6 Epic Things UK Global Citizens Helped Achieve in 2018
Who can even remember February? We can! And here’s why.
What do you think of when you look back over the past year?
Is it David Attenborough and the war he sparked on plastic? Maybe it's Black Panther or Avengers: Infinity War, or Ariana Grande's 'thank u, next'. Maybe it's a giant inflatable of Donald Trump dressed as a baby flying over London, or the inflatable of London Mayor Sadiq Khan in a similar get-up that followed. Perhaps let's all try to forget the endless back-and-forth over Brexit.
When we look back at 2018, we're thinking about the incredible achievements that you Global Citizens have helped make happen. We've welcomed wins for gender equality, health, education, nutrition, and much more — and that's all thanks to you.
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Here's a reminder of some of the most amazing things you've helped achieve in 2018:
1. You helped every child get an education
February feels like a long way back, but let’s not forget that it saw the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference hosted jointly for the first time by a G7 leader and a president of a developing country, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal.
The conference, hosted in Dakar, Senegal, brought in an extraordinary $2.3 billion to support education in developing countries — and it will have an impact on children’s lives for years to come.
🇬🇧 Hello @theresa_may and @PennyMordaunt, please continue to prioritize girls’ education and be a top funder of @GPforEducation. Will @DFID_UK make a historic commitment of £380M to #FundEducation tomorrow? ✏️ @claralionelfdn@glblctzn— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 1, 2018
And you helped make that happen!
After 1.4 million dedicated Global Citizens and activists raised their voices, the UK government announced that it would help keep 880,000 children in school by pledging £225 million to the GPE.
That’s enough to train 170,000 teachers; build 2,400 new classrooms; and distribute more than 20 million new textbooks.
2. You made Global Citizen Live London sensational
In April, just days before the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting kicked off in London, thousands of Global Citizens gathered at O2 Academy Brixton for a night of entertainment and activism.
Some of the biggest names in music — including Emeli Sandé, Professor Green, Naughty Boy, and Gabrielle Aplin — joined forces with hosts like Maya Jama and Adwoa Aboah, as well as three heads of government, representatives from eight governments, business leaders, and NGOs, all to mobilise momentum in support of the world’s poorest people.
But remember how you couldn’t buy your tickets? Instead, you all took action to earn your place in the crowd.
Ahead of Global Citizen Live London, Global Citizens in the UK and around the world took 257,000 actions to help drive progress on eliminating neglected tropical diseases, improving nutrition, and ensuring girls everywhere get an education.
And it inspired governments, businesses, and NGOs to make financial pledges in support of those issues that totalled over £305 million. That’s what happens when we all raise our voices together!
3. You joined the fight for justice for the Rohingya
It’s been over a year since Rohingya children and their families were raped, murdered, and assaulted in a horrific surge of violence in Myanmar.
But no one is facing consequences for the crimes committed against the Rohingya people.
That’s why Global Citizen joined forces with Save the Children in August, to call on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to draft a UN Security Council Resolution referring the situation to the International Criminal Court.
You raised your voices for justice in your tens of thousands. In fact, 45,000 of you signed our petition to help put pressure on the UK to use its position as penholder for Myanmar on the UN Security Council to ensure justice is delivered.
And we got a response from the British government too, in the form of a letter from MP Mark Field, in his role as minister of state for Asia and the Pacific.
It assured us that, while “accountability for serious crimes of this nature typically takes a long time to achieve … this government is determined to stay the course.”
4. You stood with every woman and every child
This year also brought us a replenishment conference in Oslo, Norway, for what’s known as the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman, Every Child (GFF) — which works to protect the health of mothers and children around the world.
The replenishment conference in November gathered together world leaders to make financial pledges in support of the fund.
In just three months, more than 90,000 Global Citizens took action to tell governments why you care about the health of mothers and babies, and call on world leaders to stand together in support of the GFF. And the UK really stepped up.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt announced £50 million in support of the fund — that will help save the lives of 35 million women and children.
“Empowering women and girls and investing in health services not only saves lives but also helps the most marginalised people to realise their full potential,” said Mordaunt at the conference. “UK aid is supporting the Global Financing Facility to make a bigger impact in this area, bringing together governments and the private sector to fill the gaps in healthcare around the world.”
5. You helped raise over $7 billion to end extreme poverty in honour of Nelson Mandela
In December, Global Citizen brought together its largest-ever contingency of heads of state, dignitaries, business owners, artists, influencers, and Global Citizens to celebrate the year that marks the centenary of Nelson Mandela.
Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 filled Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium with tens of thousands of Global Citizens from all over the world — and it set a historic stage for all of us to continue the legacy of Mandela, and achieve his dream of a world free from extreme poverty.
Together, we rallied behind the campaign and, around the world, Global Citizens took over 5.65 million actions to help honour and progress Mandela’s dream.
And it inspired some truly phenomenal commitments — including $154.9 million towards ending neglected tropical diseases rom the END Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Aid, Virgin Unite, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the ELMA Foundation (UK), Mozambique, Botswana, and Belgium.
A number of significant pledges were also made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The United States, for example, committed £1.2 billion to be channelled though PEPFAR — which is the largest single pledge the US government has ever made to combat HIV/AIDS.
The Motsepe Foundation, the hosting and presenting partnership of the festival, also announced a series of massive commitments totalling over $104.4 million — and set to advance education, economic inclusion, and equality of women and girls; and to help ensure that land is made available to black people living in rural and urban areas.
6. You helped make sure everyone knows how much you value UK aid
UK aid is the funding that Britain puts towards disaster relief, international development, and supporting people out of poverty — and it saves a life every two minutes.
Thanks to the cross-party understanding that UK aid is vital, it’s been written into British law that we will put 0.7% of our gross national income (GNI) towards UK aid.
Despite that, however, that 0.7% commitment is constantly under siege from certain politicians and media outlets — meaning that we all have to raise our voices to reassure the government that UK aid is valued by the British public.
And you’ve done just that!
This year, Global Citizens have taken more than 100,000 actions in support of UK aid — including emails to almost every MP in the country.
That's so important because, in this turbulent political time, it's more important than ever for MPs to know that their constituents care about aid — because it makes them more likely to work to protect it.
It’s been a huge year and we want to thank you for everything you’ve helped achieve. Every petition signature, every tweet, every email you send — it’s all making a difference, and it’s all contributing to the global effort to end extreme poverty.
So, that’s a wrap for 2018. And we’ll see you on the other side, to get started on all the change we’re going to make happen in 2019!