James Bond actor Daniel Craig will now take on a new role as the first UN advocate for elimination of mines, where he will have the "licence to save" through his support for a world free from the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated the 007 actor as the United Nations Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and other Explosive Hazards here yesterday.
Ban expressed hope that Craig would raise public awareness about UN's mine action efforts and assist in raising political and financial support. "As 007, Craig had a licence to kill. Today, we are giving him a licence to save," Ban said at a brief ceremony to welcome Craig in his new role.
"Along with moviegoers worldwide, I have been on the edge of my seat watching Craig, as James Bond, defuse ticking time-bombs with seconds to spare. I am even more excited that Craig has agreed to use his star power to draw attention to the noble causes of mine destruction and mine awareness," the Secretary -General said.
Ban thanked Craig for his commitment to support the UN vision of "a world free from the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war".
The British actor said he was humbled by the designation as he underscored the need to tackle the problem of explosive devices urgently in war-torn regions like Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The briefing from the Secretary-General, and from all of the UN staff I have met, demonstrated the enormity of the task," he said.
"The use of improvised explosive devices in Iraq, Somalia and Mali; the widespread use of barrel bombs in Syria, and the landmine contamination in Cambodia, Colombia and Afghanistan must all be addressed simultaneously. It is a big job. The UN needs political and financial support to succeed," Craig said.
Craig's new role at the UN will last for three years. He narrated two videos for UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in 2014, and has been interested in the global campaign to ban landmines and explosive remnants of war for a number of years.
Established in 1997, UNMAS has five main areas of work: clearance, risk education, victim assistance, advocacy and stockpile destruction. It supports mine action programmes in 17 countries or territories.
UNMAS deals with an increasingly wide range of explosive hazards, from unexploded missiles, artillery shells, rockets, grenades and mortars to unsafe and unsecure weapons and ammunition, improvised explosive devices and cluster bombs.