Global Citizens Unite for Ending Extreme Poverty by Taking Action for Policy Changes and New Initiatives

On Saturday, September 28, 2013, The Global Poverty Project, in proud partnership with the Cotton On Foundation, held the 2013 Global Citizen Festival on the Great Lawn of Central Park in New York City. This year’s Festival, headlined by Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys and John Mayer, with special guest performances by Elvis Costello and Janelle Monáe, called on world leaders to accelerate progress on education, women’s equality, global health, and global partnerships.

This year, the Festival focused on connecting the actions taken by Global Citizens with clear policy objectives across these four main areas. Throughout the campaign, Global Citizens took over 900,000 actions to spur world leaders to accelerate progress toward ending extreme poverty by 2030. As a result, world leaders, major corporations and multi-lateral organizations heard the call of Global Citizens around the world and announced major commitments to furthering the movement to end extreme poverty.

 “What we need is a global movement to end extreme poverty,” said President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim. In reference to the Zero Poverty 2030 petition on Global Citizen, Kim announced he will “share this petition with world leaders at the World Bank's meetings next April, to show them that their citizens want them to do everything they can to end poverty by 2030.”  

 “The Global Citizen Festival is a great event. It combines issues that are central to the work of the United Nations, for example ending poverty, preventing disease, fighting climate change and empowering women. I really appreciate the initiative of the Global Citizen Festival to mobilize so many people behind United Nations issues and goals,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In response to the Festival’s call for 1 million additional community health workers in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015, the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tedros Adhanom said, “We stand ready to help train and deploy more health workers across our own country and indeed throughout the continent to ensure that by 2015, one million health workers are in place across the continent.”

The 2013 Global Citizen Festival brought together the different actors needed to bring about the end of extreme poverty by 2030 - government and world leaders, NGOs, multilateral organizations, corporate entities, charities, media and individuals.

Corporations such as Naked Condoms, BT and Verizon made commitments of new financial resources.  Major multilateral organization such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations made commitments toward increasing the number of community health workers in sub-Saharan Africa.  And NGOs such as World Food Program USA and CARE teamed up to influence U.S. policy around food aid reform.

A number of world leaders joined Festival luminaries on-stage including: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim, Malawi President Joyce Banda, Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, and Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia. Festival Hosts and celebrity guests included: lead host Soledad O’Brian, Katie Holmes, Gerard Butler, Olivia Wilde, Freida Pinto,, Bridget Moynahan, Russell Simmons, Karolina Kurkova, Erin Heatherton, Rachel Brosnahan, Jake Clemons, Deborah-Lee Furness, Barbara Pierce Bush, Gayle King, Adrian Grenier, Shawn King, among others.

“It was great to see so much support at the Global Citizen Festival for ending extreme poverty worldwide,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI Alliance). “Let’s keep up the momentum - I will do my part to ensure that all children everywhere have access to vaccines and a chance at a healthy life without poverty.”

“What we wanted to achieve with this year’s Festival was to link the incredible amount of actions Global Citizens took on behalf of the world’s poor to clear policy objectives,” said Hugh Evans, CEO of The Global Poverty Project. “The Festival serves as an off-line advocacy tool that again shows our world leaders that we, as Global Citizens, have given them a clear and compelling mandate to end extreme poverty by 2030.”

The 2013 Festival built on the success of last year’s Festival, where non-profit partners announced a total of $1.3 billion in new fundraising commitments that will have a direct impact on the world’s poor over the next four years. Tickets for the concert were earned through the Global Citizen platform (, where fans took online action to earn their admission. Users received points for each action taken, and then redeemed their points to enter a lottery to win tickets to the concert. In total, 54,000 free tickets were given away to Global Citizens, while millions viewed online.

For more information about the 2013 Global Citizen Festival, please visit

EPK with images and b-roll is available here:

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As a result of the 900,000 actions taken by Global Citizens, the following commitments were made at the Festival:


  • Global Citizens took 75,000 actions to support education around the world. As a result, Alice Albright, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education, took the stage to call on governments and world leaders to pledge billions of dollars to the Global Partnership for Education at its replenishment conference in June 2014. Ms. Albright told the audience it would cost $26 billion to put all children into school by 2015 as was promised when countries agreed to the Millennium Development Goals in 2000. Currently 1 in 10 children worldwide do not go to school.
  • Global Citizens took 30,000 actions to support Cotton On Foundation’s work in education. As a result, Tim Diamond from the Cotton On Foundation appeared on-stage to pledge $40 million to educate 20,000 children in Southern Uganda by 2020.
  • As a result of action taken by Global Citizens on education, government ministers from both Denmark and Afghanistan recorded video messages to be played at the Festival. In his remarks, Mr. Christian Friis Bach - the Development Cooperation Minister of Denmark - reiterated his government’s commitment to the Global Partnership for Education and called on other donor countries to do likewise.
  • Additionally, four Members of Congress – from both sides of the aisle - recorded video messages pledging their support. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pennsylvania) said, “The goals of the Global Partnership for Education are simple, sound and very profound… I look forward to working with you on this issue in Congress.” Meanwhile, Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pennsylvania) pledged to do what he could in Washington and appealed to Global Citizens to raise their voices.

Women’s Equality:

  • Global Citizens took 50,000 actions calling on leading condom companies to commit two percent of their annual profits to international family planning initiatives to enable 120 million more women to have access to contraception by 2020. As a result, representatives of Naked Condoms, ONE Condoms, L Condoms, Female Health Company, and WomanCare Global appeared on stage to state their commitment to family planning initiatives around the world.
  • Naked Condoms CEO Jud Ireland committed to twenty percent of profits towards family planning initiatives, and called on Global Citizens to push other major brands like Trojan, Durex and Lifestyles to join the movement.
  • Global Citizens took over 55,000 actions calling for women’s equality to be made a core priority in the new development agenda.  As a result, the President of the United Nations General Assembly and Ambassadors pledged their support to women and girls everywhere, with a focus on education and access to sexual and reproductive health services for all.
  • Csaba Korosi, Hungarian Ambassador to the United Nations and co-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Goal Working Group, pledged to ensure that the eradication of extreme poverty and equality for girls and women are among the core priorities in the post-2015 development agenda.
  • Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said, “We must empower the next generation of women to make their contribution to advancing society. Please join me in calling on the United Nations and all governments to place girls and women at the heart of the post-2015 agenda.

Global Health:

  • Global Citizens took 75,000 actions calling on major global health agencies and telecommunication companies to support the training and deployment of one million community health workers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, Professor Jeffrey Sachs announced that Digicel will contribute $500,000 to support the campaign; Airtel committed free airtime; Ericsson committed hardware and technical support; BT will donate $100,000, and Verizon $50,000. Additionally, Novartis and GlaskoSmithKline each pledged $750,000 in support of the campaign.
  • Joyce Banda, President of Malawi, committed to scaling-up the current number of community health workers in Malawi from 10,000 to 27,000. She also called on donor governments and the private sector to increase financial support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which will host its replenishment conference this coming December. Audience members were encouraged to tweet world leaders in support of this call to action.
  • USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah called on Global Citizens to be “the leaders of the child survival revolution!” He instructed the audience to call congress every week “because America leads the world in funding for child survival. And we need to do more not less.” Dr. Shah then accepted a petition from U.S. Fund for UNICEF, which called for increased U.S. funding for child survival efforts.
  • Seth Berkley, CEO of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI Alliance), announced that “GAVI is firmly committed to support the requests from developing countries, to expand and develop their health workforce.”

Global Partnerships:

  • Catapult, a crowd-funded online platform dedicated to funding projects that benefit women and girls, announced a public-private partnership campaign to engage a new, mass audience through the world’s biggest brands to commit to raising an additiional $30 million by the end of 2015 for girls and women. Coupled with Catapult’s existing commitment of raising $30 million, if met, Catapult will double this commitment to raise $60 million for girls and women by 2015. 
  • HP announced a commitment to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to bring access to HP LIFE e-learning entrepreneurship training to more than 15,000 refugees in 15 countries by 2015.
  • In a taped message, U.S. Representative Jim McGovern addressed Global Citizens saying, “We now have an opportunity to make some common sense reforms in how we deliver our food aid that would help us reach at least 4 million more. We could buy more food locally, getting it to the people in need faster and supporting small scale farmers, many of whom are women… Your voices can make all the difference. We need global citizens to say active and supporting change.”
  • PVBLICS, in partnership with Unite 4 Good, announced a commitment of $3 million dollars in media spending to help raise awareness for non-profits at the local, national and international level.
  • Randall Lane, Editor of Forbes magazine, said he would continue to focus attention and resources on Liberia so as Liberian public-private partnerships prove successful it can be a model for the world.

New Campaign Announcements:

The Festival also featured the launch of two new citizen advocacy campaigns: Zero Poverty 2030 and The Primary Reason.

  • Zero Poverty 2030 is the new flagship campaign from The Global Poverty Project. Endorsed by the President of the World Bank Dr. Jim Yong Kim, Zero Poverty 2030 petitions the World Bank to advocate for every country in the world to commit to support all efforts to end extreme poverty by 2030.
  • The Primary Reason, a new campaign launching in January 2014, advocates for Global Citizens to support education for the world’s poor. The fundraising and advocacy campaign will offer innovative solutions to access to education faced by 57 million children around the world.  

Non-profit partners included:

The Global Partnership for Education, A World at School Initiative, The Earth Institute, the UN’s Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance), Women Deliver, World Food Program USA, The World Bank Group, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Make Roads Safe, CARE, charity: water, Malaria No More, Toilet Hackers and more.

Producers and Supporters included:

The 2013 Global Citizen Festival, in proud partnership with Cotton On Foundation, was generously supported by global technology partner HP, as well as Kidnected World, The Sumner M. Redstone Foundation, The Pratt Foundation, FedEx, Coca-Cola, Citibank, The Color Run, and The Riot House. Media partners include Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Forbes, ReverbNation and others.

The 2013 Global Citizen Festival was produced by DPS in partnership with AEG/Goldenvoice,  and broadcasted live by Palladia, Fuse, Pivot TV, The Armed Forces Network, and Globo Brazil and live-streamed by AOL,, Fuse/YouTube, The New York Times, and the Associated Press. 


Demand Equity

2013 Festival Outcome