There was a lot of star power packed into the Brooklyn warehouse where Australian-helmed advocacy organisation Global Citizen launched their Global Goal Live campaign on Thursday afternoon, unveiling an ambitious plan to help the world’s poorest countries over the next ten years.
In partnership with global CEO advisory firm Teneo, Global Citizen’s year-long campaign aimed at ending extreme poverty, tackling climate change, and reducing inequality will culminate in a ten-hour concert to be held in Nigeria on September 26, 2020, with satellite events held in New York, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Musicians performing will include Chris Martin, Usher, Pharrell Williams and Janelle Monae — all of whom were at the launch announcement on Thursday — as well as Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Miley Cyrus, Lizzo, and many more.
Showman extraordinaire Hugh Jackman, who co-hosts Global Citizen festivals in New York with wife Deborra-Lee Furness, was also at the launch, but the entire movement can be traced back to another Hugh and fellow Australian, the Global Citizen CEO and co-founder Hugh Evans.
Jackman recalled meeting the other Hugh for the first time in 2007 at an event where attendees were invited to share great ideas. Upon meeting Evans and hearing of his aim to eradicate global poverty, Jackman quickly decided to shelve his own proposal. “I thought, I’m going to jump on board with this guy, this is a much better idea,” Jackman said.
In the years since, Evans and his team have engaged celebrities, CEOs, philanthropists and policy makers across the globe in a multi-pronged effort to encourage the rich to give more to the poor.
Global Goal Live’s aim is significant — to secure $350 billion in annual investments to be distributed to the 59 poorest countries in the world for the next decade.
In lieu of buying tickets, attendees of Global Citizen festivals like the one in New York on Saturday and in Nigeria next year must earn “festival points” through signing petitions and calling for leaders to act on social issues. Additionally, the festival provides a platform for companies and policy makers to pledge their financial and political support, which is great publicity for both the organisations involved and for the cause.
“We don’t believe in awareness raising, every action is advocacy,” explains Michael Sheldrick, an executive and co-founder of Global Citizen. “Leaders respond when citizens make their voices heard.” He points out that although Global Citizen was proudly founded by Australians, Australia is still one of the least generous countries in the world. “Australia needs to step up,” Sheldrick says. “Along with the United States and other governments, and we need the corporate sector to step up too, that’s what this campaign is about.”