This year, Global Citizen has focused its End Extreme Poverty NOW — Our Future Can't Wait campaign around three key areas that require urgent action: supporting women and girls around the world, breaking down the systemic barriers that keep people in poverty, and the climate crisis.

In a short while, this campaign will be brought to life on stage at Global Citizen Festival 2022 in two iconic locations, Central Park in New York and Black Star Square in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday, Sept. 24. Broadcast globally, the event will be an opportunity for political, philanthropic, and business leaders to take the stage and make financial and political commitments to solve the major challenges the world is facing.

The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed nearly 100 million more people into extreme poverty and reversed much of the recent progress. For the first time since the 1990s, extreme poverty is increasing worldwide. 

Earlier this year, Russia's invasion of Ukraine exacerbated this already dire situation. Today, almost 323 million people are facing acute hunger and 1.2 billion people are living in countries facing food, fuel, and financial crises. If we don't take urgent action NOW, the situation will only get worse and up to 200 million more people could be forced into extreme poverty by November.

"Decades of systemic and policy failures have led humanity into the midst of converging and rapidly deteriorating crises: climate, hunger, health, war, and conflict. The most marginalized populations are paying the price of our leaders' inaction, and now millions of lives and the future of our planet are at stake," said Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen.

Many people in France and across Europe have seen the effects of the climate crisis with their own eyes this summer and, similarly to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a crisis that knows no borders. The interconnectedness of the various crises demonstrate that without solidarity and cooperation, we will not be able to meet the challenges facing humanity today.

France, as one of the world's leading economies and the second largest economy in the European Union (EU), is a political heavyweight and has a duty to lead by example. Here’s what we’re asking France to commit to at the Global Citizen Festival this year:

The Climate Emergency

In 2009, the world's richest countries — including the UK, Germany, and France — pledged to raise $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 to help poor countries fight and prevent the effects of the climate crisis. At present, the promise has still not been met. 

Yet, the climate crisis only continues to worsen and countries that are the least responsible for emissions, such as Pakistan and countries across Africa, are the ones paying the highest price. 

What Can France Do?

  • Increase its contribution to climate finance: Just a third of France's climate finance is dedicated to climate change adaptation projects, well below the 50% target recommended by the UN. What’s more, only 15% of that is donated to developing countries experiencing the effects of climate change right now. We are therefore calling on France to increase the funding dedicated to adaptation as well as to increase the percentage of its climate budget dedicated to meet the $100 billion target from 15% to 35%.

  • In addition, France must provide financial resources to address the "loss and damage" faced by communities as a result of climate change. The economic cost of loss and damage in developing countries has been estimated at $290-580 billion by 2030, rising to $1-1.8 trillion by 2050.

How Can Global Citizens Take Action?

World Health, COVID-19, and Future Pandemics

HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria threaten the lives of millions of people around the world. Yet, one global organization is fighting back: the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. This health alliance has developed and distributed new vaccines, treatments, and disease prevention methods globally. To date, the Global Fund has saved over 50 million lives.

Today, the organization is facing its greatest challenge yet. The COVID-19 pandemic saw access to treatment decline and deaths from malaria and tuberculosis increase for the first time in years.

What Can France Do?

  • Contribute $1.685 billion to the seventh replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. During the last replenishment, which took place in 2019 in Lyon, France showed leadership by contributing $1.296 billion, a 30% increase. Japan and Germany have already set an example by increasing their contributions to this level. This year, we need French leadership again to raise at least $18 billion, the funds estimated to be needed to save at least 20 million lives, prevent more than 450 million infections and reduce deaths from these diseases.  

How Can Global Citizens Take Action?

Breaking Down Systemic Barriers

To boost economies after the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, for the first time in history, the International Monetary Fund issued $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). However, rich countries have benefited the most from these SDRs, while poor countries, which need them the most, have received the least. Global Citizen is therefore calling for the reallocation of at least $100 billion in SDRs to help stabilize the economies hardest hit by the pandemic.

What Can France Do?

  • Last year, France pledged to be the first country to reallocate 20% of its SDRs to African economies at Global Citizen Live in Paris. This summer, the President promised to go further by allocating another 10% of SDRs to the poorest and most vulnerable countries. These countries cannot afford to wait, France must reallocate these SDRs now, either through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or by reallocating them directly to countries. It must also use its influence to convince other European countries to do the same. 

How Can Global Citizens Take Action?

Global Citizen Festival is calling on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to do more than they’ve ever done before to End Extreme Poverty NOW. Through our global campaign and with stages in two iconic locations — NYC’s Central Park and Accra’s Black Star Square — we will unite leaders, artists, activists, and Global Citizens around the world on Sept. 24 to achieve an ambitious policy agenda focused on empowering girls and women, taking climate action, breaking systemic barriers, and lifting up activists and advocates. Wherever you are in the world, you can join the campaign and take action right now by downloading the Global Citizen app.


Defeat Poverty

Global Citizen Festival: France Can Still Show Leadership If It Commits Big, NOW

By Antoine Le Seigle  and  Tess Lowery