WASHINGTON – The ONE Campaign joined thousands of activists around the world today for a global day of action to launch action/2015, a new coordinated effort calling for ambitious agreements to fight poverty and protect the planet in 2015. As part of the launch, groups of 15 year-olds lobbied leaders in world capitals, high-profile celebrities and activists published a global Open Letter to world leaders, this powerful video was released, and new research was unveiled demonstrating the possibility of slashing extreme global poverty from 18% to 4% in the next 15 years.
With the expiration of the current Millennium Development Goals this year, more than two dozen high-profile activists added their names to an Open Letter urging world leaders to make the next set of goals adopted in 2015 a historic turning point in the fight against poverty and injustice. Signatories include Aamir Khan, Angelique Kidjo, Annie Lennox, Ben Affleck, Bill Gates, Bono, D’Banj, Desmond Tutu, Jeffrey Sachs, Jody Williams, Hose Padilha, Kid President, Leymah Gbowee, Malala Yousafzai, Mary Robinson, Matt Damon, Melinda Gates, Mia Farrow, Mo Ibrahim, Muhammad Yunus, Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Richard Branson, Ricken Patel, Shakira, Sharan Burrow, Sting, Ted Turner, Wagner Moura, and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.
In Washington, DC, ONE brought a group of 15 year-olds from across the country to meet US Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah at the State Department. The young activists urged American leaders to make bold, new commitments in 2015 to help eradicate extreme poverty and disease. Similar meetings were held by 15 year-olds in dozens of countries around the world, including India, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Kenya, Uganda, and Norway.
In New York City, a group of 15 year-olds and United National Youth Envoy Ahmed Alhendawi joined a Google hangout to discuss the opportunities to end poverty and disease in 2015.
Michael Elliott, President and CEO of The ONE Campaign, wrote today in TIME Magazine:
“The new goals aim to tackle the unfinished business of our age: to virtually eliminate extreme poverty within the next 15 years, bring succor to those who still go to sleep hungry each night and carry the benefits of modern medicine to those who are still denied them.
In their ambition, they amount to perhaps the most significant set of international agreements since the period at the end of World War II that saw the birth of the United Nations, the chartering of the Bretton Woods institutions and the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
This is all happening as part of a global grassroots effort of more than 1,000 organizations in 130 countries called action/2015 that kicked off today with the aim of urging world leaders to make commitments to the world’s poor at two major summits later this year. action/2015 members include ONE, Save the Children, the United Nations Foundation, the Global Poverty Project, and dozens of other NGOs, celebrities, faith groups, environmental organizations, and community activists.
Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children, participated in today’s launch activities in Washington, DC and said:
“I am delighted that so many young people – our future leaders – could join us for the Action 2015 launch here in D.C. They know that the investments world leaders make now will determine the progress we can achieve in the next 15 years. Since the year 2000, we have cut child mortality rates in half over the last two decades – an amazing accomplishment. We need to finish the job to ensure every child can reach his or her potential.”
The mobilization around action/2015 is unprecedented:
- In London, Britain’s leading youth activists made their case to Prime Minister David Cameron;
- In India, a group of 15-year-olds met with Prime Minster Modi;
- In Uganda, thousands of young people met the country’s foreign minister;
- In Norway, teens met with Prime Minister Erna Solberg;
- In Nigeria, a group of 15 year-olds quizzed finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on national television about her country’s global development agenda;
- In Indonesia, thousands turned out at a festival in Jakarta to rally for the campaign; and
- In Bolivia, three separate-but-coordinated rallies were held in La Paz making the case for the three Action 2015 issues – poverty, climate change, and inequality.
To underscore how much is at stake this year, action/2015 today released this powerful video that juxtaposes heartbreaking moments with those filled with hope and joy.
Also, new research published today from action/2015 finds that, if concerted actions are taken to increase spending on public services and efforts are made to reduce inequality, extreme poverty could be reduced from over a billion people today to around 360 million in 2030, or from 18% to 4% of the projected world population. However, if leaders fail to deliver and build on the growing momentum for ambitious deals at the two major global summits later this year, and scale back their efforts, the number of people living in extreme poverty could actually increase to 1.2 billion by 2030.