An orchestra has been named as the first Goodwill Ambassador of UN Climate Change

2 March 2021, 12:17

Beethoven Orchestra Bonn has been named as the first Goodwill Ambassador of UN Climate Change
Beethoven Orchestra Bonn has been named as the first Goodwill Ambassador of UN Climate Change. Picture: Felix von Hagen / Getty

By Rosie Pentreath

Recognising the ‘power of music to break down barriers and to build bridges between communities’, UN Climate Change picks Beethoven Orchestra Bonn to help communicate the urgency of the climate crisis.

Beethoven Orchestra Bonn has been designated as a UN Climate Change Goodwill Ambassador.

The orchestra, which is named after the great Romantic composer Ludwig van Beethoven, who was born in Bonn, is the first ambassador for the UN organisation, which is the largest of the more than 20 United Nations organisations in the German city.

Goodwill Ambassadors are appointed on the basis that they can use their standing in their fields to help raise awareness, internationally, of the work of UN Climate Change, and of the urgent issues facing the world when it comes to the climate.

The orchestra has already named some environmental projects it aims to focus on, including reforestation of woodlands in Madagascar that are used in musical instrument making, promoting public transport and bicycle use for its patrons, and using sustainable products in their operations – alongside making concertgoers aware of what they can do to protect the environment.

Read more: Greta Thunberg’s powerful words on climate change set to music by British composer >

“The work of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn is testimony to the power of music to break down barriers and to build bridges between communities,” UN Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa said. “I am delighted that the Orchestra has committed to help us in our work towards creating a more peaceful, inclusive and united world.”

Dirk Kaftan, music director of Beethoven Orchestra Bonn and Bonn Opera House added: “Music is a language that can transcend political and social boundaries and connect people in an extraordinary way: it transports ideas and thoughts towards open hearts.”

Hear, hear.

Read more: Orchestra performs Mozart under wind turbines to mark Earth Overshoot Day >

“If we are to address the climate change challenge in time, we need to use every opportunity to build public awareness and support for what needs to be done and to mobilise every sector in doing its part to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” Espinosa added.

“This includes the world of culture and music, engaging artists and musicians around the world, who will inspire and empower political leaders to be as ambitious as possible in driving forward the implementation of the Paris Agreement and thereby safeguarding our planet, our only home, for future generations.”

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty aiming to tackle climate change, adopted by 196 signatories on 2 December 2015.