At Global Citizen Festival 2023, global leaders pledged to end extreme poverty with monumental commitments including:
- $240 million for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with France and Norway calling on other countries to also increase their investments.
- 1 million hectares of protected land in the Brazilian Amazon.
- Antigua and Barbuda and Timor-Leste endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
- Nine members of the United States Congress, and UK Labour leader Keir Starmer to follow through on UK and US climate commitments.
- Ireland guarantees it will meet its climate financing promise by 2025.
- $290 million total commitments rallied for Global Citizen Festival, leading to a total of $470 million as a result of the campaign.
But the Global Citizen Festival campaign continues to call for action, for:
- $2 billion to IFAD to end hunger, with a call on governments to increase their contribution by 50%, with a focus on Australia.
- Canada to reaffirm its commitment to reproductive health and rights via further partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Supplies program.
- The US and UK to follow through on their climate commitments.
- More countries to support the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty by the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 in November 2023.
On Saturday, Sept. 23, Global Citizen Festival returned to Central Park in New York City, uniting thousands Global Citizens, artists, and advocates for a day of action to End Extreme Poverty NOW, against the backdrop of the week-long United Nations General Assembly, and New York Climate Week.
Broadcast live to audiences around the world, the event marked a year of campaigning to drive advocacy toward major commitments across equity and education, the planet, for food and jobs.
In the months leading up to Global Citizen Festival, Global Citizens around the world took 3.3 million actions to demand change — the highest number of actions for a New York festival in over a decade and a historic moment for young people who, by coming together, have the power to influence the solving of the world's biggest problems and lead change.
From the 2023 Global Citizen Festival stage, and in the weeks leading up to the festival, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Jung Kook, Anitta, Conan Gray, D-Nice, Sofia Carson, Stray Kids, 3RACHA, and many more world-renowned names in entertainment, as well as leading activists and advocates, joined Global Citizens to call on world leaders and the private sector to end extreme poverty, culminating in pledges across education, equity, environment, and hunger.
By Sept. 23, the Global Citizen campaign had secured a historic number of commitments and announcements in support of ending extreme poverty from organizations, world leaders, and corporations. A year of steady campaigning for food equity and to provide crucial support to smallholder farmers, who bear the brunt of the climate crisis, led to early commitments to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at this year’s festival, ahead of the organization's final replenishment meetings to be hosted in Paris this December.
This landmark achievement resulted in the government of Norway pledging $90 million to IFAD, a 50% increase on their previous pledge, in addition to a $150 million commitment from France — the largest commitment to this replenishment so far; both commitments are welcome and essential to helping empower 100 million farmers in developing countries. Norway's Minister for International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, announced the $90 million commitment.
In February, Global Citizen began calling on the Australian Government to rejoin IFAD to provide expertise and support throughout the neighboring Pacific region and to sustainable farming communities worldwide. The campaign was marked by many key moments in the lead-up to September, including leading international press coverage, a united call for action by Australian and Pacific leaders, and a meeting between Penny Wong, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Global Citizen's co-founder and chief policy, impact, and government affairs officer in New York City on Sept. 20 that led to the handover of the Global Citizen open letter to Senator Wong.
Global Citizen Festival also marked a year of dedicated Global Citizen action and campaigning across gender equity, girls' education, and access to sexual and reproductive health care for women and girls. Belgium's government made a historic pledge of €2 million for the first time to support the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Supplies program to advance reproductive health care for women and girls worldwide.
The nation joins the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which had previously pledged $100 million to the program earlier in the week. “Belgium is standing up for women and girls everywhere by committing €2 million to UNFPA Supplies in a historic contribution to support maternal health care and contraception access for women and girls,” said Caroline Gennez, Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Belgium, via video message.
This year, Global Citizen focused on improving access to education, resulting in a new €40 million commitment by France to the UN organization, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) to help children access education in crisis. As part of the organization's 222 Million Dreams campaign and replenishment conference, ECW Executive Director of Education Yasmine Sherif thanked governments that had already stepped in to support children in crisis and pledged millions of dollars to protect children in conflict zones and prioritize education. Global Citizen continues to call on governments to meet the remaining $620 million needed for ECW to continue its urgent work. The Government of Malta also expressed its continued support for children in conflict via video message at the festival.
"Keep shining, keep going, you are making a difference" - Yasmine Sherif— UN News (@UN_News_Centre) September 23, 2023
Executive Director of @EduCannotWait, @YasmineSherif1 sends a message of encouragement to those who defend the right to education through activism at the @GlblCtzn#GlobalCitizenFestivalpic.twitter.com/qTHex4JwVR
Throughout the year, Global Citizens have worked tirelessly to take action for the planet and its people, particularly, on June 23, Global Citizen lit up the iconic Champ de Mars in Paris as hosts of the Power Our Planet: Live in Paris event, alongside climate activists, heads of state, the biggest names in music, and 20,000 Global Citizens. The event marked the beginning of an ongoing Global Citizen campaign to call for justice on behalf of the world’s climate-vulnerable countries and hold to account the leaders gathering in Paris for the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact, chaired by President Macron that same week in France’s capital city.
Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank, took to the stage at the Paris event alongside Co-Chair of the Power Our Planet campaign, Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, to announce a fundamental shift in the World Bank’s policies, in light of the impacts of the climate crisis on developing countries.
The program they announced aims to aid countries affected by natural disasters. The World Bank is actively pushing for its swift approval and implementation by autumn this year, with a focus on reaching as many vulnerable nations as possible, including mechanisms for addressing both natural disasters and pandemics. By introducing debt pause clauses, multilateral development banks will allow countries to focus their resources on rebuilding and recovering when disaster strikes. This could save countries billions of dollars, and Global Citizen urges other multilateral banks to follow.
In support of the Global Citizen’s campaigning to defend the planet, two companies also signed onto the Power Our Planet Private Sector Declaration, committing to both cut emissions in line with the UN Race to Zero and to make sustainable investments in countries facing the worst impacts of climate change. Signatories include Cisco and Rife International.
The UK government has promised to double international climate finance and triple adaptation funding by 2025. As part of the campaign, Global Citizen invited both the UK government and His Majesty’s opposition to participate in the festival and detail their commitments to climate action. The UK Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, addressed the audience via video, calling for action and highlighting the need to make the UK a clean energy superpower in the wake of the Sunak government’s dropping of crucial net zero commitments.
Specifically, Sir Keir pledged that he would stand strong on UK climate commitments and pledged to create a clean energy alliance with other countries to deliver climate security and assist the global transition to clean energy. In total, over 161,523 actions have already been taken by Global Citizens in the UK on climate change to build cross-party support on the issue and remind the UK government of their promises and climate responsibilities, including the urgent need to publish their plan for the £11.6 billion climate finance pledge made in 2019. The Sunak government declined to participate.
Ireland also announced and guaranteed that they would meet their commitment to contribute €225 million annually from 2025 onwards towards climate financing, after announcing this weekend that they will provide €149 million in 2023, up from €100 million in 2022. Additional increases are expected in the forthcoming 2024 budget to be unveiled in October. This comes at a time when the UK is backtracking on its commitments to 0.7% GNP and has yet to publish a clear timeline on how it will fulfill its £11.6 billion climate financing promises. Nations around the world are also taking bold action to support an equitable transition from fossil fuels.
This #GlobalCitizenFestival, @Keir_Starmer has pledged that a future Labour government would stand “strong on the UK’s climate commitments” and also work “with other like-minded countries to create a global clean power alliance.” https://t.co/TVtt8wyIojpic.twitter.com/ERnzskdx6K— Global Citizen Impact (@GlblCtznImpact) September 23, 2023
This week, Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda announced his country's endorsement for the negotiation of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty at the Global Citizen Festival, via video message, becoming the first nation outside the Pacific to do so. The proposed treaty on fossil fuels, backed by seven governments, hundreds of elected officials, and thousands of scientists and academics, provides a global framework to phase out dirty energy, speed up the shift to renewables, and ensure a just transition for all communities. This commitment was echoed on stage by President José Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste, who affirmed his country's dedication to the treaty and its negotiation process.
On Sept. 21, Global Citizen announced a partnership with the Equitable Earth Coalition as the first signatory to support its plans to mobilize $1 billion of corporate finance for community-centered forest conservation projects, and a positive contribution to nature and to cover the estimated carbon emissions of the Global Citizen Festival. The news was announced during the Global Citizen NOW: Climate Sessions by Michael Sheldrick, Global Citizen's Co-Founder and Chief Policy, Impact, and Government Relations Officer. Everland represents the Wildlife Works Mai Ndombe REDD+ project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a community-centered forest conservation project that partners with over 50,000 people living in this forest responsible for protecting their forest and safeguarding biodiversity.
The 🇧🇷 Brazilian state of Para has returned to #GlobalCitizenFestival to increase their 2021 commitment to expand protected areas by 1M hectares by 2025, by protecting indigenous lands + eliminate illegal deforestation as well as restoring 5M hectares of forest by 2030!! pic.twitter.com/VD2gVFcwIn— Global Citizen Impact (@GlblCtznImpact) September 23, 2023
As a result of the momentum built at Global Citizen NOW in April, The Body Shop, LUSH, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, and Ben & Jerry's signed a pledge against SLAPP, committing together to protect the fundamental right to freedom of expression without fear of intimidation or retaliation. These pledges reflect a growing dedication to preserving open and robust discourse in today’s society and a campaign that Global Citizen has championed since 2022. Volker Türk, The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on Global Citizens to stand up for equality, freedom, and justice.
The governments of Lithuania and Kosovo also provided ongoing pledges to uphold civic space and defend human rights via video messages which aired during the festival. Nine representatives and senators from the United States Congress provided video messages in support of climate action, civic space, and gender equity fromSenator Coons, Representative Wagner, Representative Meng, Senator Booker, Representative Espaillat, Representative Espaillat, Senator Menendez, Representative Raskin, and Senator Van Hollen”. Should read “Sen. Chris Coons, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Rep. Ann Wagner, and Rep. Grace Meng.
On Sept. 18, readers of Politico and the Wall Street Journal encountered a unified message from Global Citizens. They called upon American leadership to strongly encourage Congress to maintain funding for US foreign assistance at the current levels or higher. That same day, an open letter with signatures from over 31,000 American Global Citizens was presented to members of Congress, urging them to play a part in shaping a more promising future.
In the run-up to Global Citizen’s Power Our Planet: Live in Paris event, on the margins of French President Emmanuel Macron’s Summit for a New Global Financing Pact, Global Citizen and partners issued a letter to Canada's Prime Minister Trudeau calling for an additional commitment towards reallocating Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). This week Canada announced an additional 700 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT), which provides highly concessional financing to low-income countries.
This commitment brings Canada’s SDR channeling to the PRGT, as well as to the IMF’s Resilience and Sustainability Trust, to 25%, and its overall SDR rechanneling level to a world-leading 48%. Global Citizen worked alongside Results Canada, ONE Campaign, Climate Action Network Canada, and Cooperation Canada this year to press Canada to increase its SDR rechanneling in support of countries in need. This advocacy is part of Global Citizen’s ongoing campaigning in support of the Bridgetown Initiative, which calls for the reform of the global financial system and fair access to financing for developing and climate vulnerable countries.
Give Lively, a groundbreaking nonprofit fundraising platform, and nonprofit commerce platform Shift4 announced a partnership at Global Citizen Festival, in keeping with both organizations’ foundational commitment to social good. Give Lively ensures that all nonprofits approved for membership align with its progressive values focused on elevating marginalized voices and advocating for equality.
Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus joined Global Citizen Festival from the stage to call on nations to prioritize health, pandemic preparedness, and vaccinations.
“We need to prioritize health not just when a pandemic strikes — but always, which is why it is crucial that world leaders agree on an ambitious pandemic preparedness and response treaty at the next World Health Assembly,” said Dr. Tedros. Global Citizen Festival convened global artists, world leaders, activists, and grassroots organizations marking the organization's 11th year of ongoing impact to end extreme poverty from the Great Lawn in Central Park. In 2022, the Global Citizen Festival celebrated a decade of impact, culminating in $2.4 billion in pledges, with more than $440 million earmarked exclusively for initiatives to end extreme poverty in Africa.
Global Citizens have been working to eliminate extreme poverty for more than a decade, taking more than 38.8 million actions to help change more than 1.29 billion lives around the world. World leaders, philanthropists, corporations, and organizations supported Global Citizen's mission to end extreme poverty NOW by announcing new financial and policy commitments and announcements:
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA has announced its commitment to join the Pacific nations in signing onto the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty — a binding plan to end the fossil fuel era and usher in the clean energy future.
"Today I'm honored to announce that Antigua and Barbuda officially join our Pacific friends in calling for the negotiation of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty - a binding plan to end the fossil fuel era.. to clean energy,” said Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne.
PARÁ STATE, BRAZIL: The Brazilian state of Para returned to the stage to increase the ambition of their commitments made in 2021 and to expand protected areas by 1 million hectares by 2025, with a primary focus on safeguarding indigenous lands and eliminating illegal deforestation as well as restoring 5 million hectares of forest by 2030“I have heard your calls for action and I am here to respond to them. In 2021 at Global Citizen Live, six state governments from Brazil committed to significantly reduce emissions and declare more than 1.7 million hectares of important forest as protected. I promised back then that more was to come and I am here to deliver on that promise!” Governor of the state of Pará, Brazil, Helder Barbalho.
BELGIUM commits €2 million to UNFPA Supplies, marking the first commitment by Belgium to the UN organization to support access to maternal healthcare and contraception for women and girls."Belgium is standing up for women and girls everywhere by committing €2M to UNFPA Supplies in a historic contribution to support maternal healthcare and contraception access for women and girls,” said Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Belgium, Caroline Gennez.
FRANCE via video address, Emmanuel Macron, President of France, pledged to increase France's contribution by nearly 50% to IFAD to $150 million. Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, France's Minister of State for Development also made a commitment of €40 million to Education Cannot Wait (ECW) .
"We decided to invest €100 million to IFAD — France decided to host and organize the 13th replenishment, and we launch this action by taking this commitment,” said Macron via video message.
REPUBLIC OF KOSOVO has pledged their commitment to continue to uphold civic space as a refuge for human rights advocates and defenders worldwide. Global Citizen is in contact with the Government of Kosovo to determine concrete objectives and outcomes for this commitment.
"The Republic of Kosovo is determined to continue serving as refuge for those everyday heroes who put their own lives in danger so the rest of us can be free.." Thank you for your Kosovo's commitment to civic space, said Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti.
LITHUANIA announced that they will continue to prioritize safe asylum to thousands of political activists, journalists, and human rights defenders who are persecuted, and to provide shelter and support for thousands of Ukrainians fleeing war. Global Citizen is in contact with the Government of Lithuania to determine concrete objectives and outcomes for this commitment.
"Lithuania offers safe asylum to thousands of political activists, journalists, human rights defenders who are prosecuted - a home away from home to thousands of Ukrainians," said Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielius Landsbergis.
MALTA has announced its continued support to protect children in areas of conflict and prioritize education. They also reiterated the importance of equitable climate financing for developing countries who face multiple crises.
"We firmly believe that developing countries must have access to funds from multilateral development banks to allow them to respond to multiple crises affecting them, and will continue our support for children in crisis,” said Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade Malta, Ian Borg.
NORWAY commits $90 million, to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to address poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.
“Funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development would help Africa’s farmers eradicate hunger and secure food sovereignty on their continent. That is why I am thrilled to announce that Norway is pledging 90 million dollars to the International Fund for Agricultural Development and I urge all its member states to step up their efforts. Africa is able to feed itself. Let’s work together to make it happen!"
THE UNITED STATES announced $15 million to launch the End Plastic Pollution International Collaborative, to challenge organizations around the world to end the plastic pollution crisis, and work with communities to prioritize local solutions.
“The United States announces $15 million to launch the End Plastic Pollution International Collaborative, to challenge organizations around the world to end the plastic pollution crisis, and work with communities to prioritize local solutions,” said Acting Assistant Secretary US State Department, Jennifer Littlejohn
For millions of Global Citizens around the world, taking action is crucial for urgent change, and it lies at the core of our collective mission; it is a tangible symbol of global unity that works to call on the world’s most powerful people to stand up for those who can’t do so for themselves in the face of merciless obstacles that keep them in poverty.
We’re relentless in our pursuit of action for communities in need because ending extreme poverty now is the only answer to addressing the world's biggest challenges that continue to grow day by day. A free and open civic space where people can voice their political opinions is essential to achieving thriving, equal societies, and by taking action on the Global Citizen platform, Global Citizens have the opportunity to hold world leaders accountable and call for radical change.
For the first time in a generation, extreme poverty is on the rise. In 2023, Global Citizen campaigned to address the world's biggest issues causing extreme poverty, including the adverse effects of climate change on the Global South, inequalities affecting women and girls, and rising hunger. The collective voice and power that drives our campaigns to empower girls and women, uplift small farmers, bolster public health systems, expand access to education, and accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels is because of you, our Global Citizens, and the global voices that join our effort in pursuit of a life free from poverty for all.
And you can continue with us in that effort. Global Citizen’s campaign to defeat poverty and defend the planet is ongoing, and we need your help to join the movement of people just like you who believe in a better future for everyone, everywhere. Global Citizen is the world's largest movement of action-takers and impact-makers dedicated to ending extreme poverty NOW.
We post, tweet, message, vote, sign, and call to inspire those who can make things happen — government leaders, businesses, philanthropists, artists, and civil society — together to improve lives. By downloading our app, Global Citizens learn about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards, which can be redeemed for tickets to concerts, events, and experiences all over the world. For more information, visit www.globalcitizen.org and follow @GlblCtzn.