per cent to seventeen per cent. That is a huge accomplishment.

Yet, while many have prospered, more than one in four people in the Asia-Pacific is estimated to remain in extreme poverty. As well, approximately 600 million people in the region are estimated by the FAO to face chronic hunger.

Progress in many countries is still too slow to meet the sixth MDG target on combating HIV/ AIDS, and there is evidence to suggest that its prevalence is on the rise among women and in some Pacific Island nations. In a number of countries, prevalence is alarmingly high among marginalized groups, including men who have sex with men. Stigma and discrimination from health care providers to most-at-risk populations is an on-going challenge.

At the global MDG Summit in New York last September, Heads of State and Government committed themselves to accelerating progress to achieve the MDGs. The Summit Outcome, adopted by consensus by all 192 member states, set out an agenda for action over the next five years. It called for an holistic approach, prioritising interventions which would multiply progress across the MDGs.

The task now is to focus the too often dispersed efforts of all stakeholders on actions which have been proven to accelerate MDG progress, and to be guided by the principles which the Human Development Report has shown to be essential for success – those of inclusion, equity, and sustainability.

In many countries, advances in health offer a big opportunity to have a multiplier effect across the MDGs.

If we can reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and turn the tide on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, that will, over time, reduce poverty and help to empower women. That, in turn, would further reduce mortality rates and curb the spread of disease.

We also know that improving health would enable more children to learn and prosper. An alarming one third of all children entering primary school each year in developing countries are estimated to have experienced poor nutrition which has damaged their cognitive development. That makes them more likely to score poorly on tests in school, start school later, and drop out earlier.

Health is also important for economic growth. The 2001 Report of the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health found that extending the coverage of crucial health services to the world’s poor, including for a relatively small number of specific interventions, could save millions of lives each year, reduce poverty, spur economic development, and promote global security.

Yet, to return to where I began, addressing the underlying socio-economic and other determinants of health remains critical. The importance of that was learned long ago. In England during the Industrial Revolution, one in four deaths was from “consumption”. The setting was conducive to a sustained epidemic- overcrowding, poor nutrition, and an absence of workplace health and safety regulations. It was not until those conditions improved that the tide was turned on health status. Two-thirds of the decline in TB mortality occurred well before the introduction of effective treatments.

The same was broadly true of the fight against malaria. Only a hundred years ago, the disease was endemic to Europe and North America. I understand that it was largely eliminated long before people realised that it was carried by a mosquito-borne parasite and before the advent of quinine in the twentieth century. Economic development, changing agricultural practices, and better sanitation, irrigation, and housing broke malaria’s grim hold.

It is clear that whether we are talking about urban England or rural Nepal; whether we are looking back to the 19th. Century or forward into the 21st; tackling public health challenges and advancing human development involves addressing the underlying drivers of health status.

As well, we need not only better health systems, but also access to them for the most marginalised people and communities.

That requires collaboration between health and other sectors, as it always has.

It is important for us all to appreciate the often complex interplay between health outcomes and socio-economic phenomena. To address TB or HIV, for example, we need to understand the impact of mobility and migration, economic and gender inequalities, stigma and discrimination, and punitive laws and practices.

UNDP is often at the intersection of health and development, and works for integrated approaches which facilitate complementary actions between sectors, disciplines, and ministries.

Our country offices in Morocco and Tunisia, for example, work with UN partners to support multi-sectoral strategies on maternal health. UNDP’s role can be the “behind-the-scenes” capacity-building which could help ensure that systems are in place to pay health workers, get electricity to health centres, and enable a Ministry of Health to function effectively.

We are also helping countries to conduct HIV/AIDS impact assessments of capital projects, such as road building, in Asia, Pacific and Africa.

Recently UNDP launched a Global Commission on HIV and the Law to examine what changes should be made to laws which put marginalised populations at greater risk of HIV and impede effective public health responses.In the Asia-Pacific, UN partners are working together to help ensure that social protection schemes are HIV-sensitive.

Complementary action is also needed within the health sector. As medical and public health professionals, there much that you can do, as I have already emphasised.

Maintaining a focus on equity is important. It is critical that health care delivery is stigma-free and accessible to marginalised groups.

Within your professional communities, you can help increase understanding of the health impacts of poverty. Working with development actors, government officials, and civil society groups, you can use your leverage as medical professionals to mobilise support for addressing the underlying obstacles to better health.

To address the integrated challenges affecting people’s health, we must work together as development and health professionals.

Whether we are talking about maternal and child health, HIV, TB, or malaria, we need to do a better job of working across sectors and disciplines. Doing so will not only help us to improve people’s health – it will also simultaneously advance progress across the MDGs and on development generally.

This is everyone’s business. In our interconnected world, we are all neighbours. What happens far away to others affects us one way or another, sooner or later. In this broader sense, if our neighbours are poor and struggling, our prospects are affected too.

Particularly in these challenging times, we must all be allies in the effort to advance human development and meet the MDGs. The challenges involved are far beyond the capacity of single actors and sectors to resolve alone.

Once again, thank you for inviting me to address your conference today.

Source: www.undp.org

See on Scoop.itHelen Clark UNDP

Helen Clark: HDR 20th Anniversary Commemoration of Dr Mahbub ul Haq | UNDP

22 Feb 2011

Remarks by Helen Clark
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme,
on the occasion of the, “20th Anniversary of Human Development Report and a
Commemoration of the contribution of the late Dr. Mahbub ul Haq to the Human DevelopmentConcept”

22 February 2011, Islamabad, Pakistan

The story is told of how in April 1968 Mahbub ul Haq, then chief economist of the national Planning Commission in Pakistan, spoke in Karachi on his country’s economic development.

The economy had been growing at more than six per cent a year for a decade. Many of those gathered expected to hear a comprehensive exposition of the success of government policies by one of Pakistan’s sharpest minds who was closely associated with the country’s planned development.

But the young economist is said to have shocked his audience, by delivering a stinging indictment ofPakistan’s development strategy. Income differences and inequalities had more than doubled over the previous decade, and industrial wages had slumped by a third. Economic growth had not translated into tangible change in the lives of many people.

For Dr. Haq, as for many of us, GNP growth was not an end in itself, but merely a means of development. This was the theme of his work for the next thirty years, as a Minister of Finance here in Pakistan, a senior World Bank official, and an advisor to UNDP.

Dr. Haq made an outstanding professional contribution to development in leading the conception and then the launching in 1990 of the first annual global Human Development Report. In this endeavour, he was joined by other leading development thinkers of the time. Professor Amartya Sen, another son of the Asia-Pacific region, is one of those who has contributed a great deal to thinking about human development and to the global Human Development Reports produced by UNDP from their beginning.

With eloquence, philosophical clarity, and no small amount of intellectual courage, that first Report in 1990 peeled away layers of orthodox development thinking to reveal the importance of putting people first.

That Report defined human development as a process of enlarging people’s choices and capabilities, including their political freedoms and human rights.

The now well-established Human Development Index incorporated indicators for basic education and life expectancy alongside income per capita, thereby directly challenging the focus by many international organizations and economists on GNP as the major measure of national progress.

The first Report openly acknowledged that the HDI had its shortcomings. It relied, for example, on national averages which masked unequal distribution, and it did not include what the authors called a “quantitative measure of human freedom”. The authors were well aware that the breadth of the human development approach cannot be reduced to the narrow limits of the HDI.

It is the very breadth of the approach, however, which has allowed the Human Development Report to frame debates for the past twenty years on a wide range of the most pressing challenges our planet faces – examining issues ranging from gender to water, human rights, democracy, climate change, and migration.

The human development approach laid the foundation for ideas and concepts which now form part of the development mainstream, such as the Millennium Development Goals.

It is a testament to the enduring relevance of the human development approach that over the last two decades more than 140 developing countries have now produced their own human development reports.

There have been more than 600 national and sub-national reports to date – researched and published with UNDP support, but produced under the full control of their own editorial teams. A number of reports covering different regions of the world have also been published.

Two national reports have been produced here in Pakistan. Work is beginning on the third, on human security, in collaboration with the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre.

Here in Pakistan, Dr Khadijah Haq continues to carry a torch for the work her late husband began on human development.

As President of the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre, established by her husband in 1995, Khadija has been helping to produce annual Human Development Reports covering South Asia on diverse topics since 1998.

The human development approach continues to make its mark at the global level too. Last November the twentieth anniversary edition of the global Human Development Report was launched in New York.

A major contribution of this latest Report is a systematic review of the human development record over the past four decades. Overall, it shows that there is much to celebrate in development- people today are healthier, more educated, and wealthier than ever before.

Yet, not all trends are positive or uniform. A few countries have lower HDI scores today than they did in 1970. The devastating impact of conflict, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and poor governance and economic mismanagement were contributing factors.

Nor is human development progress constant. Economic crises, conflict, and sudden natural disasters – like the devastating earthquake which struck Pakistan in 2005 and the terrible floods which swamped vast swathes of the country last year- all take their toll.

The latest Human Development Report notes progress and challenges in Pakistan and South Asia more generally.

Pakistan ranks 125th out of 169 countries in the latest HDI.

A child born in Pakistan today can expect to live thirteen years longer than was the case forty years ago. In that time the adult literacy rate has tripled, to almost 58 per cent; the gross primary school enrolment rate almost doubled, and GDP per capita rose from a little over $ 1,000 to over $2,600 per annum.

Over the four decades analyzed, Pakistan is placed 25th out of 135 countries for which there is data in terms of advancement in the HDI compared to their starting point.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, China, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, and the Republic of Korea are among those ranked in the top ten global HDI performers, compared to where they were four decades ago.

East Asia and the Pacific and South Asia are the regions which have, respectively, recorded the fastest and second fastest improvements in HDI since 1970. This progress was assisted by dramatic expansions in income per capita, but also by major advances in non-income dimension indicators of health and education.

Progress across the Asia-Pacific has been uneven, both within and between countries. Rising income in East Asia and the Pacific, however, has occurred alongside growing inequality. South Asia faces large inequalities linked to caste and tribal identities.

The latest Human Development Report carries forward the tradition of measurement innovations, introducing a refined Human Development Index and three new indices.

These include an Inequality Adjusted HDI, and a Multidimensional Poverty Index which identifies overlapping deprivations at the household level in health, education and living standards. This can help policymakers to understand better the challenges their countries face, and to target responses and resources more effectively.

It also includes a specific Gender Inequality Index, which seeks to capture the extent of inequalities between women and men in areas like health, empowerment and labour market participation.

East Asia and the Pacific overall have the best score on the Gender Inequality Index of all developing regions. South Asia, however, has the worst score. In many countries, maternal mortality rates tend to be very high, and women lag behind men in all the dimensions measured, including parliamentary representation, education, and participation in the labour force.

The twentieth anniversary Report strongly supports national ownership of development agendas and is clear that there is no one blueprint for development success. It does suggest, however, that basic principles can inform development strategies to ensure that there is human development progress.

For example, if people are to be put at the centre of development, then they need to be active participants in change. Today’s achievements should not be attained at the expense of future generations. Progress needs to be equitable and broad-based.

Advances in human development also benefit from sustained and inclusive growth. If that growth is job rich, if it advances decent work, if it can occur in the agricultural and rural sectors where so many of the developing world’s people work and live, and if it leads to growing tax revenues which can be recycled into health, education, and infrastructure improvements, great human development progress can be made.

I understand that Pakistan’s Planning Commission is undertaking the development of a new growth strategy.

UNDP is committed to supporting the Government to develop and implement this new strategy, and to help ensure that it is inclusive and will advance human development.

Pakistan has a lot on its plate at present – not least the ongoing recovery from last year’s devastating floods, security challenges, and recent increases in food prices.

The UN Country Team, working with the Government through the “Delivering as One” pilot initiative, is committed to supporting Pakistan to tackle its challenges, and to achieve its development goals.

The human development approach has influenced a generation of policymakers, thinkers, and development practitioners. For UNDP, it provides an intellectual compass guiding our activities around the world.

Today’s event celebrates the success of the human development approach over twenty years and the progress on human development which has been made. It also enables us to pay tribute to one of Pakistan’s very own visionaries, Dr. Mahbub ul Haq, who, together with Nobel laureate, Dr. Amartya Sen, has left us this rich legacy from which to construct strategies and policies which can enlarge people’s choices and advance human development.

Source: www.undp.org

See on Scoop.itHelen Clark UNDP

Helen Clark: Remarks on “Delivering As One: Follow-Up to Hanoi” | UNDP

07 Feb 2011

Remarks by Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, at the Joint Session of the Executive Boards of UNDP, UNFPA, and UNOPS, UNICEF, UN-Women, and WFP
on “Delivering As One: Follow-Up to Hanoi”

Madam President,
Members of the Executive Boards,
Colleagues and Friends,

Thank you for the opportunity to introduce this segment of the joint meeting of the Executive Boards which UNDP has coordinated in partnership with our sister agencies. At your suggestion we have taken as our theme for this meeting, ‘Delivering as One: Follow-Up to Hanoi’.

At the third inter-governmental meeting on Delivering as One in Hanoi, Viet Nam, participants learned more about the Delivering as One approach through the findings of the country-led evaluations, and shared experiences of what has worked and what has not.

Recognizing the progress made and the remaining challenges, the Hanoi outcome document states that: “Delivering as One is the future for UN development activities.”

This is an important year for Delivering as One, with the independent evaluation of the Delivering as One pilots about to begin. An Evaluation Management Group is expected to meet for the first time in early March. The findings of that evaluation will inform inter-governmental discussions on the future course of UN support to programme countries, including the General Assembly’s Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review in 2012.

With that in mind the UN agencies participating in this joint session today have together prepared a concept note which takes a measured look at how far we have come since Hanoi on Delivering as One.

Let me focus on five areas in particular:

First, the lessons emerging from the Delivering as One pilot countries and those which have voluntarily adopted this approach suggest that UN Country Teams in those countries are engaged in more coherent joint planning, prioritization, and programming.

The governments of the Delivering as One countries have stated on numerous occasions that this reform has supported enhanced national ownership and leadership of the development agenda, and that they now have better access to the full range of the mandates and expertise of UN agencies.

For the first time, the UNDG has agreed to a set of strategic priorities which will guide its work at the global, regional, and country levels. This will further advance coherent and effective programming of the UN development system.

Second, the Hanoi outcome document noted that the One Programme or One Plan is a “significant improvement from the earlier” approach and that it has “allowed the UN system to be more relevant, coordinated and coherent”.

Building on the lessons from the Delivering as One approach, and to support more joint programming, the UNDG in late 2009 developed simplified UNDAF guidelines. They respond to the need for more flexibility, coordination, coherence, and responsiveness in UNDAF formulation and implementation. 43 country teams used this guidance when working on their UNDAFs last year.

Common Country Programme Documents are also expected to enhance the coherence and effectiveness of the UN’s development work.

Tanzania was the first to prepare such a document covering the work of UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, and WFP. It was presented to the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board last week, and will be presented to the UNICEF and WFP Boards shortly.

Last month, during joint informal Board consultations, there was an opportunity to hear from Tanzanian officials about their experience of developing the first Common Country Programme Document.

The UNDG is committed to supporting all countries which wish to follow Tanzania’s example, and, as a first step, has developed interim guidance to support their efforts to develop such documents.

We are aware that our development agencies can be heavy on process, and that programming can be fragmented. Country-led evaluations of the Delivering as One pilots have suggested that, in some instances, there has been an increase in the reporting burden on national counterparts and agencies.

The UNDG is working to address these concerns, and to ensure that all our interventions are more catalytic and support the transformational change in development status which countries seek.

Third, in the current funding environment we all need to focus on cost effectiveness. Participants at the Hanoi meeting noted the importance of harmonizing our business practices further.

The pilot countries and the voluntary adopters have in many cases designed and implemented innovative ways to do that – such as by creating joint ICT platforms, one communications team, and undertaking common procurement.

Lessons learned from these country-level initiatives have been influencing corporate guidelines, such as those on harmonized country level procurement and on the establishment and management of multi-donor trust funds.

To build on these experiences, and to overcome remaining bottlenecks, last year Josette Sheeran, as Chair of the HLCM, and I commissioned joint UNDG-HLCM high-level missions on harmonization of business practices. These missions visited Albania, Mozambique, Malawi, and Viet Nam.

An implementation plan has now been adopted to carry out their recommendations.

Fourth, the governments which gathered in Hanoi observed that the coordinated mobilization of funds through the One Funds reduced competition and fragmentation among UN agencies, and that the governance structures of those Funds supported stronger national ownership.

To date, One UN Funds have been established in seventeen countries – the eight pilots and nine voluntary adopters.

An ongoing challenge, especially in these straitened times, is to ensure the sustainability and predictability of multi-year funding. Such funding allows UN Country Teams to respond more directly and flexibly to national priorities.

Fifth, through the Management and Accountability System we are empowering Resident Coordinators to lead and prioritize the work of UN Country Teams, and ensure mutual accountability for results.

A review of implementation of the System has begun. It is important that this System works and that we improve implementation where that is needed.

Overall, the experience of the pilots and the voluntary adopters has been diverse, as befits the principle of ‘no one size fits all’.

While much progress has been made challenges do remain.

To drive sustainable change, we need commitment from agencies and support from Member States.

My colleagues and I here today thank the government representatives from Mozambique and Uruguay who have kindly agreed to join us for this session and share their experiences with the Delivering as One pilots in their countries.

We hope that their reflections, combined with those in the concept paper, will stimulate a fruitful discussion today.

Source: www.undp.org

See on Scoop.itHelen Clark UNDP

Clark: Gender Mainstreaming, Envisaged Collaboration with UN Women | UNDP

04 Feb 2011

Remarks by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Mainstreaming Gender through the Work of the Agencies and Envisaged Collaboration with UN Women
Joint Meeting of the Executive Boards
New York, 4 February, 3-6 pm

Today’s session offers the opportunity to discuss how best to mainstream gender through the work of UN Agencies and through collaboration with UN Women.

As the Chair of the UN Development Group and UNDP Administrator, it is a pleasure to welcome UN Women to the UN Development Group. Its establishment marked an historic milestone on the journey to gender equality around the world.

For the first time, the UN now has an agency with both normative and operational functions solely dedicated to advancing gender equality and women´s empowerment. It will give voice to women and gender issues in the global arena, and help ensure that all parts of the UN system do better in addressing these issues within their mandates.

UNDP is positioned to be a strong partner of UN Women. UNIFEM was as an associated fund of UNDP for many years, and has worked closely with us at the country level and on global campaigns and programmes.

To be specific, UNDP and UNIFEM have worked together in more than fifty countries around the world, on total programme delivery of close to $300 million. That work has spanned governance, peace and security, women’s economic security and rights, political participation, violence against women, and HIV/AIDS.

We have jointly participated with UNIFEM in global initiatives, including UN Action against Sexual Violence, the Secretary General’s UNiTE Campaign, and IKNOW Politics.

I am advised that UNDP has been UNIFEM´s single largest partner on issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

UNDP brings to that partnership, which now transfers to UN Women, extensive knowledge and experience from our work in 166 countries and from our strong relationships with national partners.

In 89 countries, UN co-ordination on gender is undertaken by Gender Thematic Groups, under the overall authority of the Resident Co-ordinator. UN Women is now, or will soon be, leading many of these Groups in UN Country Teams.

UNDP’s International Assessment on what it will take to achieve the MDGs emphasized the importance of investing in opportunities for women and girls as a breakthrough strategy.

The MDG Acceleration Framework is a tool designed to accelerate progress. We look forward to working with UN Women to apply the framework in ways which ensure that MDG achievement is inclusive of women.

We invite UN Women to work with us in advancing the use of the Gender Marker – a tool for measuring the extent to which investments in programmes contribute to gender equality. This tool was piloted for two years in UNDP, and rolled out in 2010. We are supporting other agencies to adapt it for their own use.

We can also collaborate with UN Women on knowledge management and sharing. UNDP’s new and open knowledge sharing platform, Teamworks, can strengthen co-operation with and support to partner countries, and enhance global learning across our organizations.

Over the past year, UNDP has been providing management support to the establishment of UN Women’s structures. We will be pleased to continue to do so for as long as that is helpful.

Each of the agencies presented on this podium has its respective mandates, comparative advantages, and different levels of field presence. Working together is not new to any of us. Our efforts now need to be intensified, co-ordination needs to be increased, and synergies need to be found.

I understand that initial discussions have started between UNDP and UN Women on developing a joint guidance note for Resident Co-ordinators and Country Teams on how the UN Development System can best work together on gender-related issues at the country level. This is something we hope to discuss with UNDG partners in the coming few weeks.

Working together, we can all do more to advance gender equality and women´s empowerment. Working together we have a more powerful voice and a larger pool of expertise and knowledge for programme countries to draw upon.

Together we can support real change for women and their families around the world.

Source: www.undp.org

See on Scoop.itHelen Clark UNDP

Clark: Equity: narrowing the gaps to push for achievement of the MDGs | UNDP

04 Feb 2011

Remarks for Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator,
Opening the First Session of the Joint Meeting of the Executive Boards of UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and WFP

“Equity: narrowing the gaps to push for achievement of the MDGs”

I am pleased to speak at this important session of the Joint Executive Boards’ meeting on the importance of incorporating equity considerations into the drive to achieve the MDGs.

The history of MDG progress presented to delegates at last year’s Summit had a clear and familiar story line. The world has made considerable progress on many of the Goals. Many countries have success stories which illustrate well what works. Yet, progress on many Goals and targets in many countries has been slow and uneven.

In our increasingly globalised world, too many people are left behind – unable to benefit from economic growth, or to access the services they need to improve their lives. Too often the gains of growth do not reach ethnic or religious minorities, indigenous people, women, the disabled, the rural poor, or others who literally or metaphorically are at the end of the road.

Last year’s Human Development Report contained two new indices which measure how inequality and gender inequality impact on countries’ human development status.

The Inequality Adjusted HDI shows that countries’ relative progress in human development is influenced by both income inequality and disparities in health and education. On average, inequality is shown to reduce countries’ scores on the HDI by 22 per cent. It is countries with lower human development which tend to be the most unequal.

Studies , including those conducted by UNDP, suggest that countries with high income polarization and inequality may be:

more likely to have social conflict;
less competitive; and
have less effective fiscal policy.

Highly unequal societies may be more likely to adopt unsustainable economic policies due to the influence and preferences of certain groups, and less likely to invest in policies which are in the wider public interest .

The global recession has left a number of countries facing greater challenges in reaching the MDGs, and more vulnerable to future shocks because of the weakening of both economies and societies.

An explicit focus on inequality and inequity is now required, to make progress on the MDGs. Greater attention must be given to those excluded from development gains to date.

It must also be acknowledged that apart from the small number of MDG targets which strive for universal outcomes, like those on basic education and sexual and reproductive health, many of the MDG targets themselves fall short of aiming for equitable outcomes. For example, even if by 2015 the world succeeds in meeting the targets to reduce the numbers living in extreme poverty and facing chronic hunger by half, there will still be hundreds of millions of extremely poor and chronically hungry people. That leaves much gross inequity in place.

I hope that in the discussion about what should follow the MDGs, our world can focus on the imperative of eliminating extreme poverty and chronic hunger. That in itself would not eliminate inequity, but it would put in place a minimum living standard floor below which no human being should be able to fall.

In this respect, I want to emphasise the importance of social protection systems, the design of which a number of UN organizations have considerable experience with.

While sustainable and inclusive growth should be seen as the key means of lifting living standards across the board, there will always be a need to direct extra support to those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder if societies want to achieve more equitable outcomes.

I applaud the efforts of the many governments across the developing world which have introduced social protection schemes, aimed at ensuring that everybody gets a chance to have enough food and income, go to school, and access basic health services.

Within the UN system we can facilitate knowledge exchange about these systems so that others can explore adapting them to their own circumstances.

The quality of economic growth and its distributional impact will matter a great deal in achieving the MDGs. High GDP per capita growth rates do not automatically translate into poverty reduction and investment in more and better education and health services and housing. Last year’s Human Development Report’s review of the past forty years concluded that there was often a disconnect between economic growth and human development progress. It will take clear strategies and public policies to design growth strategies which are more consistently positive for human development and tackling inequities.

UNDP’s International Assessment of what it will take to achieve the MDGs looked at the underlying drivers of MDG progress. In brief, and relevant to today’s discussion on tackling inequities, it is important to emphasise the critical role of investment in agriculture and rural infrastructure, in production generally which offers decent work, in job creation, in education & health to build human capital, in energy access, and, as I emphasized before, in social protection in order to advance equity and make MDG and other gains more resilient to shocks.

UNDP’s assessment also emphasized the importance of domestic resource mobilisation from growing economies to fund the ongoing increases in expenditure which are needed to maintain MDG and broader development momentum.

The UN development system can help countries advance towards the MDGs with equity in many ways by drawing on the collective expertise of its funds, programmes, and specialized agencies. The background paper before you today sets out our system-wide approach and the specific contributions of the four funds and programmes represented at this meeting.

The MDG Acceleration Framework aims to support countries to accelerate progress on lagging MDG targets – by helping them identify bottlenecks to progress and the proven solutions which could overcome them. Equity considerations need to be central to this process.

In the pilot phase of the Framework, the solutions agreed through multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder processes include those aimed at reducing disparities and inequalities. In Togo, for example, the Framework focused on how to lift the productivity of small land-holder farmers, many of whom are women, through extension services better tailored to their needs and expanded access to key inputs such as fertilizers, credit and seeds. Given that women and rural dwellers often face gross inequity, these solutions can help address that.

In Colombia, the Framework was applied at the local level to try to reduce sharp sub-national divergence in MDG achievement. Now all participating territories have adopted MDG action plans to that end, which could lead to more equitable outcomes across the country.

Following the pilot phase, the MDG Acceleration Framework has received endorsement as a living document by a technical committee of the UNDG. It has been anchored in Resident Co-ordinator units at the country level where it is being applied, and it works with the active involvement of the range of UN agencies. There is growing demand for the tool to be applied, with more than twenty countries requesting assistance to date.

In conclusion, equity promoting policies will advance MDG progress, and sustainable human development. Achieving the MDGs for all means a better life for billions of people. That is what achieving the MDGs with equity is about.

Source: www.undp.org

See on Scoop.itHelen Clark UNDP

Helen Clark: UN Forum on Forests | UNDP

03 Feb 2011

Remarks by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Ministerial Dialogue with the Heads of the member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests
UN Forum on Forests

I thank the UN Forum on Forests for hosting this high level dialogue at the outset of the International Year of Forests.

Sustaining the world’s forests, whose integrity is so vital for those who dwell in them and for our planet’s ecosystems, goes hand in hand with UNDP’s mission of advancing sustainable human development.

The threats facing our forests are extensive. UNDP works with programme countries on many fronts to tackle them.

For example:

through the UN-REDD Programme to combat deforestation with FAO and UNEP, we help developing countries strengthen their capacity to prepare national REDD+ strategies;

through our partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), we support more than 35 countries to implement projects ranging from sustainable forest management to establishing protected areas; and

through the GEF Small Grants Programme, we are supporting indigenous community-conserved areas in 123 countries.

We are also firmly committed to supporting countries to implement the UN Forest Instrument and the Global Objectives on Forests.

The importance of protecting our forests has gained international momentum in recent months with the outcomes of the MDG Summit, the Nagoya Biodiversity Conference, and the Cancun Climate Change Conference.

The Cancun Agreements are pioneering in enshrining the need to stem the loss of tropical forests in order to mitigate climate change in the context of provision of adequate and predictable support to developing countries.

Climate finance will be a major source of funding for developing countries in the future.

REDD+ could be an example of how, through such finance, a range of development objectives can be met simultaneously. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, well structured REDD+ initiatives, could bring about better forest governance and protection of biodiversity; generate social benefits and poverty reduction; and be positive for human rights, including the rights of indigenous people.

A breakthrough achieved at Cancun in December was the recognition given to the need for strong safeguards to achieve the goals of REDD+ .

UNDP, through the UN-REDD Programme, is committed to:

having its work on environmental and social safeguards for REDD+ initiatives meet the expectations set out in the Cancun Agreements;

developing a recourse mechanism for forest stakeholders involved in REDD+, to ensure accountability and provide a system for addressing complaints from affected parties; and

ensuring that human rights and the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right to free, prior, and informed consent, underpin the safeguards framework.

UNDP is adapting its systems to meet the needs of the new climate finance architecture. We are now working with the World Bank to develop safeguards.

Achieving sustainable development, addressing climate change, and maintaining the world’s precious biodiversity require an end to the ravaging deforestation rates of today.

UNDP looks forward to working with all its partners in the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to help make that possible.

Source: www.undp.org

See on Scoop.itHelen Clark UNDP

Helen Clark: 2011 UN Country Co-ordination Fund Donor Dialogue | UNDP

03 Feb 2011

Remarks by Helen Clark, Chair of the UNDG, at the 2011 UN Country Co-ordination Fund Donor Dialogue
Permanent of Mission of France to the United Nations

I am pleased to welcome you all to this annual dialogue with donors who provide generous support to the work of the UN Development Group through DOCO.

I extend my sincere appreciation to the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, Ambassador Gérard Araud, for hosting this meeting and for taking on the role this year as the co-ordinating donor for the UN Country Co-ordination Fund.

This meeting is an opportunity to review our progress on supporting the UN development system to be more coherent and effective, and to discuss priorities for the coming year.

As background to our discussion, I will say a few words on where we are at on advancing reforms within the UN development system.

Reality on the ground

Within the past two weeks, I have been in Yemen. It faces a range of challenges related, many of which are related to under-development. With the heightened international focus on Yemen, there is an opportunity to increase support for its development.

Concerted efforts by the UN Country Team there will be critical. The new UNDAF signed with the Government is more strategic and focused, and envisages more joint action.

I was pleased to announce when I was there that the Country Team will be working on a joint programme on food security and malnutrition.

Yemen is neither a Delivering as One country, nor a voluntary adopter of that approach, but the UN Country Team there is one of many looking to step up co-ordination within its ranks.

Both DOCO and the UNDG global and regional levels can support that joined-up effort. Your support to the UN Country Co-ordination Fund makes that work possible.

Bringing a strategic focus to our work

When I assumed the role of Chair of the UN Development Group, I called for a more strategic approach to guide our efforts in the years leading up to the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review and the 2015 target date for the MDGs.

I saw this as critical in ensuring that the UN development system remains a highly relevant and effective development partner, assisting countries to bring about the transformational change they seek in their development prospects.

The adoption of the Strategic Priorities last year was not another bureaucratic exercise. Rather, it positioned the UNDG around a common vision for making a bigger difference on the ground.

The Strategic Priorities aim to achieve a step change in the quality of what we do to support countries, and how we do it.

They make it clear that MDG achievement, national responses to climate change, support for fragile and transition countries, support for the Delivering as One pilots and self-starters, and harmonizing business practices are at the top of our agenda.

UNDG agencies are hard at work now implementing these Strategic Priorities.

UNDAFs

As we advised at this meeting last year, the UNDG has given priority to improving the quality of the ninety UN Development Assistance Frameworks being rolled out in the years from 2010 –2012.

To help position the UN development system more strategically through these new UNDAFs, forty in-country retreats were held in collaboration with the UN System Staff College last year, and some thirty in-country workshops received on-demand technical support. A comparable effort is being made this year.

As my colleague Ajay Chhibber, Chair of the Regional UNDG Team for Asia-Pacific, will tell you later today, the Regional UNDG Teams at a senior level gave priority to the the UNDAF rollout countries, and did so at an earlier stage of that process than in the past.

The Regional UNDG Teams report that their early engagement did ensure better strategic focus and positioning of the UN Country Teams in response to anticipated challenges.

The synthesis of the Resident Co-ordinator Annual Reports from 2009 suggests that the Country Teams which developed new UNDAFs in 2009-2010 were better equipped to develop high-quality programmes in support of national priorities than in the past.

Delivering as One

We do see positive results from both the Delivering as One pilot countries and the voluntary adopters. They were highlighted in the country-led evaluations presented at the Hanoi inter-governmental conference last year.

We are making the lessons learned from the Delivering as One pilots available to those countries which are interested, while we await the independent evaluation of them and further consideration of the approach by the General Assembly.

We are grateful for the ongoing political and financial support we receive from donors for the Delivering as One countries and voluntary adopters, including through the One Funds at the country level and the global mechanism of the Expanded Delivering as One Funding Window.

We also appreciate the support to be given by donor and programme countries through the new “Friends of Delivering as One” initiative.

The independent evaluation of Delivering as One, the next inter-governmental meeting on Delivering as One in Uruguay in October, and the preparations for next year’s Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review are all opportunities to push for further gains and to consolidate those which have been made.

Harmonization of business practices

An integral part of the UNDG’s Strategic Priorities is continuing to simplify and harmonize business practices between agencies.

That will continue to be a top priority in the year ahead.

We have also begun to look at standards which could be applied to results reporting. That would help provide increased clarity between Member States and different parts of the UN development system on what the expectations of reporting are.

Leadership

The Strategic Priorities emphasize the need for leadership at all levels of the system to drive the agreed vision and the substantive areas of our work forward.

To that end, we are working to improve the selection and induction processes for Resident Co-ordinators. The Resident Co-ordinator assessment has been revamped to reflect the complexity of the job as seen by the many stakeholders, and it is now more rigorous.

The second generation of the One80 tool for Resident Co-ordinators and UN Country Teams has been rolled out. This peer-to-peer feedback can help improve performance and strengthen mutual accountability at the country level. Since its launch, it has been used for 118 UN country teams with almost 1,500 participants.

The Regional UNDG Teams are also being strengthened, so that they can give strategic leadership to the provision of technical support, quality assurance for UNDAFs, and support for performance management, and be effective troubleshooters.

We have received positive feedback from the field on how the deepened engagement of the Regional UNDG Teams is helping UN Country Teams.

Management and Accountability System

The review of implementation of the Management and Accountability System has begun.

Fellow UNDG heads of agency are working with me to oversee this review and its follow up.

It will take the reviewers about three months to complete their work and issue their findings and recommendations.

It is important that this System works and that we improve implementation where required.

The role of DOCO

The important role of DOCO in co-ordinating and supporting all UNDG activity must be acknowledged.

DOCO is the glue which binds together the work of the UNDG at the headquarters, regional, and country levels. It also helps propel change across the development system.

As you know, DOCO has been undergoing a major restructuring in recent months.

Debbie Landey and her team have done an outstanding job in keeping DOCO’s work on track while undergoing this change.

Once the new structure is fully staffed, Debbie and her team will be even better positioned to support the UNDG in its work.

Support from donors

I cannot emphasize enough how crucial your support is to the work of the UNDG.

Your role in ensuring that the need for a well co-ordinated UN development system is kept high on the political agenda in your capitals is critical. So is the voice of your representatives at the country level, and in the governing bodies of UN entities.

Your financial support is of tremendous importance too.

Later today you will receive a more detailed update from colleagues on progress made in the UNDG in 2010. UNDG’s priorities and funding requirements for 2011 will also be presented to you by DOCO. DOCO’s report on UNDG’s results in 2010, which you have in front of you, provides numerous examples of what the investment made in country level co-ordination achieved in 2010.

For now, let me stress that the UN Country Co-ordination Fund remains a vital instrument for strengthening co-ordination.

With these funds, we have been able to provide direct support to programme countries to enhance co-ordination capacity across Resident Co-ordinators, UN Country Teams, and non-resident agencies.

We have also been able to provide direct support to post-crisis countries and others in transition, to Delivering as One countries and self-starters, and to countries rolling out UNDAFs.

The UNCCF has also supported strengthening of the capacity of the Regional UNDG Teams, through increased allocations to support their work, and through an additional professional post to support each of the Regional UNDG Teams.

In addition, the UNCCF funds are used to provide technical support to countries, and to the work the UNDG is carrying out in collaboration with the UN System Staff College for UNDAF design.

Last year, the UNDG Advisory Group Principals expressed a willingness in principle for agencies to contribute in the longer term to the funding of DOCO. The immediate priority is to get the new DOCO up and running. I will meet with the Advisory Group Principals again in April, and lead a discussion on the possible timeframe for and means of cost sharing – which could take different forms, including the secondment of staff.

Closing remarks

Let me assure you that the UNDG, under my leadership, and supported by DOCO, remains committed to becoming more efficient and effective in order to deliver good results.

We count on your continued support for our efforts.

Source: www.undp.org

See on Scoop.itHelen Clark UNDP