UN Week Ramps Up with Pope Francis, Global Goals and Project Everyone


United Nations #WeHaveaPlan campaign

The 2015 United Nations (UN) General Assembly kicks off today with an opening address by Pope Francis, while two other UN events are also gathering global attention.

Later today, 193 world leaders will ratify and commit to 17 ambitious Global Goals for sustainable development—including to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change—by 2030. The new global goals replace the Millennial Development Goals set in 2000.

This moment of collective solidarity is what British film director and Comic Relief cofounder Richard Curtis and advertising legend Sir John Hegarty (of BBH) have dramatized with the help of Aardman Animation in the #WEHAVEAPLAN ad below, created for Project Everyone and its objective: to raise awareness of the Global Goals to help keep politicians to their promises.

Project Everyone’s ad campaign aims to reach seven billion people in seven days and will involve activity across social media, TV, radio, print and in schools. The campaign (running September 26-October 2) supports the Global Goals, human rights—and aims to sway world leaders to endorse and support them.

The global cinema ad features Liam Neeson as the voice of God and Michelle Rodriguez as the Llama at the podium, who informs the UN delegates—all represented by their countries’ national animals or birds—that the Global Goals have been adopted.

Global Goals

Curtis, the British film director of Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually fame and co-founder of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day and Make Poverty History, said Project Everyone’s “object is to get the word out there… you can’t fight for your rights if you don’t know what your rights are.”

“I am incredibly passionate about the ability to change the lives of other individuals for not much money,” Curtis added, only slightly tongue in cheek. The project was announced at Cannes in June:

The need is urgent. Nearly 1 billion people worldwide are still trapped in extreme poverty, which is why Global Citizen is teaming up with media and brand partners to launch sustainable ways to get involved, timed to coincide with the launch of the UN’s new goals.

That’s why UN delegates and the public are being invited to attend or live-stream another major event related to the UN General Assembly in New York: The 2015 Global Citizen Festival.

The Global Citizen Festival is a free-ticketed event (sponsors including MSNBC, H&M and T-Mobile) that’s expecting 65,000 people and VIPs on the Great Lawn in Central Park in New York City on Saturday, September 26.

MSNBC is live-streaming Saturday’s concert with Pearl Jam, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay on its website and TV channel, while H&M has been giving away tickets in return for bringing clothes to recycle to its New York City area stores.

Celebrity participants include Ashton Kutcher, Bill and Melinda Gates, Jennifer Lawrence, Beyoncé, Meryl Streep, One Direction and Stephen Hawking. Other sponsors include Getty Images, Google, Unilever, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Virgin, Aviva and UNICEF.

The Festival is a centerpiece in the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN, and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will attend the concert along with several prime ministers and CEOs.

Celebrity hosts include Stephen Colbert, Kerry Washington, Salma Hayek Pinault, Olivia Wilde and Hugh Jackman. Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill and Melinda Gates.

Presenting partner Gucci and the Gucci-backed CHIME FOR CHANGE campaign join core partners of the 2015 Global Citizen Festival: Citi, Unilever, YouTube, Google (which promoted an interview with Curtis below), iHeartRadio, Clear Channel Outdoor, MSNBC, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, H&M and T- Mobile.

The Global Citizen platform was created by the Global Poverty Project in 2012 as a hub for innovative campaigns to fight poverty.