Critical Commitments Announced to Audience of Over 250,000 on the National Mall Washington D.C., April 19, 2015 – On Saturday, April 18, 2015, Earth Day Network and The Global Poverty Project hosted Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day, which celebrated achievements made and confronted challenges still facing the world toward solving climate change and ending extreme poverty, featured performances by Usher, Fall Out Boy, Mary J. Blige, Train, My Morning Jacket, Common, D’Banj, Fally Ipupa, Vixx, Roy Kim, and a finale by No Doubt.
Throughout the day, more than a quarter of a million people packed the National Mall and over two million watched live via YouTube. The event brought together global policymakers, finance ministers, environment and development NGOs, industry executives, and high-profile artists, all working to educate and inspire citizens to take immediate action to protect our planet and its people. The event was timed to coincide with the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings – the only time world leaders would be in one place before September when they will set the world’s sustainability agenda at the UN General Assembly. Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day was a call to ensure that these world leaders act now to both address climate change and end extreme poverty.
The day’s event is a further testament to the idea that when citizens coalesce around a united goal, our world leaders pay attention. World leaders, corporate innovators, and other dignitaries announced 33 critical commitments on stage to end extreme poverty and solve climate change. Notable commitments made at Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day are outlined below:
WORLD LEADER MESSAGES ON SOLVING CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENDING EXTREME POVERTY
International Monetary Fund (IMF), Managing Director Christine Lagarde Quote: “At the IMF, 188 Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks heard a big noise, and it was you. I’m here to give you a piece of good news – because they heard you, they are committed to ending poverty and financing development.”
United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Quote: “Will you support women’s empowerment? Will you speak up to bring all the children to school? Will you raise your voice for people and our planet? It’s our best chance to end global poverty. It’s our last chance to tackle climate change before it is too late. You have the power. Your generation can make it happen. Be a global citizen. Take your passion and compassion to make this world sustainable, prosperous. And, let’s make that our global reality!”
World Bank Group, President Jim Kim Quote: “Each person must do their part. We need engineers and entrepreneurs, we need doctors, we need lawyers, artists, teachers, we need students and activists – we need YOU. We are the first generation in human history with the opportunity to end extreme poverty.”
Sweden, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Minister for Foreign Affairs Isabella Löven Quote: “Bono actually dedicated his song One – to Sweden. Because Sweden gives one percent of our Gross National income to international development aid. And I’d like to take the opportunity here to make a recommitment on behalf of the Swedish citizens, of giving one percent of our Gross National Income to development assistance! And I hope other countries will follow as well.”
Organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970, Denis Hayes Quote: “Climate justice is THE issue facing this generation. Ruthless, powerful carbon companies are buying votes and lying like the cigarette industry did for so long. So far, they are winning. The main power on the other side is you—you and billions of other people who actually care about tomorrow.”
Denmark’s Minister for Trade and Development Mogens Jensen committed an additional US $60 million to the Global Partnership for Education for 2015 – an increase of over 30%. Belgium’s Vice-prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, Digitization, Telecommunications and Postal Services Alexander de Croo committed 50% of his country’s foreign aid to the world’s least developed countries, and also committed an additional €36,000,000 between 2015 and 2019 to Global Partnership for Education. This commitment is set to affect more than 300,000 lives.
In partnership with President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, the Hult Prize has invested $25 million dollars in the next generation and mobilized hundreds of thousands of youth to solve our planet’s most crippling challenges through new and innovative business approaches that are both profitable and sustainable. Quote: “Today, we are excited to announce an incredible new partnership with Earth Day Network enabling 500,000 high school students from across the world to dream up innovative ideas and global solutions. We will pair their ideas with a million dollars of seed funding so that these students, our future, can make their dreams of a better world a reality.” – Ahmad Ashkar, CEO, The Hult Prize
WATER AND SANITATION
The World Bank Group’s Senior Director of its Global Water Practice, Junaid Ahmad, said it is on track to provide US $4 billion by September to support countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal and Haiti with water and sanitation efforts. The First Lady of Malawi, Gertrude Maseko Mutharika, presented a strong call to action through the Women on Water and Sanitation Declaration, signed by prominent women from around the world including CEOs, prime ministers, other first ladies and celebrities like Freida Pinto. Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen announced a new commitment to reach 30 million people with water and another 50 million people with clean toilets.
US Representatives Betty McCollum (D-MN), Ed Royce (R-CA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Senator Isakson (R-GA) announced their support for passing the Global Food Security Act through Congress. Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, committed to mark up the Global Food Security Act. Quote: “Next week, when the Foreign Affairs committee votes on the Global Food Security Act, we’ll get a second chance. And with your help we can get this important bill through Congress and to the President’s desk without further delay.”- Representative Ed Royce Via video message, Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel committed to put food security on the agenda for the G7 Summit.
The Obama Administration committed to provide $126 million dollars to Ebola-affected countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea – to improve health care. Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende pledged US $12 million over four years to aid pollution reduction. This commitment is expected to affect the lives of 42 million people.
The NAACP Voter Fund, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Earth Day Network (EDN) commited to registering one million new climate voters for the 2016 election. Quote: “Through the Million Climate Voters Campaign we will empower our communities to fight for real climate change legislation, and give more people a stronger voice in our democracy. One Person. One Vote. Money Out. Voters In.” – Greg Moore, Executive Director, NAACP Voter Fund.
Over 80% of marine debris is plastic. Worldwide, we throw away 50 billion plastic bottles every year and 80% of them still end up in landfills and then our oceans where they take over 450 years to degrade. Quote: “We cannot sit by and watch this crisis unfold. We have to change the way we interact with plastics, redesign greener products and rethink our waste practices to ultimately clean-up our oceans. Over the next four years, my organization will commit over $200 million dollars to ocean and coastal issues. But we can’t do this alone. We need your commitment to be part of the solution to reduce, reuse and recycle our plastics. It all starts today, with your plastic bottle. Join us!”
Rovio Entertainment, whose Angry Birds game has been downloaded 2.8 billion times, in cooperation with the Earth Day Network, announced Angry Birds’ “Champions for Earth.” Quote: “I am now committing, on behalf of Rovio and Earth Day Network, to bring an amazing game experience to Angry Birds in time for Climate Week and the UN General Assembly in September. Stay tuned, get ready!” – Patrick Liu, Creative Director, Rovio Entertainment.
40 million young people – boys and girls – from 223 countries and territories around the globe are Scouts. By learning to live with nature, Scouts are on the front line taking action to protect it. Quote: “I stand before you today to declare, with confidence, that Scouts worldwide will log an additional one billion hours of community service, including planting trees, over the next five years.” – Scott A. Teare, Secretary General, World Organization of the Scout Movement The proud partners for Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day included Caterpillar Inc., Citi, CJ Corporation, Toyota, iHeartMedia, Clear Channel Outdoor, MSNBC, YouTube, Google, Alcantara, and Connect4Climate.
Content was presented in partnership with the World Bank Group. Published on EarthDay.org