Padma Lakshmi, Alexis Ren and Ronen Rubinstein kick off UN Development Programme’s campaign to raise awareness of growing inequalities caused by COVID-19 and climate change

Called Half the World, the campaign is part of the World Is In Our Hands initiative founded by The Krim Group and photographer Justin Wu

October 26, 2020


New York – As the United Nations commemorates its 75th anniversary today, its anti-poverty agency, UN Development Programme, is teaming up with celebrities and influencers to raise awareness of the alarming rate at which COVID-19 and climate change are increasing inequalities around the world.

UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, author and television host Padma Lakshmi; entrepreneur, advocate and model Alexis Ren; and actor and environmentalist Ronen Rubinstein are set to kick off the campaign on their social media platforms with others joining them to build momentum over the next several weeks and months.

Among those hit hardest by the climate and COVID-19 crises are the four billion people—half of the world’s population—who live in poverty and lack any social protection such as unemployment benefits or healthcare. Suffering the most devastating effects of droughts, floods and now COVID-19, those living in poverty are bearing the brunt of the two biggest crises facing the world today.

The World Bank estimates that up to 150 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2021. As the intensifying climate crisis and the surging pandemic widen the divide between rich and poor, we need a response which protects both our planet and people. 

Leveraging their social media platforms, celebrities and influencers are joining UNDP in spreading the message that we must address both crises together. If we don’t, half of the world will be left behind. 

Between now and December 12, the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement signing, worldwide influencers from the arts and entertainment industries will be posting to their social media channels their self-portrait with a drawing of a divided world on their raised palm. The portraits are taken virtually under the direction of photographer Justin Wu.

Through this initiative, UNDP aims to foster a global awareness of the growing poverty and inequalities caused by climate change and COVID-19. To save our planet and leave no one behind, we have to win at both!   

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UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

Learn more at or follow at @UNDP.