UNDP Administrator Calls for Accelerated Sustainable Human Development in Africa

23 July 2012: In a speech delivered at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Africa Conference in Dakar, Senegal, Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, stressed the need for Africa's economic performance to translate into higher human development for all, particularly the poor, women and youth.

Noting that Africa's growth has resulted in significantly lower poverty reduction and social improvement than in other regions with similar growth, she proposed targeted investments and policy measures to promote inclusive, sustainable growth.

Clark recognized progress on several Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including decreases in extreme poverty, declines in child mortality and increased women's representation in parliament. However, she pointed to the recommendations of the 2012 African MDG report for accelerated efforts on pervasive inequalities, job creation, access to and quality of education and health services, and investments in energy, water and sanitation.

Clark identified seven priorities for sustainable human development in Africa: broadening economic bases; targeting excluded groups through social policies; empowering women and youth; addressing food security and nutrition; achieving Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL); promoting triple-win policies that advance economic, environmental and social sustainable development; and building resilience. Noting UNDP's capacity to support countries to access the growing pools of climate finance for adaptation, she emphasized the need to build resilience and ability to cope to climate change and natural disasters through increased collaboration between development and humanitarian actors.

Clark described several triple-win policies in Africa that could be replicated, including Ethiopia's low carbon, climate-resilient, green economy strategy, and Niger's reforestation policy.

In concluding, Clark called for African voices to be heard in defining the post-2015 development agenda, including the sustainable development goals (SDGs). [UNDP Administrator's Speech] [Assessing Progress in Africa Toward the Millennium Development Goals: MDG Report 2012] [IISD RS Story on the African MDG Report]