Dear World Leaders, Cc: Everyone else

Dear World Leaders,

Cc:  Everyone else

There are moments in history that become turning points. In our view, 2015 will be such a moment.  It is the most important year for global decision-making since the start of the new millennium.

We believe it’s just possible that we could end 2015 with a new global compact – an agreed pathway to a better, safer future for people and planet that will inspire all the citizens of the world. We can choose the path of sustainable development. Or we might not – and regret it for generations to come. Which side of history will you be on?

There are millions of voices you can’t afford to ignore – the voices of the people you represent. They are voices of all ages from every corner of the planet – the voice of a young girl currently deprived an education… of a pregnant mother deprived healthcare… of young people deprived decent work… of a family from a minority group fearful of discrimination from corrupt officials… of farmers forced to migrate to cities as climate refugees… and of billions of other people. Their voices will roar ever louder against the inequality and injustice that keep people poor. They – and all who stand with them – are calling on you to come up with a grand new global contract for our one human family – and then deliver on it together. The great news is that in 2015 you have a historic chance to do just that.

Two critical United Nations summits will take place this year. The first in September, where the world must agree new goals to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle inequality and ensure a more sustainable planet. The second is the climate summit in December where we must ensure the wellbeing of people today doesn’t come at the expense of our children’s futures.

Together with critical discussions on financing, these opportunities are the biggest of our lifetime. We know from past efforts against AIDS, malaria, preventable diseases and saving the ozone layer that when we come together, so much can be achieved. Yet, with just months to go before these summits, few leaders are playing the leadership roles we need. We see climate progress but not yet of the scale that is needed, and a set of goals that are hugely ambitious but will be meaningless without brave financing and implementation agreements led from the very top.

If this does not change, we fear you and your fellow leaders could be sleep-walking the world towards one of the greatest failures of recent history. It’s not too late to rise to the occasion. We’re asking you to help lead that change.

Let’s be clear: the actions we take in 2015 will decide which way the world turns for decades to come.  Please take the right path.

Signed,

Aamir Khan, Actor & campaigner
Angelique Kidjo, Singer songwriter & activist
Annie Lennox, OBE, musician & activist
Ben Affleck, Actor, Filmmaker & Founder of Eastern Congo Initiative
Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bono, Lead singer of U2 & cofounder of ONE and (RED)
Dbanj, Musician & activist
Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Prime Minister, Norway
Hugh Jackman, Actor
Kid President – Brad Montague & Robby Novak
Prof Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute & author of The Age of Sustainable Development
Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate & Chair of Nobel Women’s Initiative
José Padilha, Film Director
Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate
Malala Yousafzai, Co-Founder of the Malala Fund & 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate
Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice
Matt Damon, Actor & Founder of Water.org
Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Mia Farrow, Actor & activist
Mo Ibrahim, Philanthropist & campaigner
Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate
Queen Rania Al Abdullah, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group
Ricken Patel, President and Executive Director of Avaaz
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation
Shakira, Singer-songwriter, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Sting, Musician, singer, songwriter, and activist
Ted Turner, Chairman, United Nations Foundation
Wagner Moura, Actor
Yvonne Chaka Chaka, President of the Princess of Africa Foundation

(Source: One.org)

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Good News Roundup

I, for one, am a huge fan of good news, the shiny silver lining amongst all the chaos happening in the world these days. For those readers that share the same liking, here lays an article that will warm your hearts and lighten your moods. These are a few stories from the past few days where Good done prevailed. Enjoy!

Last week, ONE.org was able to prevent the planned cuts in the EU budget  to help the world’s poorest, making sure that the already meager help offered does not suffer yet another slicing, further increasing the gap between developed and undeveloped countries.

“When leaders arrived in Brussels last Thursday for what would become the final budget negotiation between governments, levels of development aid were being threatened with potentially deep cuts. But thanks in large part to your incredible campaigning in these final weeks, when the numbers were released, development aid to the world’s poorest was protected at current levels, despite cuts to the overall EU budget for the first time in history.

Though the EU still has a long way to go in order to keep its promises to the world’s poorest, we managed to avoid a disastrous step back. It was the voices of citizens across Europe that helped ensure that current levels of aid were protected.”

(source ONE.org, see the photo album here)

Also last week, Greenpeace managed to reduce the deforestation happening in the forests of Indonesia, saving the endangered wildlife within and demonstrating that campaigns and large-scale pressure does indeed work.

“Imagine for a moment the forests of Indonesia, buzzing with the sounds not of chainsaws, but of birds, and other wildlife that make them truly special. I’m happy to say we’ve just taken a significant step in the right direction to make this a reality.

After more than 10 years of campaigning against Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the biggest rainforest destroyers on the planet, the company has agreed to immediately halt any further deforestation and develop a comprehensive forest conservation policy. If these commitments are implemented it’s BIG news for the people and wildlife who depend on Indonesia’s rainforests.”

(source: Reece Turner, Greenpeace Australia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @RadReece or read the original article here)

Starting March 11, 2013, EU finally decided to ban animal testing for cosmetics, making a stand for animal rights and setting a standard for the rest of the world to follow.

“After decades of delays, disappointment and campaigning by animal advocacy groups, the European Union is finally set to enact its ban on animal testing for cosmetics this spring.

Beginning on March 11, anyone selling cosmetic products in the EU will not be allowed to test finished products or their ingredients on animals anywhere in the world, whether or not an alternative to animal testing is available.”

(source: Alicia Graef, Care2.com. Read the original article here)

It is also worthy of note the saving of a Bear Sanctuary in Vietnam by Animal Asia, home for 104 bears rescued from the illegal bear bile industry; the decision from Levi Strauss‘ management, announcing that they will stop treating the clothes with chemicals that cause toxic water pollution, following Greenpeace’s Detox Campaign and raising an ideal for other brands to follow ; the Great Sioux Nation reclaimed Black Hills taken from them in 1877 after congress disregarded a 1868 treaty and is now forever free to perform their ancestral rituals on their sacred land; and finally, thanks to the pressure from animal activist groups, the U.S. Military stopped the torture of animals for combat training adopting simulation training, a more humane and harmless alternative.

Thank you, Good-doers!