The 2023 installment of the annual Global Citizen Festival featured a powerful (if rainy) day of music, with sets by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lauryn Hill — who reunited the Fugees during her set — Anitta, Jung Kook — who was joined by Latto — Stray Kids side project 3Racha and a 50th anniversary of hip-hop performance with Busta Rhymes, Common, Big Daddy Kane and Rapsody alongside D-Nice.
But far more important was what it accomplished in raising awareness, and commitments for some $240 million from France and Norway to the International Fund for Agricultural Development to address the global hunger crisis, announced by Emmanuel Macron, President of France.
The flagship event from Global Citizen generated 3.3 million actions taken by global citizens around the world, calling on governments to address the major systemic issues our world is facing, including the global hunger crisis, the climate crisis, and equity for women and girls. Further accomplishments, per the Global Citizen announcement, are below.
Launching her tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of her culture-shifting “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” album, Hill played classics including “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and “Everything Is Everything,” and was joined by the Fugees for “Killing Me Softly”, “Ready or Not” and “Fu-Gee-La.”
“At a time when some leaders are walking back their promises, your actions deliver impact. So don’t stop taking action. Climate change can’t hit pause while world leaders get their act together. So don’t stop. The poorest people on Earth don’t have decades to spare. So don’t stop. We can’t wait for someone else to take action. We have to take action NOW.” – Hugh Evans, Co-Founder and CEO, Global Citizen
FOR FOOD AND FOR JOBS
The 2023 Global Citizen Festival saw major progress made to address the world’s worsening food insecurity crisis. Responding to global citizens’ calls for urgent action, Emmanuel Macron, President of France announced via video message a $150 million commitment to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – currently the most committed by any government in its 13th replenishment. Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Norway’s Minister of International Development also pledged $90 million to the fund.
In a moment of collective action from Central Park’s Great Lawn, global citizens signed the Face Up To Hunger petition, which is part of the Hungry For Action campaign, by submitting selfies, demanding world leaders act with urgency to address the global food crisis and prevent famine for the 49 million people facing emergency levels of hunger.
Much more needs to be done to provide crucial support to millions of smallholder farmers around the world, who produce 70 percent of food in low and middle-income countries. Global Citizen continues to call on world leaders to follow the example of France and Norway and increase their contributions to IFAD by at least 50 percent to ensure the agency reaches its funding target of $2 billion by the end of 2023, and will continue to urge Australia to rejoin IFAD as a member state.
Continuing a year of dedicated action to address the inequity of women and girls, the 2023 Global Citizen Festival saw the Government of Belgium commit €2 million to support the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Supplies Program, which provides lifesaving and life-changing sexual and reproductive health services. Phoebe Gates also took the stage on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to introduce a $100 million contribution to UNFPA, made earlier in the week.
The Government of France announced a €40 million commitment to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), which stands ready to educate 20 million children living through emergencies and crises, such as displacement and conflict. The Government of Malta also made a commitment to support children facing conflict via video message at the festival. Global Citizen continues to call on governments to meet the remaining $620 million needed for ECW to continue its urgent work.
Additionally, announced a $4.5 million commitment in support of the Aspen Institute’s Global Opportunity Youth Network (GOYN) in Brazil, Columbia, India, Mexico and South Africa. GOYN improves access for young people to productive and dignified employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, and to skills and resources to help them thrive in the future of work.
Continuing the momentum generated during the Global Citizen NOW summit in April, major brands including The Body Shop, LUSH, Patagonia, Seventh Generation and Ben and Jerry’s signed a pledge against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), committing to protect the human right to freedom of expression without fear of intimidation or retaliation. The governments of Lithuania and Kosovo, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also encouraged global citizens everywhere to stand up for equality, freedom and justice during the festival.
FOR THE PLANET
As part of the Global Citizen Festival campaign, the organization invited both the UK government and His Majesty’s opposition to participate and detail their climate action commitments. In total, over 161,523 climate-related actions have been taken by global citizens in the UK to remind the British government of their promises and responsibilities, including the urgent need to publish their plan for the £11.6 billion climate finance pledge made in 2019. The Sunak Government declined to participate in today’s day of action.
The Taoiseach of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, announced his government will provide €149 million in climate financing this year, and committed to uphold its promise to contribute €225 million annually from 2025 onwards.
The Brazilian state of Pará returned to the Global Citizen Festival stage to pledge to further expand its protected areas of the Amazon rainforest by 1 million hectares by 2025, furthering the ambition of their commitments made in 2021. The primary focus will be on safeguarding indigenous lands and eliminating illegal deforestation as well as restoring 5 million hectares of forest by 2030. Global Citizen urges all Amazonian governments to join with President Lula in committing to end illegal deforestation by 2030.
Earlier this year, Global Citizen and its partners issued a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as part of its ongoing Power Our Planet campaign, calling for an additional reallocation of Canada’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR), which can be used to provide affordable financing to low-income countries. During the Global Citizen Festival a representative from the Canadian Government highlighted its announcement earlier in the week of an additional CAD$700 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to the International Monetary Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust.
Over 34,000 Global Citizens also called on Congress to oppose proposed cuts to foreign aid by nearly 30 percent in the U.S. FY2024 budget. Today, seven members of the U.S. Congress, including Sen. Chris Coons, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Rep. Ann Wagner, and Rep. Grace Meng declared their commitment to supporting robust funding for foreign assistance in FY24.
Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, took to the Global Citizen Festival stage to make an historic announcement, becoming the first non-Pacific nation to endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, which outlines a global plan to phase out fossil fuels, accelerate the adoption of renewable energy, and ensure an equitable transition to clean energy for all communities. José Ramos-Horta, President of Timor Leste, also affirmed his country’s commitment to the treaty during the event.
Global Citizen’s Young Artists Collective, a program showcasing original works from art students to raise awareness, create dialogue, and drive action-taking, activated at the Global Citizen Festival with an outdoor photo gallery displaying artwork from 12 selected students inspired by the creative prompt “Equity and its effects in today’s world”. Click here to learn more.
In what was its most sustainable Global Citizen Festival to date, Global Citizen partnered with Everland to make a positive contribution to nature and cover the estimated carbon emissions of the event by supporting community-centered forest conservation.