Clark Maps Out Vision for UNDP

Helen Clark, United Nations Development Program administrator. Photo by: United Nations Development Program / CC BY 2.0 United Nations Development ProgramCC BY 2.0

Helen Clark’s vision is to make the United Nations Development Program a premier development institution that makes capacity building its primary business.

To realize this, the UNDP administrator outlined seven workstreams focus:

1. “Positioning UNDP as a world-class knowledge-based organization.”

UNDP’s new knowledge strategy aims to promote better solution sharing through a platform called “Teamworks” that enables the “dynamic, and real time capture and application” of knowledged, Clark said June 24 at the UNDP and U.N. Population Fund executive board’s annual session. The platform’s first round of activities are underway, while “a more ambitious” set of activities will commence in September, she added.

2. “Measuring and managing by results.”

The UNDP needs to “measure reliably our contributions to outcomes – not simply outputs,” Clark said. The agency’s evaluation policy is set to be discussed by UNDP and the U.N. Population Fund next week.

“In the coming years I expect to see a much stronger results-based management culture, and clear communication and reporting on what UNDP is doing,” Clark noted.

3. “Building new strategic partnerships.”

UNDP will partner with middle-income and net contributing countries, as well as South-South donors to help address development challenges.

“I am pushing UNDP and the UN development system overall to more systematically facilitate South-South co-operation alongside our traditional role of facilitating co-operation between the North and the South,” Clark said.

The U.N. agency will also beef up its partnership with the private sector, foundations, and civil society, and key multilateral and regional institutions.

4. “Driving greater effectiveness, internal efficiencies, and realigning incentives.”

To streamline its operations, UNDP will review and reform operational policies, including simplifying its procurement system and ensuring the more effective use of information and communication technology systems.

Clark said a good example of the kind of change needed was the scheme for fast-tracking UNDP crisis aid, which is has already been applied in nine countries.

5. “Managing performance and developing staff capacity.”

A “simplified [UNDP] performance appraisal system” is being developed to provide better incentives for staff, as well as be less time consuming, according to the agency’s chief, saying the new staff evaluation system will be rolled out “shortly.”

UNDP will unveil soon leadership development and management skills programs for senior, middle, and entry-level managers, with the program for senior manager already piloted at leading universities.

6. “Strategic communications.”

The U.N. agency will upgrade its website and use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to help disseminate information about its work. UNDP’s internal communication will also be improved by revamping its intranet.

7. “Driving greater UN development co-ordination.”

UNDP will be reviewing and strengthening its management of the U.N. resident co-ordinator system. It will also support the “coherent and effective engagement” of the U.N. development system in attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

The agency last week released its “International Assessment” of what it will take to reach the MDG’s 2015 deadline. The assessment calls for country-led development initiatives, inclusive economic growth, opportunities for women and girls, investments in health, education, potable water and sanitation, social protection and employment programs, improved access to energy, efficient use of resources, and predictable official development assistance.

Clark also announced the launch of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, which aims to develop “actionable and evidence-informed recommendations” for effective HIV/AIDS responses. The commission will tackle legal issues in the context of HIV including the criminalization of HIV/AIDS transmission, and of behaviours and practices such as drug use, sex work, and same-sex sexual relations.

The commission, Clark said, is expected to meet three times between October 2010 and December 2011.

“Regional hearings in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe will ensure that the Commission hears from affected communities and policy-makers,” Clark said. 

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.