You probably haven’t heard about it, but this week decisions are being taken that could mean the difference between poverty and dignity for millions of people. Diplomats from UN member states are finalizing a draft blueprint for the post 2015 development agenda and the stakes could not be higher.
Today, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Malala Yousafzai, Graca Machel, Bono, Mo Ibrahim and Muhammed Yunus have joined forces to sound a warning that 2015 is a year of huge opportunity, but also of huge risk.
In a strongly worded open letter, they are calling on world leaders to make next year a transformative year in the fight against poverty, inequality and climate change. Next year, the UN’s development framework known as the Millennium Development Goals will reach its deadline and be replaced. A new climate treaty will also be agreed. Together, these two processes could determine what kind of world we live in in 2030. They write:
What is at stake here could not be greater, for it is not less than the future of our human family and the world upon which we all depend.
It is fitting that on Mandela Day these Nobel laureates, moral and religious leaders and campaigners are urging our politicians to be ambitious. They are demanding goals that will build on the dramatic progress we have seen in some areas and guide us on a path that gives people everywhere a chance to live a life of dignity.
2015 is an historic opportunity for change. A focused package of ambitious but achievable development goals can really empower grassroots citizens of the global south – and those globally who campaign in solidarity with them – to demand and receive vital life-saving and life-changing health, education and infrastructure services from governments.
A global movement is taking shape to call for urgent action, justice and for leaders to seize this chance to secure a better, safer world for all. ONE’s 6 million members will be campaigning alongside activists from hundreds of organizations worldwide who care about justice. The letter says:
This movement for people and planet will lead to accolades for those leaders who rise to this historic occasion. It will hold accountable those who fail to help secure a better safer world for all. It will speak up for the marginalized and disenfranchised, and demand justice for all.
If decision makers get this wrong, the real risk is that progress is lost, we see higher levels of poverty, hunger and more armed conflicts. Eradicating the injustice of extreme poverty is within our grasp – we can’t and we won’t let this opportunity slip.