Samina Baig (left) was appointed UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan. Photo: UNDP Pakistan

Islamabad, 26 February 2018 – Renowned mountaineer Samina Baig was appointed the National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) this Monday, 26 February. The first Pakistani woman to have climbed Mount Everest, Ms Baig will lead efforts to build national awareness and partnerships around the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to climate change, environmental protection, youth and women’s empowerment.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, Neil Buhne, said “Pakistan is amongst the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. Preparing for its effects, and instituting environmental protections, will safeguard economic development for future generations. Moreover, half of Pakistan’s population, its women, are under-represented in education, the workforce and in decision-making. Empowering women to play their full role in society is not only an ethical imperative, it is essential for sustainable development.”

“UNDP’s National Goodwill Ambassadors are leaders in their societies, and role models for us all. As the National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan, Ms Baig will use her profile to shine a light on the issues that shape Pakistan’s future, and build the partnerships required to address them,” said UNDP Pakistan Country Director Ignacio Artaza.

Born in Gilgit-Baltistan, at the age of 22 Samina Baig became the first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest. By the time she turned 23, she had climbed the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents. Awarded the Pride of Performance by the Government of Pakistan, today she presides over the Pakistan Youth Outreach Foundation to encourage youth, especially women, to participate in outdoor activities. As a mountaineer, she bears witness to the critical importance of preserving Pakistan’s fragile ecosystems and preparing for the effects of climate change.

Samina Baig said, “I am greatly honoured to be part of UNDP. From the remotest village of Pakistan and reaching the summit of the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Everest and beyond the borders, Scaling Peak in  Antarctica and the seven highest peaks of the seven continents, in some of the most harsh conditions, my entire climbing purpose was to empower women through these adventures and encourage gender equality. With my brother, I have experienced significant impact of global warming and climate change on our mother earth . I find this honour as the national goodwill Ambassador of UNDP to spread the voice for climate change and environmental protection and advocate to empower young girls to climb the highest level within their field of profession.”

UNDP’s National Goodwill Ambassadors are inspirational women and men who serve as spokespersons to uphold the United Nations Charter and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The signing ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of Austria, Her Excellency Dr Brigitta Blaha, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Neil Buhne, and UNDP Pakistan Country Director, Ignacio Artaza.

For more information, contact Fatimah Inayet, Communications Analyst, at fatimah.inayet@undp.org

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