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NZ Youth Join World Call to ‘Light Way’ Ahead of UN Summit

Embargoed to 12:01 NZT, Thursday 24 September 2015

New Zealand Youth Join Communities Around the World to Call on World Leaders to ‘Light the Way’ Ahead of Key UN Summit

Today, in more than 70 cities around the world, including Auckland, tens-of-thousands of campaigners backed by leaders such as Desmond Tutu, Malala Yousafzai will call on governments to commit to the new Sustainable Development Goals and tackle the most urgent issues of our time – extreme poverty, inequality and climate change. In New Zealand, P3 Foundation – founded by 2010 Young New Zealander of the Year Dr Divya Dhar – gathers young people to call for our leaders to put extreme poverty in the past, supported by former Oxfam New Zealand executive director Barry Coates and Member of Parliament Julie Anne Genter.

At dusk today, on the eve of the UN General Assembly in New York, P3 Foundation is gathering 50 young New Zealanders at lecture theatre ClockT032/105-032 in the University of Auckland’s historic Clock Tower to highlight the importance of the new global Sustainable Development Goals and urge New Zealand’s government to commit to achieving them.

P3 Foundation will then invite them to shine their own lights in Albert Park, as part of a global campaign to ‘Light the Way’ for the Global Goals. Members of the public are welcome to attend, and P3 Foundation will provide hot chocolate and snacks in conjunction with Auckland grocery and café Scarecrow.

This is just one of over 100 events across the globe, including:

• Mass demonstrations at the historic Constitutional Hill in South Africa

• A multi faith vigil hundreds strong held on Freedom Corner in Nairobi

• Visual illuminations at the iconic Sydney Opera House

• Hundreds gathering to illuminate Sacre Couer in Paris

• A concert and torch relay across 15 states in India

• 2,015 people gathering with lights on London’s Millennium Bridge

Bhavya Dhar, P3 Foundation’s Auckland lead, said:

‘This is the moment for millions of people around the world to unite and declare that we share a common vision for a better world, free from extreme poverty and injustice.

‘P3 Foundation exists to put poverty in the past. When we were founded in 2010, we aimed to mobilise a generation of young New Zealanders to help end extreme poverty in Asia and the Pacific end in our lifetimes. Now, our governments are setting a goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 – just fifteen years away!

‘Setting these new Global Goals is important, but action isn’t just for leaders - it will take all of us. The hard work starts now. We need to make sure we achieve these goals. Our generation’s future hangs in the balance.’

As dusk falls on 24 September, in a series of events around the globe, from Australia to India, South Africa to Brazil, thousands of campaigners and ordinary citizens will call on their leaders to ‘Light the Way’ towards taking urgent action to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change. Here in New Zealand, the first country to ‘Light the Way’, other vigils are taking place in Dunedin, Hastings and Palmerston North.

The messages and voices of millions around the world will come together at a spectacular light show “under one sky” in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, a stone’s throw from the UN building in New York.

Tomorrow, on Friday 25 September 2015 Pope Francis will address the UN General Assembly with an expected focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and specifically climate change.

The new Sustainable Development Goals are a historic opportunity to accelerate progress towards a better future for everyone. The Global Goals, to be adopted onSaturday 26 September 2015, have the potential to shape the next 15 years of global development and create momentum for a long-term climate agreement in December. The commitments in 2015 could achieve:

• An end to extreme poverty by 2030 that condemns millions of people, especially women and girls, to an early death, poor education and ill health

• A turning point in the soaring levels of inequality and discrimination

• An accelerated transition to 100% renewable energy, ensuring policies that take care of people and planet


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