Day Celebrity Campaigners Invade Streets In Support Of Finance Summit | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Day Celebrity Campaigners Invade Streets In Support Of Finance Summit

Posted: Jul 23, 2015 at 2:54 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

On Saturday July 11, hundreds gathered at Planet One Hotel in Lagos to join tens-of-thousands of campaigners backed by leaders such as Desmond Tutu in more than 70 cities around the world to call for governments to fairly fund essential services, honour their aid commitments and crack down on tax dodging.

The demonstrations and campaign in Lagos was part of the action/2015 movement on the eve of the third Financing for Development Summit in Addis Ababa which held from July 13-16, at which head of states and finance ministers are being called upon to fund the next 15 years of Sustainable Development and long-term action on climate change. It featured students from several schools in Lagos, activists, Ben Fot, Jane Ilori, Director One Campaign, and celebrities who lent their voices to the campaign including MI, Timi Dakolo, Nike Laoye, and Marvelous.

Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: “In all my years of campaigning I have never seen a year blessed with so much opportunity to make the world safer, healthier and fairer. With the agreement of a new climate treaty and new poverty goals, 2015 can herald a new era. We must not waste this chance. By uniting across continents, faiths and generations, we can make sure world leaders hear and act on our calls for them to set ambitious goals for the future, goals which will bring about positive change for people everywhere and for the precious planet we inhabit.”

Action/2015, one of the world’s largest civil society campaigns, led the demonstrations, rallies, public meetings and other action in more than 70 countries across all continents, including almost every African country. The campaign called on government leaders to use the summit to tackle tax injustice, fund fairly with a focus on the marginalised and those living in poverty and keep their promises.

At the national level, the action/2015Nigeria coalition organized a campaign event that employed the voices of children, celebrities, and members of the civil society to call on government for increased public financial resources towards climate change, the health sector, girl and women rights, child welfare, increased finances for development, and also demanding for greater transparency and accountability in the management of public budgets in Nigeria.

In the restive north-eastern city of Bauchi, Nigeria , the action2015Nigeria coalition mobilized farmers, women and youth groups who marched round the city, calling on the President Buhari to finance their future and that of the unborn generation by taking immediate steps to halt the illicit flow of funds from the country, mobilise both foreign and domestic resources to meet the country’s needs as well as tackle tax injustice that renders poor farmers and traders hopeless and penniless while the rich enjoy waivers .

According to Atayi Babs, National Network Coordinator of Climate & Sustainable Development (CSDevNet), “The Third Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) is a crucial step in the journey to strong, implementable development and climate agreements. It is a chance to get the financial system and the money in place to make change happen. It is an opportunity to ensure that world leaders know the world is watching and demanding they take action.

“We believe that Sustainable Development Goals cannot be attained if the global community fails to make concrete funding commitments that reflect ending extreme poverty by 2030, halting soaring levels of inequality and discrimination driven by economic policies that deliver for the few rather than the many, and an accelerated transition to 100 percent renewable energy so that a safer climate and sustainable economy – with all its benefits for people and planet is made possible,” Atayi added.

Malala Yousafzai, student, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and co-founder of the Malala Fund said: “Leaders of the 21st century must deliver on their promises to invest in the future and start investing in books, education and hope, rather than in weapons, war and conflicts.” said Malala. “Only education will unlock the potential of millions of my sisters and brothers. They are brilliant young minds who will become, if given the chance of 12 years of quality primary and secondary education, the next great scientists, engineers or teachers or anything they want. Getting millions of girls into school seems impossible. But like my story, it is not. What we have seen is that when we choose to act, girls in the darkest corners of the world can be reached with the light of education.”

In Kenya’s Mathare slum in Nairobi, as many as 5,000 attended a rally, while in Pretoria, South Africa, young people from across the country took part in a demonstration outside the Finance Ministry to highlight economic inequality. In India, thousands of young people led mobilisations in 15 states.

Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi from the National Focal Point, action2015 Nigeria said: “This summit could be a game changer, but unless governments do more to provide vital funding for essential services the global goals about to be agreed by the UN will only amount to a gesture. Commitments on international tax cooperation, development assistance and targeted spending toward those living in poverty are hanging in the balance at this week’s summit. We’re here to tell leaders that the time for empty promises is over.”

Similar events also took place in Oslo and London, among other cities in industrialised countries, where activists called for promises of aid made more than 40 years ago to be met; and for a crackdown on the tax dodging that robs developing countries of billions of dollars every year.

Two-time Olympic Champion Haile Gebrselassie said: “These are the people, from north and south, rich and poor, powerful and marginalised who I stand with – they share a common belief that as ordinary people they have the power to push governments to agree to and then make the extraordinary happen – in fact, they know that this is the only way it’s ever happened.”