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Global Citizen Week Overcomes Apathy and Isolationism to Take On Poverty

Mary Kang for Global Citizen

The world is at an unprecedented point in the journey to ending extreme poverty — never before has so much progress been under so much threat. Thanks to pernicious isolationist policies spreading across the world, foreign assistance — a driving force behind the progress — risks being reduced to such an extent that we will not be able to end extreme poverty by 2030.

The situation calls for an unprecedented response, and ours was Global Citizen Week. For the first time ever during 17-23 Sept, Global Citizen collaborated with partners to hold 30 events across New York City, turning the city into an arena of activism against poverty.

And now that it’s all wrapped, we can officially say that unity is the only way to fight poverty. Take a look at how much can happen when global citizens come together to help change the world:

— In the two months leading up to Global Citizen Week, Global Citizens took over 1.6 million actions urging leaders to tackle extreme poverty

— This collective cry helped drive 29 commitments, 55 announcements and 13 calls to action, that totaled $3.2 billion, which are set to affect the lives of 221 million people

— During the course of the week, seven heads of government and more than 30 foreign ministers, ambassadors, and the heads of the world’s most influential NGOs participated in the week of advocacy.

— 27 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle highlighted their support for fully funding American foreign aid. This bipartisan demonstration sent a strong signal to the Trump administration that Congress understands that America’s leadership is vital for America and the world.

— The President of France announced with the President of Senegal that the two countries would run a fundraising drive to raise $3.1 billion for the Global Partnership for Education over the next 6 months to ensure 870 million children receive the education they need.

TOP COMMITMENTS:

ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: Accenture, Citi, Ernst & Young, and Procter & Gamble each committed to source $100 million from women-owned businesses — a majority of whom will be based in the developing world. This $400M commitment will be delivered through our partners at WEConnect International, bringing to $1 billion the total that has been committed on the Global Citizen stage from corporates towards women’s economic empowerment in the past 12 months.

HIV/AIDS: Global Citizen partners Johnson & Johnson committed to accelerate the healthcare company’s HIV vaccine and announced that for the first time it is going into late stage human clinical trials.  It is the world’s first ever “global” vaccine, which means it can protect against all strains of HIV. In early stage studies the vaccine has shown 100% immune rate.

FAMINE: Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), as a member of the Appropriations Committee announced that encouraged by Global Citizens taking over 60,000 actions, his colleagues in the Senate have proposed $311.5 million more in funds for International Disaster Assistance compared to last year.

YAZIDI JUSTICE: Three years since the genocide was committed by ISIS, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, announced that the UK led the UN Security Council to a unanimous vote this week on the decision to set up a UN Investigation Team to pursue justice for the Yazidis. The UN resolution on ISIS accountability was described as a “long overdue first step” by the UN Office for the High Commissioner on Human Rights. This comes after an 18 month campaign and over 100,000 actions taken by Global Citizens.

TOP ANNOUNCEMENTS:

FRANCE: Thanks to Global Citizen’s two year long campaign, and nearly half a million actions, including those of Global Citizen and GPE Ambassador Rihanna, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that for the first time ever a G7 country— France — was to co-host the Global Partnership for Education replenishment with an African country — Senegal in order to raise $3.1 billion to reach 870 million children with the education they need.

FAMINE: Executive Director of the World Food Program, David Beasley, confirmed that $575 million of $990 million committed by Congress in May — a commitment helped by 49,291 actions taken by Global Citizens — has been released to the WFP and others to immediately fight the famine. He then issued a powerful call to action to Global Citizens, revealing that after years of progress, the number of hungry people in the world is going up.

GHANA: President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, committed on the festival stage to end child marriage. The newly elected President inherited the initiative to end child marriage in the country from his predecessor, so this stage moment provided confirmation that the new president has officially committed to continue with the National Strategic Framework on Ending Child Marriage in Ghana. As part of this announcement, the President also reaffirmed his pledge to provide universal free secondary education.

GIRLS AND WOMEN

403,983 ACTIONS AND CAMPAIGNING DELIVER 10 COMMITMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS VALUED AT $509 MILLION:

ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: Accenture, Citi, Ernst & Young, and Procter & Gamble each committed to source $100 million from women-owned businesses — a majority of whom will be based in the developing world. This $400M commitment will be delivered through our partners at WEConnect International, bringing to $1 billion the total been committed on the Global Citizen stage from corporates towards women’s economic empowerment in the past 12 months.

“I’m proud to stand with Accenture, Citi, EY and Procter & Gamble, who are collectively pledging four hundred million to buy from women-owned businesses over the next three years, especially in developing countries. This commitment, together with corporate commitments made over the last twelve months on the Global Citizen stage, represents a total of one billion in spend with women. Thank you!”— Elizabeth Vazquez, CEO and Co-Founder, WEConnect International

COMMONWEALTH: The UK, as incoming Chair of the Commonwealth - an association of 52 nations that is home to 2.4 billion people - committed to put gender equality on the 2018 Commonwealth Summit agenda and acknowledged the 17,750 tweets received from Global Citizens.

“Gender discrimination remains an issue in too many counties. That’s why Global Citizen’s Level the Law campaign are so vital, and why the United Kingdom supports it. Until women and girls are afforded the same rights, we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. So we all need to step up our efforts.”— Alistair Burt, Minister of State for the Department for International Development and Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK.

LEVEL THE LAW: In March 2016, Global Citizen with partners CHIME FOR CHANGE and UN WOMEN launched a campaign to “Level the Law” for women all over the world. Over the past few months, Global Citizens have taken 54,000 actions to eradicate gender discriminatory laws.

GHANA: President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, committed on the festival stage to end child marriage. The newly elected President inherited the initiative to end child marriage in the country from his predecessor, so this stage moment provided confirmation that the new president has officially committed to continue with the National Strategic Framework on Ending Child Marriage in Ghana.

UN WOMEN: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women, and Pakistani activist Uzma Gul used the festival stage to call on everyone to do their part to level the playing field for women and end child marriage.

We must act to ensure girls remain in school, complete their education, and achieve their potential. Critically, men and boys must take responsibility and say no more. Please support the UN Women’s HeforShe movement and say: “No more child marriage.”Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women; Under-Secretary-General, United Nations

“Global Citizens, keep tweeting, emailing and calling on your leaders to Level the Law and end child marriage for a brighter future for all!” Uzma Gul, child marriage activist, Pakistan

YAZIDI JUSTICE: Over the course of an 18 month campaign to achieve justice for the Yazidi genocide, Global Citizen have targeted both UN Security Council members and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as two critical bodies with the power to kick start the process of building and prosecuting a case against ISIS. Both entities stepped up to make commitments that they would do just that — much needed critical progress 3 years after the genocide occurred.

UK Permanent Representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, announced that the UK led the UN Security Council to a unanimous vote this week on the decision to set up a UN Investigation Team to pursue justice for the Yazidis. The UN resolution on ISIS accountability was described as a “long overdue first step” by the UN Office for the High Commissioner on Human Rights.

“By 15 votes to 0, we decided to set up a UN Investigation Team that will help Iraq collect, preserve, and store evidence of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by Daesh.” — Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Representative to the UN, UK

UN Assistant Secretary-General of Human Rights Andrew Gilmour responded to 80,000 actions by Global Citizens and committed that the UN teams on the ground would gather evidence to secure justice for the Yazidis.

“Like tens of thousands of outraged and committed Global Citizens, the UN Human Rights Office has been calling loudly for investigation and justice. Tonight I commit that my colleagues on the ground will monitor and report on human rights abuses for the purpose of evidence-gathering.” Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General of Human Rights, United Nations

Yazidi activist and ISIS survivor Shireen Ibrahim shared her story with the crowd, calling for unity in the face of these atrocities that over 3 years since they were committed, not a single victim has received justice.

“ISIS still holds many Yazidis in captivity. We cannot stop fighting for their freedom and justice. I ask for you, Global Citizens, to not only hear my story, but to call on the UN and world leaders to end impunity for ISIS crimes.”— Shireen Ibrahim, Yazidi activist and ISIS survivor

WOMEN’S HEALTH: Global Citizen in partnership with CHIME FOR CHANGE has supported the She Decides campaign since its launch in February, taking 54,000 actions in the lead up to the Festival:

DENMARK: Denmark commits to doubling the funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights of women. The Minister for Development Cooperation announced that the country would contribute more than $110 million USD for women’s health in 2018.

“How can a young girl go to school, if she is forced to marry? Or if her road to school is unsafe? Or if pregnancy forces her to drop out? Global citizens: we need to act on this. Denmark may be a small country, but our voices are loud. That’s why we will double the funding for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Next year we set aside more than $110 million for global efforts.”Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark

LUXEMBOURG: The country’s Prime Minister issued a strong call to action to other leaders to invest in adequate health for girls and women with a focus on sexual and reproductive health.

“We must continue to invest in adequate and quality health for girls and women, including sexual and reproductive health services, which is critical to prevent sexual abuse, early childhood marriage, and HIV/AIDS. Together, we can achieve a world where She Decides” - Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister, Luxembourg

EDUCATION

195,650 ACTIONS AND CAMPAIGNING DELIVER 14 COMMITMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS VALUED AT $61 MILLION:

GHANA: President Afuko-Addo reaffirmed their commitment from the Festival stage to implement a policy of free Secondary Education, as part of his vision to promoting gender equality and eliminating child marriage:

We are equally committed to ensuring access to a minimum of senior high school education for the girls of Ghana. A policy that has already started to work...Together we can achieve equality, and empower women and girls.” — Nana Akufo-Addo, President, Ghana

HP: Global Citizen partner HP responded to over 76,000 actions by Global Citizens and committed to impact 1 million lives by 2020 through distributing the new HP School Cloud — a brand new educational device the organization invented that enables students to use it to learn, from wherever they are, even without internet access.

“This week, we’re proud to announce the new HP School Cloud that enables schools without an internet connection to provide students with vital digital learning experiences. With the help of partner governments and organizations like Intel, Global Business Coalition for Education, Education Cannot Wait fund, OpenStax, and Global Citizen, HP will identify the classrooms in most urgent need so that we can help reach one million learners by 2020.” — Stuart Pann, Chief Supply Chain Officer, HP

On stage alongside the Chief Supply Officer of HP was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Malawi, who announced that HP would be collaborating with the country to deliver education services in Malawi.

“We are therefore, grateful that HP, through their programme to impact one million lives by investing in educational software innovation for children, have chosen to partner with Malawi and thus contribute towards improving the quality of education.” — Emmanuel Fabiano,  Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Malawi

Priyanka Chopra, shared the stage moment with governmental and business heads, and challenged Global Citizens to help achieve Global Goal 4: a quality education for all.

“If we don't do this, who will? We owe it to our children. They are this planet’s only future.  Our only hope. I urge you all to invest in the future and stand up for education…today - not tomorrow!” Priyanka Chopra, Actress and Activist

GIRLS EDUCATION:

Global Citizen Youth Advocate: Global Citizen Davinia James demonstrated the difference that one person can make, telling the story of how she single-handedly collected 1.5 million pennies and sent 228 girls to school in Sierra Leone, Haiti, Peru, Ethiopia, Egypt, Nepal, Cambodia, India, and Afghanistan. Her story of how she built the Pennies 4 Girls project was followed by a rousing rallying cry from Afghan humanitarian and education activist, Razia Jan, who issued a strong call to action to everyone in the auditorium at GC LIVE to contribute their pennies.

If every person in this theater gave just one penny, we could improve the future for girls everywhere. One penny at a time, we are changing lives by getting girls to school and giving them a chance. From everyone at the Zabuli Education Center, I thank you all for your time and your action.”— Razia Jan, Afghan humanitarian and education activist

Just before Razia and Davinia left the stage, a message was played from the girls who are impacted by Razia’s fearless educating and Davinia’s generosity.

“Thank you Davinia for doing your part in helping send girls to school. Education is the key for a better future! We need global citizens like you and World Leaders to step up and do their part in ensuring every girl has a chance to go to school - like here at the Zabuli Education Center!”  - Afghan School Girls, Zabuli Education Center

Michelle Obama: Passionate girls’ education advocate and former First Lady Michelle Obama put out a strong call to arms to Global Citizens.

“In the coming months, through the Obama presidential center, we’ll be announcing new ways to commit your time, energy and resources to this cause. And I look forward to working with partners like Global Citizen, and with all of you, to give all our girls the opportunities they deserve.” Michelle Obama, Girls Education Advocate, Former First Lady, US

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT:

Denmark: The Minister for Development Cooperation reaffirmed the country’s commitment made earlier in the week to provide $16 million to go to the Education Cannot Wait fund to help ensure children in conflict and emergency situations do not miss out on an education.

“I want to help women and girls in some of the world’s worst conflicts and humanitarian situations to take advantage of quality education opportunities. Because I want every young girl to be able to start and finish her education, no matter the circumstance! Which is why I am also proud to announce that Denmark has committed USD $16 million to the Education Cannot Wait fund that services children in the most vulnerable circumstances.”  Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark

EU: In an interview broadcast at the festival Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, responded to 90,000 actions from Global Citizens confirmed another commitment to the fund during Global Citizen week of $13 million from the European Commission, and $500,000 from Dubai Cares.

"I am glad to confirm to the 90,000 Global Citizens that already joined our movement and backed our call to world leaders that they are being heard. This week at the UN General Assembly, the European Commission, Denmark and Dubai Cares announced new pledges totaling $29.5 million."  Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait

GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATION

FRANCE: thanks to Global Citizen’s two year long campaign, and nearly half a million actions, including those of Global Citizen and GPE Ambassador Rihanna, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, announced that for the first time ever a G7 country— France — was to co-host the Global Partnership for Education replenishment with an African country — Senegal — in order to raise $3.1 billion to reach 870 million children with the education they need. Ambassador Fode Seck, Permanent Representative to the UN for Senegal, ratified this partnership from the stage.

“It’s all about education precisely to fight against terrorism, fundamentalism. It’s all about education to help women to build their life, to help people to have a decent life. I do believe we can deliver today, and the momentum is now. So please, don’t change. Be as passionate and committed as you are, with everything, and be sure I will be as passionate and as committed as you are especially this evening.” — Emmanuel Macron, President, France

“For the first time in history a G7 nation and an African nation join efforts to ensure that over 870 million children enjoy one of their most important rights: the right to Education.”— Ambassador Fode Seck, Senegal

DENMARK: Danish Minister Ulla Tørnæs announced that they look forward to partnering with the GPE in their replenishment.

“Global Citizens and World Leaders - if we educate a girl, she will change the world. Platforms like the Global Partnership for Education are on a mission to ensure that every girl has control of her future through an education.”Minister of Education, Ulla Tørnæs, Denmark

ARGENTINA: As host of the G20 in 2018, Argentina formally announced that they will commit to funding throughout the Global Partnership for Education replenishment next year, which if fulfilled will go towards educating 870 million children in the world’s poorest countries.

“And I have come here tonight to call on donors and the private sector to step up. Help shape a better future, fund the Global Partnership for Education.  President Macri has asked me to share with you that he will stand with the Global Partnership for Education and will personally attend their Financing Conference in early 2018. We fully believe that every child deserves control of their future, and we will use our G20 presidency to send a strong message to the world that it is time to step up and prioritize education.— Jorge Faurie, Foreign Minister, Argentina

JULIA GILLARD: Chair of the Global Partnership for Education and former Australian Prime Minister underlined the impact of Global Citizen activism in putting education on G20 agenda before announcing historic co-hosting of GPE replenishment by France and Senegal

“Because of all of the actions you have taken, education was prioritized on the G20 agenda this year for the first time and will continue to be prioritized in the next! The world is starting to wake up to the calls of education needed urgently around the world.”— Julia Gillard, Chair, Global Partnership for Education

UNICEF: Danish Minister Ulla Tørnæs announced the country commits $11 million to UNICEF for children around the globe.

WATER AND SANITATION

240,179 ACTIONS AND CAMPAIGNING DELIVER 5 COMMITMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS VALUED AT $11 MILLION THAT ARE SET TO AFFECT LIVES OF 175.5 MILLION PEOPLE BY 2030:

ENDING OPEN DEFECATION: Global Citizens have taken over 240,000 actions on the issue of sanitation to get world leaders to increase action for one of the most neglected Global Goals. At the Festival Nigeria committed to getting 5.5 million people out of open defecation by the end of 2018, as announced by the Nigerian Minister of Water Resources.

“I am therefore here today on behalf of President Buhari to pledge to you that Nigeria will work with partners, including the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, to empower 5.5 million people to achieve Open Defecation Free status by 2018… Thank you Global Citizens! Let’s work together to make this dream a reality!”— Adamu Suleiman, Minister of Water Resources, Nigeria

FECAL SLUDGE MANAGEMENT: Sanitation activist Shomy Chowdhury shared a firm call to action to world leaders for her country of Bangladesh on the issue of fecal sludge management.

“My home of Bangladesh has made historic progress towards access to sanitation, but our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina still has much to do and particularly for fecal sludge management. I also invite President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim of Mauritius, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, to continue your championship of the Global Goals by expanding your commitment to global sanitation.”Shomy Chowdhury, Activist and founder of Awareness 360, Bangladesh

MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT

NORWAY: The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, recognized the importance of menstrual hygiene management — an issue that Global Citizens have taken over 16,000 actions on in the past few months. Norway committed to contribute to sexual and reproductive health services including comprehensive sexuality education for 170 million young people by year 2030 through Norway’s support to UNFPA, UNESCO and other partners to help fix a crisis that holds girls and women back all over the world.

“We invest in girls’ education and health as a moral imperative. We encourage others to step up their work in this area. It is one of the best buys available for global development.”— Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway

ACTIVISM: Young menstrual hygiene activist, Pravin Nikam, from India, made a strong to call arms from the festival stage declaring that we all have a role to play in fixing this crisis.

“Tonight, I call upon world leaders to join Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Global Citizens by taking immediate action to make Menstrual Hygiene Management more accessible. Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada, Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands, and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, you have all shown, as male leaders, you are supportive of women’s health and rights. You are the natural leaders for this effort so please join us by making a commitment to address this critical issue.”Pravin Nikam, Activist

INNOVATION:

AUSTRALIA: Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Australia announced via video message that in their role as members of the HLPW the country will commit $6 million USD towards the Water Innovation Engine— an innovation funding mechanism to support new ideas to fix the water and sanitation crisis.  

“Managing fresh global water resources is an important and urgent challenge. Around the world more than two billion people go without adequate sanitation and lack safe drinking water in their homes. This results in millions of avoidable deaths each year…A coordinated global effort is required to discover new innovations and take them to scale. Today I’m delighted to announce that Australia will contribute six million US dollars to establish a Water Innovation Engine.” — Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia

CANADA announced that they would commit $3.8 million (CAD) towards the Water Innovation Engine — a commitment that will be matched to the tune of $5 million(CAD) by all participating partners. This funding will be provided to innovators who need financial support to bring their innovation ideas to life, and could go on to fix major problems such as fecal sludge management.

FOOD AND HUNGER

208,723 ACTIONS AND CAMPAIGNING DELIVER 7 COMMITMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS VALUED AT $920 MILLION:

Famine Response: In response to the tragedy of 20 million people being at risk of famine, Global Citizens took over 75,000 actions in the run up to the festival.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), speaking at Global Citizen Movement Makers, highlighted the importance of U.S funding for famine response, thanking Global Citizens for their actions which helped secure appropriations for $990 million in new funding for emergency famine response in May.

World Food Program: In an accountability moment, Executive Director of the World Food Program, David Beasley, confirmed that $575 million of this funding has been released to the WFP and others to immediately fight the famine, as part of $1.275b announced by the US government this week. He then issued a powerful call to action to Global Citizens, revealing that after years of progress, the number of hungry people in the world is going up.

“And the good news is that today, this week, the United States announced, $1.3 billion in humanitarian aid, you are making a difference, your voice is being heard. God bless you.” — David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Program

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), as a member of the Appropriations Committee announced that encouraged by Global Citizens taking over 60,000 actions, his colleagues in the Senate have proposed $311.5 million more in funds for International Disaster Assistance compared to last year.

The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is a byproduct of conflict. It’s entirely man-made. The solution is man-made, too. You are the solution. Thanks to your actions, my colleagues in the Senate and I have proposed over $300 million more dollars in funds for International Disaster Assistance. In total, the Senate has called for $1.6 billion in funding for food assistance, and $3.13 billion for International Disaster Assistance.” — Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)

Netherlands: Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation announced via video message to Global Citizens that the Netherlands commits 5 million euros to the UN World Food Programme. This will be an unearmarked contribution so that the WFP are able to flexibly program their funds so that the people with highest needs are reached.

“Global Citizens almost 75K of you have taken action, and the Netherlands is ready to respond to the great effort. So far this year we have contributed 45 million Euros to the WFP, today we commit an additional 5 million to fight famine and starvation where the need is greatest.” — Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Netherlands

Chainsmokers: The band issued a strong call to action from the stage to the governments of the European Commission, Ireland and France to increase their support to meet the UN’s appeal for $2.2 billion to reach the 20 million on brink of starvation in Yemen, Northern Nigeria, Southern Sudan and Somalia

INNOVATION: Almost 75,000 actions have been taken by Global Citizens on the issue of food and hunger in the recent months, to urge a response to the ongoing crisis that sees 20 million people right now on the verge of death. Our calls were certainly answered— by both the public and private spheres stepping up with innovative solutions.

Belgium: The Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, announced on the stage that Belgium is committing to doubling its investment in humanitarian research & innovation— from $10 million this year, to $20 million next year. This investment will go towards innovation such as the humanitarian drones program, funded by the Belgian Government with the United Nations World Food Program that maps crisis areas and reaches those who are most vulnerable.[C]

“I encourage all humanitarian donors to do the same, and I ask all innovators to share their ideas. To create and to inspire. With more investments in innovation we will help more people and we will save more lives.”— Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister, Belgium

Procter and Gamble announced a commitment that will help to tackle malnutrition through greatly reducing the risk of waterborne diseases. The organization committed to provide 200 million litres of clean water in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen over the next 6 - 9 months. They will do this working with their Children’s Safe Drinking Water partners— Save the Children, World Vision and CARE, who will deliver the distribution of P&G Purifier of Water packets that enable people to collect water from open sources and turn it into clean drinking water. [C]

“Children and families struggle to survive because they have no choice but to drink water filled with contaminants and waterborne diseases, leading to sickness, malnutrition, and widespread loss of life. That’s why I’m pleased to announce tonight that Procter & Gamble will provide 200 million litres of clean water in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.” Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble

Palmiro Ocampo, Chef and activist from Peru committed on the stage to work with families throughout his country to get Peru to zero hunger by 2030 as part of the Cocina con Causa programme. Via the initiative, Ocampo will continue to visit families across the country preparing meals and sharing recipe ideas to combat anaemia, malnutrition and obesity.

“Tonight, I am committing to work with families throughout my country to get Peru to zero hunger by 2030. This may represent just a little grain of sand, but together we can build a whole beach of hope.” Palmiro Ocampo, chef and activist

HEALTH

191,048 ACTIONS AND CAMPAIGNING DELIVER 13 COMMITMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS VALUED AT $1.6 BILLION THAT ARE SET TO AFFECT LIVES OF 45 MILLION PEOPLE:

HIV/AIDS

CLINTON HEALTH ACCESS INITIATIVE; A brand new pricing agreement was announced by the Clinton Health Access Initiative on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, DFID, Unitaid, and UNAIDS which will ensure 30 million people living with HIV in countries with the greatest need will have access to an optimal treatment — starting with Kenya and South Africa. The agreement is set to save these countries at least $1 billion over the next 6 years. As part of their announcement, the partnership confirmed an additional $300 million in savings for the first time.

“So for the first time ever, people living in 92 low and middle income countries will have access to an optimal treatment containing dolutegravir for less than a quarter a day. This new negotiated agreement is set to save our world at least $1.3 billion over the next 6 years. $1.3 billion that can bring us closer to ending HIV/AIDS and other diseases that affect the world’s poorest for good!” Carolyn Amole, Senior Director, Clinton Health Access Initiative

“As part of the efforts to scale up high-quality treatment for all, I am very happy to announce that South Africa along with Kenya are two of the first countries that have agreed to introduce into their markets this important medicine and transform the lives of their people. This means that not only will many more  people have access to more affordable treatment for HIV and AIDS, but that they will have access to the best drug on the global market, with fewer side effects, and will only need to take one pill a day.” Dr. Linda-Gail Bekker, President, International AIDS Society

JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Global Citizen partners Johnson & Johnson commits to accelerate the healthcare company’s HIV vaccine and announced that for the first time it is ready to go into large scale efficiency testing in humans.  It is the world’s first ever “global” vaccine, which means it can protect against all strains of HIV. In early stage studies the vaccine has shown 100% immune rate. The Chief Scientific Officer for the organization thanked Global Citizens for being a partner and promised that the company would not rest until HIV was history.

“Today we are thrilled to announce for the first time, that we are going into large scale efficacy testing of the HIV vaccine in humans. As a scientist and a physician… I can tell you that these results make me more optimistic than ever before that we get to an HIV vaccine in our lifetime.” — Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson

LUXEMBOURG: Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, stepped up to the Global Citizen stage to announce his commitment to dismantle the stigma around HIV and invited global citizens to work with him in that endeavour to ensure people with HIV are treated with the respect and humanity they deserve. He also took the opportunity to call for continued investment in sexual and reproductive health services for girls and women.

“As one of the first openly gay heads of government in the world, I am incredibly passionate about issues that disproportionately affect the LGBT community. I fiercely support movements that are working for better outcomes for people affected by HIV/AIDS, and I believe it’s equally important to break down the stigma that comes with this diagnosis…. This is why I call upon you, as global citizens and ultimately as fellow humans, to work with me to dismantle this stigma and ensure that all people with HIV are treated with the respect, dignity, and humanity they deserve.”— Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister, Luxembourg

PARIS JACKSON: Paris Jackson was announced as HIV and AIDS Ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and committed to championing this cause in her new role

ZIKA: In the lead up to the festival, Global Citizens took over 67,000 actions to ensure that governments and companies stepped up for global health security. Global Citizen partners Johnson & Johnson announced that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies (Janssen), is partnering with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) to accelerate development of a preventive Zika vaccine to help cessate the rapid spread of this virus that is now reported in 84 countries and territories across the world.

“As we have done with Ebola, when we accelerated the development of a vaccine to help prevent the disease, Johnson & Johnson is today proud to announce that we have entered into collaboration with Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to advance a promising investigational Zika Vaccine...Bringing together the brightest scientific minds and latest technologies we aim to develop a vaccine and help stop the spread of this disease. Working together we will ensure society wins, and Zika loses.” Gaston Picchio, Vice President of Zika Research, Johnson & Johnson

MATERNAL HEALTH: After 29,699 actions were taken by Global Citizens in the run up to the festival, Ugandan MP and so called “ghetto president” Bobi Wine, declared that he will use his platform as an elected official to improve the lives of Ugandan mothers and children. The ‘ghetto president’ committed that on his return home he would hold his government accountable for the promises it has made on healthcare end campaign to ensure that the country increases the health portion of the budget to 15% and increase health spending towards maternal and child health care by over 50%. The MP was joined on stage by activist Denis Muwanguzi and health champion and hip hop artist French Montana who both issued firm demands on behalf of Ugandan mothers and children.[A]

“Currently, Uganda spends less than $1 a month on each citizen’s health care, which adds up to less than 6.3% of the national budget. To improve the survival of Ugandan mothers and children, at least 15% of the budget must be allocated to the health sector.”Denis Muwanguzi, Activist and Founder, Suubi Health Center

“There is still more to be done and as global citizens we must raise our voices to fight for the health of people everywhere!” French Montana, Global Citizen Health Champion and hip hop artist

WHO Partnership: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization issued a powerful call to action for universal health coverage before announcing a partnership with Global Citizen to help achieve a healthier world for all.

Tonight, I’m delighted to announce that I have agreed with Global Citizen that we will join forces to make universal health coverage and health for all on the global agenda. But to do this — we need your help! Your voice matters. So Global Citizens, speak up! Keep tweeting, emailing, and calling on your leaders to invest in Health for All! — Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO

SERGE IBAKA: NBA player Serge Ibaka shared his moving personal story of growing up in extreme poverty with the festival crowd before declaring himself a Global Citizen advocate.

PREVENTABLE DISEASES

Malta: The Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, reaffirmed his previous commitment to Global Citizens on polio eradication, declaring that in his final 6 months as Chair of the Commonwealth he would increase his efforts to ensure preventable diseases like polio and malaria make it to the top of the Commonwealth Summit agenda in 2018.

“Today, we pledge that during the next 6 months, until the Commonwealth family meets again in London, we will engage with more leaders to deliver new resources to finish the job. So keep on tweeting, keep on emailing, keep on making yourself heard because it works.”— Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister, Malta

UK: In response to a multi year campaign and over 32,000 actions taken in the last few months alone by Global Citizen, the UK made multiple commitments to help wipe the world of preventable diseases. The government kicked off Global Citizen week with the Minister of State for International Development declaring a reaffirmation at GC LIVE! of the country’s commitment to reach 45 million people with polio vaccinations to help eradicate the virus once and for all.

“The UK stands beside Malta in our dedication to ending polio, malaria, and other preventable diseases. This past August, the UK announced a new commitment of £100 million to eradicate polio once and for all, which I reaffirm in front of you all tonight.” — Alistair Burt, Minister of State for the Department for International Development and Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK

Commonwealth: Baroness Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretary-General called for universal vaccine access across the Commonwealth, and declared that tackling malaria was officially a Commonwealth priority;

“We need vaccinations for every at-risk child in the Commonwealth. Next, we need to focus on the deadliest killer disease of all time, malaria. 90 percent of Commonwealth people live in malaria-affected countries. Commonwealth countries account to two thirds of the global population at risk from Malaria. That’s why mobilizing efforts to rid the world of malaria is a priority for our Commonwealth family of nations.” — Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General, Commonwealth

UAE: The UAE government announced another critical commitment towards preventable diseases during the week. Via video message the Director General of Abu Dhabi’s health authority, Dr Maha Bakarat, thanked Global Citizens for taking over 170,000 actions on SDG 3 to ensure global health before committing $5 million towards the Rollback Malaria Partnership, with the Gates Foundation.

“It gives me great honor to tell you that the UAE is committed to preventing Malaria for the world's most vulnerable. Together with the Gates Foundation, we are pledging $5m to the Rollback Malaria Partnership. Keep taking action and together we can end preventable diseases for good!” — Dr Maha Bakarat, Director General for the Health Authority, Abu Dhabi

US FOREIGN ASSISTANCE

166,815 ACTIONS AND CAMPAIGNING DELIVER 26 ANNOUNCEMENTS SUPPORTING AMERICA’S FOREIGN AID PROGRAM:

When the Trump Administration proposed catastrophic cuts to foreign assistance in May, Global Citizen launched the #StoptheCuts campaign. Since then Global Citizens have taken 358,000 actions to demand congress stand up for US foreign aid. And it was abundantly clear that this collective cry had been heard when 26 members of Congress participated in Global Citizen Week events, highlighting their support for full funding for American foreign aid.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): Minority Leader Schumer responded to the 17,515 Global Citizens in New York that tweeted at him to stand up for foreign assistance, issuing a rallying cry to the crowd from the Festival stage.

“We’re all here today because we know the world is a better place when we stand up for the ideals that make America, America. That we are all entitled to liberty, justice, and equality under the law. That we welcome the world’s tired, poor, and huddled masses to our shores. And that we are a stronger country when we pledge to fight disease and poverty – not only within our borders, but beyond them. So I was shocked when the White House proposed major cuts to the International Affairs Budget this year….Almost 20,000 of you have tweeted at me to show your support for this important work. I couldn’t be prouder of you – and I. Stand. With You!

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY): Rep Rogers, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee for State, Foreign Operations & Related Programs provided a statement in support of foreign assistance:

“Like all of you at Global Citizen I wholeheartedly support America’s global leadership and our shared efforts to combat poverty around the world.. Foreign aid saves lives, builds economies and keeps us safe here at home.”

Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA): reminded the 60,000 strong crowd that America’s leadership in foreign aid is essential to global security:

“Stepping up and helping those in need is a fundamental American value. Our leadership is needed on the world stage for strength, stability, and as a beacon of moral responsibility.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): Following advocacy from Global Citizens in Tennessee, Connie Britton, and Green Day, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Corker issued a strong video statement underlining the importance of America’s investments in global food security, in light of the famine which sees 20 million people on the brink of starvation:

“As the largest single donor, the United-States have been providing substantial resources to address this crisis…. We’ve already made significant progress and with your support I am confident we will succeed. Thank you for your tremendous passion and dedication to this issue. It is making a world of difference.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) warned of the consequences of slashing foreign aid:

“We each need each other, we depend on each other. America cannot retreat from the world without consequences.”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) thanked Global Citizens for taking over 50,000 actions in support of the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act (READ), which passed in Congress and was signed into law this month.  

“This bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation that I’ve worked on in my career, but I couldn’t have done this without Global Citizens. Supporters like you took over 50,000 actions in support of the READ Act. Your tweets, calls, and petitions encouraged other members of congress to cosponsor my legislation.” Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)

OTHER COMMITMENTS/ANNOUNCEMENTS

195,650 ACTIONS AND CAMPAIGNING DELIVER 10 COMMITMENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS VALUED AT $60 MILLION:

Speakers and celebrities throughout the event called on Global Citizens to take action to achieve the SDGs. (ie, Jackman).

PEACE & JUSTICE

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY: President of the UNGA Miroslav Lajčák calls for peace, for justice, for all  at Global Citizen Festival 2017

“First, we need to stop wars. We must achieve the sustainable development goal and fight climate change. We must protect the human dignity and human rights of every single person, including those who are forced to leaves their house. We need to do this all, to protect and preserve our planet, for you. I pledge to you to work around the clock to achieve these goals as a Global Citizen ambassador and as a father.” — Miroslav Lajcak, President of the UN General Assembly

COLOMBIA: President Santos of Colombia, Nobel Peace Laureate for the historic peace agreement with Colombian rebel forces FARC, made a strong statement of solidarity with the Global Citizen movement that was shown via video message:

“Our challenge is to make sure that every man, every woman, and every child, get a chance to live with dignity…. Free from the chains of poverty and violence. Whatever affects one of us, affects all of us, and in the face of fear and despair, we as Global Citizens must make the certainty of hope possible. For freedom. For justice. For all.” — Juan Manuel Santos, President, Colombia

MANDELA’S LEGACY: With the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth coming up next year, the festival opened with an invocation of the legacy of the great leader and his deep-rooted belief that poverty could be eradicated from the former President’s grandsons. Minister in the South African Presidency, Jeff Radebe, invited Global Citizens to honor Mandela’s legacy by defeating poverty together.

“Our Grandfather believed that “poverty is man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” And through his memory we challenge a new generation to take action.”— Kweku Mandela

“We are extremely grateful to be here tonight and to represent one of the greatest leaders and global citizens of all time — the former President of South Africa and our grandfather, Nelson Mandela.” — Ndaba Mandela

Minister Jeff Radebe took the opportunity to reaffirm South Africa’s commitment to ending extreme poverty, saying, “In my country, South Africa, we have developed the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 to deal decisively with the challenges of Poverty, Unemployment, and Inequality.”  He continued, “To effect real, substantive and meaningful change requires commitment and action by all of us, all over the world. It is about an active global citizenry. Let’s all join hands, as Mandela asked of us, to defeat and make poverty history.” — Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency, South Africa

CITIZENSHIP: Primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall gave a moving speech on the festival stage about what it means to be a Global Citizen, and declaring that despite the troubling times we live in, there is hope for change.

“As we continue to show cruelty toward each other, other animals, and wage war against the environment, we are hurting ourselves. Despite this, I have reasons for hope: I am hopeful because of the resilience of nature and our indomitable human spirit, and most of all, when I see the commitment of young people — your passion and courage to bring change.”— Jane Goodall, UN Messenger for Peace

ACTIVISM: George Harrison Global Citizen Award Winner Annie Lennox closed the GC LIVE! event at the start of Global Citizen Week with a powerful invocation to the inner activist in all of us and an antidote to the despair or apathy that these trying times can provoke.

“So here’s what you can do just as one person… Inform yourself… Choose a cause to which you can give your commitment. Support an organisation and join them...
Donate what you can afford, or persuade others to raise money, speak up, write, march… Just do something! And if you’re listening to this and you haven’t already done so, go to the Global Citizen website and take your first step into transformative change through positive action.”— Annie Lennox, George Harrison Global Citizen Award Winner

HUMANITARIAN CRISES AND CLIMATE CHANGE:

THE LUMINEERS: took a break from their set on stage in Central Park to call on the governments of Sweden, France and Italy to provide urgently required funds to help the millions of people in crisis due to extreme weather conditions across the Caribbean, Nepal, India and Bangladesh. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda — a country devastated by hurricane Irma —  appeared on stage alongside the band to amplify the call to action.

“Tonight, we call on the governments of Sweden, France, and Italy to do the right thing, to step up and provide the life-saving funds needed for food, shelter and medical care for millions of people facing these crises.” — The Lumineers

“With Hurricane Irma, my island of Barbuda was flattened and has been completely evacuated. Last week, we witnessed Maria devastate our neighbor Dominica. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda is doing its part in the recovery and rebuilding efforts for Barbuda, but we cannot do this alone. We are appealing for international assistance to aid in the redevelopment and resettlement of the population of Barbuda.” — Gaston Browne, Prime Minister, Antigua and Barbuda

WFP: Executive Director of the World Food Program, David Beasley announced that donors had committed $8 million to address the humanitarian crisis affecting the Rohingya people.

UAE: In the wake of Hurricane Irma, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment committed $50 million on the Global Citizen stage to fund renewable energy supplies, another $10 million towards humanitarian relief in Antigua and Barbuda. Rodney E.L. Williams, the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda stood alongside the Minister, declaring that this commitment will enable the islands to rebuild a sustainable future faster — including safe learning spaces at a critical time when children risk missing out on an education.

“We are here in response to all of the passionate calls, signed petitions, and tweets from you and Global Citizen Ambassadors like the co-founder of CHIME FOR CHANGE, Salma Hayek-Pinault. Now, more than ever, our work matters. In the wake of storms like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, it is crucial that we move full-steam ahead towards sustainable, low-carbon development”— H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE

“Climate change does not respect borders; it does not respect who you are – famous or not-so-famous, rich or poor. It is a global threat, which requires global solidarity. The only global solidarity is to recognize that we are all Global Citizens.— Rodney E.L. Williams, Governor General, Antigua and Barbuda