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“What’s happening with Rio?”

Rio Ferdinand supports UNICEF's Rio Earth Summit campaign via Twitter.

“What’s happening with Rio?”

Rio Ferdinand has created a Twitter stir by posting a series of comedy twitpics in support of UNICEF’s campaign asking the government to speak up for children at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit.

In the hours after the footballer posted his first cryptic twitpic thousands of people including Ewan McGregor re-tweeted the #Rio4Rio message.

Responding to the interest Rio Ferdinand said, “Speaking as a Rio, I know life isn’t all carnivals, beaches and playing football. At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro global leaders will discuss the future of the planet and we want them to think about the world’s children.  That’s why I’m speaking up for children with UNICEF UK and hope that everyone who follows me on Twitter will do the same.”

Ferdinand, a longstanding UNICEF UK supporter, is helping to raise awareness of UNICEF’s campaign to ensure children are at the heart of the Rio Earth Summit’s agenda and among thousands who have signed an online petition which will be delivered to the Deputy Prime Minster ahead of the summit which begins on 20th June.

His first tweet, posted on Tuesday lunchtime read “Everyone’s asking ‘What’s happening with Rio?’” along side a picture of him looking quizzical.

The second tweet posted at a few hours later showed a picture of Ferdinand against a backdrop of Rio de Janeiro. The tweet reads: “Next week Rio De Janeiro hosts #RioPlus20 to plan our planet's future. But will children’s voices be heard?” with the Twitter hashtag #Rio4Rio.

A third picture tweeted later in the early evening showed Ferdinand in a feathered purple carnival head dress along with the tweet “#RioPlus20 is our chance to make a better world for children. I've signed the petition...your turn.”

In his final tweet Rio urged his supporters to “Speak Up! Put children 1st at #RioPlus20: Sign the petition & help @unicef_uk save children's lives."

The Rio Earth Summit runs from 20th-22th June 2012. The British delegation will be led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

UNICEF believes food, water and disasters should be the priority and plans must consider children, who are the most vulnerable and have specific needs. 

Rio Ferdinand is a longstanding supporter of UNICEF UK’s work, as part of the United for UNICEF partnership between Manchester United and UNICEF UK, which has raised more than £2 million in 13 years and helped over 2.2 million children worldwide from projects in Africa, Asia and China.

For more information about the campaign and to sign the Speak Up For Children petition please visit

All images from the Twiiter campaign can be viewed in the gallery to the right and Rio's Twitter feed can be viewed at: