Global Citizen NOW Summit seeks solutions to global problems

NEW YORK – The statistics discussed at Global Citizen NOW’s inaugural conference were bleak.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed 100 million people back into extreme poverty. Up to 243 million people could face food insecurity by November due to the war in Ukraine. In Afghanistan, 24 million people depend on charitable donations for food.

But Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans says he’s optimistic: The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic shows the world can come together to fight a crisis when it needs to.

Evans and the dozens of speakers from business, politics, culture and philanthropy who gathered for the two-day summit in New York, which ended Monday, expressed hope that the same collective effort can be made to tackle climate change , to reduce food insecurity and extreme poverty .

“During the pandemic, the world was able to mobilize $17 trillion in economic stimulus, mostly for hard-hit sectors of the economy, which I think was the right thing to do,” Evans told The Associated Press. “Why aren’t we responding to climate change with the same urgency? Because we don’t internalize this idea of ​​(helping) now. We think ‘acceptable loss’.”


The Global Citizen NOW Summit was organized to bring leaders together to turn ‘acceptable losses’ into ‘act now’.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Friday Night Lights actress Connie Britton the importance of getting people to work together. “You know where there can be common ground,” she said of Global Citizen. “It’s a place where we laugh together, cry together, get inspired together, dance together — you can never dance too much, I always say — and forget our differences.”

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem said she was concerned about the suffering caused by the overturning of the Roe v. Wade could emerge through the Supreme Court, but she’s hopeful because she knows the situation won’t be as dire as it was when abortion was illegal across the country. “Obedience cannot be secured by unjust laws because people simply do not obey them,” she said.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said bipartisan consensus on climate change can be achieved by creating policies that meet national security, energy and economic priorities. “You achieve bipartisan agreement by creating an understanding where everyone understands the connection to what they think is most important,” he said.


Many panellists discussed Global Citizen’s idea of ​​creating change from the bottom up, mobilizing millions of its followers to persuade their political and business leaders to change their minds.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario explained how her series on maternal mortality in Sierra Leone convinced Merck to donate $500 million to found the Merck for Mothers initiative to reduce the risk of childbirth.

CNN political commentator Van Jones said “the genius of Global Citizen” brings hopeful, hard-working people together to discuss victories and future challenges.

“I think the world is in a hope deficit,” Jones told The Associated Press. “I live in the world of bad news and it’s like a supernova of good news.”


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Sarah Y. Kim

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