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Policy advocacy and partnerships for children's rights

UNICEF gets set for global action to ‘Stand Up’ against poverty

© UN Millennium Campaign
Young people jump up against poverty in Jakarta, Indonesia, during the 2008 ‘Stand Up’ action.

NEW YORK, USA, 8 October 2009 – Now in its fourth year, the ‘Stand Up: Take Action’ initiative exhorts individuals, groups and community networks to take action on the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people who live in extreme poverty.

Heeding this call to action, millions of people around the world will stand up from 16 to 18 October – symbolically, actively and virtually – to help free their fellow men, women and children from the shackles of poverty.

Supported by UNICEF and other UN agencies, ‘Stand Up’ partners with non-governmental organizations, trade unions and youth groups to keep the MDGs front and centre on government agendas. The goals were set by world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000.

“There is almost no country in the world that has not reduced poverty over the last nine years,” says Director Salil Shetty of the UN Millennium Campaign, an inter-agency initiative set up by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

© UN Millennium Campaign
This event in Monterrey, Mexico, was one of 2,000 ‘Stand Up’ actions that took place in more than 100 countries in 2008.

“The goal is achievable. The issue is one of political will,” Mr. Shetty adds.

Poverty and the MDGs
Officially defined as subsistence on less than $1.25 per day, poverty is often a symptom of deficits that extend beyond simple income levels.

“We have to see the questions of livelihood and income, the question of health, education and environment, and indeed peace and security, as all very interlinked,” says Mr. Shetty.

‘Stand Up’ actions, therefore, are often most effective when focused on other MDG targets. Last year, for example, residents of a small village near Delhi, India – which had no health facility or paved roads – joined together as a community to erect a new school.

And this was just one of hundreds of events, big and small, that highlighted a growing, global anti-poverty movement in 2008. The events even set a new Guinness World Record for the largest mobilization ever organized around a single cause, with 116 million people taking part in some way.

This year’s goal is to break that record again.

‘Global Conversations’
More than 100 countries are taking part in this year’s events, and unlike other development campaigns, ‘Stand Up’ was conceived as a grass-roots effort.

© UN Millennium Campaign
Nigerian women ‘Stand Up’ in 2008, when 116 million people took action in support of poverty eradication and the Millennium Development Goals.

“The ownership and driving force must come from Africa, Latin America and Asia,” says Mr. Shetty.

Online participation is also encouraged. People can ‘Stand Up' on the web by way of an ‘avatar’ or send e-mail to local and national policymakers.

In addition, ‘Global Conversations’, a partnership with Skype and Facebook, will pair world leaders in dialogues with various interlocutors. “It’s an open source platform for people to raise their voices,” Mr. Shetty explains.



‘Stand Up: Take Action. End Poverty Now!'

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