Helen Clark farewells UN

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For­mer prime min­is­ter Helen Clark has marked her last day at the United Na­tions with tributes to her re­forms at the or­gan­i­sa­tion, while her fu­ture plans re­main un­clear.

Clark stepped down as ad­min­is­tra­tor of the UN Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP) last week at the end of her sec­ond­four year term, fol­low­ing an un­suc­cess­ful bid to be­come UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral.

UN rep­re­sen­ta­tives and or­gan­i­sa­tions posted a num­ber of mes­sages online mark­ing her last day, with one de­scrib­ing her as ‘‘an end­less source of in­spi­ra­tion, lead­er­ship and good hu­mour’’.

In a state­ment, UNDP ex­ec­u­tive board pres­i­dent Ib Petersen said Clark had ‘‘spear­headed sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment and in­sti­tu­tional re­forms’’ dur­ing her time in charge, help­ing to mod­ernise the or­gan­i­sa­tion and im­prov­ing the ra­tio of fe­male to male em­ploy­ees.

The for­mer Labour leader, who was Prime Min­is­ter for nine years, vied for the UN’s top job with more than 50 na­tions campaigning to elect the first fe­male Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral.

How­ever, a se­ries of poor show­ings in straw polls un­der­mined her chances, as she con­sis­tently came to­wards the bot­tom of the pack.

Clark an­nounced her de­par­ture from the UNDP in Jan­uary, telling staff at the or­gan­i­sa­tion it had been an hon­our.

Her fu­ture ca­reer plans are un­clear.

LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Helen Clark’s fu­ture ca­reer plans are un­clear.

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