Paris, 22 April 2009 - World-renowned French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand was designated Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme on Earth Day in recognition of his outstanding advocacy work for the environment.
Yann Arthus-Bertrand was also named as a UNEP 2009 Champion of the Earth in the category 'Inspiration and Action'.
In recognition of this honour, Mr Arthus-Bertrand and UNEP Executive Director Mr Achim Steiner were received at the Elysee Presidential Palace on 22 April by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
As UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, Mr Arthus-Bertrand will help the organization in its mission to raise awareness and inspire action on the environment. The role, which has a two-year mandate, also involves visits to some of UNEP's field operations.
In his assignment letter, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said : "I am confident that you will be a compelling and eloquent advocate of UNEP's work, and I believe that the prestige, talent and passion that you would bring to our communications will help strengthen their power to reach the hearts and minds of people worldwide."
Welcoming his new role as UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, Yann Arthus-Bertrand said : "I am delighted to join UNEP in its mobilization with citizens, governments and companies for the protection of the environment, for we have the duty to act here and now for the planet and inhabitants."
The Champions of the Earth awards, given out annually, are UNEP's most prestigious prize recognizing individuals and organizations around the world who do outstanding work for the protection of the environment.
The other 2009 Champions of the Earth awards went to Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim, forestry campaigner Kevin Conrad, biomimicry pioneer Janine Benyus, Suzlon CEO Tulsi Tanti, recycling activist Ron Gonen and Ethiopian youth organization Tena Kebena.