Activists unite behind open letter

Photograph of people's climate march 2014

 People's Climate March 2014

Historic alliance of 2,020 campaigners unite to issue an open letter demanding world leaders tackle the emergency facing people and planet.


In a dramatic act of global unity, 2000 campaigners and public figures from over 140 countries are backing an open letter signed by twenty world-leading activists.

The letter declares a state of “emergency” for people and planet. It comes one week on from UN Secretary- General António Guterres calling on the international community to make the 2020s the “decade of action” and 2020 the “year of urgency”.

Campaigners want to see political leadership at key moments this year including COP26, the Gavi replenishment, Generation Equality Forums in Mexico and France, the UN General Assembly, and a landmark biodiversity conference in China.


Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and founder and chair of Reform LA Jails, said: “The battle for justice and equality becomes more urgent with every passing day.

"I am proud to join together with 19 other activists today, across issues, across continents and generations – to demand world leaders deliver on their promises contained in the Global Goals. We are doing our bit. They must do theirs.”

Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, co-founder of Bring Back Our Girls, said: “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.

"I am proud to join with 19 other climate campaigners, gender activists, human rights defenders and anti-poverty advocates in signing this letter. These Goals are all our Goals and can only be achieved together.”


Dr Jane Goodall DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, said: “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.

"My global programme for young people, Roots & Shoots is planting five million trees in this year alone. Those in power must now step up and play their part too.”

Tarana Burke, founder of the MeToo Movement, said: “The Global Goals are a solutions-focused plan that the world needs. They are as much about what is happening in the USA as in Uganda.

"They build on a vision of a world in which women and girls can live free from violence, harassment and discrimination, but we all know that is a long way off.

"That’s why we must use these Goals as a tool to hold our leaders to account and to boost all our efforts. I’m proud to stand with climate campaigners, human rights defenders, education activists today to send a clear message to leaders that these Goals are all our Goals. We are ready - and we are watching - for action.”


Richard Curtis, SDG advocate, screenwriter and co-founder of Project Everyone, said: “We are in an emergency for people and planet - the solution to which is the Global Goals - the historic plan to defeat poverty, fix inequality and combat the climate crisis.

"These 20 activists and 2000 supporters represent the universal and indivisible nature of the Goals - and the passion from all sides that 2020 must be a transformative, radical year for change and progress and new finance - for people and planet. In 2020, leaders will be watched by people all around the world who expect them to deliver dramatically.

"It’s also a clear commitment that this diverse and deeply committed group will themselves press hard throughout this crucial year to kickstart a Decade of Action for the Goals.”

The open letter has been issued to highlight the need for immediate action, including at key 2020 moments, if the world is to meet the Global Goals. It demands sustained innovation, financing and action over the crucial decade ahead to 2030.

Recent reports underline the need for swift action; at least half the global population does not have access to essential health services, hunger is on the rise after a prolonged decline1, and at the current rate of progress, it will take almost 100 years to close the global gender gap.

Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions are reaching record levels and key ecosystems are on the verge of collapse with one million species in near-term danger of extinction.

The open letter is accompanied by a public campaign asking citizens to show their support by sharing the letter and to join this effort for people and planet by using #GlobalGoals. The full list of signatories can be found on the campaign's website


The twenty leading gender, climate, environmental, equality, justice and human rights campaigners authoring the letter are Nobel Peace Prize laureates Malala Yousafzai and Nadia Murad; founder of the Me Too movement Tarana Burke; co-founder of Black Lives Matters Patrisse Cullors; anti-apartheid campaigner Andrew Mlangeni; co-founder of Bring Back our Girls Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili; environmental campaigners Dr. Jane Goodall DBE and Yann Arthus-Bertrand; social justice and human rights campaigners Emi Mahmoud, Kumi Naidoo, Kennedy Odede, Sophie Cruz and Raull Santiago; youth climate activists Melati Wijsen and Alexandria Villaseñor; gender equality campaigners Lydia Cacho, Jaha Dukureh, Dr. Alaa Murabit and Trisha Shetty; and disability rights advocate Edward Ndopu.

2000 supporters have added their names to the letter and backed this call to action. Signatories from the worlds of arts, culture, sports, philanthropy and civil society include J.J. Abrams, Riz Ahmed, Christiane Amanpour, Chris Anderson, Judd Apatow, Becca, Alisson Becker, Dr Natália Loewe Becker, Bono, Susanne Bier, Danny Boyle, Alice Braga, Sinéad Burke, Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, Alfonso Cuarón, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Curtis, Fatoumata Diawara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Hugh Evans, Stephen Fry, Neil Gaiman, Jennifer Garner, Bob Geldof, Bear Grylls, Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Dr Mo Ibrahim, Edna Adan Ismail, Jony Ive, Katja Iversen, Lily James, Ashley Judd, Aamir Khan, Angelique Kidjo, Femi Kuti, Spike Lee, Padma Lakshmi, Blake Lively, Charlie Mackesy, Chris Martin, Rami Malek, Professor Mariana Mazzucato, David Miliband, Dia Mirza, Carey Mulligan, Amanda Mukwashi, Wagner Moura, Fernando Meirelles, Jamie Oliver, Folake Olowofoyeku, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Camila Pitanga, Paul Polman, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, Ryan Reynolds, General Lord Richards, Julia Roberts, Mj Rodriguez, Saoirse Ronan, Cody Simpson, Mark Suzman, Dr Raj Shah, Yara Shahidi, Peter Tatchell, Emma Thompson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Jimmy Wales, Emma Watson, Pharrell Williams and Michelle Yeoh.

This Article 

This article is based on a press release from Global Goals. 

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