The United Nations Development Programme has announced that Antonio Banderas will be its new Goodwill Ambassador for the fight against poverty.

“Poverty robs us of our potential as a people, preventing us from being all that we can be,” said Banderas. “This is why it is so important to mobilize all of our efforts to defeat it, especially if today we have the knowledge, the tools and the resources to do it.”

In his new role as an advocate for the poor, Antonio Banderas will set his sights on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s), a set of eight globally agreed targets that seek to halve world poverty by 2015 by combating hunger, disease, illiteracy, environment degradation and discrimination against women.

UNDP Administrator and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark said she looks forward to Antonio Banderas raising awareness globally on issues related to combatting poverty, particularly the MDGs.

UNDP is pleased to have Antonio join our group of Goodwill Ambassadors,” she said. “His proven commitment to the causes of the less fortunate makes him an ideal advocate for our work.”

Banderas will also raise awareness globally of the activities of the MDG Achievement Fund, an international cooperation mechanism whose aim is to accelerate progress on the MDGs.

Banderas, who is a passionate football fan, said he is thrilled to join sports champions and UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors Didier Drogba, Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane in their work with the organization. Other UNDP Goodwill Amabassadors include tennis star Maria Sharapova, Japanese actress Misako Kono and Crown Prince Khaakon Magnus of Norway.

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