“Let’s make the money work for the people,” says UN Development Chief During Second Official Visit to Papua New Guinea
UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group Helen Clark returned to Papua New Guinea (PNG) this week for a three-day visit focused on the country’s development priorities, and UNDP’s role in supporting them.
Helen Clark commended PNG’s advancement to lower-middle income country status, and recognized the expanded leadership the country is taking in the Pacific – as illustrated by PNG’s announcement to establish a Regional Economic Development Fund to support Pacific Island countries, as well as internationally.
During the trip, Helen Clark met with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Governor-General H.E. Sir Michael Ogio, ministers and senior government officials to discuss the country’s progress, aid co-ordination and effectiveness, and the need to ensure that development strategies make the best use of PNG’s resource wealth to support growth which is socially equitable and environmentally sustainable.
“As revenues from extractive industries flow into PNG, there is a huge opportunity to make major strides in human development. It is clear that the government fully recognizes this with the big budget investments it is making in health and education and its commitment to building integrity institutions and mechanisms” Helen Clark said.
Highlighting the strong partnership between UNDP and the Government of PNG, Helen Clark reiterated UNDP’s continued support of the government’s efforts to enhance service delivery at all levels of government, and the country’s agenda related to governance for equitable development, social justice and gender equality, and the environment, climate change, and natural resource management.
At a reception with representatives from government, the diplomatic corps, civil society and the UN, the Administrator remarked that “UNDP seeks to build the capacity of Papua New Guineans to achieve their development goals. We look forward to continuing to support leadership at all levels to follow through on the good plans which are being been put in place. There are many remarkable people in this country, working hard to bring about responsible, equitable and sustainable development. We commend their integrity and dedication to PNG’s future.”
During the visit, the UN Country Team and UNDP Country Office in Port Moresby updated the Administrator on the work of the 14 UN agencies operating in PNG and results achieved through the Delivering as One self-starter initiative, which was launched in the UN in PNG in 2007.
Helen Clark also travelled to Kokopo, East New Britain Province where she had the opportunity to see some of the UN’s work including financial literacy training for low-income women through a partnership with Nationwide Microbank and the United Church, consultations to develop a Protected Area Policy for the country, and progress on building the capacity of the Provincial Treasurer.
While in Kokopo, the Administrator had the opportunity to meet with the Hon. John Momis, President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Government (ABG), and reaffirm the UN’s commitment to support peacebuilding and development efforts in Bougainville, particularly in view of the referendum to be held between 2015 – 2020.
Helen Clark also met with the Speaker of Parliament and Members of Parliament, women leaders and champions for gender equality and women’s empowerment, and representatives of the private sector and think tanks.
A former Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms (1999-2008), Helen Clark brings with her a wealth of experience in development and peacebuilding. Under her leadership, New Zealand achieved significant economic growth, low levels of unemployment, and high levels of investment in education and health, and in the well-being of families and older citizens.
Concurrent with her position as UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark serves as the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, which consists of all UN organizations working on development issues.
IIn Port Moresby:
Caroline Thomas,Coordination Consultant, Tel: (+675) 321 2877 ext. 239, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In New York:
Christina LoNigro,Press Secretary and Communications Advisor, Office of the Administrator,Tel: (+1) (212) 906 5301,Email: email@example.com