Across the Globe, Millions Stand Up, Demanding Action to End Poverty

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From South Africa to Singapore, Colombia to The Czech Republic, Nepal to New York, millions of people stood up and made a noise this past weekend, demanding real actions to end the global poverty crisis from world leaders, many of whom were en route to New York to attend the most important poverty-eradication summit in years.

From South Africa to Singapore, Colombia to The Czech Republic, Nepal to New York, millions of people stood up and made a noise this past weekend, demanding real actions to end the global poverty crisis from world leaders, many of whom were en route to New York to attend the most important poverty-eradication summit in years.

“No more talking, it’s time for action” says Amitabh Behar of GCAP, the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, the world's largest network of anti-poverty coalitions. Ten years ago, 189 countries committed to eight concrete time-bound targets called the Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme poverty by 2015 and end it altogether by 2025. Ten years later, world leaders gather in New York to assess the progress and discuss a breakthrough plan to meet the goals within five years.

Leading up to the summit, grassroots activists and anti-poverty campaigners from Africa to Asia have drafted their own visions for 2015 called The World We Want. These charters were unveiled on Sunday at a Stand Up rally in front of the Lincoln Center in New York City.

“More people are hungry today than just a year or two ago,” says Sylvia Borren, GCAP co-chair. “But the good news is that we know what to do. We know that investment in local agriculture and trade, education and health will release a huge amount of potential and wealth.” Improved accountability, transparency and implementation top the list of demands in The World We Want charters. The Millennium Development Goals should no longer be treated as simple targets, but instead legislated as rights. And every development goal should be viewed as a gender goal.

As The World We Want charters were unveiled in New York, Senegalese joined popular guitarist and singer Baba Maal to present the Africa We Want Charter to the Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.

The “Make a Noise for the MDGs” theme rang loud in other countries too.

In Pakistan, civil society and youth activists banged steel plates and spoons in front of the Multan Press Club, thirty thousand school children marched through the streets of the Dominican Republic blowing whistles and in Singapore, the Stand Up Against Poverty pledge was recited on a national radio channel. “There are many programs aimed at reducing poverty,” says Antoine Niyitegeka of GCAP Rwanda, “but, at the grassroots level, much more mobilization is needed so that local people can own these programs.”

Images and videos from Stand Up 2010 can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z699KYWG_JM
Stand Up clips from around the world: http://standagainstpoverty.org/suap/sap/video

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Nehmi M. Klaassen
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Michael Switow
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About GCAP: The Global Call to Action Against Poverty challenges the structures and institutions that perpetuate poverty. GCAP is the world's largest anti-poverty network with coalitions in 130 countries. More information at http://www.whiteband.org.

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