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Former Prime Minister Helen Clark to step down from United Nations

Helen Clark has announced she is leaving her role as director of the UNDP.

The former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, will step down from her role as the head of the United Nations Development Programme when her term ends in April.

Clark announced her decision to UNDP staff in a letter this morning, telling them she would not be seeking another term leading the UN’s largest agency.

The 66-year-old was appointed to the role as programme leader in April 2009. In 2013 she signed on again for another four year term.

In 2016, Clark ran for the position of Secretary General of the UN but Argentina’s Antonio Guterres was selected for the role instead.

Those tipped to take over from Clark include former foreign secretary David Milliband, who heads the International Rescue Committee, and French ecology minister Segolene Royal.

Clark wrote she will oversee a smooth transition to the new leader of the organisation, the NZME reports.

Helen Clark is the highest ranking woman at the United Nations. Photo: Stuart Ransom
Helen Clark is the highest ranking woman at the United Nations. Photo: Stuart Ransom

"I have full confidence in our Associate Administrator, Tege Gettu, to act as Administrator if there is a gap between my departure and the arrival of the next Administrator," Clark’s letter reads.

"It has been a privilege and an honour for me to lead UNDP for eight years. Our staff are our greatest strength, and I will miss you all."

Clark also noted these were times of change across the UN system.

"There are post-QCPR reviews (Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Reviews) being commissioned which may impact on UNDP. While these processes are unfolding, I urge you all to continue to deliver to the high standards for which UNDP is known. Making progress on the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and on supporting national development achievements must continue unabated."

Clark served as New Zealand’s Prime Minister from December 1999 to November 2008.

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