After global search, film star Michelle Yeoh announces names of UNDP’s youngest and cutest ambassadors – a pair of panda cubs

Sep 19, 2016

New York — Award-winning global movie star and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh has announced the results of a worldwide competition to name the organisation’s first-ever Animal Ambassadors: a pair of panda cubs.

The panda cubs were born last year at the Chengdu Panda Base in China, just as the world adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — also known as the Global Goals — a bold new agenda aimed at eradicating poverty and tackling the world’s most pressing challenges by 2030. The cubs have been appointed UNDP’s Animal Ambassadors to help raise awareness of the new goals for the world.

Speaking at the 7th Social Good Summit in New York, Michelle Yeoh said: “I’m pleased and proud to announce the names of our panda ambassadors are Qiqi - in English ‘beginning’, and Diandian, which means ‘moment’.

Together, the names give the sense of the start of a journey – in this case, our journey together towards 2030 as we work towards achieving the Global Goals.”

“I was thrilled to join forces with these two adorable panda babies to get the public interested and engaged in supporting the Global Goals. Protecting their future and our shared wildlife is a responsibility for us all,” said Yeoh.

“I even met my fellow UNDP ambassadors at the Chengdu Panda Base in May. It was a wonderful meeting, but the cubs were missing just one thing – a name. I’m thrilled to be able to announce their names after a huge worldwide search,” she said.

The competition to name the pandas saw thousands of people enter from 116 different countries. It was held in association with dozens of zoos around the world, many of which have their own pandas, including Toronto Zoo in Canada, Chiang Mai Zoo in Thailand, Adventure World and Ueno Zoo in Japan, Zoo Atlanta in the US, Edinburgh Zoo in the UK, and Adelaide Zoo in Australia.

“Pandas symbolize the plight of the world’s diminishing wildlife in the face of climate change and the loss of natural habitats. And that plight doesn’t affect just wildlife – both biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are essential for improving and sustaining human wellbeing,” Yeoh said.

“In fact, addressing biodiversity loss is one of the Sustainable Development Goals,” she added. “At UNDP we hope that our twin panda Ambassadors will help inspire people to engage with the goals, and raise awareness of our efforts to promote sustainable development around the world.”

UNDP and its partners UNF, Mashable and 92nd Street Y are hosting the seventh annual Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y in New York and around the world. The summit is a two-day conference examining the impact of innovation, technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world. Held during UN Week on September 18th and 19th, it unites a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time.


About the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The SDGs have a much wider scope than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) they replace. They incorporate economic and environmental sustainability, as well as people’s aspiration to live in peaceful and inclusive societies. The Goals seek to eliminate rather than reduce poverty, and set demanding targets, particularly on health, education and gender equality.

Demographic changes, overconsumption, and the use of technologies that damage the environment, combined with climate change, are pushing our planet to its limits, and biodiversity losses we are now witnessing are diminishing the potential for sustainable development. UNDP is responding to this challenge by supporting countries to manage their ecosystems and biodiversity and our biodiversity and ecosystems portfolio is the largest in the UN system, covering 132 countries and over 500 projects with US$ 1.5 billion in funding.

For high-resolution photos of Michelle Yeoh’s visit to Chengdu, please click here: Please credit photos ‘UNDP’. For broadcast footage, please contact

Contact Information: Adam Cathro, UNDP, +1 212 906 5326,

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