THE BLOG
07/30/2014 12:55 pm ET Updated Sep 29, 2014

Action Will Lead Us to the End of Extreme Poverty

Earlier this month we announced the line-up of the third annual
Global Citizen Festival, a free, advocacy driven concert on the Great Lawn of Central Park in New York on Sept. 27, that will feature some of the world's greatest artists: JAY Z, No Doubt, Carrie Underwood, fun., The Roots and Tiësto.

In keeping with previous Global Citizen Festivals, the goal is to celebrate the achievements made toward ending extreme poverty by 2030. But this year, we're working to change the systems that keep people poor. Our goal is to draw attention to the importance of child survival and the rights of young people as we campaign for tangible commitments in the areas of vaccines, education, and sanitation.

Last year, Global Citizens took nearly one million actions online, which resulted in 25 major commitments from world leaders, private-sector leaders and more. And what we've learned over the past two years is that when we identify clear advocacy objectives and align each with an action that anyone can take, we can get our world leaders to pay attention and even respond.

Here's what we're campaigning for:

Universal access to vaccines to promote child survival
Vaccines are one of the best investments in health, saving 2-3 million lives globally every year. They come second only to providing access to clean water in reducing the global burden of disease. They cut healthcare costs for communities, allow parents to work instead of caring for children, and give children a better chance of a productive adulthood.

That's why we're calling on governments -- including the United States, Norway, Canada, the United Kingdom and Sweden -- to commit $7.5 billion to the GAVI Alliance and enable them to immunize 300 million children between 2015-2020, saving between 5 and 6 million lives.

Access to education, with a focus on girls
The power of education to transform lives is universal. It improves livelihoods and gives children confidence to face the future, offering them a chance for a better life. And yet, according to UNESCO, aid to education globally from the donor community has been slashed by ten percent since 2010.

The world's peak body responsible for education funding, The Global Partnership for Education (GPE), has so far raised $2.1 billion (of a $3.5 billion goal) from the global community. That's why Global Citizens are continuing to call on countries -- including the United States and Australia -- to up their game and contribute to GPE's budget. With $3.5 billion, 29 million children can receive access to education.

Universal access to sanitation and the end of open defecation
Sanitation is not a sexy issue to advocate on. And yet in a country like India, where nearly half the country relieves itself in the open, lack of access to sanitation has an immense impact on the health and productivity of the country and the safety of women and girls.

That's why Global Citizens are determined to make universal access to sanitation a topic we all understand. And with friends like Raya from the Sesame Street family, we're engaging a wider audience.

Over coming weeks, Global Citizens will be emailing the House Majority Whip, Congressman Kevin McCarthy's office, and tweeting at Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, to call on them to support the life-changing Water for the World Act. We'll also be inviting the newly elected Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to come to the Festival to announce a new partnership with the World Bank to provide increased levels of finance and technical assistance to address open defecation and set an example for other countries to follow.

Inclusion of the rights and needs of young people
More than half the world's population is under the age of 25. And there's a real concern our world leaders won't include the rights of adolescents and young people in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Together with the UN Population Fund, we're launching a major global campaign called
#showyourselfie (a visual petition for youth), on International Youth Day on August 12 to ensure the post-2015 Development framework will enable every adolescent and youth -- especially girls -- to have the knowledge, skills, and opportunities for a productive life with the guarantee of basic human rights.

Our goals for 2014 are once again ambitious. And, it's not certain that we will be successful in achieving what we're asking for. But uncertainty is never an excuse to be idle. We must take action today. And if what we've seen over the past two years provides any indication for success, we're looking forward to major commitments being announced this year.

Ultimately, if Global Citizens are able to achieve just a fraction of the objectives outlined above they will have contributed in a tangible and practical way toward ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Are you ready to take action for a world without extreme poverty? Go to
www.globalcitizenfestival.com and start your action journey.

Subscribe to Must Reads.
The internet's best stories, and interviews with their authors.