Written by: Kimberly White

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed the 2019-2020 class of advocates for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the core of the historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda was adopted unanimously by 193 UN Member States.

“It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms. It is an agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership (that) conveys the urgency of climate action (and) is rooted in gender equality and respect for the rights of all. Above all, it pledges to leave no one behind.” said former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Chosen for their commitment to raising awareness and inspiring action on the SDGs, Secretary-General Guterres chose 17 influential public figures to represent the 17 Goals.

United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals

The Advocates come from a wide range of backgrounds including governments, academia, entertainment, and sports.

“By joining forces to achieve our goals, we can turn hope into reality- leaving no one behind,” said Co-Chair of the SDG Advocates group, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway.

The 2019-2020 Class of SDG Advocates are:

UN SDGs Advocates
  • Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
  • His Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, Emir of Kano
  • Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder, Education Above All Foundation
  • Richard Curtis, Screenwriter, Producer and Film Director
  • Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Activist, Environment and Indigenous Rights
  • Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group
  • Graça Machel, Founder, Graça Machel Trust
  • Dia Mirza, Actress and Film Producer, UN Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador for India
  • Dr. Alaa Murabit, Founder, The Voice of Libyan Women
  • Nadia Murad, Nobel Laureate, Chair and President, Nadia’s Initiative, UN Office on Drugs and Crime Goodwill Ambassador
  • Edward Ndopu, Founder, Global Strategies on Inclusive Education
  • Paul Polman, Chair, International Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Chair of the Board of United Nations Global Compact
  • Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University
  • Marta Vieira da Silva, Footballer, Orlando Pride, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador
  • Forest Whitaker, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation

The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, will serve as Co-Chairs of the Advocates group.

“We have the tools to answer the questions posed by climate change, environmental pressure, poverty and inequality”, said Guterres. “They lie in the great agreements of 2015 – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. But tools are no use if you don’t use them. So, today, and every day, my appeal is clear and simple. We need action, ambition and political will. More action, more ambition and more political will.”

Building ambition, driving action, and solidifying global political will is the core focus of the Advocates.

The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated, “The SDGs are about the future that we all want and indeed the future that we all need. It is not just desirable. It is an indispensable investment for our future- the future of our youth and that of our children. We cannot and should not fail them.”