After living through the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015, Oscar-winning actor and producer Michelle Yeoh also witnessed first-hand how such crises and disasters expose existing inequalities and disproportionately impact those living in poverty, especially women and girls.
In 2016, the year that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) went into effect, Yeoh was appointed Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In this role, Yeoh has been raising awareness and mobilizing support for the 17 Global Goals, with a special focus on ending inequality, promoting gender equality, and fighting poverty. Yeoh traveled back to Nepal as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador and delivered a Parliament address to urge action on the SDGs and shine a spotlight on disaster preparedness and risk reduction. Passionate about biodiversity and wildlife, Yeoh traveled to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China and joined UNDP's first-ever Animal Ambassadors, two panda cubs, to kick off the Pandas for the Global Goals campaign.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yeoh teamed up with the UN, Project Everyone and 72 Films to appear in the ‘Nations United: Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times’ film that aired as part of the SDG moment during the UN General Assembly week in 2020. More recently, the day after her history-making Oscar win this year, Yeoh published an opinion essay in The New York Times, calling for true gender equality, especially in times of crisis, as a key step towards achieving the SDGs.