Helen Clark: Remarks at announcement of Michelle Yeoh’s appointment as Goodwill Ambassador

Mar 15, 2016


I am delighted to welcome you all today to celebrate the appointment of UNDP’s new Goodwill Ambassador and award winning actress Michelle Yeoh of Malaysia.

2016 is a crucial year for development and the U.N. Development Programme. The historic commitments made by the international community last year to end poverty in all its forms have to be implemented, and our organization will be at the very forefront of this process.

Over the past fifty years, UNDP has supported countries during their most challenging times, whether the crises they were battling were natural or man-made. We are dedicated to empowering people and governments to improve living conditions for families, communities, and entire nations, and to do so within the boundaries of nature as the new global sustainable development agenda requires.  

Ending poverty. Eliminating hunger. Reducing inequalities. Stopping climate change. These are all ambitious endeavors, without question. And that’s just a few of our global goals. 

But with good will, our world can have a future where everybody has enough food, and good income, and where living on less than $2.00 a day is a thing of the past. That future can also include a sustainable planet.

But that future is only possible with strong partners at our side. Ms. Yeoh, in her role as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, will play a key part in helping UNDP raise awareness and support for the most pressing issues of our time. With her help, and that of many other supporters, we can expand our reach and keep our promise of leaving no one behind on the 2030 agenda.

Throughout her busy and successful career in Hollywood, Ms. Yeoh has invested a lot of her energy into development work. She has been part of several projects within and outside the UN system. Her work with the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and the Live to Love network are just a couple of examples showcasing her passionate dedication to development issues.

Leveraging her great platform and influence around the world, Ms. Yeoh will help UNDP shine a spotlight on the vital links between the Sustainable Development Goals and our aspirations for peace, prosperity, wellbeing, and conservation of our planet. 

Ms. Yeoh is a passionate humanitarian, and has contributed significantly to this field in the past.  She is joining UNDP at a momentous time, as we prepare for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in May. 

This event will be a milestone for all of us. World leaders, the private sector, civil society, multilateral organizations, and NGOs will convene in Istanbul, Turkey, to commit to new ways of addressing the world’s most pressing humanitarian concerns. 

Ensuring that communities around the world are better prepared for a disaster of the magnitude of Nepal’s earthquake last spring is something that Ms. Yeoh holds very near and dear to her heart. But I’ll let her tell you that story. 

On behalf of UNDP, I want to offer you a warm welcome to our global family, Ms. Yeoh. We are honored to work hand in hand to make this world a better place for all of us.

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