Global Citizen launches ‘End extreme poverty NOW’ campaign – an urgent call to action


Global Citizen today unveils a new year-long campaign calling on governments, private sector leaders and billionaires to make the commitments urgently needed to end extreme poverty now.

The End Extreme Poverty NOW — Our Future Can’t Wait campaign will unite millions of global citizens around the world to demand that the world’s top political and business leaders take immediate action in three critical areas where the world cannot no longer afford to wait: empowering adolescent girls around the world; break down the systemic barriers that keep people trapped in poverty; and take meaningful climate action now.

While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called the climate crisis a “code red” last year, and the World Bank estimated that nearly 100 million more people have been plunged in extreme poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic, while 45 million people are on the brink of starvation and more than 85 million people have been displaced from their homes, the world is eager to face these crises which overlap.

The war on Ukraine and its aftermath – in addition to causing untold suffering and devastation – is a stark reminder that we need more action now to set the conditions for a shared future. We cannot pay for one crisis by cutting funding for another. Every crisis, and every person living in poverty, deserves support and solidarity.

Managing these crises will prove more difficult due to soaring food prices and the potential shortage of aid from humanitarian organizations due to the conflict in Ukraine. The past two years have also shown that the world is unwilling to both deliver on its promise to end extreme poverty and protect the progress made over the past two decades. There has been no meaningful progress from world leaders in 2021, despite plenty of opportunities to act at the G7 and G20 summits and the COP26 climate conference.

“The global agenda to end extreme poverty, defend the planet and tackle inequality is in jeopardy. And despite the progress made in a few countries before the arrival of COVID-19, the world was and continues to be very far from the 2030 goal,” said Hugh Evans, CEO and co-founder of Global Citizen. “This moment of crisis demands a new urgency and a renewal of purpose. We need a new pact based on mutual trust and respect, which elevates the voices of the people whose lives depend on its success and which suffer from its failure.A program built by and with them, within a deadline set by those who understand only too well that every minute lost is a whole new tragedy.

With the support of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed, as well as many government and civil society leaders around the world, Global Citizen has proposed a plan to protect progress on poverty reduction seen over the past two decades and strive to go further.

Throughout this year, Global Citizen and Global Citizens around the world will take action to advocate for commitments from governments, private sector leaders who have failed to step up, and billionaires to:

Empower Girls NOW

  • The campaign aims to get the G7, under the leadership of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, to meet the needs of 50 million young girls by providing a minimum of $400 million to reach millions of young women with immediate support for meals schooling, as well as access to education and health care, including sexual and reproductive health services.

Break down systemic barriers NOW

  • We can achieve real change now to end extreme poverty by first breaking down the two systemic barriers that have unnecessarily prolonged the pandemic and undermined the recovery of low-income countries: the twin evils of injustice in health care and financial inequality. COVID-19 has exacerbated these issues.

  • Our campaign calls for action to defeat variants of COVID-19 and prevent the next pandemic, including sharing vaccine intellectual property with developing countries, strengthening health systems for vaccine delivery and other medical tools, and investing so that there is enough capacity on the continents to produce at least 16 billion doses in a single year against future health threats.

  • It also calls for financial equity to fund basic needs and address global challenges, including a reallocation of at least US$100 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), compliance long-standing but unfulfilled foreign aid commitments; and advancing policies for fairer and more efficient taxation globally.

Act now for the climate

  • In 2022, there is an urgent need for leaders – especially those of the United States, Australia and Germany – to maintain their commitment to the$100 billion a year in climate finance pledged for adaptation and mitigation. We must pave the way for decisive collective action to keep global warming below 1.5°C, while calling on developed countries and businesses to go further, faster.

  • The campaign calls for prioritizing food security, nutrition and livelihoods, directing significant climate adaptation resources to rural communities and smallholder farmers.

  • We also call on companies, especially those in high-emitting sectors such as manufacturing and construction, to set clear and transparent science-based targets and 1.5°C-compliant nature-positive targets. Companies that have already done so should implement and publicly report on these goals. In particular, the steel and cement sectors must ramp up and engage in the Race to Zero. Together, they contribute 15% of annual global carbon emissions.

The situation in Ukraine and the conflicts and crises facing the world reinforce the urgency of many of the policy recommendations set out in the campaign, including helping farmers around the world, dismantling the systems that perpetuate financial inequality and the provision of education and health services to refugee women and girls fleeing conflict.

Our strong commitment to championing and promoting advocacy, ensuring marginalized voices are heard and leaders are held accountable to deliver on their promises, runs through all our work throughout the year. Global Citizen will elevate the voice of citizens, especially from the Global South, and defend everyone’s right to speak freely, oppose and organize, without fear of reprisal or violence.

Global Citizen will bring this campaign to life through a series of global events in 2022, bringing together world leaders, artists, philanthropists, CEOs and global citizens to achieve the campaign goals and end the extreme poverty now.

First, the Global Citizen Awards ceremony will return on May 22, honoring people who go to extraordinary lengths for the world’s most vulnerable,with more details to be announced soon. Then the Global Citizen NOW: Leadership Summit will follow on May 23, bringing together global leaders, community and business leaders, artists, and nonprofit champions, to discuss pathways to solving our greatest global challenges.

On September 24, we will celebrate a decade of impact for the 10th anniversary of the Global Citizen Festival. Featuring some of the world’s most popular artists, we’ll be live from Central Park in New York, with a simultaneous live show in Africa and performances from around the world, all focused on commitments to end extreme poverty now. We’ll be announcing everything you need to know in the coming months, including artist rosters and special guests.

Finally, in November, we will be at the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, for a global moment co-hosted by the Indonesian G20 Presidency. At the summit, we will work to get the private sector and the world’s major economies to make the commitments needed to protect the planet.

“Only together can we deliver on the promise of the Global Goals for everyone, everywhere,” said Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. “Join me in the Global Citizen End Poverty NOW – Our Future Can’t Wait campaign to achieve the Global Goals – our best hope for people, for the planet, for peace and prosperity.”

Alongside von der Leyen and Mohammed, governments and world leaders supporting the End Extreme Poverty NOW campaign include: Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley; President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly Abdulla Shahid; the President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa; President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo; the President of the Republic of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema; Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo; the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković; Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz; Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyeama; Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney; Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, Sandiaga Uno; Minister of Environment of Rwanda, Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya; COP26 President Alok Sharma; the 8th UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon; World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus; World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley; President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Gilbert F. Houngbo; UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem; the director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif; GAVI CEO Seth Berkley; the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce, John WH Denton; the former Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg; the former Executive Director of UN Women, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; and the Government of Peru, as well as Congressional support for the Global Citizen NOW Host Committee: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Senator Chris Coons, Senator Jeanne Shaheen and the Senator Chris Van Hollen.

You can join the End Extreme Poverty NOW — Our Future Can’t Wait campaign by registering as a Global Citizen (either here or by downloading the Global Citizen app) and joining us to take action, now.


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