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Celebs launch YouTube poverty campaign at UN PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 27 September 2008

AP, NEW YORK - Musicians and Angelique Kidjo, actress Kristin Davis and model Elle Macpherson have helped launch a new campaign to cut global poverty in half by 2015.

Kidjo and Black Eyed Peas members and performed a new song written for the Global Call to Action against Poverty called "in my name" outside the United Nations, where world leaders are gathered this week.
"It's calling individuals to realize their power in solving global poverty and ending world hunger," sang Thursday. "Enforcing the politicians to keep what they promised and picking the world leaders that will lead the world honest."
"How can we continue this injustice and move forward, how can we prepare the next generation not to repeat the same mistakes that are happening today?" said Kidjo, who is from Benin. "As an African artist, as an African mother, as an African person I cannot just standby."
Joining them were Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and economist Jeffrey Sachs.
Dignitaries and celebrities used markers to sign six rotating plates of glass.
In 2000, the United Nations agreed to a set of ambitious goals for cutting poverty and disease and improving health care and education for the world's poor by 2015. But now, halfway through the time period, those Millennium Development Goals have not been met by all countries.
Davis, who also serves as an ambassador for Oxfam and has traveled to several countries in Africa to support the call to end poverty, did not speak during the event, but afterward spoke passionately about the new campaign.
"Leaders are ultimately responsible for the commitments they made to end poverty by the year 2015," she told The Associated Press. "We're halfway through that mark. Those promises have not been kept in terms of the funding and what we are trying to say is that we are paying attention.
"We want the promises that were made in our name to be kept," she said.
YouTube has teamed up with, and non-governmental organizations GCAP, Oxfam International, Save the Children and Comic Relief to help spread the message that poverty around the world needs to be eradicated.
The company launched a new channel on its site Thursday where users can upload a video stating their name, home country, and a message to their government about the need to meet the poverty goals.
Steve Grove, head of news and politics for YouTube, said the company will accept videos until Nov. 1, at which point will mash up all the videos into another version of the song. He then will present it to world leaders and broadcast it directly to the U.N.
Celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Annie Lennox, John Legend, Wyclef Jean and Fergie already have posted messages to the Web site.

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