Indian actress Dia Mirza and Alibaba chief Jack Ma are among the 17 global public figures appointed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as the new advocates to drive action and solidify global political will for the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The new class of 'SDG Advocates' are 17 influential public figures "committed to raising awareness, inspiring greater ambition and pushing for faster action on the SDGs," which were adopted by world leaders on September 25, 2015, according to a statement issued by the UN Spokesperson's office.
"We have the tools to answer the questions posed by climate change, environmental pressure, poverty, and inequality. They lie in the great agreements of 2015 - the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change," Mr Guterres said.
"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," said the Secretary-General.
Co-Chairs of the Secretary-General's SDG Advocates are President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.
"It is an honour and privilege to be appointed the UN Secretary General's Advocate of Sustainable Development Goals. I will strive to convey the importance of achieving sustainable development for Peace, Planet Prosperity," Ms Mirza, 38, a film producer and the UN Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador for India, tweeted in her reaction.
Founder and Executive Chairman of Chinese multinational conglomerate Alibaba Group Jack Ma has been an SDG Advocate since 2016.
The other newly-appointed SDG Advocates include Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder, Education Above All Foundation (State of Qatar), British screenwriter, producer and film director Richard Curtis, Nobel Laureate Nadia Murad, Director of Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University Jeffrey Sachs, Brazilian footballer and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, Forest Whitaker.
The UN said that peace, prosperity, people, planet, and partnerships are the principles at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, which Member States agreed must be achieved by 2030, and they are also what drive the new class of SDG Advocates.
"To build the momentum for transformative, inclusive development by 2030, the Secretary-General's SDG Advocates will use their unique platforms and leadership to inspire cross-cutting mobilization of the global community," it said.
The Secretary-General has tasked the Advocates with driving that action, building that ambition, and solidifying global political will and they will leverage and build bridges between their audiences and work together to drive progress on achieving the SDGs.
The Advocates represent the universal character of the SDGs, hailing from governments, entertainment, academia, sport, business and activist organizations around the world.
"By joining forces to achieve our goals, we can turn hope into reality - leaving no one behind," Solberg said.
The Secretary-General has appointed some members of the previous class of SDG Advocates as SDG Advocate Alumni. These include Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Nobel Laureate and Founder of Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh.