UNEP designates ice hockey legend Viacheslav Fetisov as National Goodwill Ambassador for Russia

  • Decorated ice hockey champion ‘Slava’ Fetisov has dedicated himself to supporting the environment.
  • Fetisov’s new title is assigned on World Environment Day, the UN’s biggest day for encouraging environmental awareness-raising and action.

Viacheslav Fetisov. Photo: UNEP

Moscow, 2 June 2020 – Legendary ice hockey player Viacheslav Fetisov has been named as a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) National Goodwill Ambassador for Russia, stepping up from his previous appointment as UNEP Patron of the Polar Regions.

After guarding goals as one of the best defensemen in the history of ice hockey, Fetisov has since devoted himself to protecting our fragile ecosystems. He has worked towards the establishment of the marine protected area in the Ross Sea in Antarctica, and orchestrated a mass beach cleanup in the Russian Arctic. The former ice hockey star has furthermore promoted the inclusion of green financing as a priority theme of the Russian chairmanship in the Arctic Council for 2021-2023.

“Russia’s role in protecting the people and biodiversity of our planet is crucial. We have been proud to work on this with Viacheslav Fetisov, a true champion of the rink and of the environment, and we look forward to expanding the scope of our collaboration in his new role as National Goodwill Ambassador,” said UNEP’s Europe Office Director, Bruno Pozzi. The announcement of Fetisov’s new title comes on World Environment Day, whose theme this year – Time #fornature – is linked to biodiversity. Nature underpins all aspects of human health. Yet biodiversity is threatened like never before. Species are currently disappearing tens to hundreds of times faster than the average speed of the past 10 million years.

As a UNEP National Goodwill Ambassador, ‘Slava’ Fetisov will continue to support the organization’s work in Russia, keep building public interest on environmental matters and start working on the world’s global sustainable and green recovery after the pandemic. This will be done at high-level meetings and events, as well as through awareness campaigns, media and educational initiatives.

Fetisov has won numerous ice hockey championships, two Olympic gold medals and held several public positions in sport-related institutions, including as Minister for Sport of the Russian Federation.


About World Environment Day

The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic shows that nature is sending us a message and that we are on the verge of a breakdown. It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To

reimagine our relationship with nature. It’s time to raise our voices to tell the world that we need action now. This World Environment Day, 5 June, it’s time #ForNature.

About the UN Environment Programme

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.


To request interviews or for more information, please contact:

Keishamaza Rukikaire, Head of News & Media, UNEP, +254 717080753.

Alejandro Laguna, Information Officer, UNEP Europe Office: laguna@un.org, +41 788361980.