Editor's note: This article was originally published in August 2021, and has been updated to reflect our latest impact.
We’re often told that the world’s problems are intractable, that hunger is just a fact of life, that climate change is unavoidable, that extreme poverty will always exist.
But Global Citizens are clear-eyed in our optimism about the change we can bring about.
We know that world hunger can be defeated — the current amount of food produced right now is enough to fill every belly globally, yet a third of it goes to waste. We know that the answer to the climate crisis — rapidly phasing out fossil fuels — just needs the right political will, commitment, and funding. We know that poverty, as the great Nelson Mandela said, is manmade, and that it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.
At Global Citizen, we talk a lot about the power of Global Citizens all around the world taking action to put pressure on decision-makers to do more and do better in the mission to defeat poverty and defend the planet, in a way that’s equitable for all.
You might well be wondering though, what does it actually mean to be a Global Citizen?
What do Global Citizens believe in?
At its core, being a Global Citizen means believing that extreme poverty can be eliminated, and that the resources to end it can be mobilized if enough people take action. It means learning about the systemic inequalities that fuel poverty — racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, and economic inequalities — and joining us in taking action to overcome these in a way that’s sustainable.
Most importantly, it means realizing that when we use our voices together, we are powerful and we can ensure lasting change in the mission to defeat poverty, demand equity, and defend the planet.
Global Citizens recognize the power of advocacy, of shining a light on overlooked issues to rally people worldwide and mobilize ongoing support from those that can drive real change — governments, the private sector, philanthropists, and everyday citizens.
We recognize advocacy as a tool that complements the vital work of on-the-ground organizations to ensure access to food and water, education, health care, and more, for the communities most in need. And we also recognize advocacy as a vital part of the mission not only to respond to humanitarian crises, but to help prevent them in a way that’s long-term and sustainable.
Global Citizens believe in racial justice, gender equity, and climate justice. We believe that an injustice anywhere — be that police violence in the US and Nigeria, the global gender pay gap, climate displacement in sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific Islands, and more — is an injustice to all of us.
Global Citizens believe that we’re all connected — a fact starkly illustrated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens all of us until it threatens none of us — and that it’s on us all to call for a just transition away from the status quo of rampant inequality and environmental degradation, toward a future of shared prosperity and environmental regeneration.
Who are Global Citizens and how can I join the movement?
They've advocated for equitable access to water and sanitation in India, called on Canada to donate COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries, and joined Rihanna to call for the education of millions of girls around the world.
This may make it seem like Global Citizens are super activists. And while some of them are, most are regular folks who want to do their bit to help solve the world’s biggest problems — balancing their activism with their love of music and entertainment, community and culture.
Joining the movement and becoming a Global Citizen yourself is easy — all you have to do is download the Global Citizen app or head to our website, sign up as a Global Citizen, and you can start taking action with us right away to defeat poverty, demand equity, and defend the planet, and to learn more about the issues facing the world right now and how we can all play a part in solving them.
What does Global Citizen campaign for and how does it work?
Global Citizen's overarching vision is to end extreme poverty by 2030. Extreme poverty is defined as a person living on less than US $2.15 a day.
But since the consequences and causes of poverty far exceed daily finances, Global Citizen campaigns to improve all of the conditions that determine a person’s welfare and well-being — as laid out by the United Nations (UN) Global Goals — such as access to quality water, food, and education, as well as eliminating those systemic inequalities that drive poverty, and combating climate change.
People are able to learn about these pressing global issues on our website and our social media channels, as well as through the Global Citizen app — and can then use these platforms to take action with us, including sending tweets and emails to world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists; sharing images and videos of themselves standing up for the causes they believe in; signing petitions; and more.
You can learn more about how to take action with Global Citizen, as well as more about our model and our impact, here. And if you’d like to learn even more about how we use advocacy to democratize activism and drive change, you can find our in-depth explainer here.
What’s Global Citizen’s impact been like?
Since the Global Citizen movement began, Global Citizens have helped ensure the disbursement of more than US$43.6 billion in commitments from governments, corporations, and philanthropists to address a broad range of issues and support organizations and programs working around the world. These commitments have impacted the lives of more than 1.29 billion people to date.
We're confident in these numbers because our team rigorously assesses all financial and policy announcements. The Global Citizen team monitors each commitment over time, cross-checks all the numbers, and follows through to measure its on-the-ground impact.
You can find out more here about the impact Global Citizens have achieved, read our impact reports, and see how ongoing financial commitments are tracking towards completion.