Wise owl and pregnant statue represent UN Millennium Goals in Latin America

27 April 2006
MDGs in Latin America

An owl, the symbol of wisdom used by Aztec wisemen, a 3,000-year-old sculpture of an ear of corn, and stone image of a pregnant woman are among a new series of icons that will symbolize the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on T-shirts, posters and banners in Latin America.

The icons, blending the MDG targets of slashing a host of socio-economic ills by 2015 with Latin American history and culture, were jointly devised by the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Colombian DANSOCIAL agency and the Mayor’s Office of Bogotá, the Colombian capital.

“The project looks to our roots, informing the population with easy-to-understand images that convey the global campaign via our regional point of view,” the Colombian MDG campaign said in a statement introducing the new look.

The new emblems are:

  • Goal 2 (Education for all) is portrayed by an owl, the symbol of wisdom used by Aztec wisemen and warriors in Mexico.
  • Goal 3 (Gender equality) shows a Peruvian tapestry with two human figures: equal and opposite.
  • Goal 4 (reducing child mortality) replicates a ceramic plate from the central region of the Andes, painted in red and black, depicting a child with a full smile filled with joy and life, taking part in a dance for life.
  • Goal 5 (improving maternal health) seeks to transmit the importance of a woman’s pregnancy through an image based on a stone carving by the Mixtecas of Mexico.
  • Goal 6 (stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS) centres on a modern image but incorporates elements of pre-Columbian art, the juxtaposition evoking sentiments of the historical contrast and changing methods for approaching diseases.
  • Goal 7 (ensuring environmental sustainability) is green and adapts an ancient art piece that was not originally associated with the environment to evoke sentiments of the interconnectedness of life, with nature at the centre.
  • Goal 8 (global partnership for development) is symbolized by an ancient piece of art composed of different people and communities who are united around the promotion of a harmonious future.


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