8 July 2010
Press Release
Note No. 6266

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents


Secretary-General Designates Oscar-Nominated Actor Edward Norton

 

as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity

 


Marking the 2010 International Year for Biodiversity, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today designated two-time Academy Award-nominated actor Edward Norton as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for biodiversity.


Recognized for his ability to focus attention on and mobilize support for conservation and other philanthropic issues, Mr. Norton, of the United States, joins a team of United Nations celebrity advocates possessing widely recognized talents in the fields of art, academia, literature, sports and entertainment, who help to raise worldwide awareness of the Organization’s ideals and activities.


A highly successful actor and filmmaker with broad international appeal, Mr. Norton has used the spotlight to garner support for conservation efforts, particularly through his role as a board member of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.  With the help of a group of friends, he ran the 26.2 miles of the New York City Marathon, helping to raise more than $1 million for local communities who benefit from the Trust.


Mr. Norton was also part of a group which recently launched Crowdrise, an innovative social networking platform that aims to boost global participation in charitable work, as well as raise funds for charities.


In selecting the actor for the designation, Secretary-General Ban said: “Edward Norton has brought global star power to global issues — community development and conservation, causes that are clearly close to his heart.  His efforts to preserve biodiversity and promote ecosystem integrity in East Africa have been truly impressive.  I hope his new Crowdrise initiative will inspire people to get involved in addressing the biodiversity crisis and in protecting the web of life on which our well-being depends.”


Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, said: “2010 was adopted as the International Year of Biodiversity precisely to reconnect people with nature and bring greater international attention to bear on the issue of the continued loss of biodiversity.  I am extremely grateful to Edward Norton for accepting to help us spread the message that ‘biodiversity is life, biodiversity is our life’.  In so doing, he will raise awareness on the need for urgent action for the benefit of life on Earth.”


Mr. Djoghlaf added: “Indeed, Mr. Norton is already actively engaged in actions to bring about such change and is well acquainted with the biodiversity challenges.  In 2009 the International Conservation Caucus Foundation bestowed on him its ‘Good Steward’ Award.  And our friends at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard Medical School bestowed on him their Global Environmental Citizen Award for promoting awareness about the need to protect nature.”


On 22 September, Heads of State and Government will participate in a high‑level meeting on biodiversity, to be held at New York Headquarters in conjunction with the general debate of the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly.  Subsequently, the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity takes place in Nagoya, Japan, from 18 to 29 October.


These two major events will shape the world’s response to the global loss of biodiversity that continues to accelerate, exacerbated by climate change.  It is expected that they will result in the adoption, at Nagoya, of international targets for the state of biodiversity in 2020 and 2050, together with identified means of implementation, monitoring and evaluation tying together the active engagement of all stakeholders.


At 1 p.m. on Thursday, 8 July, Mr. Djoghlaf will join Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, at a Headquarters press conference to introduce Mr. Norton as a Goodwill Ambassador.


For media accreditation, please visit www.un.org/media/accreditation, or contact Isabelle Broyer, tel.: + 1 212 963 6937, fax: +1 212 963 4642.


For more information, please contact Joanna Piucci, tel.: +1 212 963 7346, e‑mail: piucci@un.org; or Carlos Islam, tel.: +1 212 963 2985, e‑mail: islamc@un.org.


Convention on Biological Diversity


Opened for signature at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, or “Earth Summit”, in Rio de Janeiro, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.  With 193 signatory parties, it enjoys near universal participation among stakeholders committed to preserving life on Earth.


The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices, and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders, including indigenous and local communities, youth, non-governmental organizations, women and the business community.


A supplementary treaty to the Convention, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.  To date, 157 countries and the European Union are party to the Protocol.  The Secretariat of the Convention and its Cartagena Protocol is located in Montreal, Canada.  (For more information, visit www.cbd.int)


International Year of Biodiversity, 2010


The United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity to raise awareness about the crucial importance of biodiversity, to communicate the human costs of biodiversity loss and to engage people, particularly youth, throughout the world in the fight to protect all life on Earth.  Initiatives will be organized throughout the year to disseminate information, promote the protection of biodiversity and encourage countries, organizations and individuals to take direct action to reduce biodiversity loss.  The focal point for the Year is the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  (For more information, visit www.cbd.int/2010/welcome)


Tenth Meeting of Conference of Parties


The Meeting will take place in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, from 18 to 29 October 2010.  It will include a high-level ministerial segment from 27 to 29 October.  Prior to its tenth regular Meeting, the Conference of Parties will hold its fifth meeting, serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Cartagena Protocol, at the same venue from 11 to 15 October.  (For more information, visit www.cbd.int/cop10 and www.cbd.int/mop5)


For more information on the Convention and the International Year, please contact David Ainsworth, tel.: +1 514 287 7025, e‑mail: david.ainsworth@cbd.int; or Johan Hedlund, tel.: +1 514 287 6670 e‑mail: johan.hedlund@cbd.int.


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For information media • not an official record