(L-R) UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Edwine Carrie, and UNDP Celebrity Youth Advocate Darren Espanto


Metro Manila – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines reappointed singing sensation and actor, Darren Espanto, as its first celebrity Youth Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a second straight year.


In a virtual ceremony to mark the second term of Espanto’s Youth Advocateship, UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran noted the significance of the youth in the creation of the pathway to recovery and the role that Espanto plays in engaging young Filipinos on critical issues of our time.

“We have an extraordinary opportunity, as we recover from the pandemic, to build forward better. And we can only do this with the youth as changemakers, as our allies. It is, thus, a pleasure for me to invite Darren to extend your engagement with UNDP as our Youth Advocate in the Philippines. We see how much his influence contributes to our mission for sustainable development,” said Dr. Ramachandran.

The multi-awarded singer/songwriter was initially appointed by UNDP in April 2020 to help raise awareness on the roles that young people play in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Since then, Espanto has expanded his advocacy to focus on climate action, biodiversity conservation, and youth empowerment.

“I have the rare and powerful opportunity to make a change and to inspire the youth to work together in creating the future that we want. I have chosen climate action and biodiversity conservation as my focus areas because I am truly concerned with the state of our planet, and I know that if, we, young people, take the course of inaction despite our awareness of the climate crisis, we will be the first generation to bear the brunt of climate change and global warming,” said Espanto, expounding on why he has chosen to accept the appointment for a second term.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Edwine Carrie also lauded Espanto’s online presence and noted the fresh voice that he brings to important advocacies. Carrie noted, “With his impressive social media presence and his reach among the youth, Darren is an excellent advocate who brings a youthful and creative perspective to the social and environmental issues that we face today.”     

Espanto, 20, is an artist of MCA Music Inc. He burst into the local entertainment scene, aged 12, as a finalist in the first edition of The Voice Kids Philippines. He is also lauded as the first celebrity Youth Advocate of UNDP for the Philippines.

The UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with a broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, UNDP helps nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.






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