Helen Clark, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, has headed the UNDP since April 2009. In this role, she is the third-highest UN official. On the occasion of her first official visit to Berne, Helen Clark explained the role of the UNDP in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Implementing the reform of the UN was a further topic discussed. The UNDP head also reported on the organizational and institutional changes she has introduced in her organization since taking office that are aimed at further improving the efficiency of the UNDP.
Other topics discussed included the importance of obtaining widespread support and sufficient funding for multilateral cooperation, the challenges of implementing the vision of an even more strategically oriented UNDP, and the options open to Switzerland for supporting the UNDP Administrator in achieving her objectives.
Following the talks with Federal Councillor Calmy-Rey, Helen Clark met Swiss parliamentarians for lunch and gave a talk for an audience of Swiss development experts from government, industry and civil society. The visit concluded with a courtesy visit to Federal President Doris Leuthard.
In 2009, Switzerland allocated CHF 72 million (CHF 54 million in general contributions plus CHF 18 million in ring-fenced contributions) to the UNDP.
As a result, Switzerland ranks as the 9th biggest donor country. Contributions in 2010 will be of a similar order. Thanks to proactive recruitment strategies, about 20 Swiss nationals currently work for the UNDP.
The UNDP has a mandate to assist developing countries in formulating and implementing their own national development policies and strategies. Since 2000, the aim increasingly has been to help other countries to attain the internationally agreed development objectives.
With representatives in 135 countries and programmes in 166 countries, and with six regional centres, the UNDP has the necessary presence to support the partner countries' governments in planning and implementing their development strategies.
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