In moving film, UN calls for collective action to tackle global challenges, including COVID-19, racism, climate change and poverty Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 4, 2021

The United Nations, Project Everyone and 72 Films are launching “Nations United – Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times,” a first of its kind film which will be released on the UN YouTube channel and global broadcast networks on Saturday.

The film sets out what must be done to tackle the world’s biggest challenges, including COVID-19, poverty, inequality, gender discrimination, climate change, justice and human rights.

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The broadcast will also mark the UN’s 75th anniversary, as well as the 5th anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The film is produced by 72 Films and writer, director and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, Richard Curtis. 

It features leading activists such as education advocate and UN Messenger of Peace, Malala Yousafzai, UN Goodwill Ambassadors Don Cheadle (UNEP) and Michelle Yeoh (UNDP), Sustainable Development Goals Advocate and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace, Forest Whitaker, and actor and women’s rights activist Thandie Newton OBE, Professor of Educational Technology, Sugata Mitra, An exclusive performance from Grammy nominated singer Burna Boy, and a new version of a previous UN performance by multi-Grammy award winning artist Beyoncé, UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and Julia Roberts will host a radio broadcast and podcast version of the show, in addition. 

What they are saying:

António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations

Antonio Guterres
Berlin, Germany – November 04: Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner for Refugees of UNHCR, attends a press conference in german foreign office on November 04, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images)

“Today, as we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, and the fifth anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals, we feel the weight of history on our shoulders. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how fragile our world and how vulnerable our people are. A microscopic virus has brought us to our knees. That fragility should make us humble and drive us to solidarity as we rebuild the world in a better way.”

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed speaks at the U.N. in February. (Devra Berkowitz/U.N. Photo)

“The way we must exit the pandemic is the same way we must exit the devastating crises of extreme poverty, inequality and climate change – by working together, nations united, inspired by solutions in which we can all play a part. I hope people will watch this film – from leaders to citizens – and think about what more they can individually and collectively do in the fight for a better world for everyone, everywhere.”

Richard Curtis, writer, film director and UN Sustainable Goals Advocate

UN Photo/Mark Garten Filmmaker and founder of Project Everyone, Richard Curtis, briefs journalists on the Global Goals Campaign at UN Headquarters in New York.
UN Photo/Mark Garten Filmmaker and founder of Project Everyone, Richard Curtis, briefs journalists on the Global Goals Campaign at UN Headquarters in New York.

“Nobody could have anticipated the crisis and uncertainty that we’re living in, but also the immense appetite and opportunity for change that COVID-19 has provided. Through Nations United, we want to tell the story of how we will use the moment to radically transform our world for the better and set out the solutions that will bring about real global change.”

Thandie Newton OBE, women’s rights activist

Thandie Newton OBE
Thandie Newton OBE

“In the midst of COVID-19, it’s a historic opportunity to look at the facts of the world as it is – and to then focus on the solutions to some of our greatest problems. In the 75 years since the United Nations was founded, the human race has never had to face a set of challenges like we do right now. But together we can overcome them.” 

Malala Yousafzai, education advocate and UN Messenger of Peace

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai

“My message right now is to young people. We are living in a world where things are not the way we want; we are getting a system, we are getting a world which is unequal, which is sexist, which is racist. We have systems which are discriminating against people, our climate or environment is at risk. There is so much that needs to be done but I hope that young people stand up, raise their voices, they start their activism right now.”

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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