Celebrities join push for action on the Millennium Development Goals

01 Sep 2010

United Nations– UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors actor Antonio Banderas, tennis player Maria Sharapova  and footballers  Didier Drogba, Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane,  are among a group of celebrities who, from today, will be using their social media networks to support the United Nations push for action against extreme poverty, hunger and disease.

With only five years left until the 2015 target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the eight anti-poverty goals world leaders agreed to at the Millennium Summit in 2000 – the UN is leading a collective effort to accelerate progress towards the Goals.

A UN Summit in New York on 20-22 September will bring together close to 150 Heads of State and Government, joined by leaders from the private sector, foundations and civil society, to commit to an action agenda to achieve the MDGs.

A group of UN Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace with a track record of speaking out against poverty are now adding their voice to the call for action. Among those who have joined the effort are the following (shown in parentheses is their nationality and which UN agency they are affiliated with):

Goodwill Ambassadors:

  • Goedele Liekens (Belgium / UN Population Fund (UNFPA) / media star),
  • Angelique Kidjo (Benin / UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) / singer),
  • Ronaldo (Brazil / UN Development Programme (UNDP) / football player),
  • Didier Drogba (Côte d’Ivoire / UNDP / football player),
  • Liya Kebede (Ethiopia / World Health Organization (WHO) / model);
  • Zinédine Zidane (France / UNDP / football player),
  • Michael Ballack (Germany / Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) / football player),
  • Anggun (Indonesia / Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) / singer),
  • Tetsuko Kuroyanagi (Japan / UNICEF / actress, author, TV host); Her Majesty
  • Queen Rania of Jordan (UNICEF),
  • Paul Tergat (Kenya / World Food Programme (WFP) / runner);
  • Toumane Diabate (Mali / UNAIDS / musician);
  • Nawal El Moutawakel (Morocco / UNICEF National Ambassador / runner),
  • Catarina Furtado (Portugal / UNFPA / actress),
  • Maria Sharapova (Russia /UNDP / tennis player),
  • Antonio Banderas (Spain / UNDP / actor),
  • Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo / UNAIDS / football player),
  • Craig David (UK / WHO / singer),
  • Annie Lennox (UK / UNAIDS / singer),
  • Don Cheadle (US / UN Environment Programme (UNEP) / actor),
  • Mia Farrow (US / UNICEF / actress),
  • Carl Lewis (US / FAO / runner),
  • and Ricky Martin (US / UNICEF / singer);
  • and UN Messengers of Peace Paulo Coelho (Brazil, author), Midori Goto (Japan, violinist) and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan.

“I thank these outstanding leaders for joining our push to advance progress towards the Millennium Development Goals,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “They are household names who are bringing the message of global justice and solidarity to homes and communities around the world.”

Some of the celebrities will be attending the UN Summit later this month. Their ongoing activities include media interviews and appearances at events and in videos and public service announcements. A number of them have joined the UN online campaign to spread the word. To find out more, follow @UNDP and @WeCanEndPoverty on Twitter.

For more information on the Millennium Development Goals, the Summit and activities of the group of Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace, as well as a list of UN System media contacts, please visit: www.un.org/millenniumgoals.