The Secretary-General of the United Nations designated the actor Daniel Craig as the first United Nations Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and other Explosive Hazards today.
At a brief ceremony at United Nations Headquarters, one of many events organized to observe the tenth anniversary of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, the Secretary-General thanked Mr. Craig for his commitment to support the UN vision of “a world free from the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war”.
The Secretary-General expressed hope that Mr. Craig would raise public awareness about United Nations mine action efforts, visit mine action programmes worldwide and assist in raising political and financial support.
“Along with moviegoers worldwide, I have been on the edge of my seat watching Mr. Craig, as James Bond, defuse ticking time-bombs with seconds to spare. I am even more excited that Mr. Craig has agreed to use his star power to draw attention to the noble causes of mine destruction and mine awareness,” stated the Secretary-General. “As 007, Mr. Craig had a licence to kill. Today, we are giving him a licence to save.”
Mr. Craig said that he was humbled by the designation. “The briefing from the Secretary-General, and from all of the United Nations staff I have met, demonstrated the enormity of the task,” he said. “The use of improvised explosive devices in Iraq, Somalia and Mali; the widespread use of barrel bombs in Syria, and the landmine contamination in Cambodia, Colombia and Afghanistan must all be addressed simultaneously. It is a big job. The United Nations needs political and financial support to succeed.”
Mr. Craig responded positively to an invitation from the Secretary-General to visit United Nations mine action programmes, and said he intends to make his first visit in the coming months.
“The United Nations is playing a vital role in freeing the world from the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war. I welcome the support of Mr. Craig to work on these issues. I count on his advocacy to make a difference,” concluded the Secretary-General.
Mr. Craig’s designation as UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards applies for three years. He narrated two videos for the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in 2014, and has been interested in the global campaign to ban landmines and explosive remnants of war for a number of years.
Established in 1997, UNMAS has five main areas of work: clearance, risk education, victim assistance, advocacy and stockpile destruction. UNMAS deals with an increasingly wide range of explosive hazards, from unexploded missiles, artillery shells, rockets, grenades and mortars to unsafe and unsecure weapons and ammunition, improvised explosive devices and cluster bombs. UNMAS supports mine action programmes in 17 countries or territories.