This week we announced that Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys and John Mayer will headline the second annual Global Citizen Festival, September 28, on the Great Lawn of Central Park in New York. Presented by Cotton On Foundation -- which has helped build the best performing schools in Uganda, providing education and long lasting change to those most in need -- this year's Festival is about more than amazing music. It's about working together to end extreme poverty. Today, 1.2 billion people survive on less than the equivalent of US$1.25 a day and are deprived of their basic rights and opportunities. This is unjust, and unacceptable. And while we have reduced the number of people living in extreme poverty by half since 1990, there is still much to do.
The Global Citizen Festival is a chance to celebrate the success we've already had fighting poverty, while accelerating progress on the core issues of education, women's equality, global health, and demonstrating how global partnerships can contribute to ending extreme poverty.
Like last year, Global Citizens can take action on globalcitizen.org to earn points for a chance to receive a ticket to the Global Citizen Festival. By sharing articles, videos and infographics about the core issues, as well as signing petitions and sending emails to world leaders, Global Citizens can be part of a movement that will create real change for those living in extreme poverty.
This year we will also campaign for systemic policy changes in the core areas of education, child and maternal health, and women's equality, which we know are fundamental to ensuring that everyone, everywhere, can lift themselves out of poverty. We know that our goal is possible: the UN's High Level Panel of Eminent Persons -- a 27-member advisory group chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono -- recently suggested our world could see the end of extreme poverty by 2030.
Together with Global Citizens, we will campaign for:
- Leaders to commit the funds needed to uphold their pledge to put every child into primary school by 2015, including the 57 million children who currently go without.
- Leading financing agencies to answer the calls from African Governments for the funds needed to train and deploy hundreds of thousands of community health workers.
- The telecommunications industry to step up and ensure that no health worker has to pay for airtime when a patient's life is at stake.
- Governments to invest in a future where all children are fully immunized by increasing efforts to provide all vaccines recommended by the World Health Organisation to children everywhere.
- The global community to embrace a bold, ambitious post-2015 development agenda that places the empowerment of girls and women as its core priority.
Our goals are both ambitious and bold. And, to be clear, it's not certain that we will be successful in getting everything, or indeed anything, we're asking for. History tells us that without strong public support, the chance of realizing any of our goals is low. Political leaders tend only to reach as high as we push them.
That's why this year's Global Citizen Festival is so crucial. It provides the platform to grow the Global Citizen movement into an unstoppable force that pushes world leaders -- as they deliberate at the UN General Assembly -- to fulfill the promises they made at the dawn of the century.
In the past 13 years, we have seen the biggest progress against extreme poverty ever made. Now we have the chance to bring the number of people living in extreme poverty down to zero ... forever. This vision will only become our reality if we -- as Global Citizens -- demand much-needed action from our leaders.
Hugh Evans is a social entrepreneur and an internationally renowned development advocate. Hugh is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project.
Hugh Evans' passion for poverty eradication was sparked at the age of 14 whilst on a World Vision trip in the Philippines. Living with his host family in a Manila Slum, Hugh was struck by the injustice of a world in which birthplace determines your life prospects. The abject poverty Hugh was exposed to Manila, and his experiences in India the following year, led him to begin his work challenging the status quo of extreme poverty.
An accomplished campaigner, commentator and speaker, Michael Sheldrick has been advocating on issues of extreme poverty since high school. He previously worked on high impact campaigns in Australia with Make Poverty History and The Oaktree Foundation, helping to secure the largest ever increase in Australian aid.
Michael currently serves as Global Policy and Advocacy Manager with the Global Poverty Project, where he coordinates a number of campaign initiatives including The End of Polio campaign, which has helped mobilize more than $800 million in support of polio eradication efforts. Working with the Global Poverty Project's New York crew, Michael is overseeing the policy direction of the 2013 Global Citizen Festival.