Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated a swimmer from the Dominican Republic who has swum between the Earth’s continents in a marathon endeavour to raise awareness about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and inspire efforts to achieve them by their 2015 deadline.
Marcos Díaz, 35, presented the Secretary-General with a petition signed by 200,000 people from across the world urging leaders and the international community to support the MDGs, which represent the human needs and basic rights that every individual should be able to enjoy.
The MDGs include freedom from extreme poverty and hunger, quality education, decent employment, good health and shelter, the right of women to give birth without risking their lives, environmental sustainability and gender equality.
After swimming between the continents since May, Mr. Díaz today swam from the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour to Gantry Plaza State Park across from United Nations Headquarters for the meeting with the Secretary-General.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to congratulate Marcos Díaz, the ‘Dominican Dolphin,’ on his amazing feat,” Mr. Ban said. “What an achievement. It is a testimony to Marcos’s remarkable bravery, strength and commitment. It is a wonderful symbol of global solidarity.”
Mr. Díaz said he was struck by the common yearning for better living standards among the people in met in various regions of the world.
“In all my travels, one of the things I experienced was the common hope of all poor people that action will be taken to help them,” Mr. Díaz told the UN News Centre.
“We have to make the change happen soon. This can only happen if the MDGs are known to everyone, not only the leaders. It is a matter for everybody,” he said.
He met the Secretary-General five days before world leaders gather at the UN on Monday to review progress towards the achievement of the MDGs.
Mr. Díaz’s efforts involved swimming from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia; from Jordan to Egypt; from Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain; and from Russia to Alaska in the United States.