Millions worldwide stood up and spoke out against poverty in the last two years. This year the United Nations Millennium Campaign and the Global Call to Action against Poverty call on the world to do more in a global campaign to raise awareness about the Millennium Development Goals.
For the third mobilization on Oct. 17-19, campaigners hoped more than 40 million people would Stand Up and Take Action against poverty. The annual campaign aims to compel world leaders to meet targets of poverty eradication, universal primary education, gender equality, reduced child mortality, improved maternal health, halted spread of HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases, environmental sustainability and a global partnership for development by 2015.
In 2006, 23.5 million people joined Stand Up to set a new world record, which was broken in 2007 when 43.7 million took part in Stand Up and Speak Out.
The campaign wants to set another record this year to demonstrate the growing public support for the MDGs. The Philippines, which had the second biggest contingent next to India in 2007, was targeting 15 million participants this year. Undersecretary Vilma Labrador boldly declared on Oct. 7 in Manila that the Department of Education would rally 20 million people.
The U.N. reported key successes at the halfway point to 2015 but these are now threatened by a global economic slowdown and food security crisis. A range of goals are likely to be missed as well, including halving extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa and the declining aid commitments by developed countries, unless stronger actions are taken immediately.
Anyone could be counted by organizing activities, even small symbolic events, that address any of the eight MDGs.
There has not been a more critical time to take stock of global efforts on the MDGs and a louder public cry for their realization. As U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon put it, "Are we on course to look back, in 2015, and say that no effort was spared?"