Global Citizen Festival: A Campaign Against Poverty

Global Citizen Festival: A Campaign Against Poverty

Since 2011, the Global Citizen Festival is done for a purpose of fighting poverty / Photo by: Frank Schwichtenberg via Wikimedia Commons


Most people attend festivals or concert events to celebrate, have fun, and just take a break from their school requirements or workloads. The kind of enjoyment these events give will not just make you jump in the air, sometimes you're actually helping a cause. Imagine having fun at a festival and the same time advocating for a certain cause. That's what the Global Citizen Festival is doing from 2011 up until now. 

Global Citizen Fest Throughout the Years

For the past seven years, the Global Citizen Festival has remained true to their goal - to raise awareness of ending extreme poverty by 2030. This event was organized by an international advocacy group hoping to end poverty by increasing the number of people actively fighting against it called the Global Poverty Project. 

The first Global Citizen Fest happened in Perth, Australia on October 28, 2011. Over 5,000 people enjoyed performances from several prominent musicians. This concert was also a rally for the world leaders to make commitments to eradicate polio. Fortunately, leaders from Australia, Nigeria, United Kingdom, and Canada pledged $118 million of additional funding for Polio eradication. According to the CEO of Global Citizen, Hugh Evans: "The End of Polio Concert was a pivotal moment in the worldwide effort to create a world without polio.”

In 2012, the Global Citizen Fest had nine an NGO coalition and nine NGO partners which committed to the broad movement to extreme poverty. According to the Global Citizen, UNICEF pledged to raise $500 million by 2015 for the survival and development of children. At the same time, $14.5 million was committed by the World Vision to reduce child and maternal mortality rates.

Global Citizen Fest 2013 called on world leaders to accelerate progress on women's equality, education, and global health. The campaign has received a lot of praises because of their commitment to the advocacy. In an article by the Global Citizen, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The Global Citizen Festival is a great event. It combines issues that are central to the work of the United Nations, for example ending poverty, preventing disease, fighting climate change and empowering women."

The fight against extreme poverty was stronger than ever. In 2014, the event campaigned for several issues such as sanitation, child health, education, and youth and adolescent rights. Fifteen world leaders such as World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and over 30 celebrities joined forces in commitments to make a significant difference in the lives of the world’s poorest people.

Numerous announcements and commitments happened in the Global Citizen Fest 2015. For instance, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) committed to fighting against poverty by going after tax havens and reforming tax systems. CEO of the National Youth Development Agency of South Africa, Khathutshelo Ramukumba, contributed over $370 million to build youth infrastructure for the next time for five years. The collective impact of these commitments will help more than 92 million people all over the world. 

Before the Global Citizen Fest, 2017 happened, Global Citizen has already 29 commitments, 55 announcements and 13 calls to action that totaled $3.2 billion for the campaign. These commitments are set to affect the lives of 221 million people. The United Nations also announced that they would be investigating crimes against humanity, in line with the call for justice on victims of a genocide committed by ISIS in 2014.

The ultimate goal of the festival is to eliminate poverty by 2030 / Photo by: billycm via Pixabay


GCF 2018: Call to Action

With over 2.1 million actions urging world leaders to take a firm stand against extreme poverty, the Global Citizen Fest is continuing to be committed in their campaign. According to Global Citizen, Norway pledged about $200 million to combat marine litter and microplastics over the next four years. A total of $494.6 million was intended for various education initiatives by the organization.

Moreover, Vita Coco Coconut Water commits in fully offsetting the festival’s carbon footprint this year, in line with the worsening issue of climate change. People who are planning to the festival will have opportunities to be educated about recycling and collecting plastics. This is in line with the organization's recent campaign, the #UnplasticthePlanet, to reduce global plastic waste. These litters are having extreme effects on marine life. In fact, Mark Ruffalo, actor and activist said that more than eight million metric tons of plastics enter our oceans every year. 

The Global Citizen Festival is not just advocating for certain causes, it is a call for awareness and action with everyone living on this planet. With enough efforts and commitments, we are making sure that we are helping millions of people out of poverty and make this world a safe place for everyone. As Mitchell Silver, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation said, “As Global Citizens, you all are aware of these needs and have answered the call by taking action. Whether small or large, you’ve all proven to be catalysts for change, and that is no easy feat. Using emails, tweets, and petitions, you reached out to influencers and world leaders to build a bridge to a better a tomorrow. There is no time to delay, our moment to impact change starts now, and it starts with you!” 

Actor Mark Ruffalo, who is also an activist supports the festival's another goal of reducing plastic usage / Photo by: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons