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2015 must be year for action, warn iconic campaigners

2015 must be year for action

Marking Nelson Mandela’s birthday, the open letter to world leaders is the first global political act Graca Machel has taken since his death last year. Creative Commons: Gates Foundation, 2010

2015 must be a transformative year, in which world leaders wake up the challenges they face and take urgent action to address poverty, inequality and climate change.

That’s the warning from six iconic campaigners today.

In an open letter to world leaders, which will appear in 30 newspapers across 30 countries this weekend, the campaigners – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 17 year-old activist Malala Yousafzai, pop star Bono, Nobel peace price winner Muhammed Yunus, telecoms entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim and humanitarian campaigner and widow of Nelson Mandela Graca Machel – urged strong government action over the next 15 months.

“We write to sound a warning. A warning that 2015 will be a year of huge opportunity, but also of huge risk”

The letter was published to coincide with Nelson Mandela’s birthday, and is Machel’s first global political act since the death of her husband last year.

It also comes exactly 500 days before the UN climate negotiations conclude in Paris – representing 500 days until a new global climate treaty is expected to be signed off by governments.

The letter warns that unless world leaders take a lead on driving an international climate deal, and in securing an agreement on new tighter and more sustainable development goals – also expected to be agreed next year – the world would face increasing poverty, worsening climate change and also growing military conflicts in the decades to come.

The letter reads:

What is at stake here could not be greater, for it is not less than the future of our human family and the world upon which we all depend. Two global processes – the replacement of the current UN development framework and the conclusion of a new climate treaty – culminate within months of each other at the end of 2015. They require us to decide which future we want for people and planet. For there are two dramatically different futures we could live in by 2030…

Which world do you want to live in by 2030? Which world it will be depends upon the decision you make in 2015, and the preparations we make for it now.

Mandela, the veteran anti-apartheid campaigner and former President of South Africa (1194-1999) once said: “Like slavery, like apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome by the actions of human beings.”

Today, the campaigners built on his famous words, adding that: “Climate change too can and must be remedied by the actions of human beings.”

The letter also calls for a global movement to unite development, climate and human right campaigns – a movement that will hold governments to account for their actions over the next year and a half.

It says:

Let’s leave no one behind as we look with confidence towards a future which we can make great, for you have been given an opportunity that will be the envy of history.

In January 2015 hundreds of organisations from around the world – from Amnesty International to the All Africa Conference of Churches, Save the Children to the ONE Campaign – will launch a new campaign called Action/2015 to galvanise cross issue action and drive the political momentum needed next year.

Read the full letter here >>

Infographic to share: Climate change too can and must be remedied by the actions of human beings

bono-graphic

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