Written by: Kimberly White 

Activists, campaigners, and movement leaders from more than 140 countries have come together to declare a state of emergency for people and the planet. The alliance of more than 2,000 activists backed an open letter signed by twenty world-renowned activists, including Dr. Jane Goodall, Malala Yousafzai, and Alexandria Villaseñor, Founder of Earth Uprising. 

The letter calls for strong political leadership to not only meet current commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals but to amplify ambition and action to combat the biggest issues facing our planet: extreme poverty, inequality, and the climate crisis. 

Prior to the Paris Climate Accord, world leaders from 193 countries adopted the seventeen SDGs at the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Summit- committing to eradicating extreme poverty, significantly reducing inequalities, and taking urgent action on climate change. However, while some progress has been made, it has not been nearly enough to deliver the SDGs by 2030.

“Governments across the world are simply not acting quickly enough or with enough intention to meet the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals. We need our leaders to find innovative financial solutions and show us how they will commit to this next decade of action,” said Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, signatory and Co-Founder of Bring Back Our Girls.

For the Global Goals to become a reality, there needs to be an annual investment of $5-7 trillion. Achieving the Global Goals would open up $12 trillion of market opportunities, create 380 million jobs, and result in savings of $26 trillion by 2030. 

Climate finance is set to be a key topic at COP26 in Glasgow later this year. Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has been named the United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance. As Special Envoy, Carney has been tasked with shifting the financial system towards mobilizing private finance to levels needed to achieve the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

“The SDGs are an economic imperative. Their achievement would mean greater productivity, increased labour supply and ultimately stronger growth. In short, they could pull the global economy out of its current malaise of secular stagnation,” remarked Mark Carney in his 2016 speech at the UN General Assembly. 

“Now is the time for action if we are to achieve the Global Goals that world leaders have committed to. Not next year, not in five years – but now in 2020. We all have a role to play,” said Dr. Jane Goodall. 

The campaign encourages citizens to show their support by sharing the letter and using #GlobalGoals on social media. 

The twenty lead signatories of the open letter are: 

  1. Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Photographer, environmentalist, filmmaker, and founder of Good Planet, France
  2. Tarana Burke, Founder & Executive Director, MeToo, USA
  3. Lydia Cacho, Journalist, human rights activist, and writer, Mexico
  4. Sophie Cruz, Human rights activist, USA
  5. Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter and founder/chair of Reform LA Jails’ “Yes on R” campaign, USA
  6. Jaha Dukureh, Founder, Safe Hands for Girls and UN Women Regional Goodwill Ambassador, The Gambia
  7. Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Co-founder, Bring Back Our Girls and #RedCardMovement, Nigeria
  8. Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder, Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, UK
  9. Emi Mahmoud, World Champion Poet & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, USA/Sudan
  10. Andrew Mlangeni, Political activist and anti-apartheid campaigner, South Africa
  11. Dr. Alaa Murabit, SDG Advocate and CEO, Impact2030; Libya/Canada
  12. Nadia Murad, President and Chairwoman of Nadia’s Initiative, Iraq
  13. Kumi Naidoo, Outgoing Secretary-General, Amnesty International, South Africa
  14. Edward Ndopu, UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate, South Africa
  15. Kennedy Odede, Founder and CEO, Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), Kenya
  16. Raull Santiago, Founder, Papo Reto and Movimentos, Brazil
  17. Trisha Shetty, Founder, She Says India, India
  18. Alexandria Villaseñor, Organiser Fridays For Future and Founder, Earth Uprising, USA
  19. Melati Wijsen, Founder, Bye Bye Plastic Bags, Indonesia
  20. Malala Yousafzai, Co-founder, Malala Fund, Pakistan

The open letter along with a full list of signatories can be found at The Global Goals

Header Image Credit: Global Goals