UNDP launches global competition to name panda cubs

May 26, 2016

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today launched a global competition with a once-in-a-lifetime prize: the opportunity to name two rare baby pandas in China.

The pandas were born last year at the Chengdu Panda Base just as the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a bold new agenda aimed at eradicating poverty and tackling the world’s most pressing challenges by 2030. They have been appointed UNDP’s first “animal ambassadors” to help raise awareness of the SDGs.

“These pandas symbolize the plight of the world’s diminishing wildlife in the face of climate change and the loss of natural habitats. Both biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are essential for improving and sustaining human wellbeing,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.

“Addressing the loss of biodiversity is one of the Sustainable Development Goals.  By getting involved in the fun of naming the pandas, the public are also getting involved in the serious work of realizing the goals. We hope the pandas will help inspire people to become aware of these goals, engage with them, and help to implement them in their own country,” Helen Clark said.

The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, have a much wider scope than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) they replace. They incorporate economic and environmental sustainability, as well as people’s aspiration to live in peaceful and inclusive societies. The Goals seek to eliminate rather than reduce poverty, and set demanding targets, particularly on health, education and gender equality.

Demographic changes, overconsumption, and the use of technologies that damage the environment, combined with climate change, are pushing our planet to its limits, and biodiversity losses we are now witnessing are diminishing the potential for sustainable development. UNDP is responding to this challenge by supporting countries to manage their ecosystems and biodiversity and our biodiversity and ecosystems portfolio is the largest in the UN system, covering 132 countries and over 500 projects with US$ 1.5 billion in funding.

The public can nominate names by visiting pandas.undp.org. The winning names will be announced in Chengdu on July 23.

Entrants can also win a trip to see the pandas by picking their favourite of the 17 SDGs and uploading a creative video explaining the Goal, and why it matters. Full details on how to enter, as well as the competition’s terms and conditions, are listed on the site. 

The competition is being held in association with dozens of zoos around the world, many of which have their own pandas, including Adelaide Zoo in Australia, Toronto Zoo in Canada, ZooParc de Beauval in France, Adventure World and Ueno Zoo in Japan, Edinburgh Zoo in the UK, Zoo Atlanta in the US.

Contact information

Adam Cathro, UNDP, +1 212 906 5326, adam.cathro@undp.org

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