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

The End Extreme Poverty NOW — Our Future Can’t Wait campaign will rally 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 on which the world can no longer afford to wait: empowering adolescent girls across the world; breaking the systemic barriers that keep people trapped in poverty; and taking meaningful climate action now.

With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) labeling the climate crisis as “code red” last year, and the World Bank estimating that nearly 100 million more people have been pushed into extreme poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic, while 45 million people are on the brink of starvation and over 85 million people have been displaced from their homes, the world cannot wait to address these overlapping crises.

The war against Ukraine and its unfolding repercussions — in addition to causing untold suffering and devastation — are a stark reminder that we need more action now to establish the conditions for a shared future. We can't pay for one crisis by cutting funding for another. Each and every crisis, and each and every person living in poverty, deserves support and solidarity. 

Tackling these crises will prove more difficult as a result of spiking food prices and 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 deliver both on its promise to end extreme poverty, and to protect the progress made over the last two decades. There was no meaningful progress from world leaders in 2021, despite numerous opportunities to take action at the G7 and G20 summits, and at the COP26 climate conference.

“The global agenda to end extreme poverty, defend the planet, and tackle inequity is in peril. And despite progress in a few countries before COVID-19 hit, the world was and continues to be wildly off-track from the 2030 target,” says Hugh Evans, CEO and Co-Founder of Global Citizen. “This moment of crisis demands new urgency and a renewal of purpose. We need a new compact built on mutual trust and respect — one that lifts up the voices of the people whose lives depend on its success and who suffer from its failure. An agenda built by and with them, to a timeframe set by those who understand all too well that every lost minute is a whole new tragedy.”

With the support of President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, as well as numerous government and civil society leaders from across the globe, Global Citizen has put forward a plan to protect the progress on reducing poverty seen in the past two decades and strive for more.

Throughout this year, Global Citizen and Global Citizens around the world will take action to advocate for commmitments from governments, private sector leaders who have not stepped up, and billionaires to:

Empower Girls NOW

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

Break Systemic Barriers NOW 

  • We can achieve real change right now towards ending extreme poverty by first breaking the two systemic barriers that unnecessarily prolonged the pandemic and undermined the recovery of lower-income countries: the twin evils of health care injustice and financial inequity. COVID-19 has exacerbated these issues. 

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

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

Take Climate Action Now 

  • In 2022, it is urgent that leaders — especially those of the US, Australia, and Germany — keep their commitment to the$100 billion per year climate financing promised for adaptation and mitigation. We must open the way for decisive collective action to keep global warming below 1.5°C, while calling for developed countries and businesses to go further, faster. 

  • The campaign is calling for food security, nutrition, and livelihoods to be prioritized, by directing significant climate adaptation resources to rural communities and smallholder farmers.

  • We’re also calling on companies, especially those in high-emitting industries such as manufacturing and construction, to set clear and transparent science-based net zero and nature positive targets in line with 1.5C. Those companies that have already done so should implement and publically report on these targets. In particular, the steel and cement sectors must step up and sign on to the Race to Zero. Combined, they contribute 15% to global annual carbon emissions. 

The situation in Ukraine and with conflicts and crises being faced around the world reinforces the urgency behind many of the policy recommendations outlined in the campaign, including helping farmers around the world, dismantling systems that perpetuate financial inequity, and providing education and health services for the women and girl refugees escaping conflict. 

Cutting across all our work throughout the year is our strong commitment to defend and promote advocacy, ensuring that marginalized voices are heard, and that leaders are held accountable to deliver on their promises. Global Citizen will elevate citizen’s voices, especially from the Global South, and defend the right of anyone to speak freely, dissent, and organize, without fear of reprisals or violence.

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

First, the Global Citizen Prize awards ceremony will return on May 22, honoring individuals making extraordinary efforts 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 world leaders, community and business leaders, artists, and nonprofit champions, to address ways forward for solving our biggest global challenges.

On Sept. 24, we’ll be celebrating a decade of impact for the 10th anniversary of the Global Citizen Festival. Along with some of the world’s most popular artists, we’ll be live from New York City’s Central Park, with a simultaneous live show in Africa and performances from across the globe, all focusing on driving commitments towards defeating extreme poverty now. We’ll be announcing everything you need to know in the coming months, including artist lineups and special guests.

Finally, in November, we’ll be at the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, for a global moment jointly hosted by the Indonesian G20 Presidency. At the summit, we'll be working to drive the private sector and the world’s leading economies to make the commitments needed to protect the planet.

“Only together can we keep 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 deliver the Global Goals — our best hope for people, for the planet, for peace, and for 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; President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa; President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo; President of the Republic of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema; Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo; Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković; Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz; Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez; Foreign Minister of Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland, 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; 8th UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus; Executive Director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley; President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Gilbert F. Houngbo; Executive Director of the UNFPA, Dr. Natalia Kanem; Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif; CEO of GAVI, Seth Berkley; Secretary General of International Chamber of Commerce, John W.H. Denton; former Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg; 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 hosting committee: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Senator Chris Coons, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and Senator Chris Van Hollen.

You can join the End Extreme Poverty NOW — Our Future Can't Wait campaign by signing up as a Global Citizen (either here or by downloading the Global Citizen app) and joining us in taking action, now.


Demand Equity

Global Citizen Launches ‘End Extreme Poverty NOW’ Campaign — an Urgent Call for Action

By Helen Lock