UNDP Around the world

Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway visits Timor-Leste as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador. (Credit: Christian Lagaard, Royal Court, Norway)

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway has been a dedicated and knowledgeable UNDP Goodwill Ambassador since 2003 with ambitions to help close the gap between the rich and the poor worldwide.

“I accepted the invitation to become a Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP, because I strongly believe that all people are equal and should have equal rights to realize their potential as human beings,” said the heir to the Norwegian throne during a visit to Burundi with UNDP in October 2007.

In Burundi, Haakon met with refugees who had returned from Tanzania after years of exile. There he learned about the challenges of rebuilding homes and lives and how poverty today is the biggest threat to long-term stability and peace. “Development is about fighting poverty, and fighting poverty is about expanding people’s possibilities and choices,” he explained.

Advocating for progress toward the Millennium Development Goals is at the core of Crown Prince Haakon’s UNDP engagement. He has used his ambassador status to express that even though development is a long-term process, the international community has to live up to the promise of achieving the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) by 2015. When a journalist asked him whether he thought the goals were too ambitious, during his visit to Guatemala in April 2006, he simply said they were not too ambitious. He added that we had to go even further than the MDGs, as it was not acceptable for anyone to live in extreme poverty.

Haakon has taken field visits as an opportunity to learn about UNDP’s work on the ground and bring the world’s attention to the challenges and successes on the road to the Millennium Development Goals. In February 2005, he visited Sierra Leone, reminding the international community that even though peace was finally brokered, Sierra Leone would need continued support to consolidate the peace and stand on its own feet. He has also visited Cambodia and Tanzania.

Haakon also engages in the work of the Human Development Report Office. He was on the Advisory Panel for the 2007–2008 report, as well as on the panel for the Human Development Award 2007. “Human Development is key for moving the world forward,” he said. “We need to be inspired by the people who have taken leadership and have shown us a way through which we can improve the living conditions for everyone.”

The only son of King Harald V and Queen Sonja, Haakon was born 20 July 1973. In 2001, he married Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby with whom he has two children: Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Prince Sverre Magnus. He has received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California in Berkley and his master’s in development studies from the London School of Economics.