Geneva-Lisbon - The United Nations Development Programme and the Benfica Foundation announced, today, that they will dedicate the proceeds from the 2010 Match Against Poverty taking place in Lisbon on January 25 to support relief efforts in Haiti. In addition, a widespread advocacy campaign will accompany the broadcast of the match to encourage viewers to contribute personally.
For the past seven years, UNDP's Match Against Poverty has raised funds for and awareness of global efforts to reduce poverty. This year, in the wake of the massive devastation that struck Haiti, the organizers and players decided that the funds amplify efforts to support the Haitian people in their time of need.
"This is a humanitarian emergency which requires an internationally coordinated relief effort," said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. "The United Nations is working closely with governments around the world to meet immediate humanitarian needs, and to co-ordinate early recovery consistent with addressing longer term development goals. Haiti will need tremendous support to recover from this terrible disaster."
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80 percent of the population living under the poverty line and 54 percent in abject poverty. The January 12 earthquake has created a humanitarian crisis that is growing dimmer by the hour.
Benfica Foundation President Luis Filipe Vieira said his organization stands ready to offer full support in solidarity with the Haitian people. "We are extremely saddened by the disaster in Haiti. We would like to show our full support by dedicating the Match to the relief of the victims."
UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo echo Vieira's sentiments. "Donating the proceedings from the Match, lends deeper meaning to our cause against poverty," said Zidane.
"We would like to help the victims of the quake in the best way we can," added Ronaldo. "Through the Match we hope we will be able to raise both awareness and funds for Haiti. Though we are aware that it will be but a small contribution to an enormous need."
Ronaldo will start the football season with his Club Corinthians-FC on January 24 and due to his commitments with the Club, he will not be able to play at the Match Against Poverty. He has invited his Brazilian teammate and very good friend Kaka to represent him in the match.
Kaká who is also a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the World Food Programme (WFP) has accepted the invitation and will join Zinédine Zidane in the Ronaldo, Zidane & Friends team opposing Benfica All Stars. "I am honoured to represent Ronaldo and I am looking forward to playing this important match, dedicated to Haiti's relief efforts, stated Kaká.
More information on the fund to support Haiti and on how to make a contribution is available at www.slbenfica.pt.
Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal, UNDP Communications Partnerships Manager (email@example.com; tel: +41 22 917 8368 - cell:+41 79 349 16 10)