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Yousafzai writes: "We can choose the path of sustainable development. Or we might not -- and regret it for generations to come. Which side of history will you be on?"

Malala Yousafzai. (photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA)
Malala Yousafzai. (photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA)


An Open Letter to World Leaders, Cc: Everyone Else

By Malala Yousafzai and Friends, Reader Supported News

18 January 15

 

here are moments in history that become turning points. In our view, 2015 will be such a moment. It is the most important year for global decision-making since the start of the new millennium.

We believe it's just possible that we could end 2015 with a new global compact -- an agreed pathway to a better, safer future for people and planet that will inspire all the citizens of the world. We can choose the path of sustainable development. Or we might not -- and regret it for generations to come. Which side of history will you be on?

There are millions of voices you can't afford to ignore -- the voices of the people you represent. They are voices of all ages from every corner of the planet - the voice of a young girl currently deprived an education... of a pregnant mother deprived healthcare... of young people deprived decent work... of a family from a minority group fearful of discrimination from corrupt officials... of farmers forced to migrate to cities as climate refugees... and of billions of other people. Their voices will roar ever louder against the inequality and injustice that keep people poor. They -- and all who stand with them -- are calling on you to come up with a grand new global contract for our one human family -- and then deliver on it together. The great news is that in 2015 you have a historic chance to do just that.

Two critical United Nations summits will take place this year. The first in September, where the world must agree new goals to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle inequality and ensure a more sustainable planet. The second is the climate summit in December where we must ensure the wellbeing of people today doesn't come at the expense of our children's futures.

Together with critical discussions on financing, these opportunities are the biggest of our lifetime. We know from past efforts against AIDS, malaria, preventable diseases and saving the ozone layer that when we come together, so much can be achieved. Yet, with just months to go before these summits, few leaders are playing the leadership roles we need. We see climate progress but not yet of the scale that is needed, and a set of goals that are hugely ambitious but will be meaningless without brave financing and implementation agreements led from the very top.

If this does not change, we fear you and your fellow leaders could be sleep-walking the world towards one of the greatest failures of recent history. It's not too late to rise to the occasion. We're asking you to help lead that change.

Let's be clear: the actions we take in 2015 will decide which way the world turns for decades to come. Please take the right path.

Yours,

Aamir Khan, Actor & campaigner
Angelique Kidjo, Singer songwriter & activist
Annie Lennox, OBE, musician & activist
Ben Affleck, Actor, Filmmaker & Founder of Eastern Congo Initiative
Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bono, Lead singer of U2 & cofounder of ONE and (RED)
Dbanj, Musician & activist
Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Prime Minister, Norway
Hugh Jackman, Actor
Kid President - Brad Montague & Robby Novak
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Dir., Earth Institute & author of The Age of Sustainable Development
Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate & Chair of Nobel Women's Initiative
José Padilha, Film Director
Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate
Malala Yousafzai, Co-Founder of the Malala Fund & 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate
Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice
Matt Damon, Actor & Founder of Water.org
Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Mia Farrow, Actor & activist
Mo Ibrahim, Philanthropist & campaigner
Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate
Queen Rania Al Abdullah
Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group
Ricken Patel, President and Executive Director of Avaaz
Shakira, Singer, songwriter, dancer
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation
Sting, Musician, singer, songwriter, and activist
Ted Turner, Chairman, United Nations Foundation
Wagner Moura, Actor
Yvonne Chaka Chaka, President of the Princess of Africa Foundation


Chers dirigeants du monde,

Il est des moments de l'Histoire qui marquent un tournant. À notre sens, 2015 constituera un tel moment. L'année la plus importante en termes de décisions politiques mondiales depuis le début du millénaire.

Nous pensons qu'il est possible d'achever 2015 avec une nouvelle entente mondiale, un cheminement consensuel vers un avenir meilleur et plus sûr pour la planète et ses habitants, un avenir qui inspirera confiance à tous les citoyens du monde. Si nous ne saisissons pas cette opportunité, nous risquons de le regretter pendant des générations. De quel côté de l'Histoire vous placerez-vous ?

Il s'élève des millions de voix que vous ne pouvez pas vous permettre d'ignorer. Ce sont les voix des personnes que vous représentez. Des personnes de tout âge vivant aux quatre coins de la planète. La voix d'une jeune fille qui ne peut pas aller à l'école... celle d'une femme enceinte privée de soins de santé... celles de jeunes sans accès à un travail décent... d'une famille appartenant à une minorité craignant la discrimination de fonctionnaires corrompus... les voix d'agriculteurs, de réfugiés climatiques, obligés de migrer vers les villes... des voix parmi des milliards d'autres. Et ces voix retentiront de plus en plus fort pour protester contre les inégalités et les injustices qui maintiennent les gens dans la pauvreté. Ces personnes -et toutes celles qui les soutiennent- vous appellent à créer un nouveau grand contrat mondial pour toute l'humanité, puis à le mettre en œuvre ensemble. La bonne nouvelle est que 2015 vous offre cette opportunité, cette chance historique.

Deux sommets des Nations unies, d'une importance capitale, auront lieu cette année. Lors du premier, en septembre, les pays du monde devront se mettre d'accord sur de nouveaux objectifs pour éliminer l'extrême pauvreté, réduire les inégalités et construire une planète plus durable. Le deuxième sommet, en décembre, sera consacré au climat. Il offrira l'occasion de veiller à ce que le bien-être de la génération actuelle ne soit pas assuré au détriment de l'avenir de nos enfants.

Associées l'une à l'autre, ces opportunités ne se représenteront pas deux fois. Les efforts déjà accomplis pour lutter contre le sida, le paludisme et les maladies évitables ainsi que pour préserver la couche d'ozone nous ont appris qu'en agissant ensemble, nous pouvons accomplir tellement. Pourtant, alors que quelques mois à peine nous séparent de ces sommets, peu de dirigeants assument pour l'instant leur rôle à la hauteur des enjeux. Sur le front du climat, nous voyons des progrès, qui restent insuffisants. Les objectifs de développement en discussion sont, eux, extrêmement ambitieux mais resteront lettre morte sans des engagements financiers courageux et un plan d'action précis décidés au plus haut niveau.

Si ce constat n'évolue pas dans les semaines et les mois à venir, nous craignons que vous-mêmes et tous vos homologues ne finissent, tels des somnambules, par orienter le monde vers l'un des échecs les plus retentissants de l'Histoire récente. Il est encore temps de saisir l'opportunité qui se présente à vous. Nous vous demandons de mener cette marche en avant.

Soyons clairs : les décisions que nous prendrons en 2015 détermineront le monde dans lequel nous vivrons pour des décennies à venir. Nous vous conjurons de prendre la bonne direction.

- Aamir Khan, acteur et militant, Inde
- Angélique Kidjo, auteur-compositeur et militante, Bénin
- Annie Lennox, musicienne et militante, Royaume-Uni
- Ben Affleck, acteur, réalisateur et fondateur de Eastern Congo Initiative, Etats-Unis
- Bill Gates, co-président de la fondation Bill et Melinda Gates, Etats-Unis
- Bono, leader du groupe U2 et co-fondateur de ONE et (RED), Irlande
- Shakira, chanteuse et militante, Colombie
- Dbanj, musicien et militant, Nigeria
- Archevêque Desmond Tutu, prix Nobel de la Paix 1984, Afrique du Sud
- Gro Harlem Brundtland, ancien premier ministre, Norvège
- Hugh Jackman, acteur, Australie
- Kid President : Brad Montague, fondateur et Robby Novak, acteur, Etats-Unis
- Jeffrey Sachs, directeur de Earth Institute et auteur « The Age of Sustainable Development », Etats-Unis
- Jimmy Wales, fondateur de Wikipédia, Etats-Unis
- Jody Williams, prix Nobel de la paix 1997 et directrice du Nobel Women's Initiative, Etats-Unis
- José Padilha, réalisateur, Brésil
- Leymah Gbowee, prix Nobel de la paix 2011, Libéria
- Malala Yousafzai, co-fondatrice du Malala Fund et prix Nobel de la paix 2014, Pakistan
- Mary Robinson, présidente de Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, Irlande
- Matt Damon, acteur et fondateur de Water.org, Etats-Unis
- Melinda Gates, co-présidente de la fondation Bill et Melinda Gates, Etats-Unis
- Mia Farrow, actrice et militante, Etats-Unis
- Mo Ibrahim, philanthrope et militant, Soudan/Royaume-Uni
- Muhammad Yunus, prix Nobel de la paix 2006, Bangladesh
- La reine Rania Al Abdullah, Jordanie
- Richard Branson, fondateur du groupe Virgin, Etats-Unis
- Ricken Patel, président et directeur exécutif d'Avaaz, Canada
- Sharan Burrow, secrétaire général de la Confédération syndicale internationale, Australie
- Sting, musicien, chanteur, compositeur et militant, Royaume-Uni
- Ted Turner, président de la fondation des Nations unies, Etats-Unis
- Wagner Moura, acteur, Brésil
- Yvonne Chaka Chaka, présidente de la Fondation Princesse d'Afrique, Afrique du Sud



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+31 # RMDC 2015-01-18 17:55
Thanks Malala. You are exactly right --

"If this does not change, we fear you and your fellow leaders could be sleep-walking the world towards one of the greatest failures of recent history."

The only thing I would say is that world leaders are not "sleepwalking." they know exactly what the are doing. They are robbing the poor and enriching the already rich.

Many of your co-signers are part of the problem and not part of the solution -- Bill Gates, bono, Richard Branson, and a few others.
 
 
+12 # Rockster 2015-01-18 22:48
Because she walks the courage walk every day , I'm more than willing to give her famous supporters some slack. Would we rather have no hope , and no trust that the U N can grow into something really useful? It's not like I'm selling all my toys , clothes and other comfy possessions to support the needy.
 
 
+7 # Floe 2015-01-18 23:47
It's not strong enough for my liking. I like Malala but perhaps she's getting a little too close to the "leaders" she is trying to convince. There is no way in my mind that any of these leaders would change a thing. The status quo is what they have to have as it benefits them. And past history is the most accurate predictor of future behavior.
 
 
+17 # maddave 2015-01-19 01:52
Quote by author of the basic article:
We can choose the path of sustainable development. Or we might not -- and regret it for generations to come.
Unquote

No, Ma'am - most of us WILL NOT regret anything for generations. We, the polluters, the wasters, the spoilers, the greedy etc will mostly be dead and gone. It is our progeny who will suffer and regret our selfish, wasteful, willful destruction of this planet's natural infrastructure.

Will we hear the voices of those who are not yet born as they curse us for the toxic legacy which we leave them?

There, Beloved, is the definition of Hell. .
 
 
+25 # Peace Anonymous 2015-01-19 02:51
CHANGE! Is it really possible?

"Americans do think different," my blonde haired, blue-eyed, friend from Atlanta said after traveling extensively around the world.

And I agree. After spending much of the past 25 years traveling the world I have come to believe that if Americans could see the truth about themselves, and their foreign policy, CHANGE would be easy. If Americans could simply see the truth they would want to CHANGE.

Do you find it strange that there is never any money for doing the right thing, but the killing machine gets $800 Billion a year?

Can we examine our thoughts and beliefs and realize that we are NOT powerless? Can you see that it is only by CHANGING ourselves, as individuals, - one person at a time - that we will be able to CHANGE the collective consciousness of our world. Is it possible? I believe it is. I know millions who have done it already.

What else have you got?
 
 
+1 # savagem13 2015-01-19 07:31
Bill and Melinda Gates? Bono? There are foxes in the henhouse.
 
 
+3 # lfeuille 2015-01-19 14:00
Quoting savagem13:
Bill and Melinda Gates? Bono? There are foxes in the henhouse.

Their names, along with Richard Branson, really gave me pause. I think they mean well, a least the Gate's and Bono do, but they just are not capable of contemplating the kind of change that has to happen. And the Gates Foundation's meddling has really messed up education.
 
 
+7 # savagem13 2015-01-19 07:36
Bill and Melinda Gates--with their 45,000-plus square foot house? Yeah, they're very concerned about the future of the planet, aren't they? Bill and Melinda Gates are among the very first of the Oligarchs who need to be sequestered if we are to have any sort of a future on this planet.
 
 
+8 # Kootenay Coyote 2015-01-19 09:29
Dear Malala & Friends:
Thank you for your wisdom & clarity. Just one thing: please do NOT use the unreliable term & idea ‘sustainable development’. That was a sly compromise that caught Chairwoman Bro Gruntland at the 1990’s Atmosphere & Environment conference. What we need is not ‘development’,w hich is really the language of unrestrained exploitation, but ‘sustainable stability’.
 
 
+8 # lilluc2 2015-01-19 10:13
Do we have the strength and power to go up against that 1 percent of the world who holds us hostage to it's policies, and holds the planet hostage to it's greed? As another reader stated...billio ns for war, but there is never enough for education, healthcare, job creation, or policies that could make the way we live more sustainable for the resources we have, for the earth, for our children. We are deliberately being "dumbed down," and kept financially insecure. People who are uneducated, hungry, and afraid are easier to control. I read an article that stated; more than half of school age children in America live in poverty. That is unacceptable!
Malala's letter is a nice sentiment, but it's of no use without action. So, what now?
 
 
+9 # jon 2015-01-19 10:26
How would it be possible to not love Malala?

AND

She may well be the most important "teen" on the planet.
 
 
+9 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-01-19 13:47
Why is it that it is the children who show us the way? Where are the adults? THANK YOU Malala. Your courage is indeed an inspiration.
 
 
+3 # Wally Jasper 2015-01-19 18:05
I too thank Malala for speaking out in her strong clear voice. And I agree with many other commenters that looking to the old forms and to the so-called leaders (who are nothing other than enablers of the corporate oligarchy) is not helpful at this point. I heartily recommend Russell Brand's book "Revolution" for a view of another way forward. (Plus, he's funny.)
 

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