Acclaimed actor and two-time Academy Award nominee Edward Norton is the first Goodwill Ambassador to be appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General. As a Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, Mr. Norton works closely with the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to help spotlight the importance of biodiversity to human well-being and to ensure world leaders take appropriate measures to protect the environment.

Mr. Norton is a committed social and environmental activist. He is the President of the Board of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, a community conservation organization that partners with traditional communities in East Africa to conserve key ecosystems by developing sustainable, natural resource-based economic revenues. Mr. Norton also serves on the Board of Trustees of Enterprise, which works to move families up and out of poverty and transform low-income communities across the US through the development of decent affordable housing and social service networks.

Focus Area: Biodiversity

Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is seen in all forms of life, habitats and ecosystems (tropical forests, oceans and seas, savannah ecosystems, wetlands, drylands, mountains, etc.). The Earth''s biological resources are vital to humanity''s economic and social development. Yet, the effect of human activities - magnified in recent years by population growth and global climate change - has greatly reduced biodiversity in ecosystems around the world. Species have been disappearing at 50-100 times the natural rate, and this is predicted to rise dramatically. Based on current trends, an estimated 34,000 plant and 5,200 animal species face extinction.
The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio Earth Summit) led to the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity which obligates states to conserve biodiversity, ensure its sustainable development and provide for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.
2011-2020 was declared to be the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.