The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has appointed renowned mountaineer Samina Baig the National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has appointed renowned mountaineer Samina Baig the National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan.
Baig, the first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest, will lead efforts to build partnerships and national awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those concerning environmental protection, climate change, women’s empowerment and youth.
UNDP National Goodwill Ambassadors serve as spokespersons and assist in upholding the UN Charter and Sustainable Development Goals.
As a mountaineer, Baig knows more than most the critical importance of preserving her home country’s fragile ecosystem and of preparing for and mitigating the effects of climate change.
The signing ceremony was held in Islamabad on February 26, 2018 and was attended by UNDP Pakistan Country Director, Ignacio Artaza, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Neil Buhne, and the Ambassador of Austria, Dr Brigitta Blaha.
Samina Baig climbed Mount Everest at the age of 22 and by age 23 she had climbed the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.
In recognition, the Government of Pakistan awarded her the Pride of Performance.
She currently presides over the Pakistan Youth Outreach Foundation, which encourages young people, especially women, to participate in outdoor activities.
At the ceremony, Samina Baig said: “From the remotest village of Pakistan and reaching the summit of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest and beyond the borders, Scaling Peak in Antarctica and the seven highest peaks of the seven continents, in some of the most harsh conditions, my entire climbing purpose was to empower women through these adventures and encourage gender equality.
“With my brother, I have experienced [the] significant impact of global warming and climate change on our mother earth.
“I find this [an] honour, as the national goodwill Ambassador of UNDP, to spread the voice for climate change and environmental protection and advocate to empower young girls to climb [to] the highest level within their field of profession.”
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, Neil Buhne, said: “Pakistan is amongst the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change.
“Preparing for its effects, and instituting environmental protections, will safeguard economic development for future generations.
“Moreover, half of Pakistan’s population, its women, are under-represented in education, the workforce and in decision-making.
Empowering women to play their full role in society is not only an ethical imperative, it is essential for sustainable development.”