United Nations, Sep 17 (PTI) Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has been appointed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate ahead of the start of the 76th UN General Assembly.

Guterres appointed Satyarthi, STEM activist Valentina Munoz Rabanal, Microsoft President Brad Smith and K-pop superstars BLACKPINK as new SDG Advocates, a press release issued by the UN said on Friday.

“We are at a pivotal moment. The choices we make now could put us on a path towards breakdown and a future of perpetual crisis; or breakthrough to a greener and safer world,” Guterres said.

“The SDG Advocates use their considerable spheres of influence to reach new constituencies to act now and keep the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals for people and for the planet,” he added.

Reacting on the appointment, Satyarthi thanked the UN chief for the appointment at this critical point in time.

"It is a recognition of the seriousness of the crisis faced by children today. We have witnessed the first increase in child labour in two decades, even before the pandemic hit a warning sign that we are facing the threat of failing on the promises of Agenda 2030," he told PTI.

"Post-pandemic recovery can be just, inclusive and sustainable only if we prioritise the most marginalised and left behind children of the world. I humbly accept this appointment with the responsibility to bring the voices of the most invisible children to the forefront of global decision making," Satyarthi said.

The UN said climate action, bridging the digital divide, gender equality and the promotion of the rights of children are key issues to be championed by the new SDG Advocates.

Satyarthi, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner from India, will focus on protecting and promoting the rights of children around the world.

“Peace, justice and sustainability will only be achieved when every child is free, safe, healthy and educated. Every child matters,” 67-year-old Satyarthi was quoted as saying in the press release.

At 18 years, Rabanal has helped write the first Artificial Intelligence policy in her home country, Chile.

“As the youngest SDG Advocate, I want to be a voice for youth, especially for girls, to improve intergenerational dialogue in decision-making places, and to lay the groundwork to establish digital rights around the world,” she said.

As Microsoft’s president, Smith plays a key role in spearheading the company’s work on critical issues involving the intersection of technology and society, including cybersecurity, environmental sustainability, human rights, and philanthropy, the UN release said.

In his role as SDG Advocate, Smith will focus on bridging the digital skills gap and highlighting the importance of setting bold goals focused on environmental sustainability.

“The scale and size of the challenges the world faces today, like poverty, inequality and climate change require all of us to join forces and develop new solutions, many of which can be enabled or accelerated through digital technology. As we aspire to live our mission to create opportunity for everyone, everywhere, we look forward to partnering with governments, industries, and civil society on the UN's 17 SDGs by contributing our creativity, expertise, and know-how to unleash the power of digital technology,” he said.

As the most subscribed pop artist on YouTube with more than 65 million subscribers globally, BLACKPINK has engaged with COP26 to encourage young people to take climate action to protect the planet.

Jisoo Kim (JISOO), Jennie Kim (JENNIE), Roseanne Park (ROSE) and Lalisa Manobal (LISA) will continue to exert their influence to bring positive changes to the world.

“We truly believe in the importance of collective action. We will only be able to make a difference when we come together, for the good of everyone. Now is the time to act for a safer tomorrow and a better future,” they said.

Co-chaired by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, the United Nations Secretary-General's SDG Advocates are prominent leaders in the world and are working to mobilise action to deliver the SDGs by 2030.