Geneva, 24 January 2007 – The United Nations Development Programme today appointed soccer star from Côte d’Ivoire Didier Drogba as a Goodwill Ambassador for the fight against poverty at a ceremony in Geneva at the Palais des Nations. Drogba, currently the leading scorer in both the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, in his new role as an advocate for the poor will set his sights on a new set of goals, away from the soccer pitch: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These globally agreed targets seek to halve world poverty by 2015 by setting targets for rolling back hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women.
“I don’t forget my origins,” said Drogba. “I have been given opportunities to succeed in life, but I constantly think about the ones who did not have this chance. We all need to contribute to help defeat poverty.” Drogba will work with UNDP to spur action at all levels of society in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, with a particular focus on Africa.
“We’re very pleased to have Didier on our side, working to help countries reach the MDGs,” said UNDP Administrator Kemal Derviº. “Greater recognition of the wide range of serious challenges we face in Africa and around the world is an important part of meeting those challenges—and Didier will offer tremendous help in raising awareness.” The other UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors are soccer legends Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane, South African Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer, Japanese actress Misako Kono and Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway.
Drogba has previously collaborated with several charities and organisations and has long been active in mobilizing support for the eradication of poverty. He has also participated in several HIV/AIDS campaigns, and will continue to focus on this issue--and its implications for human rights and women’s empowerment.
“Gender equality must be promoted, and women and girls are at a special risk. Male attitudes and behaviour need to change, and as a man and a role model for many young boys in Africa I will do my best to promote the right messages to other men and boys to stop the pandemic,” said Drogba. He will also support UNDP’s work in conflict prevention and recovery.
Didier Drogba received his credentials as Goodwill Ambassador by the Director of the UNDP Office in Geneva, Ms Odile Sorgho-Moulinier on behalf of the Administrator of UNDP.
Born in Abidjan in1978, Drogba spent his childhood in his native Côte d'Ivoire and his adopted country, France. He led Côte d'Ivoire to its first-ever World Cup final in 2006, and currently plays for Chelsea F.C. of the English Premier League.
For more information:
Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal, Tel +41 22 917 83 68, email : aziyade