UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Don Cheadle Lends His Voice to Stories of Sustainability Wed, Apr 18, 2012

New York, 18 April 2012 - Don Cheadle, Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has supported calls for filmmakers to use their expertise to tell compelling stories on sustainable development. 

Mr. Cheadle was one of the guest speakers at a two-day conference held at United Nations Headquarters from 17-18 April, which focused on developing a better global future through the power of storytelling and documentary film.

"When we are able to find personal stories that documentaries do very, very well; and illuminate for people the conditions [of] people who are dealing directly with this issue. there's ways that people come to this that really are effective and touch us when we hear their stories crafted through the careful eye of the documentarian," said Mr. Cheadle, in an interview for the UN News Centre.

Envision 2012: Stories for a Sustainable Future concentrated on three key issues of sustainable development: just and sustainable cities; clean water; and green energy. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro opened the forum on Monday.

The conference is a partnership between the Creative Community Outreach Initiative of the UN Department of Public Information, the Independent Filmmaker Project and the Ford Foundation. It was founded on the shared belief that storytelling and documentary film can be powerful tools in building a better future for all people.

"I think it's [documentary story-telling] an effective tool and hopefully one of the tools that we'll be able to use in the quest to draw more attention to the subject matter," said Mr. Cheadle.

Now in its fourth year, the gathering connected United Nations experts and non-governmental organizations with people working in film-making and new media, and enabled them to work together to find new and compelling ways to create momentum for social change.

Anchored by the UN's anti-poverty goals known as the Millennium Development Goals and held at the Ford Foundation's New York headquarters, the event was also aimed at helping build momentum for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, being held in Brazil in June.

The Goodwill Ambassador said the issues raised by Rio+20 affect everyone, and warrant everyone's attention.

"Ultimately, this is an issue that everyone is going to have to pay attention to because, I believe, it's going to hit home very hard for a lot of people," Mr. Cheadle said. "But we'd like to kind of get ahead of the curve and not have to wait until things are desperate, and water needs are disproportionate to our ability to get it, so hopefully the things that are brought up in Rio will spark debate, spark discussion, and sort of get the idea rolling a little faster."

For more information, please contact:

UNEP Newsdesk on Tel. +254 207623088 or E-mail: unepnewsdesk@unep.org

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