UN not doing well in fighting causes of extremism, says frontrunner Helen Clark

One of the frontrunners for United Nations Secretary General and former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark has said the UN must do a better job at combating the root causes of violent extremism and global insecurity.

“The UN is seen to be not doing so well on the peace and security front,” The Guardian quoted Clark, as saying.

She said that the UN’s archaic bureaucratic structure was proving a drag on its ability to help in the fight against extremist attacks. “We have the tools from the middle of the last century to fight today’s battles, and we can do better than that,” she said.

“If we are going to effectively fight violent extremism it’s not just intelligence and security cooperation that’s important, it’s addressing the root causes. That takes you into development, human rights, and peace-building, how can we get them to work in harmony to address these issues?” she added.

While speaking in New York just days before the UN security council holds the first of three straw polls in which the 15 member states will begin to indicate their preferred candidates, Clark said “The UN needs someone with leadership ability, experience, judgment someone who is predictable, practical, pragmatic, who likes to get results.” Clark, who held the premier’s position in New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, said her track record spoke for itself.

Since 2009 she’s been head of one of the UN’s most important departments, the United Nations Development Programme.

She pledged to clamp down on crimes committed by UN peacekeepers amid the billowing scandal around sexual
exploitation and abuse by troops in the Central African Republic and also promised to respect whistleblower protections where UN staff can safely sound the alarm on corruption or wrong-doing from within.