2019-2020 SDG Advocates
CO-CHAIR OF THE SDG ADVOCATES
Elected President of Ghana in December 2016, President Akufo-Addo has been involved in Ghanaian politics since the 1970s. In the 1990s, he formed a civil rights organization called Ghana’s Committee on Human and People’s Rights. President Akufo-Addo received the Mother Theresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice in 2016 for sacrificing political ambitions for the sake of national peace and reconciliation.
CO-CHAIR OF THE SDG ADVOCATES
Erna Solberg has been the leader of the Conservative Party of Norway since 2004. She has held the position as Prime Minister since the General Election in 2013. In September 2017 she was re-elected. From 2014 to the present she has co-chaired the UN Secretary General’s Advocacy group for global goals - the Millennium Development Goals, followed by the Sustainable Development Goals.
Her Majesty the Queen ascended to the throne in 2013. She is the honorary President of both Child Focus, a foundation for missing and sexually exploited children, and UNICEF Belgium. In 2001, Queen Mathilde established the Princess Mathilde Fund (now the Queen Mathilde Fund) to promote the care of vulnerable people. As an SDG Advocate, she is particularly focused on mental health.
Her Highness (HH) Sheikha Moza bint Nasser has played an active role in spearheading social and educational reforms in Qatar and around the world for the past two decades. HH works with the United Nations to support global education and other key areas of development for marginalised children and youth, through her role as Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, among other UN roles. In response to growing global needs, HH launched two initiatives that aim to foster development and stability for a better future; Education Above All, delivering quality education to out of school children, and Silatech, economically and socially empowering marginalised youth globally.
The 14th Emir of Kano, His Highness (HH) Muhammad Sanusi II was turbaned in June of 2014. Prior to ascending the throne, HH was the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He was also at a time the Chief Risk Officer and Group CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Plc which was then Nigeria’s largest bank. He is credited with reforming the financial sector of Nigeria and is currently working on attracting investments in energy and manufacturing in his capacity as chairman of the Kano state Investment Advisory Committee. HH holds degrees in economics and Islamic law. HH is focused on peace, public health, girl-child education advocacy, job creation and reforms of Muslim family law.
Richard Curtis is a film writer and director, responsible for films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Mr Bean, Love Actually, and most recently About Time and Yesterday. In the other half of Richard’s life he is co-founder and vice-chair of Comic Relief. He has created the fundraising event Red Nose Day, in which he co-produced 16 live nights for the BBC since 1988 and the charity has made over £1.3 Billion for projects in the UK and internationally during that time. In 2015, he helped bring Red Nose Day to the United States with the partnership of NBC and Walgreens - where it has so far raised nearly $150 million to help children in the USA and round the world.
Ms. Ibrahim is an expert in indigenous peoples’ adaptation to climate change, traditional ecological knowledge, and climate change mitigation strategies. She is Co-Chair of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change. From a Mbororo pastoralist community in Chad, Ms. Ibrahim founded the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT) and works to empower indigenous voices and ensure their inclusion on international platforms. She lead several concrete projects that improved access to basic need of indigenous peoples, while promoting their unique contribution to the protection of the environment. 3D participatory mapping, for instance, helps to prevent resources-based conflicts in one of the poorest and most vulnerable region of the world.
Jack Ma is an entrepreneur, leading philanthropist and a teacher. Ma is lead founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company. He is also founder of the Jack Ma Foundation which focuses on environment protection and conservancy, education, and development of the philanthropic sector.
In addition to his role as SDG Advocate, Mr. Ma is Co-Chair of the Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. Ma served two terms as UNCTAD Special Advisor for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business launching the eFounders program to empower 1000 entrepreneurs from developing countries over five years. In 2014, Mr. Ma was elected to the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum.
Graça Machel is an African stateswoman whose decades long professional and public life is rooted in international advocacy for women and children’s rights. Machel has created three non-governmental organizations in her own right. She founded and serves as President of the Foundation for Community Development and the Zizile Institute for Child Development. She created the Graça Machel Trust in 2010 where she focuses on advocating for women’s economic and financial empowerment, food security and nutrition, education for all, as well as good governance. Graça Machel has dedicated her life to improving the fate of women and children, inspiring hope, and building a more just and equitable world for us all.
Dia Mirza is an Indian former model and actress, winning Miss Asia Pacific in 2000. Today she focuses on producing and environmental activism. Her many awareness campaigns include the prevention of female foeticide, HIV, and animal testing, environmental conservation, and children’s rights. She is a UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India, brand ambassador for the Wildlife Trust of India, Artist Ambassador for Save The Children India, Eco-Ambassador for Panasonic, and sits on the Board of the Coca-Cola India Foundation.
Dr. Alaa Murabit is a medical doctor, Canadian Meritorious Service Cross recipient and a UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment & Economic Growth. With a strong focus on challenging societal and cultural norms, Dr.Murabit champions women’s participation in peace processes and conflict mediation as well as the role of local leaders to implement peace and security. In 2016 she founded a global Mentorship Programme for emerging leaders and co-founded the Omnis Institute, an independent non-profit organisation committed to challenging critical global issues through the empowerment of emerging local leaders, and became the Executive Director of Phase Minus 1, which provides thought leadership in conflict resolution and inclusive security. Alaa previously founded and spearheaded The Voice of Libyan Women at the age of 21.
Ms. Murad is a co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. She became a leading advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence after her homeland in Sinjar was attacked by Daesh with the intention of ethnically cleansing Iraq of all Yazidis. Ms. Murad is the Chairman and President of Nadia’s Initiative, an organization dedicated to rebuilding the lives of those affected by mass atrocities and human trafficking. As United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, much of Ms. Murad’s work focuses on meeting with global leaders to raise awareness about Daesh and its genocidal campaign against the Yazidi people.
Mr. Ndopu is an award winning, internationally acclaimed activist and humanitarian. Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at age two and given only five years to live, he has gone on to become a beacon of hope and possibility for people with disabilities around the world. Mr. Ndopu currently serves as Special Advisor to RTW Investments, a leading investor in scientific and medical innovation. He has also advised organizations such as the World Economic Forum, UN Women and Amnesty International. Mr. Ndopu holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Oxford University and is currently setting in motion plans to deliver a televised address to the UN from Space, in an effort to inspire greater ambition around the SDGs. This will make him the first physically disabled person to travel into space.
Mr. Polman is Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, The B Team and Vice-Chair of the UN Global Compact. He is also the former CEO of Unilever and during his 10 years leading the company he focused on building an environmentally and socially responsible business. Before joining Unilever Mr. Polman worked for Proctor and Gamble for 27 years. In recognition for his contribution to promoting sustainable business models, Mr. Polman received the UN Foundation’s Champion for Global Change Award in 2014.
Jeffrey D. Sachs is a University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed the Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is also Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development. He has been advisor to three United Nations Secretaries-General. He spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, where he received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. He has authored numerous bestseller books, most recently A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism (2018). Sachs was twice named as Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders, and was ranked by The Economist among the top three most influential living economists.
Marta Vieira da Silva is a Brazilian football player for Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States as well as on the Brazil national team. She is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for women and girls in sport, recognised for her lifelong commitment to challenging stereotypes, overcoming barriers, and inspiring other women and girls to do the same. She demonstrates through both her own life story and through sport, how women and girls can develop life skills, self knowledge and leadership, role modelling how persistence brings rewards. Marta is widely regarded as the best female football player of all time, named FIFA World Player of the Year six times and winning the silver medal at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics.
Mr. Whitaker is an actor, producer and founder of the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative which creates programmes to foster peace and reconciliation in disadvantaged and fragile communities. He is also Chair and Co-Founder of the International Institute for Peace at Rutgers University. In 2014, Mr. Whitaker was appointed an Advocate for Children Affected by War with the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. That same year, he was designated a UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation.