In little more than a week, Global Citizen Festival will be coming to Black Star Square in Accra and Central Park in New York, with stellar performances by some of the world’s most exciting artists. 

Global Citizens in both the US and Ghana and all around the world have been enthusiastically taking action to call on governments to help us meet our campaign goals: investing $600 million into the future of women and girls; closing the annual $10 billion climate financing gap; providing $500 million to help African farmers respond to the global food crisis; and waiving various international debts to allow countries End Extreme Poverty NOW. 

But as we enter the final phase of the campaign, there are a few specific priorities for key countries that we want to focus on. 

The United States, in particular, has the opportunity to get the world much closer to achieving the United Nations’ Global Goals by committing funds and resources to the causes mentioned above. 

The US has always been a leader in international aid, but, proportionally speaking, it lags behind many smaller countries that long-ago reached the 0.7% of gross national income target for international aid. Now is the time for the US to step up. 

“The US is the world's largest foreign aid donor and in this time of multiple global crises — climate, conflict, COVID-19, and hunger,” said Filmona Hailemichael, director of US policy & government relations at Global Citizen. “We urge the US to meet the moment by providing urgently needed financial assistance and using its political power to mobilize other world leaders to do their part.”

President Joe Biden and his administration can establish the US as a leader on the global stage by committing to do three things in particular. 

1. End Hunger in America by Addressing Poverty 

Nearly 40 million Americans struggle with hunger on a daily basis, unable to afford basic meals that would ensure the nourishment they need. For more than 11 million children, this crisis is particularly devastating, as it risks irrevocably stunting their development. 

The Biden Administration has an opportunity to end this crisis at home by tackling the cost of living crisis for poor families and mitigating poverty in general through broader investments in social safety nets. 

You can sign the petition to help make this happen here

2. Mobilize the Action & Funding Needed to Tackle the Global Hunger Crisis

The global hunger crisis had been growing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has exploded since then — rising to 828 million people facing hunger in 2021. Since then, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has worsened the crisis even further

More than 48 million people currently face the threat of famine, meaning they could die from starvation this year. This is an avoidable catastrophe — the resources and funding is available right now to prevent people from dying from hunger. Countries like the US just have to mobilize this aid. 

The Biden administration can build upon its recent steps to organize a Global Food Security Summit to raise the funds needed to avert famine in affected countries. 

You can call on world leaders to prevent a food crisis catastrophe by adding your name to our open letter here.

3. Make a Financial Commitment to UNFPA & Become a Donor for the First Time on SRHR Supplies

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is one of the world’s leading providers of maternal, newborn, and early childhood health care and material support in low-income communities. The agency’s mission is ambitious yet simple: “to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.”

The Biden administration, through the guidance of Samantha Powers at USAID, can expand its support for this mission by, for the first time, directly supporting the sexual and reproductive health care supplies wing of the organization with essential resources and finances. This effort would be especially resonant given what’s been happening in the US this year following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, with various states stripping women of their bodily autonomy

“Global Citizen is calling for transformative investments in adolescent girls and there is perhaps no investment that is more transformative in a girls' life than the ability to exercise her sexual and reproductive right to bodily autonomy,” said Aaron Holtz, director of gender equality and inclusion at Global Citizen. “Millions of young women around the world today still don't have choice and control over their family planning and USAID can and must do more to change that.”

“The US is a top donor in the space of gender equality globally, and a strong donor to UNFPA but it has the resources, reach, and respect to have much more impact,” he added. “A new commitment to UNFPA Supplies — the leading global program providing SRHR services, supplies, and support to vulnerable communities across the globe — would help remind the world that the US is on the side of women's health and agency.

You can urge leaders to invest in sexual and reproductive health and rights NOW by calling on them to make a commitment to UNFPA Supplies here.

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

3 Things the US Must Do to Help End Extreme Poverty NOW

By Joe McCarthy