New Zealand nominates Helen Clark for UN secretary general

The New Zealand government said Tuesday it had nominated former prime minister Helen Clark for the position of UN secretary general.

Clark was prime minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008 and has worked as the administrator of the UN Development Programme for the past seven years.

Prime Minister John Key said Clark had the right mix of skills and experience to be UN secretary general.

"Helen Clark has a vast amount of experience in international affairs which will be hard for other candidates to match. She’s a great listener and communicator, and I know she will make a difference if elected."

Clark, who spoke to a press conference in New York, said she was honoured to have received the full backing of her government to seek the top UN post.

"We need a UN which is up to the task of tackling the major challenges facing our world today, and I believe I am the leader that is up to the task of leading the organization," Clark said.

"At its best, the position of UN secretary general is about giving a voice to the world's 7 billion-plus people. They look to the UN for hope, support and inspiration."

She said one of the most pressing issues facing the UN is finding new ways to ensure global peace and security.

"Civil wars, many disparate non-state actors, violent extremists - I think this calls for new and jointed approaches within the United Nations," she said.

Clark's nomination comes as UN member states have instituted reforms to the election process to ensure more transparency and that the most qualified candidate gets the post.

After 70 years of the UN being led by men, there's also a strong push to elect a woman for the top post.

The new secretary general will be appointed at the end of the year by the UN General Assembly on the recommendation of the UN Security Council.

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:25

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