Campaigners call on world leaders to ‘light the way’ ahead of key UN Summit

 24 September 2015 (Brussels) – Today, in more than 70 cities around the world, including Brussels, tens of thousands of activists backed by leaders such as Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzaicalled on governments to commit to the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development and tackle the most urgent issues of our time – poverty, inequality and climate change.

In Brussels, action/2015 Europe has brought together citizens on the Esplanade of the European Parliament to write a message to world leaders with 5000 candles. A light show projected on the European Parliament building added to the call to leaders gathered in New York to “light the way” to a better future for people and the planet.

Tamira Gunzburg, Brussels Director of ONE, said: “Millions of us around the world are uniting because we share a common vision for a better life and demand that our leaders deliver an equal, safe and secure future. Tomorrow those leaders will have a chance to rise to that challenge by adopting a new set of Global Goals to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change. That is why we are here tonight to make sure they know that we are watching, and that we will hold them accountable to delivering on those new goals.

Action/2015 has organised over 100 events across the globe on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly, including:

– Mass demonstrations at the historic Constitutional Hill in South Africa;

– Visual illuminations at the iconic Sydney Opera House

– A concert and torch relay across 15 states in India.

The messages and voices of all those taking action around the world will come together at a spectacular light show `under one sky’ in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, a stone’s throw from the UN building in New York.

The new Global Goals for Sustainable Development are a historic opportunity to accelerate progress towards a better future for everyone. The Global Goals, to be adopted on Friday 25 September, have the potential to shape the next 15 years of global development and create momentum for a long-term climate agreement in December. The commitments in 2015 could achieve:

– An end to extreme poverty by 2030 that condemns millions of people, especially women and girls, to an early death, poor education and ill health.

– A turning point in the soaring levels of inequality and discrimination.

– An accelerated transition to 100% renewable energy, ensuring policies that take care of people and planet.

Sergi Corbalán, co-chair of the EYD2015 Civil Society Alliance and Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, said “For the first time, the United Nations will adopt a series of shared objectives that will apply to all. The universality of the new Sustainable Development Goals’ framework is one of the most important features as it eliminates the old division between North and Southern countries. It makes us all responsible for the planet we inhabit and respectful of all its populations. The European Union must be a strong bearer of its values in this new era, a promoter of human rights, equity and justice, in Europe and globally. The European Year for Development in 2015 is specifically intended to bring citizens closer to those key concepts hoping in their increased involvement, critical thinking and shared responsibility. We call on the European Union and world governments to involve civil society as partners at all levels in the implementation of new Agenda 2030”.

action/2015, one of the world’s largest civil society campaigns made up of over 2000 organisations, networks and coalitions from 150 countries is calling on leaders to commit to implementing these Goals. This includes a commitment to:

– Walk the Talk: have a clear implementation plan, developed with the active participation of citizens – especially marginalized groups and local communities.

– Finance Our Future: ensure sufficient financial flows are made available to deliver all the goals in time. This should include domestic and international funding, meeting existing spending commitments and tackling unfair tax systems.

– Be Accountable & Transparent: Monitor and communicate your progress on implementing the goals. Parliaments, civil society organization and existing human rights and other existing reporting mechanisms should be central to this process.


Notes to editors

Please contact Giada Cicognola from ONE on or +32 2 300 90 53 // +32 479 02 78 94 for interview requests, details of EU mobilisation, or for any other questions.

For an overview of the mobilisations taking place around the world and in Belgium, please see here.

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