Emma Watson and Idris Elba among 2,000 supporters of letter urging world leaders to ‘tackle emergency facing people and planet’

Letter features signatories including #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, female education activist Malala Yousafzai and primatologist Dr Jane Goodall

Sabrina Barr
Thursday 30 January 2020 13:50
2020 campaigns unite to release open letter urging world leaders to take action against poverty inequality and the climate crisis

Celebrities including Little Women star Emma Watson, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker director JJ Abrams and Molly’s Game actor Idris Elba are among more than 2,000 campaigners who have backed an open letter addressed to world leaders.

The letter, which has been released on the Global Goals website, urges world leaders to “tackle the emergency facing people and planet” by taking action to combat the climate crisis, poverty and inequality.

In 2015, all member nations of the United Nations adopted the Agenda for Sustainable Development, which outlined 17 sustainable development goals for countries to aim to achieve by 2030.

The new open letter includes 20 signatories from a selection of the most renowned activists across the globe, including female education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, primatologist Dr Jane Goodall and #MeToo founder Tarana Burke.

“This is an emergency. We are activists for different causes from across the world, writing as one for the first time to demand your immediate action in this critical year,” the letter reads.

“Five years ago, at the United Nations, 193 countries committed to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. A historic plan to end extreme poverty, conquer inequality and fix the climate crisis. Look at our world now.”

The letter outlines several issues that people are facing on a daily basis across the planet.

“Our climate is heating up. Natural disasters are increasing. Millions flee their homes. Children suffer without vital food and healthcare. Activists are murdered for their views,” it outlines.

“Girls and women are refused an education and subjected to discrimination and violence. But still dare to hope that in 2020 you will act decisively and courageously and kickstart a decade of action.”

Burke highlighted that the Global Goals are a “solution-focused plan that the world needs”.

“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,” the #MeToo founder said.

“That’s why we must use these Goals as a tool to hold our leaders to account and to boost all our efforts.

Dr Goodall said that “now is the time for action” if world leaders are to achieve the Global Goals they committed to five years ago, adding: “We all have a role to play.”

The campaigners who are backing the letter hope that world leaders will demonstrate their commitment to the Global Goals during “key moments” through the year.

These include the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Gavi replenishment conference, Generation Equality Forums in Mexico and France, the UN General Assembly and a biodiversity conference in China.

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and founder and chair of Reform LA Jails, said that 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," Cullors said.

“We are doing our bit. They must do theirs.”

To read the full list of the letter’s signatories, click here.

To peruse the names of the 2,020 backers of the letter, click here.

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