A thousand aid groups launch ‘action/2015’


More than a thousand global development aid and philantropic organisations around the world launched  a campaign today (15 January) named action/2015, which is likely to be one of the largest ever launched.

Together, they are calling on local and world leaders to take urgent action to halt man-made climate change, eradicate poverty and address inequality, and to fight, with concrete measures, for a just and sustainable world.

Politicians and celebrities ranging from Queen Rania of Jordan and Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, to Bill Gates, Bono, Sting, Ben Affleck and 25 more famous names, published today an ‘Open letter’ to world leaders, reminding them that the actions they will take in 2015 will decide the way the world turns for decades to come.

If leaders fail to deliver and build on the growing momentum for ambitious universal deals at the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September in New York and the UN Climate talks in Paris in December, and scale back their efforts, the number of people living in extreme poverty could actually increase to 1.2 billion by 2030, the organisers of action/2015 believe.

The new data released by the action/2015 coalition shows that, even using relatively conservative scenarios, the number of people living in extreme poverty – on less than $1.25 a day – could be reduced dramatically from over a billion to 360 million by 2030. Based on work by researchers at the University of Denver, in the year 2030, about 4 % of the global population will live in extreme poverty (compared to 17% today), if critical policy choices on inequality, poverty investment and climate change are made this year and implemented thereafter.   

Action/2015, announced by Malala Yousafzai when she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, is made up of environmental, human rights, development organisations and faith networks. From household names like Amnesty International and Save the Children to grassroots NGOs working with local communities, the movement aims to make sure the agreements of 2015 are shaped by the people, for the people.

At part of the launch, activities are taking place in more than 50 countries all around the world, from Lebanon and Liberia, to Nigeria, Norway, South Africa and Sri Lanka.  Many of these are spearheaded by 15-year-olds – a constituency who will be among the most affected by the agreements. Among the actions happening in Europe:

  • At the European level, in Berlin, today, a delegation of 15- year-old campaigners will meet the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, and Development Neven Mimica and the German Minister for Development Cooperation Dr Gerd Müller,  to present them their hopes and dreams for 2030.
  • European civil society organizations will launch a Civil Society Alliance on the European Year for Development, that will engage the public in a new conversation about global development issues.
  • Austrian youth will take part in a workshop at the United Nations office in Vienna, discussing how leaders can facilitate resource mobilization by and for youth to enable enhanced youth- led action on global challenges at local, national, regional and global levels. 
  • In Belgium  100 15-year-olds will share their requests for 2015. Besides that, a delegation of 100 senior citizens will read out a News Year’s letter to Belgian MPs in the country’s parliament, asking in what kind of world their grandchildren will live.
  • In France, a delegation of 15-year-olds  will meet several political leaders: Annick Girardin, Secretary of State for Development, Nicolas Sarkozy, former President and the leader of the opposition, Paul Klugman, Deputy Mayor of Paris, and Guillaume Chabert, deputy chief of staff of the Finance Minister, Michel Sapin.
  • In Norway, a delegation of 15-year-old campaigners from across the country will meet with Prime Minister Erna Solberg to challenge her to play her part in the summits and secure a safer future for people and planet in 2015.
  • In the UK, some of Britain’s leading youth activists will meet Prime Minister David Cameron and Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to urge them to seize the opportunities of 2015.

Additional examples of national activities around the world are:

  •  People will take to the streets in rallies and marches to demand action – including Liberia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Indonesia, Uganda, Belgium, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and many more countries.   
  • Bangladesh: A rally of over 1000 bicyclists will carry messages of the campaign to the Bangladesh Parliament, before young people form a human chain around the building to make their demand for action in 2015;
  • In Bolivia, three coordinated rallies in La Paz will bring together younger and older people, each one representing one of the core issues of the campaign – climate change, inequality and poverty.
  • In Costa Rica, young people will take to their bicycles to raise the profile of the campaign in a cycle rally which will deliver the message of the campaign to leaders and the public.
  • In India, young people are meeting their leaders in 15 states and over 150 districts to deliver their messages of hope for 2015.
  • Lebanon: A human chain of a ‘15’ will be created in downtown Beirut.
  • In New York, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki- moon will meet a group of 15-year-olds to discuss why we need global action in 2015.
  • In Nigeria, 15-year-olds will present their hopes for the future to Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at a live concert;
  • South Africa: In Soweto, 15 year olds will gather to urge their leaders to take action. In live broadcasts with well-known celebrities they will speak about their hopes for the future;
  • In Tanzania, 15-year-olds will meet Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal to discuss their aspirations for the future and the action they want from political leaders in 2015; 
  • In Uganda, young people will challenge the Speaker of Parliament to listen to their demands when they hand over a petition signed by over 10,000 young people;

Linda McAvan MEP, Chair of the European Parliament Development Committee, said that 2015 presents a unique opportunity in the fight against extreme poverty. 

“2015 must be a year of action, not just warm words, and I am delighted that so many civil society organizations have come together to campaign in this crucial year ahead.”

Aaction/2015 auspiciously coincides with the official European Year for Development, the first ever dedicated to an external policy by the European Union institutions. The aim of the European Year for Development 2015 is to make as many citizens of the EU as possible understand and support the role of Union in addressing global challenges and providing development aid.

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