Your Actions for 2019 Global Citizen Festival Led to Almost $1B in Commitments to End Extreme Poverty

Over the last decade, the collective voices of dedicated Global Citizens have mobilized $48.5 billion dollars worth of commitments — which has already affected the lives of 880 million people living in extreme poverty.

On Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, tens of thousands of Global Citizens came together to celebrate 10 years of powering the movement to end extreme poverty. Through this campaign Global Citizens have taken over 1 million actions. These actions have resulted in 18 commitments worth $932.1 million, and set to affect the lives of 7.6 million people. The festival also saw partners and members of Congress make announcements worth $1.6 billion.

With the unique Global Citizen blend of pop and policy, Saturday night was filled with music from headliners including Queen + Adam Lambert, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, OneRepublic, H.E.R., and Carole King; and special guest performances by French Montana, Ben Platt, Jon Batiste & Stay Human, David Gray, and NCT 127.

Government leaders and corporations also came together to make financial commitments to health, education, and water and sanitation. They also made important commitments to help transform the archaic policies that create a system where women and girls don’t get the same opportunities as men; as well as policies tackling the plastic pollution that has devastating effects on coastal communities and marine life.

Top 5 Commitments

NORWAY: Prime Minister Erna Solberg took to the stage to make significant pledges of $228 million to the Global Fund and $56.8 million to Education Cannot Wait. Norway is showing true leadership to ensure that it does its part in ending extreme poverty. “Let us continue our fight to safeguard health and education for all!” she exclaimed.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT: Over 254,000 actions have been taken since January 2019 to ensure that all crisis-affected children and youth can access safe, free, and quality education. Global Citizen’s campaigning saw a total of $216 million in commitments from governments like the United States, Norway, and Ireland — which made its first-ever pledge to the fund. Additionally, the Lego Foundation took charge with a commitment of $12.5 million to ensure that the private sector was also fighting to leave no child behind.

OPEN DEFECATION-FREE: Ahead of Global Citizen’s Global Goal Live campaign in 2020, and in response to over 150,000 actions taken by Global Citizens, the Nigerian States of Lagos and Plateau made a combined commitment of $175.8 million towards clean water, sanitation, and ending open defecation in their respectives states. These commitments truly showcased how a country is coming together to take the necessary steps to combat the issues that people living in extreme poverty face within Nigeria. Plateau State’s commitment to ending open defecation demonstrated the first state from the North of the country to make a commitment on the Global Citizen stage.

SHE IS EQUAL: The countries of Mexico and Namibia took the lead to ensure that they are breaking the legal barriers that will create a world where #SheIsEqual. Mexico announced that it would be the first Latin American country to adopt a feminist foreign policy. Namibia also took to the stage to announce that it will be the first country to ratify and implement the International Labor Organization’s Convention on Violence and Harassment and called on other governments to follow suit. Ratification of this convention will ensure that workers, particularly women, are legally protected against violence and abuse of any form in the workplace.

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: Prime Minister Gaston Browne addressed Global Citizens with a commitment from the “coolest island nation” to intercepting the approximate 27,000 tons of plastic on its shores by building a Parley AIR base.

Top 3 Announcements

US BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION: Senators Coons, Collins, and Young, together with Representative and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel, called for support from all parties to ensure that the “Keeping Girls in School Act” is adopted — to ensure that USAID is able to allocate funds specifically to target the 14 key barriers that keep girls out of school. “I am committed to moving this bill forward in the United States Congress through a markup or any other means,” said Engel.

UN GLOBAL COMPACT: The UN Global Compact launched its first-ever sustainable ocean principles which will provide a framework to help businesses to implement sustainable practices and lead the way in ocean protection. Companies like Cisco have already signed onto the principles.

JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Dr. Paul Stoffels announced that Johnson & Johnson will commence a vaccine study in men who have sex with men and transgender populations in San Francisco and in other cities around the world.


Announcement – Education Cannot Wait: Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif, opened the show by thanking Global Citizens who have taken over 254,000 actions since January 2019 calling on world leaders to make pledges to the fund. These actions have helped to secure commitments that will contribute to reaching nine million children in crisis settings by 2021.

“Your call to actions have helped to raise $216 million in the last month alone. From Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, and all those who you and our beloved Rachel [Brosnahan] called on I am so inspired and proud of all you Global Citizens, 200,000 who joined to fight for increased funding to ensure education for every child everywhere.”  – Sherif

Commitment – Ireland: Following on, Minister for Development Ciarán Cannon, stood in front of Global Citizens to make the first commitment for the night. It was a historic moment as this was also Ireland’s first ever pledge of €6 million (approx. USD $6.7 million) to Education Cannot Wait until 2021.

“Education has the power to end conflict. It has the power to foster inclusion, tolerance, and human rights. Education can simply create a better world. We are committed to ensuring that all children, even those in the most difficult of situations can have access to quality education, thus empowering them to be the very best they can be…Thank you for taking action on this Global Citizens. We really look forward to being a part of Global Citizen 2020 and together making a real change to the lives of children across the world.” – Cannon

Commitment – Lego Foundation: Michael Renvillard, Lego Foundation’s Humanitarian Director took to the Festival stage to make a pledge of $12.5 million to Education Cannot Wait and call on more foundations to join the fight to leave no child behind.

“Leaders in the private sector around the world have heard your calls to support education for children affected by emergencies…so we are happy to have the opportunity to step up and alongside the US, with $12.5 million to Education Cannot Wait. Now it’s up to Global Citizen, which is you, to encourage more private sector and foundations to join with dollars in the fight for quality education, early child development, and playful learning in emergencies.” – Renvillard

Commitment – United States: Bonnie Glick, Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), added USAID’s “voice to the chorus of gratitude for the LEGO Foundation’s support for school readiness” alongside matching the commitment with an additional USD $12 million.

“This joint investment is a powerful example of the way we can work together in an increasingly integrated world to provide the hand that helps people in emerging economies lift themselves out of poverty. Education is a gift we can give generously without having to worry about creating dependency in the recipient. Quite the opposite in fact. Every child’s education at home and in school involves learning the skills to think and act independently. In other words, to pursue her own individual journey to self reliance.” – Glick

Commitment – Norway: Prime Minister Erna Solberg, addressed the thousands of Global Citizens to announce that Norway will double its previous efforts to Education Cannot Wait by committing NOK 500 million (approx. USD $56.8 million).

“We also heard Global Citizen’s call that Education Cannot Wait and so we are also committing 500 million NOK over four years for the Education Cannot Wait fund. This will provide educational opportunities to children living in crisis and conflict around the world. Let us continue our fight to safeguard health and education for all!” – Solberg 

Commitment – Denmark: With a commitment of $37 million over four years to the fund, Rasmus Prehn, Minister for Development Cooperation, stated that: “Denmark is one of the greatest donors for Education Cannot Wait. It is very important for us to support education wherever we can.”

Commitment – Germany: Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, also took the stage at the pledging moment to commit €10 million (approx. USD $11.1 million) to the fund and stressed the importance of leaders committing to education for children in crisis.

“Seeing these children that have had to leave their homes for a disaster… who have seen their homes and villages destroyed, to give them new hope and not to accept that they are a lost generation.” – Flachsbarth

Partner commitment – Switzerland: Stressing that “education should not be an accident,” Tatjana von Steiger, Deputy Assistant Director General at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, committed USD $6 million to Education Cannot Wait.

“Emergencies are there and we have to tackle that in order to give those who are most affected and most deprived of their rights also the opportunities and the perspective.” – Steiger

Commitment – United Kingdom: The Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Development, Matthew Rycroft, made a commitment to £100 million in grants and an additional USD $250 million in cash guarantees to the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd). IFFEd is an innovative fund that supports developing countries to move away from their dependence on grants, which in turn builds stronger education systems to ensure that every child is able to attend school and receive a quality education.

“Quality is the key — we must make sure that the precious time children spend in school is time spent learning.” – Rycroft

Partner announcement – Verizon: CEO Hans Vestberg announced an exciting new partnership with the New York Times, to bring content that will help nearly 7 million under-resourced middle and high school students engage in civil dialogues and become active Global Citizens. Additionally, he announced that he would bring cutting edge 5G technology to under-resourced schools.


Policy commitment – Mexico: Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Martha Delgado Peralta, appeared on the Global Citizen Festival stage to announce that Mexico will be adopting a new feminist foreign policy — making Mexico the first-ever Latin American country to do so.

“From mandating gender equal appointments of ambassadors, to committing to advance the rights of girls and women through our engagement in the United Nations and other international forums, we firmly believe that our commitment to a feminist foreign policy will positively impact the lives of women and girls in Mexico and around the world.” – Delgado Peralta

Policy commitment – Namibia: Responding to close to 40,000 actions taken by Global Citizens, Honourable Tjekero Tweya, Minister of Industrialisation, Trade & SME Development, committed that Namibia will be the first country to ratify and implement the International Labor Organization’s Convention on Violence and Harassment and called on other governments to follow suit. Ratification of this convention will ensure that workers, particularly women, are legally protected against violence and abuse of any form in the workplace.

“This historic convention will ensure that women are legally protected against violence and abuse of any form in the workplace…It is my hope that other governments will join us to end harassment in the workplace by ratifying and implementing this convention.” – Tweya

Call-To-Action – UNFPA Supplies: After appearing on the festival stage in 2018 with the request for women to share their stories of gender-based violence with her, Dakota Johnson had another message to share a year on to drive forward the empowerment of women and girls globally.

“Every woman, no matter where she lives or her circumstance, has a right to control her future. Please speak up, and call on world leaders to support women’s access to family planning. Let’s increase funding to UNFPA supplies at the Nairobi summit in November so that all women and girls are supported. Let’s increase awareness and action towards sexual violence and provide proper care for survivors” – Johnson


Announcement – United States of America: Representative and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel addressed the crowd of Global Citizens to announce his support for the “Keeping Girls In School Act”. This Act will enable USAID to allocate funds specifically to target the 14 key barriers that keep girls out of school.

“When women and girls succeed — when they have access to healthcare, to education, to economic opportunity, when women have a seat at the table — they lift up entire communities. We know that women already have the talents, the drive, and the passion to succeed. What we need to do now is to get out of their way — to tear down the roadblocks that hold back far too many women and girls…That’s why I support the Keeping Girls in School Act, which breaks those barriers that keep girls from getting a good education. I am committed to moving this bill forward in the United States Congress through markup or any other means.” – Engel

Congressman Engel then threw to video messages from Senator Coons (D), Young (R), and Collins (R) who expressed their bipartisan support for the “Keeping Girls in School Act” and the “Reach Every Mother and Child Act”. Over 17,000 Global Citizens have called on the US government to commit to health and education for the world’s most vulnerable people and as a result the full US Appropriations Committee unanimously voted to move forward a bill containing commitments to Education Cannot Wait, Global Partnership for Education, and the Global Fund. This bill will now move to the floor of the US Senate for full consideration.

“Global Citizens, we received all your letters and calls which urged us to approve higher funding for ending extreme poverty, which included $25 million to Education Cannot Wait, $90 million to the Global Partnership for Education, and $1.56 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. – Coons

“Thank you all for the important work you’re doing each and every day to contribute to this global effort.” – Collins


Partner commitment – Citi: Chief Communications Officer for No Kid Hungry, Clay Dunn, announced that since 2014, Citi has raised $15 million for No Kid Hungry. This has translated to 150 million meals for children throughout the United States who would otherwise not have enough to eat. Citi then committed to connecting more children in need with 50 million additional meals by the end of 2020.


Partner commitment – Cisco: Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Cisco, Fran Katsoudas, announced Cisco’s commitment of $750,000 to Global Citizen’s Youth Leadership Prize over the next three years. This prize supports young people working on creative solutions to help achieve the UN’s Global Goals.

2018 Global Citizen Youth Leadership Prize winner, Wawira Njiru from Kenya, took to the stage to talk about how winning the prize has helped her significantly scale up her efforts to feed one million students a day by 2025 in Africa.

“Almost a year ago, I stood proudly on the Global Citizen stage in Johannesburg, South Africa, and declared that change begins with us. I believe that now more than ever. And so, it is someone else’s turn to be recognized for the positive impact they are having on the world.” – Njiru


Hosts Kal Penn and Bill Nye came together to highlight the devastating impact that recent environmental disasters have had on people living in extreme poverty.

“The ocean is our life support. The air we breathe is being poisoned. And we are pushing our life support system to its very limits through heating, deoxygenation, and acidification. The science is indisputable. We just need to listen to the scientists.” – Nye

“And if you don’t believe them, believe the disasters happening every day from the Bahamas to Brazil. Billions of people worldwide — especially those living in poverty — rely on a healthy planet to provide food and jobs. But their future is at risk.” – Penn

Partner announcement – Cisco: Earlier this week at the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Global Compact launched the Sustainable Ocean Principles — the first-ever framework helping businesses implement sustainable practices to reduce the amount of ocean plastic pollution.

Taking the lead and responding to over 18,500 actions taken by Global Citizens, Cisco signed these principles and reaffirmed its commitment to reduce 75% of all foam packaging by 2025.

Commitment – Antigua and Barbuda: Having experienced first hand the devastating effects of plastic pollution, Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced a partnership with Parley for the Oceans that will make it the first “Future Island Nation” in the Caribbean.

“We must transition to more innovative methods to reimagine the way we use plastic. So we are committing to building a Parley air base which will intercept approximately 27,000 tons of plastic on the beaches and from polluting the environment by 2030, thereby helping eliminate plastic pollutants from our shores.” – Browne

Call-to-Action – Barbados: Prime Minister Mia Mottley stood in front of the tens of thousands of Globals Citizens to call on other countries to step up and choose to end climate change.

“We are living in a climate crisis…We will do what we have to do as small island states, but we need the larger countries of the world, and we need you to exercise the power of agency, we need you to mobilize … we need you also to be able to use your voice to persuade all who you work with, all who rule you, that this is our world and our children deserve better, and we intend to save this world.” – Mottley 

Call-To-Action – Climate Change: Actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio took to the stage to emphasize the gravity of the fight ahead, and express the hope that young climate activists are giving him for the future.

“In the four years since the Paris agreement was adopted, it has become clear that our political leaders and big corporate interests have failed to live up to the promises we celebrated that day. Our reliance on fossil fuels continues to hold our future hostage, and our planet continues to warm.” – DiCaprio

On Friday Sept. 20, the world saw over four million people march together to demand action for the environment, part of a movement spearheaded by young people taking charge of their future.

Building on that movement, Global Citizens were privileged to hear from Alexandria Villaseñor, Xiye Bastida, and Selina Neirok Leem, three of the youth activists who have been standing with Greta Thunberg as part of the #FridaysforFuture movement.

“The world leaders must see now that this is not just a few school students. It is millions of people from every generation all over the world coming together to demand climate action now! We are going to keep striking. We’re going to keep marching. Change is coming whether the establishment is ready for it or not. Together we can build a 100% renewable world.” – Bastida


Announcement: The World Bank’s Human Capital Project is a global effort to accelerate and improve investments in welfare, health, and education to give people greater equity and economic growth. Addressing the crowd of Global Citizens, UNICEF ambassador and founder of the Batonga Foundation, Angelique Kidjo, announced that she would be joining the fight and becoming a Human Capital Champion.

Partner announcement: At the Global Citizen Festival in 2017, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would commence large scale efficacy testing of the HIV vaccine in humans. Until now, most of the subjects of the study have been young women. Reappearing on the 2019 stage, Dr. Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer, announced that Johnson & Johnson will commence a vaccine study in men who have sex with men (MSM) and Transgender populations in San Francisco and in other cities around the world.

Call-To-Action – The Global Fund: Global Fund champion Natalie Portman implored Global Citizens to take action to end the diseases of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria and help save the lives of 16 million people and prevent 234 million infections over the next three years. Portman was joined on stage by Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund.

“On Oct. 10 world leaders will gather in France to pledge funds towards the fight against Aids, TB, and malaria…Global Citizens, your voices have already helped secure pledges from Germany and Canada this year. Together, we must call on more leaders to step up the fight!” – Sands

Commitment – Norway: Standing alongside Peter Sands, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg promised to continue the fight to safeguard health and education for all. Responding to 59,874 actions taken by Global Citizens, Norway committed to increasing its contribution to the Global Fund to NOK 2.02 billion (approx. USD $228 million) by 2023 to help bring an end to the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

Call-To-Action – GPEI and Gavi: The next year hopes to see more funds being contributed to critical health initiatives like the Global Fund, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

“Norway is committed to achieving health for all. To do it, we need to ensure every child has access to health services, including vaccinations…Norway continues to join forces with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, at the forefront of this fight. We encourage all governments to join us over the coming year to once and for all rid the world of polio and provide all children with vaccines! As a first step in this fight, Norway will be recommitting our support for polio eradication so more children will have the opportunity to lead healthy lives. And the pledging event in Abu Dhabi this November will be the next opportunity to rally world leaders to showcase our continued commitment to a polio-free world.” – Solberg


Partner commitment – Procter & Gamble: Global Femcare President Jennifer Davis committed to doubling Procter & Gamble’s donation of period products to 100 million items over the next two years to its End Period Poverty campaign that helps keep girls in school.

“Education is one of the most powerful and proven ways to drive gender equality and economic growth globally and we can’t let girls be held back because of their periods.” – Davis

Commitment – Plateau State, Nigeria: His Excellency, Simon Bako Lalong, Governor of Plateau State, answered the calls of Global Citizens who took over 150,000 actions over the last year, calling on governors of Nigeria to take a stand against open defecation.

“Seventy-six percent of Nigerians live today without access to clean drinking water and sanitation. And children, girls, and women are hit the hardest by this devastating reality. I’m here today to assure you that this is as much of a concern to me and my government as I know it is for all of you…Open defecation is a menace we still face in Plateau State…I am pleased to pledge $43 million from my government and an additional $33 million to be secured through partnerships with the private sector to end open defecation in Plateau State by 2023!” Lalong

Commitment – Lagos State, Nigeria: To conclude the Festival and show leadership in the run up to Global Citizen’s Global Goal Live campaign in 2020, His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, pledged an additional USD $100 million for clean water, sanitation, and ending open defecation in the state of Lagos by 2025.

“The next 18 months will shape the future of humanity and of our planet. This is our last, and most critical, chance to end extreme poverty, tackle climate change, and reduce inequality in time to reach the 2030 goals. Together, we can power the movement and create a world free of extreme poverty. And you can count on Lagos State to do its part.” – Sanwo-Olu


On Sept. 26, Global Citizen, in partnership with Teneo, launched its biggest campaign yet. Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream will mobilize everyday citizens, corporations, governments, and philanthropists to reprioritize efforts to end extreme poverty and ensure the realization of the Global Goals. President of the United Nations General Assembly, His Excellency Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, pledged his support for the campaign.

“I’m proud to see my fellow countrymen and women step up for the poorest and grow our network of Global Citizens. But even more must be done to make sure no person is left behind and we need the whole General Assembly with us — that’s part of my job and I will need your help! As the new President of the United Nations 74th General Assembly, I am pledging to do all I can to mobilize support, commitments, and actions from UN member states with Global Citizen over the next 12 months to launch this decade of delivery.” – Muhammad-Bande

The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nation, Amina Mohamed, ended the night with a call for all Global Citizens to keep powering the movement.

“We are making a call for a decade of action to deliver on these calls. That call goes to you, each and every single Global Citizen, individually and collectively. We are calling on you, our world leaders, our partners, business and civil society, to saddle up for the ride of your lives to deliver on these goals by 2030. Are you with us?”  – Mohamed

Source: Global Citizen

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