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Citizenship

How many lives will the 2014 Global Citizen Festival Affect?

Global Poverty Project worked with 24 Partners to bring about commitments for the world's poor.

In short: the lives of up to 259 million people by 2020.

It’s a wrap for Global Citizen Festival 2014 but our flagship event in Central Park on September 27th 2014 is set to see major impact, making a significant contribution towards making the end of extreme poverty by 2030 a reality, and yet we can’t stop now - we need a movement stronger than ever if we are to achieve this dream.

This is like directly reaching the entire population of a country that could be the fourth largest on Earth, with only China, India and the United States with larger populations.

We couldn't be more excited to share this snapshot of what happened at the festival but know that there’s way more news to share in the coming weeks. Then, after reading through, check out MSNBC's reflection on the festival too.  Click here to find out more about how we measure how many lives will be affected.

Global Citizen Impact Snapshot:

In front of a crowd of 50,000 Global Citizens, 15 world leaders like World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with heads of state like, Narendra Modi - Prime Minister of India and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Prime Minister of Liberia, and over 30 celebrities, we joined together to take action and make commitments that will make a significant difference to the lives of the world’s poorest people.

We created a unified moment in time through the platform of the Global Citizen 2014 stage where the voices of artists including JAY Z, No Doubt, Carrie Underwood, Fun. The Roots and Tiësto, joined by guests Sting, Alicia Keys, and Beyoncé - would also resound with commitments made from world leaders, like Erna Solberg - Prime Minister of Norway, Pulitzer Prize winner Sheryl WuDunn and our new muppet friend Raya and her friend Elmo, as well as the CEOs and Directors of global corporations like H&M, Unilever and Procter & Gamble.

Together with our partners at The World Bank Group, Global Citizens secured our greatest and most impactful commitment ever. Junaid Ahmad World Bank’s Senior Director, Water Global Practice, said "It is with pride today that I announce that the World Bank Group commits to spend 15 billion over the next 5 years to provide safe sanitation and water solutions. And in partnership with the United Nations and organizations like BRAC, WaterAid, Water.org and One Drop reach close to 150 million poor people."

Why did we all join together? Well, Global Citizens took a total of 305,000 actions to earn their tickets to festival. We joined together through our campaigning around these central issues: Sanitation, Child Health, Education and Youth & Adolescent Rights.

We took a stand towards The End of Extreme Poverty by 2030

We took a massive stand towards our main mission - to see the end of extreme poverty by 2030. So far, 225,000 Global Citizens and others have signed the Zero Poverty 2030 petition. With an estimated 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty, we’re delighted to share that World Bank President Jim Yong Kim committed to putting US $65 billion a year towards the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also committed to ensuring that the Post 2015 Agenda to end poverty by 2030 is sufficiently ambitious. The accountability of the Post-2015 Framework and national plans, with the ongoing call to action from global citizens around the world means that we can have our eye firmly on the prize - the end of extreme poverty by 2030.

Education - at a glance

Global Citizens took 100,000 actions on universal education that resulted in commitments worth US $20 million from Denmark to affect the lives of up to 1.3 million children by 2017, through Global Partnership for Education and UNICEF.

Child Health - at a glance

Global Citizens took 85,000 actions on Child Survival, particularly vaccines, that resulted in commitments worth over US $1 billion which could directly affect the lives of 34 million kids through immunization programs by 2020, made by our partners Norway, Luxembourg with the United States of America. Funds will be distributed through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and The Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Sanitation - at a glance

Global Citizens took 65,000 actions on Water and Sanitation, creating a stink that resulted in commitments worth US $15.5 billion which could affect the lives of up to 224 million people by 2020, made by our partners Sesame Workshop, H&M Conscious Foundation, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, as well as Nepal, Madagascar and World Bank, who made a stand out commitment worth US $15 billion alone.

Themes included - universal access to quality sanitation through toilets, latrines and hygiene; access to toilets in schools including access for female students of menstruating age, ending open defecation and ending the poo taboo.

Youth and Adolescent Rights - at a glance

Global Citizens took 55,000 actions on youth and adolescent rights that resulted in a prior decision to commit US $14 million and an additional US $15 million to their new Amplify Change Fund that will support the lives of millions of young people by supporting their Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.


And now we break it down further:

Education

1. Denmark strengthens their commitment to the Global Partnership for Education

Flickr: Thomas Galvez

Global Citizens know that education is one of the most powerful tools to alleviating extreme poverty, yet 58 million children around the world still don’t have access to education. To address this, Global Citizens took over 100,000 actions and we hope that these will result in a big commitment in the fall of 2014.

Meanwhile at the Festival, the Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning Schmidt told the crowd, “Today I am happy to launch an additional pledge of a US $9 million donation this year.” This donation to the Global Partnership for Education, together with a commitment of US $11 million to UNICEF Pakistan, which will help get children in Malala’s native areas, especially girls living in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan into school, will affect the lives of up to 1.3 million children by 2017.

Child Health

2. Norway’s Prime Minister and African Leaders announce commitments to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

GAVI / D. Rowe

Vaccines are one of the easiest ways to reduce child deaths and increase global health. Global Citizens took 85,000 actions on Child Survival, particularly vaccines, that resulted in commitments worth over US $1 billion which could directly affect the lives of 34 million kids through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, by 2020, made by our friends in Norway.

And, it get’s better. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia appeared in a video message at the festival in representation of a coalition of African leaders, known as Immunize Africa. She reaffirmed their ongoing commitment to co-finance Gavi’s vaccination programs, with a combined commitment of US $700 million over the next five years. 

3. Luxembourg strengthens commitment to Global Fund

Flickr: US Army Africa / Rick Scavetta

Meanwhile, Luxembourg together with the United States of America announced a new contribution for The Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. In a recorded message to Global Citizens, Prime Minister Bettel of Luxembourg announced an additional commitment of EU €500,000 to The Global Fund for 2014. The Global Fund is an international financing organization that aims to track and disburse resources to prevent and treat HIV, AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Together with matched funding of EU €250,000 from the US government, Luxembourg's commitment will affect the lives of more than 30,000 people.

The Prime Minister announced, "My Government has decided that in addition to its existing commitment to the Global Fund, we will provide an additional contribution of 500,000 Euros for 2014. I want to take the opportunity here today to confirm that my Government remains committed to its ODA, representing 1% of the GNI also in the post-2015 era. They are essential pillars in our fight against global poverty and in achieving the world we want after 2015. Only together can we end extreme poverty." (Let’s break down the political jargon: ODA refers to Official Development Assistance, or foreign aid budget. GNI refers to a country’s Gross National Income; that is to say the total income earned by a country’s residents per year.)

Sanitation

Over the past few months Global Citizens have been campaigning hard to increase access to water and sanitation around the world because they understand that access to both will dramatically increase global health and both have been shown to bolster the economy. With 35,000 actions coming from Global Citizens in the form of emails, petitions, and tweets, we made some real noise.

4. H&M Conscious Foundation, Unilever, and Procter and Gamble show us what responsibility looks like in the private sector

Flickr: Living Water International

In addition to commitments from Sesame Workshop, the World Bank Group, Nepal and Madagascar, our friends at the H&M Conscious Foundation also convened a special moment where Unilever and Procter & Gamble announced new commitments.

The H&M Conscious Foundation reaffirmed their commitment of US $9.3 million to WaterAid to further their mission of improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world's poorest communities. As a result of their contribution 250,000 children will be affected over the span of three years, through safe water, toilets and basic hygiene at school. On stage, Foundation manager Helena Thybell said, "We will strive to further break the 'poo taboo' by inviting other large companies to join us."

And, they’re not alone. Unilever's CEO Paul Polman committed to affecting the lives of 25 million people, mostly in South Asia, South East Asia and Africa, by helping them gain improved access to a toilet by 2020. Unilever understands that it’s about more than just providing access to toilets and quality sanitation, it's about changing attitudes and behaviors. Working in this way means the importance of toilets and latrines are understood and demand for them increases.

Procter & Gamble made a multi-partner commitment that will reach more than 40,000 school children in 60 schools in Nigeria and Malawi by fall 2016. The commitment is made through the P&G Children's Safe Drinking Water Program in partnership with H2O for Life and the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG) who will all raise funds to be delivered by on the ground partner Africare. As part of this initiative, these students will learn about the need for clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

5. Nepal and Madagascar prove they’re committed to increasing access to sanitation

Flickr: SuSanA Secretariat

Open defecation poses serious risks to global health and safety, but this issue has sadly been neglected due its negative stigma. Global Citizens have been working to change that by taking thousands of actions around water and sanitation and helping to break the “poo taboo.” Now, these nations have demonstrated they’re on board too.

Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala made a pre-recorded message in which he made a commitment of US $160 million that will affect the lives of 6 million additional people in the journey to becoming open defecation free. 30 million people in Nepal currently defecate in the open, and with support from the development community and donors, Nepal is working hard towards reaching open defecation free status by 2017.

The Prime Minister of Madagascar also sent a pre-recorded announcement to Global Citizen Festival, committing US $40 million that will affect the lives of almost 3 million people through WASH programs that overcome the barriers that prevent the use of quality sanitation like latrines and toilets. Madagascar is committed to being open defecation free by 2018.

6. Sesame Workshop Commitment on Sanitation

Sesame Street

Global Citizens now have one more reason to love Sesame Street. Sheryl WuDunn said on their behalf “With the help of their newest Muppet Raya, the folks at Sesame Street will be educating more than 40 million children in Nigeria, India and Bangladesh on the importance of sanitation and hygiene practices through their wash up! Initiative.” Through partners and local networks in these countries, original Sesame Street multimedia content will meet the needs of specific regions, helping children to develop critical skills for lifelong learning.

7. World Bank Commitment on Sanitation

Flickr: Gates Foundation

Junaid Ahmad, Senior Director for the World Bank Group’s Water Global Practice, made an exciting announcement with regards to sanitation: “It is with pride today that I announce that the World Bank Group commits to spend 15 billion over the next 5 years to provide safe sanitation and water solutions. And in partnership with the United Nations and organizations like BRAC, WaterAid, Water.org and One Drop reach close to 150 million poor people."

Youth & Adolescent Rights

8. Denmark Commitment to Youth & Adolescent Rights

Flickr: Asim Bharwani

Denmark was ON TOP OF IT at this year’s festival. In addition to their education commitments they pledged an additional US $15 million to their new Amplify Change Fund that will support the lives of millions of young people by supporting their Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.

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Christina Nuñez, Abigail Hiscock 

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