The United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, recently met Japanese wrestling grand champion, the Yokozuna Mr. Hakuho. A Mongolian national, Mr. Hakuho agreed at the meeting 27 May to be UN-HABITAT’s Water-for Life Special Envoy.
Photo ©: Sports Nippon
Accepting the two-year portfolio managed by the agency’s Fukuoka Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, the Mongolian-born Yokozuna said: “Mongolia is facing a serious problem of desertification. Since water is a precious resource, I am willing to cooperate.” The giant wrestler, who met Mrs. Tibaijuka with his wife and daughter, came to Japan at age 15 and is today a Japanese national. He was particularly concerned at desertification caused in part by over-grazing.
The agency will launch a Water-for-Life campaign to raise awareness of water conservation in Japan, and to promote water and sanitation projects Afghanistan, India, Mongolia, Nepal, and other countries as part of its Water for Asian Cities Programme.
Officials said the appointment of Yokozuna Hakuho, already widely reported in the media in newspapers like the ‘Sports Nippon’, would give the campaign valuable publicity throughout Japan and beyond.