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Stand Up: Credit crunch won't stop volunteers fighting poverty
17 October 2008

More than 67 million people are expected to mobilize under the slogan 'Stand Up Take Action' at events around the globe to demand that world leaders do not use the financial crisis as an excuse for breaking the promises they made in 2000 to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

"From Friday to Sunday, in rich and poor countries, at concerts and sporting events, in universities and in houses of worship, millions of people will show that they will not remain seated in the face of poverty and broken promises to end it," said Salil Shetty, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign.

"This mass mobilization will demonstrate to world leaders that citizens do not consider the global financial crisis to be an excuse for breaking promises, and they must commit to concrete plans of action now in order to eradicate extreme poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.  The global financial crisis once again shows the urgent need for a radical re-thinking of the international financial architecture to make it more equitable and relevant to today’s world."

The global movement in support of the Millennium Development Goals is growing. Last year, more than 43 million people Stood Against Poverty. This year, more than 67 million people –one percent of the world’s population – is expected to mobilize.

"Four decades ago, my father, Martin Luther King Jr., proved that peaceful action of the masses can reverse the course of history, no matter how entrenched the status quo may seem," said human and civil rights leader Martin Luther King III.  "This weekend, people across the globe have the opportunity to Stand Up and Take Action to be part of a movement just as powerful, demanding that world leaders end the evil and injustice of extreme poverty."

"If you want to stand by the poorest and most vulnerable, this is a chance to stand up and be counted," said Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of The ONE Campaign. "You'll be in the company of more than 60 million others who hold the view that even in tough times we can't abandon our promises to the poorest to do more of what helps and less of what hurts."

"It is scandalous that we are not hearing our voices in the debate on the financial crisis.  We are the majority who want to see a different wealth distribution system," said Sylvia Borren, Co Chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), who is in New York this week for Stand up. "We are the ones who call for that which has been given to those in the minority at the top of the social ‘pyramid’ to be given to the millions at the bottom.  Then you will see real change."

During Stand Up, citizens of poor countries will demand that their governments:

  1. Make the Millennium Development Goals the highest priority in budget allocation.
  2. Put in place clear plans to achieve the Millennium Development Goals at the national, sub-national and local levels, adapted to local realities. 
  3. Aggressively fight corruption and set up mechanisms to end impunity.

Citizens of rich countries will demand that their governments:

  1. Establish targets to deliver on existing aid volume commitments.
  2. Commit to debt relief beyond existing aid commitments and ensure that it reaches the poorest countries without delay.
  3. Announce concrete plans to complete the Doha Trade Round with an outcome that will help poor countries and the poorest people achieve the Millennium Development Goals, through the elimination of trade distorting agricultural subsidies, capping of domestic subsidies on products of importance to poor countries, and genuine market access to poor countries.

The mobilization comes at a time when:

  • 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day. 
  • One woman dies every minute as the result of pregnancy and childbirth.
  • An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.
  • The world spends $1.2 trillion on weapons annually but cannot find the $18 billion necessary to help meet existing overseas development assistance commitments.
  • For every $1 in aid a developing country receives, over $25 is spent on debt repayment.

Events are planned across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and Oceania. Click here for a list of sample global events:

The final number achieved for this mobilization will be announced globally on 22 October via an online press conference at 1:30GMT.

All Stand Up events will be registered on