Popular Turkish cartoon character King Shakir and his friends are urging young people to make the world a greener, healthier and more equitable place through a campaign launched this week by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The campaign is designed to introduce children and their parents to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build support for the fight against inequality and climate change.
King Shakir is a Turkish TV cartoon created by Varol Yaşaroğlu, along with the creative works of Berk Tokay and Haluk Can Dizdaroğlu and produced by Grafi2000 for Cartoon Network Turkey. The series follows the adventures of the lion Shakir and his friends and family. It was launched in 2016 as Cartoon Network Turkey's first local series. Since then, the TV cartoon series has aired in more than 20 countries in many languages, reaching millions of children across Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
The TV series has tackled a range of sustainable development challenges, including climate action, recycling, responsible consumption, gender equality, biodiversity and healthy lifestyles.
“To have any hope of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, we need the energy, creativity and determination of the generation that is not yet grown but which has the most to lose from climate change,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. “King Shakir is a natural partner in our efforts to encourage young people to join the fight to end poverty, ensure boys and girls grow up with equal opportunities and protect our beautiful planet.”
“We know that children and young people are some of the world’s most passionate advocates on issues that matter to them. We must continue to find new ways to empower them to help achieve a world free from the worst effects of climate change, inequality and injustice. It’s an honour and privilege for King Shakir to support UNDP in its efforts to achieve the Global Goals,” said Varol Yaşaroğlu, the creator of the popular cartoon character.
As part of the #SustainableKingShakir collaboration, users can view King Shakir’s exclusive visuals for all 17 Global Goals and watch four short videos that have been selected from his past adventures by cartoon maker Grafi2000. The videos, available at child.kureselamaclar.org, highlight four SDGs: #3 – Good Health and Wellbeing, #7 – Affordable and Clean Energy, #11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities and #14 – Life Below Water.
King Shakir and friends are also featured on a “sustainable calendar for 2022 and beyond” designed by UNDP that can be downloaded from the website for free as a New Year’s gift.
The website includes links to useful resources such as UNDP’s new children’s book “The Birds and the Bees,” and other SDG advocates, including Thomas and Friends, the Angry Birds, the Smurfs, Mr. Bean and the cartoon character Elyx, the first-ever UN Digital Ambassador.
King Shakir has already starred in several feature-length films, including two dealing with the pandemic and life below water. An upcoming full-length film titled “King Shakir: Recycling” will premiere in 2022 and focus on the issue of responsible consumption and circular economy.
Since King Shakir’s creation, the character has become an international media franchise including a product line of apparel, toys, comics, and other media. The animated lead character, which can also be streamed on Netflix, is known as “Kral Şakir” in Turkey and “Laith the King” in the Middle East region.
To view the UNDP/King Shakir Partnership Videos, please go to: child.kureselamaclar.org
Faik Uyanık, UNDP in Turkey, [email protected]
Esra Akın, SSC İletişim (for Grafi2000), [email protected]
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. tr.undp.org.
Grafi2000 Production is a company that produces projects for the internet, TV, mobile media, written and visual media with its creative applications that "combine the world of informatics and the world of humour". Grafi2000, which was founded in 2000 with grafi2000.com, Turkey's most watched humour and entertainment website, continues its activities in a spectrum covering internet, television, advertising and corporate works. It creates animated series, commercials, TV shows, web series and internal communication works for companies with its director, writer, animator and design team. For additional information, go to grafi2000productions.com
Sustainable Development Goals: In September 2015, UN Member States unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, focused on the three interconnected elements of: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. With 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or Global Goals) at its core, the Agenda is universal, integrated and transformative and aims to spur actions that will end poverty, reduce inequality and tackle climate change by 2030. For more information, go to: kureselamaclar.org/en or follow us on Twitter at @GlobalGoalsUN