Maria and LeBron star in new UNDP ad

Maria has invited LeBron James to “Team Up Against Poverty” on a new UNDP advertisement to garner support for achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). World-renowned photographer Patrick Demarchelier photographed both stars for this new series of UNDP pro bono advertisements.

The new advertisements – the centerpiece of a campaign revolves around the concept of “Teaming Up Against Poverty” to achieve the MDGs – feature celebrities from the worlds of sports, arts, fashion or business portrayed in teams of two by top professional photographers. Fifty celebrities, including UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors and soccer greats Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, have agreed to participate in the initiative to promote the MDGs and to undertake specific anti-poverty activities, ranging from supporting educational activities and HIV/AIDS projects to funding water and sanitation initiatives and promoting safe drinking water campaigns.

The advertisements are being produced thanks to the time and talent donated by photographers and celebrities to the fight against poverty. Hundreds of newspapers and magazines across the globe published an earlier series of anti-poverty advertisements.

Maria Sharapova’s work with UNDP includes supporting international efforts to achieve the MDGs by promoting them in interviews and appearances among the media, the public at large, the worlds of entertainment and sports, as well as other targeted audiences. Her work with UNDP will also focus on Chernobyl’s recovery and development efforts. She has made a financial contribution to eight youth-oriented projects in rural communities in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine and she will soon visit the region.

Adopted by 191 countries in 2000, the MDGs are clear, time-bound targets for achieving measurable improvements in the lives of the world’s poorest people. They aim at eradicating poverty, putting children in primary school, promoting women’s rights, fighting killer diseases, and providing access to safe drinking water. UNDP coordinates global and national efforts to reach these Goals.

Despite progress made, one billion people still live in extreme poverty, More than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water; 6,000 people die of AIDS each day. Some 750 million adults cannot read. Climate change also poses a particularly daunting challenge to many developing countries, especially the poorest. With the 2015 target date fast approaching, it is more important than ever to track the progress of the international community working together to fight poverty and achieve the MDGs.

Maria Sharapova, who has invited LeBron James to participate in the campaign invites the general public to team up with them and understand where additional efforts are needed to reach the MDGs . The advertisement points to the MDG Monitor, a website showing how countries are progressing in their efforts to achieve the MDGs. The MDG Monitor is designed as a tool for policymakers, development practitioners, journalists, students and others to:

– track progress through interactive maps and country-specific profiles
– to learn about countries’ challenges and achievements
– get the latest news and to support organizations working on the MDGs around the world