If you could imagine a better world, what would it look like?
For me, it’s a world where no one goes hungry and everyone has the means to provide for themselves and their families. It’s a world where we can be confident the environment will be clean and healthy for future generations.
2015 has the potential to be a landmark year for humanity, if we do it right. In September, the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development will determine what replaces the Millennium Development Goals. The UN Climate talks in Paris in December could help chart the course for halting man-made climate change.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Malala Fund co-founder Malala Yousafzai said:
People globally want an end to injustice, poverty and illiteracy. Our world is interconnected and youth are ready and mobilised more than ever to see real change take place. Together, we are demanding our leaders take action in 2015 and we must all do our part. I will continue to work tirelessly to call on world leaders to seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality primary and secondary education for every child. That is my goal and I hope that my voice will be heard as it is the voice of millions of children who want to go to school.
Today marks the official launch of action/2015, a campaign calling on local and world leaders to make ambitious commitments to eradicate poverty, address inequality and stop man-made climate change.
Speaking for action/2015, Amitabh Behar, Indian anti-poverty activist said:
If we get this wrong, we could see the number of people living in poverty increase for the first time in our generation. But if we get it right – tackle poverty, inequality and climate change - we could eradicate extreme poverty within a generation. With two summits of this importance within just months of each other, 2015 could be one of the most important years for our planet since the end of the Second World War, but only if we rise to the occasion.
This is a big year for Heifer International, too. We have charged ourselves with our own ambitious goal: to end the hunger and poverty of 4 million families by 2020.
When we say ending hunger and poverty, we are literally talking about families moving all the way into self-reliance and prosperity, not simply the number of families who will have participated in our programs. By 2020, 4 million families will achieve a level of income that allows them to educate their children (including the girls); feed themselves adequately across every month of the year; and have proper housing, water, hygiene, etc. They will primarily pay for all of these things with a reasonable amount of income, meaning a living income.
But we won’t succeed alone, or in a vacuum. Work like ours requires collaboration and enabling environments. We are only part of the solution. That’s why this year’s commitments from world leaders are critical. They must make bold, ambitious goals and be held accountable for them. That’s what action/2015 is all about.
I am excited about Heifer International’s participation in action/2015, and I look forward to seeing how this year unfolds.