UNDP Administrator Hosts Microblog Chat

17 May 2012

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Helen Clark became the first senior UN official to host a live microblog chat specifically targeting Chinese speaking audiences this afternoon, when she answered questions submitted by microblog users from across the country. Having claimed a similar accolade earlier in the month, when she opened her own microblog page, the one hour chat engaged Miss Clark on a broad range of topics, ranging from her personal experiences as a prominent female politician and former Prime Minister of New Zealand to her expectations for Rio+20 and a sustainable future. Speaking on behalf of the public, questions were delivered by the chat host, Ms. Tian Wei, CCTV Anchor and UNDP Special Advisor.

Speaking on her vision for the future, she expressed her desire to see a more peaceful world. Her focus then shifted towards the role that developed and developing countries must each play in promoting global sustainability:

“Developing countries have accepted sustainable development as the way to go, and developed countries must respond to their calls for assistance,” she said. “The average person’s carbon footprint in China is relatively low; we need to clear sustainable paths for developing countries.”

The role of the private sector was the next topic to be addressed, with Miss Clark emphasising the need for someone to ‘get the virtuous chain going’. In doing so, she alluded to the many examples of companies who are meeting their social and environmental responsibilities head on, and called for more leaders to follow in their footsteps:

“The role of governments is only a fraction of that of the private sector in the global economy; how the private sector behaves has a huge bearing on how our world develops,” she remarked. “In today’s world, companies are increasingly looking at their business models to see how making profit can be used to benefit the poor, while the governments of the future will play a key role in speeding up this process through incentive’s that change behaviour on, for example, carbon trading”

Meanwhile, in a light hearted exchange, Miss Clark – a keen hiking enthusiast – briefly touched on her experience in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, linking such challenges to her professional outlook:

“In politics and especially in development work, there is a need to maintain a sense of humour and always look for the best in people as we face our mountains together,” she commented. “With some people you have to dig a long way, but we cannot move forward if we are not united” she joked.