GRAND CHIEF Sir Paulius Matane, Governor General of Papua New Guinea has applauded the visit of former Prime Minister of New Zealand and current Administrator of United Nations development Programme, Helen Clark to the country recently.
Sir Paulius said, the visit of Ms. Clark fortifies the work of UNDP in PNG and is in itself an assurance of the UNDP’s continuous partnership with the Government to address development issues in the country.
Grand Chief Sir Paulius made this known during Ms. Clark’s visit to Government house, last Saturday.
Grand Chief Sir Paulius said, PNG is working towards achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, especially in the areas of health, education and gender equality.
Grand Chief Sir Paulius paid tribute to the former UNDP country representative, Dr. Jacqueline Badcock, for her tireless efforts and active participation in supporting and establishing policies to address social issues in PNG.
He said, the UNDP has been particularly active in supporting women in Parliament and in ensuring the bill to have women in Parliament is realized. The outcome of the bill will be known when Parliament convenes in March.
Grand Chief Sir Paulius said, as far as gender equality is concerned, New Zealand provides a distinctive model which PNG can learn from and emulate. Women have held top positions in Government in the form of Dame Silvia Cartwright as Governor General, Ms. Helen Clark as Prime Minister and Dame Sian Elias as Chief Justice of New Zealand.
Grand Chief Sir Paulius assured that the work of the UNDP in PNG is being appreciated adding that the recent launched National Development Plan 2010 – 2050 highlights issues that are being promoted by the United Nations Development Programme.
In response, Ms Clark remarked that PNG is now at a stage of exciting changes especially in regards to the abundant natural resources available to it. She said, the liquefied natural gas project will bring enormous wealth to the country.
She said, these changes provide PNG the opportunity to push for improvements in the health and education sectors and to seriously address gender issues in all sections of the country.
Ms Clark said the UNDP will continue to support the national Government in this area and recommended that these issues be incorporated into the education curriculum for all schools throughout the country.
“There will be social issues and it will be good to have this as part of the education curriculum to teach young people how to budget their money, have access to health care and do away with alcohol consumption and gambling, these are vices. It all come back to education,” Ms Clark said.
Ms Clark added another matter of concern is corruption. She said, it is important to also include ethics early in education as a means of addressing corruption in society.
Ms Clark assured that the UNDP stands ready to assist the Government tackle these issues and meet the UN Millennium Development Goals.