UNITED NATIONS - Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has been chosen as the new head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for a four-year term. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has picked Miss Clark to succeed Kemal Dervis, a former finance minister of Turkey, the secretary-general's spokeswoman, Michele Montas, said Thursday. Ban has asked the UN General Assembly to confirm Miss Clark as the new UNDP administrator, Ms. Montas told reporters in New York. "Miss Clark's nomination came at the end of an extensive selection process which included the establishment of a senior appointments panel chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General which consisted of senior UN officials, as well as two outside experts in financial and developmental economics," she said. "She is expected to bring to the position her well-honed consensus building skills and commitment to a multilateral approach to addressing global financial and development issues," Ms. Montas stated. Miss Clark's nomination was forwarded to the Assembly following consultations with UNDP's Executive Board. She replaces Kemal Dervis of Turkey, who is leaving the post for personal reasons. "The Secretary-General is deeply grateful to Mr. Dervis for the services he has rendered to the Organization and for so ably leading UNDP at a critical juncture," said Ms. Montas. Miss Clark has been a member of the New Zealand Parliament since 1981, and was Prime Minister from 1999 to 2008. While in government, she led her country's policy debate on a wide range of economic, social, environmental, and cultural issues, including sustainability and climate change. She has also been a strong supporter of development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in her region. UNDP plays a crucial role in helping countries achieve the Goals - eight targets with a 2015 deadline to promote poverty reduction, education, maternal health, gender equality, and which aim at combating child mortality, AIDS and other diseases. On the ground in 166 countries, UNDP is the world body's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.