The Global Citizen Festival is known for the incredible artists that perform — Beyonce, Jay Z, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Rihanna, and so many others.
But all of this celebrity might and artistic imagination is really working toward one unifying goal: the end of extreme poverty by 2030.
That’s why tickets are earned rather than purchased — Global Citizens have to take advocacy actions like calling on the prime minister of Norway to help the 62 million girls denied an education into the classroom (which worked).
That’s what the Global Citizen Festival is all about: getting world leaders to pay attention and make tangible commitments to the global issues that really matter — gender equality, universal education, access to water and sanitation, protecting the environment, ensuring quality health care, and others.
Since 2012, Global Citizens have taken 7,671,146 actions that have generated more than $25 billion in contributions from governments, private businesses, transnational organizations, and individuals to go toward fighting the causes of extreme poverty.
These commitments are set to affect the lives of 657 million people around the world.
Read More: Global Citizen Impact Page
The way we make an impact begins when Global Citizens like you decide to sign a petition, call a politician, tweet at a president, or any of the other actions on Global Citizen.
Here’s a look back at some of the top commitments from the past four years of the Global Citizen Festival.
2012 Global Citizen Festival
10 commitments and announcements were made at 2012 Global Citizen Festival, raising $1.3 billion for the world’s poor.
The Global Citizen Festival started out in 2012 with the hugely ambitious goal of working to end extreme poverty. At this point, global citizens earned tickets by raising awareness of our goal. An incredible lineup of artists agreed to perform, and a range of mainly NGO organizations took to the stage and made commitments to causes.
charity: water committed to raise $100 million by 2015 for clean drinking water to help in their goal to bring clean drinking water to 100 million people by 2020.
World Vision committed to raising $14.5 million to reduce maternal and child mortality rates around the world.
The World Food Program USA took to the stage to announce a goal of $15 million to go towards ending malnutrition.
The US Fund for UNICEF, committed to raise $500 million for child survival and development work globally.
2013 Global Citizen Festival
25 commitments and announcements were made at 2013 Global Citizen Festival, worth $159 million.
By 2013, Global Citizen asked the movement to act on behalf of specific causes, and this user-driven megaphone proved to be effective.
75,000 actions were taken by Global Citizens calling on health agencies and telecommunications businesses to train and deploy 1 million community health workers in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2015.
Responding to the call, companies dedicated more than $2 million to the effort. Hardware and tech support were offered by Ericsson and free airtime to cut operating costs was provided by Airtel. The president of Malawi, Joyce Banda, committed to nearly triple the number of community health workers in her country to 27,000. And GAVI, the vaccine alliance reaffirmed its support of this goal.
Global Citizens took more than 45,000 actions to call on contraception companies to dedicate 2 percent of their profits to increasing access to contraceptives globally.
The Female Health Campaign announced a three-year campaign to support girls and women, renewed a commitment of $14 million, and donated 5 percent of their products.
In addition,Global Citizens took more than 70,000 actions calling on USAID to fund child survival initiatives.
2014 Global Citizen Festival
18 commitments and announcements were made at 2014 Global Citizen Festival, set to affect 259 million lives by 2020.
2014 was a blockbuster year for the festival, featuring the largest commitment to date: $15 billion by the World Bank to bring adequate water and sanitation to 150 million people. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, also reaffirmed his goal of placing a toilet in every household and school in India. Nepal made a commitment to end open defecation in their country by 2017.
US President Barack Obama appeared via video to tell the audience this: “Whether you’re here in Central Park or watching from somewhere else, you are now part of the global fight to end extreme poverty. And this is a fight we can win.”
The Prime Minister of Norway committed more than $1 billion over five years to vaccinating the world’s poorest children. These funds were intended to support GAVI, the vaccine alliance.
2015 Global Citizen Festival
27 commitments and announcements were made at 2015 Global Citizen Festival, set to affect more than 92 million lives.
2015 featured Global Citizen’s first action journeys — sets of thematically linked actions that had to be taken together to win tickets. Action journeys allowed Global Citizens to get a deeper understanding of issues, while also providing greater leverage with world leaders by increasing the total number of actions.
2015 also marked the start the Global Goals, the roadmap for the next 15 years of sustainable development. This meant that world leaders were eager to start off on the right foot and make bold commitments to end poverty. And they delivered.
Jim Kim of the World Bank was joined onstage by Big Bird and committed to raising 20 million additional people out of extreme poverty in the next year.
“If we work together to grow our economies, invest more in education and health, and protect people from disasters, we can make this number go from just 80 to 100 million,” he said on stage.
Driven by 19,000 Global Citizen actions, Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, announced his government’s intention to bring improved sanitation to 60 million people by 2030.
"Sanitation especially, is crucial for global equality and for the rights and needs of women and girls" -Stefan Löfven, PM Sweden @GlblCtzn— Water.org (@Water) September 27, 2015
Maybe the most entertaining pledge of the event came from Erna Solberg, who was initially cajoled by Stephen Colbert to make a commitment to girls’ education.
She responded by doubling her country’s commitment to Global Partnership for Education. Norway also agreed to boost its spending on global water and sanitation efforts by $6 million.
One of Global Citizen’s signature campaigning victories gained traction at the 2015 festival, when global citizens called on US politicians to reform food aid, an objective that had been worked on since the start of Global Citizen. The bill’s two cosponsors came on stage to reaffirm their commitment to the cause.
Earlier this year, President Obama signed the bill into law. The role of Global Citizens in driving this important change can’t be understated.
Leaders from Turkey, Colombia, the UK, Malta, and many others also made commitments on stage.