18 Feb 2010

UNDP to support PNG so gas project money available to future generations

3:15 pm on 18 February 2010

The head of the United Nations Development Programme says aid money isn't the key to bringing fundamental changes that improve lives in developing countries like Papua New Guinea.

Helen Clark has just visited PNG where she assessed the progress being made towards achieving the UN's Millenium Development Goals by 2015.

The goals include achieving universal primary education and healthcare, as well as promoting gender equality, areas in which PNG continues to lag.

While the projected income from the massive liquified natural gas project will double PNG's GDP in the next five to ten years, Ms Clark says money alone is not the answer.

"The question is, can it be moved for the purposes that Papua New Guinea most needs it used for, right now. And that's why we will support PNG to have the best sovereign wealth fund that it can so that the money is tied up for future generations. But ideally it would also be investing up front now in universal primary education for its children - which it's well short of - and trying to reinvigorate a primary healthcare system which has fallen into some disrepair."

Helen Clark