World must translate words into action to help Yemen develop, UN official says

World must translate words into action to help Yemen develop, UN official says

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark
The international community must translate its increased interest in helping Yemen tackle the challenges it faces into concrete steps that promote development in the impoverished country, a senior United Nations official said today.

“Yemen is confronting a range of concurrent challenges which need urgent attention,” UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark said at the end of a visit to the Middle Eastern country. “With international support and with commitment in Yemen to drive a reform agenda, a step change in development is possible.”

Yesterday she met with President Ali Abdullah Saleh to discuss how the UN development system can play its part in supporting Yemen to overcome its development challenges and make progress on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that seek to slash hunger and poverty, maternal and infant mortality, a host of diseases and lack of access to education and health care, all by 2015.

She noted the importance of broad participation in upcoming elections so that, as in 2006, they are widely agreed to be credible. Continued political dialogue is needed to achieve that outcome, she added, highlighting UNDP technical support to the national commission responsible for overseeing the conduct of the polls.

Ms. Clark also met with the Prime Minister, two Deputy Prime Ministers and other ministers and officials, as well as 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 and general security issues, she said 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.

There are an estimated 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yemen’s northern governorates from fighting between the Government and the Al-Houthi armed group.

Ms. Clark also visited the island of Socotra, a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 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.