Film star Michelle Yeoh kicks off UNDP’s panda cub-naming competition to promote Global Goals

May 31, 2016

Michelle Yeoh with her fellow UNDP ambassadors during her visit at the Chengdu Panda Base. Photo: UNDP

— Award-winning global movie star and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh has teamed up with UNDP’s first-ever Animal Ambassadors, two panda cubs, to kick off the Pandas for the Global Goals campaign. The highlight of the initiative is a worldwide competition with a once-in-a-lifetime prize: the opportunity to name the two rare baby pandas.

The panda cubs were born last year at the Chengdu Panda Base, 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.

“I have joined forces with these two adorable, fuzzy panda babies to get the public interested and engaged in supporting the Global Goals—because who doesn’t love pandas? Protecting their future and our shared wildlife is a responsibility for us all,” said Yeoh during her visit with her fellow UNDP ambassadors at the Chengdu Panda Base. “Our aim is to show that each and every one of us can play an active part in reaching a globally shared vision of a future without poverty, inequality or climate change.”

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark added: “These pandas symbolize the plight of the world’s diminishing wildlife in the face of climate change and the loss of natural habitats. Both biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are essential for improving and sustaining human wellbeing.”

“Addressing the loss of biodiversity is one of the Sustainable Development Goals.  By getting involved in the fun of naming the pandas, the public are also getting involved in the serious work of realizing the goals. We hope the pandas will help inspire people to become aware of these goals, engage with them, and help to implement them in their own country,” Clark said.

The public can nominate names by visiting The winning names will be announced in Chengdu on July 23.

Entrants can also win a trip to see the pandas by picking their favourite of the 17 Global Goals and uploading a creative video explaining the Goal, and why it matters. Full details on how to enter, as well as the competition’s terms and conditions, are listed on the site.

The competition is being held in association with dozens of zoos around the world, many of which have their own pandas, including Adelaide Zoo in Australia, Toronto Zoo in Canada, ZooParc de Beauval in France, Adventure World and Ueno Zoo in Japan, Edinburgh Zoo in the UK, Zoo Atlanta in the US.

Contact information

Adam Cathro, UNDP, +1 212 906 5326,

UNDP Around the world