Helen Clark focuses on regional integration and development gains in Kazakhstan
ASTANA. May 20. KAZINFORM UNDP Administrator Helen Clark ended a three day visit to Kazakhstan on Thursday which focused on the country's impressive development progress and its partnership with UNDP and the broader UN system.
Helen Clark met on May 19 with President Nursultan Nazarbayev to discuss a range of issues, including the importance of trade and investment in the region, and the need for economic progress to reach all members of society. They also discussed the importance of regional co-operation on disaster risk reduction and response, Kazakhstan's focus on energy efficiency, lifting the relationship between Kazakhstan and UNDP to a new level of cooperation.
She also visited two UNESCO World Heritage listed sites while in Kazakhstan: Tamgaly Tang, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site which contains 3000 year old petroglyphs from the Bronze Age carved into natural rock formations, and Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve, a unique wetlands ecosystem. UNDP has promoted conservation and preservation in Korgalzhyn for the past 7 years, and has been involved in income-generating projects around environmental protection, the press service of the EBRD reports.
Two of the world's major flight paths for birds, the Central Asian-Indian Flyway and the East African Flyway, converge in Korgalzhyn, making this area extremely important for migratory birds as they pass through on their way north from African and India, and south from Europe and arctic Russia.
"When you see the wildlife on this reserve, you are reminded that the world's ecosystems are highly interconnected", Helen Clark said during her visit to the nature reserve. "We saw the pink flamingo there this season which you can also see in Africa in a different season. What happens in wildlife and habitat conservation here in Kazakhstan has great international significance."
Helen Clark also took part in a panel discussion on "Women Leaders in Today's World and in Kazakhstan." In her remarks before an audience at the Academy of Public Administration, she said strong women's networks and the sharing of knowledge and experiences between women are critical for women's empowerment, and the strengthening of women's voice and representation in decision making. She also highlighted President Nazarbayev's call for the adoption of an action plan to increase women representation at the decision making level from ten per cent up to thirty per cent by 2016.
"What I would say about women leaders today is that there are not enough of us!" said Helen Clark. "President Nazarbayev has made a commitment to promote gender equality, and leadership from the top is so important to achieving that in any country."
While in Kazakhstan, Helen Clark also met with Yerzhan Kazykhanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kairat Kelimbetov, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Gulshara Abdykalikova, the Minister of Labour and Social Protection, members of the diplomatic community and civil society, and the UN Country Team.