UNDP appoints singer Darren Espanto anew as youth advocate for SDGs

Filipino-Canadian singing sensation and actor Darren Espanto has been reappointed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines as its celebrity Youth Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a second straight year.

Darren Espanto (UNDP Philippines)

UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran made the announcement of Espanto’s reappointment during a virtual ceremony noting the significance of the youth in the creation of the pathway to recovery and the role that the young artist 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.

Espanto, a multi-awarded singer/songwriter rose to prominence when, at the age of 12, joined the first season of The Voice Kids Philippines singing contest in 2014.

He 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.

In accepting his reappointment as the UNDP Youth Advocate, Espanto cited therare 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,” he said.

According to UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Edwine Carrie noted Espanto’s “online presence” and the “fresh voice” that the young and talented artist brings to the table.

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,” Carried said.

The 20-year-old Espanto, who is a signed artist of MCA Music Inc., is also lauded as the first celebrity Youth Advocate of UNDP for the Philippines.