Monday, October 26, 2009

173,045,325 people Stood Up against poverty

From the United Nations Millennium Campaign....
Dear Fellow Campaigners,
Your passion, commitment and determination have once again inspired a global movement which continues to grow beyond all expectations. You stood up in your cities, towns and villages, in your churches, mosques and temples; you stood in your colleges, schools and homes, on town squares and street sidewalks, you stood together as a global community, not only to shatter the Guinness World record but also to send a powerful message to leaders at the local, national and global level which cannot now be ignored:

"We are more determined than ever to see the Millennium Development Goals become a reality and to end poverty now!"

We know from experience that a significant proportion of activities and events do not get registered in time as many of them take place in remote rural locations with limited internet connectivity. Despite these constraints, over 3000 events spread across 121 countries were registered and more information on the scale of this mobilisation continues to flood in through phone calls, text messages and faxes! More details are at the bottom of this email and on the website

On behalf of the United Nations Millennium Campaign ( I want to thank every one of the thousands of organisers across the world at the local and national levels - social movements, faith groups, NGOs, youth organisations, women's groups, trade unions, civil society coalitions campaigning for the MDGs, local and national governments and the even larger number of volunteers, local groups and individual citizens who made this year's Stand Up and Take Action a resounding success.

We also want to thank the UN system at all levels as well as many of our global partners including the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, Art of Living Foundation, Micah Challenge, Skype, UStream, the ONE Campaign, major media partners at the global and national levels and so many others who played a pivotal role in this unprecedented mobilisation.

Together we have the power to make a difference ...

Now in its fourth year, we have seen the impact that Stand Up is making in people's lives and improving the MDG policies and practises of governments. Providing the space and platforms for ordinary citizens to have their voices heard on issues that matter to them at the national and local level. In both rich and poor countries, citizens have come together, to put the priorities of the poor and excluded groups, firmly on the political agenda and get their own governments to address them. Once again an overwhelming majority of the people who stood up were from poor countries. And as their voices grow louder, they can no longer be ignored. The sharp focus on women's rights, hunger and maternal health (in poor countries) and the elimination of trade-distorting agricultural subsidies (in rich countries) and the specific targeting of Parliamentarians made the Stand Up 2009 messaging more impactful. An outstanding example was the leadership of the Speaker of the All-Party Parliamentary Group in Bangladesh which mobilised citizens in large numbers and joined the Prime Minister in taking an oath to achieve the MDGs by 2015.

We will continue to Stand Up every day until promises to end poverty and achieve the Millennium Goals are delivered ...

Next year in September, world leaders will gather at the UN to review progress on the MDGs. With the strength of over 173 million people telling their leaders that their commitments are being closely monitored, we will take this commitment to those decision makers with renewed energy to convert the strength of these numbers into concrete policy and practice changes in our own local and national contexts. We challenge Heads of State to come to the 2010 MDG Review Summit not just with generalised statements of intent but concrete national action plans for MDG implementation that are focussed on the rights of the poor and excluded, particularly women, to meet the 2015 deadline.

To us, Stand Up once again showed the power of the MDGs in really unifying the different parts of the UN for one common cause and the extent to which the MDGs and the UN system enjoy the confidence of the public at large.

Warmest wishes and once again congratulations on this massive show of people power against poverty and inequality. I hope you will closely follow up with all the partners, organisations and individuals that you helped to mobilise and inspire them further to join our on-going campaign for the MDGs from now to 2015.

Warmest wishes

Salil Shetty


Millennium Campaign

United Nations

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