Magazine article UN Chronicle

Human Race Day: Humanity Organized to End Poverty

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Human Race Day: Humanity Organized to End Poverty

Article excerpt

A new global citizen's campaign focused on creating political will to abolish extreme global poverty and meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is organizing an annual Human Race Day of 5-kilometre walks and 10-kilometre running races simultaneously in over 100 cities worldwide starting in September 2007. The events will engage some 10,000 people per city and produce the largest annual mobilization of humanity in support of the most effective human development strategies.

Human Race Day is part of a growing coalition of commitment and understanding to end extreme global poverty--all that is needed is the will to do it. It might be compared to the AIDS Walk or large successful charity runs, but it will do more than just raise money for human development. It is designed to educate people about the solutions to extreme poverty and help them to speak out and exercise their political will. The campaign's development stage will end in September 2006 and the production will begin with a press conference at the United Nations announcing the first Human Race Day in September 2007. It is a self-sustaining social enterprise that will engage civil society groups, businesses and government bodies that support the MDGs and will use a network-centric organizing strategy that will allow all levels of society to actively participate and contribute towards its success.

Human Race Day takes its inspiration from the historic achievement of Sport Aid, a one-time event held on 25 May 1986 focused on famine relief in Africa. Over 20 million people in 266 cities and 74 countries ran, walked and participated in 10-K races and other events, which raised $100 million, with $45 million brought in from a special two-hour television broadcast worldwide that reached 750 million people. Sport Aid holds the record as the world's largest sporting event ever.

Political will is identified as a important requirement for ending extreme global poverty. Relative poverty may always exist, but the abolition of extreme poverty is a reality that is within our means to accomplish; it requires a shift in world-view of individuals and societies and their active exercise of political will. Human Race Day's most visible activity will be organizing a million people to participate in annual races and sporting events worldwide, while its most important activity will be for these people to exercise their political will. The key strategy is to partner with effective global development organizations, create exponential growth in the numbers of people active in the global movement to end poverty and support creating the global political will to do it. …

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