UN Development Chief calls for increase support to Yemen

Jan 25, 2011

  Sana’a — Wrapping up her visit to Yemen today, the Chair of the United Nations Development Group  and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark welcomed the  increased international interest being shown in  supporting Yemen to tackle the challenges it faces,   and expressed her hope that it will be translated into  increased support for Yemen’s development.

“Yemen is confronting a range of concurrent challenges which need urgent attention,” she said. “With international support and with commitment in Yemen to drive a reform agenda, a step change in development is possible.”

Helen Clark met with President Ali Abdullah Saleh yesterday to discuss how the UN development system can play its part in supporting Yemen to overcome its development challenges and make progress on the MDGs. At that meeting, she noted the importance of broad participation in the upcoming elections so that, like the 2006 elections, they are widely agreed to be credible.  She added that continued political dialogue is needed to achieve that outcome. She underscored UNDP’s technical support to the national commission responsible for overseeing the conduct of those elections.

In addition to meeting the President, Helen Clark met with the Prime Minister, the two Deputy Prime Ministers, and other ministers and officials, and the Supreme Commission on Elections and Referenda.  She also met with donors, the UN country team, women from many walks of life, and civil society organizations.

With respect to tensions in the north and the south of the country, as well as general security issues, Helen Clark said that UNDP’s approach focuses on addressing the underlying drivers of tension and conflict, which include underdevelopment, and on promoting community based dialogue and conflict resolution.

While in Yemen, Helen Clark traveled to the island of Socotra, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site because of its rich biodiversity.  She presented the Equator Prize to the community initiative in the Rosh Marine Protected Area for its work in combining biodiversity conservation with lifting community living standards.

Helen Clark also traveled to Tula’a to visit a health centre where the World Food Programme and UNICEF are working to improve nutrition for pregnant and lactating women and for children. The UN Country Team as a whole has agreed to develop a joint programme on Food Security and nutrition.

At Wahi Dahr, Helen Clark visited a demining training programme, supported by UNDP, which is regarded as a centre of excellence and has provided training in a number of other countries. Yemen has successfully demined in many governorates, but there are still significant areas to be cleared where mines continue to kill and maim local people and inhibit recovery from conflict.

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