Global Ci­ti­zen Fes­ti­val in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to con­ti­nen­tal de­vel­op­men­tal frame­work

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Jeff Radebe,

THE RE­CENT Global Ci­ti­zen Fes­ti­val, held in Ham­burg, Ger­many, on July 6, was sig­nif­i­cant for three very dif­fer­ent and dis­tinct rea­sons. Let me ex­plain. Firstly, some­thing quite pro­found was hap­pen­ing a mere few kilo­me­tres away, on the mar­gins of the G20 Sum­mit.

It was the Global Ci­ti­zen Fes­ti­val 2017, held in Ham­burg, where I had the great plea­sure and good for­tune, to­gether with other heads of state, lu­mi­nar­ies, and global mu­si­cal su­per­stars, to of­fer a re­newed mes­sage of hope, re­silience and for­ti­tude to a global so­ci­ety, at large.

On Fe­bru­ary 14, 2017, as Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency: Plan­ning, Mon­i­tor­ing and Eval­u­a­tion, I was for­mally ap­pointed as an am­bas­sador for the Global Ci­ti­zen move­ment, and on Fe­bru­ary 15, the South African cabi­net wel­comed this quite noteworthy ap­point­ment.

Through my stew­ard­ship, South Africa be­came an in­te­gral part of a move­ment of some 8 mil­lion Global Ci­ti­zens across the world – a net­work of top celebri­ties, pol­i­cy­mak­ers, busi­ness lead­ers, ac­tivists and stake­hold­ers com­mit­ted to tack­ling the world’s big­gest chal­lenges and end­ing ex­treme poverty, un­em­ploy­ment and in­equal­ity.

As such, the work of the Global Ci­ti­zen move­ment is fully aligned to our lodestar – the “Na­tional Devel­op­ment Plan, Vi­sion 2030” and it is also in­ex­tri­ca­bly bound and linked to the devel­op­ment frame­work for the con­ti­nent – Agenda 2063 and the global UN Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals.

Global ini­tia­tive

Crit­i­cally, the Global Ci­ti­zen is a global ini­tia­tive that cam­paigns for the world’s poor­est peo­ple and seeks to hold lead­ers ac­count­able for the prom­ises they make.

They in­tend, amongst many other is­sues, to fo­cus on the fol­low­ing in 2017: ac­cel­er­ate ef­forts to en­sure ev­ery child has ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, even in con­flict and hu­man­i­tar­ian sit­u­a­tions; clos­ing the fund­ing gap to end po­lio; gal­vanis­ing po­lit­i­cal and fi­nan­cial sup­port, with their partners, to guar­an­tee food and wa­ter se­cu­rity for the world’s poor­est peo­ple.

So, it was quite as­ton­ish­ing, that on the eve of the G20 Sum­mit, there were more than 11 000 peo­ple packed into and at­tend­ing the Global Ci­ti­zen Fes­ti­val, at the Bar­clay­card Arena, Ham­burg, on July 6.

The crowd in­side filled the au­di­to­rium with elec­tric vibes, pow­er­ful mes­sages and com­pelling ideas.

And, yet, para­dox­i­cally, not a sin­gle stone was cast; not a build­ing burnt nor any­one in­jured.

The evening was packed with an air of ex­pec­ta­tion, the sounds of joy and feel­ings of hope­ful­ness and the music played on. Vir­tu­ous cy­cles of con­certed and col­lec­tive ac­tion can, and does, in­deed make a dif­fer­ence.

Is­sues

The arena was filled to ca­pac­ity with ac­tivists who were there to high­light the global and lo­cal is­sues that mat­tered to peo­ple across the globe and they were there to make sure that the voices of the most vul­ner­a­ble in so­ci­ety were el­e­vated at the G20 Sum­mit.

Quite sig­nif­i­cantly too, the Global Ci­ti­zen Fes­ti­val 2017 yielded: 750 000 ac­tions; 40 com­mit­ments and an­nounce­ments by global lead­ers; $706 mil­lion com­mit­ted in funds. This was set to reach 113 mil­lion lives across the globe.

The di­a­logues be­tween artists, the pres­ence of world lead­ers, and the voices of global ci­ti­zen ac­tivists were truly spec­tac­u­lar and quite in­spi­ra­tional.

Notable guests

Some of the notable guests in at­ten­dance were: David Beasley (ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of World Food Pro­gramme), El­lie Gould­ing (artist and Global Ci­ti­zen Ham­burg per­former), Demi Lo­vato (Global Ci­ti­zen am­bas­sador – men­tal health ad­vo­cate), Justin Trudeau (Prime Min­is­ter of Canada), Chris Martin (Artist – Global Ci­ti­zen fes­ti­val cu­ra­tor), Dr Soka Moses (Front Line ebola worker), Diana Oviedo (owner of PrintsLab based in Medel­lín, Colom­bia), Shakira (artist and Global Goal ad­vo­cate). Also Mauri­cio Macri (Pres­i­dent of Ar­gentina), Jorge Fau­rie (For­eign Min­is­ter of Ar­gentina), Erna Sol­berg (Prime Min­is­ter of Nor­way), El­iz­a­beth Vazquez (chief ex­ec­u­tive of WeCon­nect), Phar­rell Wil­iams (artist and Global Ci­ti­zen Ham­burg per­former), Jakaya Kik­wete (for­mer pres­i­dent of Tan­za­nia), Larissa Ze­ich­hardt (lo­cal Ger­man busi­ness owner), Gor­don Brown (for­mer Prime Min­is­ter of the UK, UN spe­cial en­voy for ed­u­ca­tion), Dr Te­dros Ad­hanom (di­rec­tor-gen­eral, World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion). And Nadia Mu­rad (UN good­will am­bas­sador for the Dig­nity of Sur­vivors of Hu­man Traf­fick­ing), Olaf Scholz (Prime Min­is­ter and Mayor of the State of Ham­burg), Mu­zoon Almelle­han (Unicef good­will am­bas­sador), Alexan­der DeCroo ( Deputy Prime Min­is­ter of Bel­gium and min­is­ter of devel­op­ment co-op­er­a­tion), Lil­ianne Ploumen (Min­is­ter for For­eign Trade and Devel­op­ment Co-op­er­a­tion), Dr Jim Yong Kim (Pres­i­dent of the World Bank Group), Ms Irene Otieno (so­cial ac­tivist from Kenya and now based in the Nether­lands) and many more.

Highly com­mit­ted

I had the plea­sure to meet the in­domitable Shakira – and I have no doubt that she is not just a prodi­giously gifted artist, but also a highly com­mit­ted and con­sci­en­tious Global Ci­ti­zen to make the world a bet­ter place-through her com­mit­ment and sup­port.

Phar­rel Wil­liams was his enig­matic self and Cold­play was just awe­some.

These are global su­per stars, no less, giv­ing of them­selves, re­mark­ably, to make the world a bet­ter place!

Some anec­do­tal ex­am­ples that res­onated on the evening in­cluded:

Shakira and Cold­play, in ad­di­tion to sharing some pow­er­ful mes­sages, also cap­ti­vat­ingly per­formed un­for­get­table duets to­gether with many other su­per­stars, that in­cluded Lena and Her­bert Grone­meyer;

Phar­rell Wil­liams was su­perb – he per­formed as well as spoke out to the au­di­ence, about end­ing ex­treme poverty, un­em­ploy­ment and in­equal­ity and en­cour­aged the au­di­ence by stat­ing that he felt that it can, and in­deed should, end ex­treme poverty, un­em­ploy­ment and in­equal­ity.

Chris Martin per­formed not just in one or two, but three lan­guages – English, Span­ish, and Ger­man – dur­ing the course of the night.

World lead­ers with whom I shared the plat­form – like Nor­we­gian Prime Min­is­ter Erna Sol­berg made com­mit­ments on women’s health, ed­u­ca­tion, and po­lio.

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau noted that he planned, in per­son, to ad­dress women’s em­pow­er­ment at the G20 Sum­mit as he be­lieved that given the op­por­tu­nity, women and girls can change the world.

Dash­ing

“It was re­ally im­por­tant to be in Ham­burg, as a Global Ci­ti­zen, and every­one wher­ever they may be are all Global Ci­ti­zens” said a dash­ing El­lie Gould­ing.

“Men­tal health sup­port can help en­able refugees, like Nadia Mu­rad, and many oth­ers, who have been vic­tims of con­flict to seek jus­tice, pro­vide clo­sure, and heal” said Demi Lo­vato, Nadia Mu­rad, and Mu­zoon, who spoke out for men­tal well­be­ing, ed­u­ca­tion, and jus­tice for refugees.

“I re­ally feel that noth­ing is more im­por­tant for our fu­ture than ed­u­ca­tion” said Mauri­cio Macri, Pres­i­dent of Ar­gentina.

“Ev­ery wo­man, and ev­ery girl, should be able to de­cide, for her­self: how many kids she wants to have, when she wants to have them, and with whom she wants to have them”, said Alexan­der de Croo, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter of Bel­gium.

Through my par­tic­i­pa­tion at the Global Ci­ti­zen Fes­ti­val, I re­in­forced the view and placed the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the “Na­tional Devel­op­ment Plan, Vi­sion 2030” at the cen­tre of the global dis­course for mak­ing South Africa, Africa and the world a bet­ter place.

I noted fur­ther that South Africa re­mains more than fully com­mit­ted to the global 2030 UN Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals and made par­tic­u­lar ref­er­ence to the pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion for all, but more di­rectly, in South Africa, as a means to also ad­dress deal­ing with the chal­lenges of poverty, un­em­ploy­ment and in­equal­ity.

In re­sponse to the Global Ci­ti­zens’ ac­tions on the day, I noted that South Africa pledged through Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s lead­er­ship on the High-level Panel on Wa­ter to sup­port ef­forts of the Global Investment Fund for Wa­ter.

I also sought to draw on the link­ages and the nexus be­tween the NDP goals and that of the global 2030 UN Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals. The Global Ci­ti­zen move­ment is a so­cial ac­tion plat­form for a gen­er­a­tion that wants to solve the world’s big­gest chal­lenges through ac­tive cit­i­zenry.

Take ac­tion

On the “Global Ci­ti­zen” plat­form, peo­ple across the uni­verse can learn about is­sues, take ac­tion on what mat­ters most and join a com­mu­nity com­mit­ted to ef­fect­ing so­cial change.

The Global Ci­ti­zen move­ment be­lieve they can help end ex­treme poverty by 2030, be­cause of the col­lec­tive ac­tions and power of Global Ci­ti­zens across the world.

The Global Ci­ti­zen is head­quar­tered in New York, with of­fices in Canada, Aus­tralia and the United King­dom.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion was co-founded by Hugh Evans, Si­mon Moss and Wei Soo in 2008. The Global Ci­ti­zen plat­form was co-founded with Ryan Gall and Riot House in 2012.

Through a mix of con­tent and events, grass­roots or­gan­is­ing and ex­ten­sive reach through dig­i­tal chan­nels, the Global Ci­ti­zen is build­ing the world’s largest move­ment for so­cial ac­tion. They or­gan­ise mas­sive global cam­paigns to am­plify the ac­tions of Global Ci­ti­zens from around the world.

Cer­tainly, in recog­nis­ing the hu­man­ity of our fel­low be­ings, we pay our­selves the high­est trib­ute.

Dis­tress­ing

Sec­ondly, what was quite dis­tress­ing was the rather bruis­ing, bat­tered and burn­ing bat­tles around Ham­burg that had me re­flect­ing more deeply on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween those of us who gov­ern and those that are gov­erned. And some­thing has gone wrong in the world – or not?

I was left with no doubt – the city of Ham­burg’s his­toric iden­tity had been shaken to its very core.

There had been two nights of ri­ot­ing, loot­ing and trans­port chaos that left many ask­ing why it was de­cided to hold the G20 Sum­mit in a densely pop­u­lated city with such a strong tra­di­tion of counter-cul­tural protest?

Like many other Euro­pean cities with maritime his­to­ries, Ham­burg has a strong tra­di­tion of anti-es­tab­lish­ment cul­ture.

It was there­fore no co­in­ci­dence that the sym­bol of the St Pauli dis­trict, where I stayed, and where many of the last few days’ clashes be­tween pro­test­ers and po­lice took place, was a skull-and-cross­bones flag.

An es­ti­mated 50 000 peo­ple took to the streets for the big­gest of sev­eral protest marches through the city on Satur­day.

I saw a pro­tester who car­ried a sign read­ing “For Africa but with­out Africa: Huh?” In­ter­est­ing, I thought!

Per­haps, think­ing aloud, it struck me that the ca­pac­ity to pro­duce sus­tained so­cial chaos is the last re­sort of very des­per­ate peo­ple?

I saw, too, a young twenty-year old walk­ing past my car wav­ing a plac­ard that read: “Shadow owes its birth to light”.

An­other one read: “Thank you for noth­ing – G20 lead­ers, go home now. Refugees, you are wel­come”. This was no or­di­nary “riot’’, I thought.

And in­deed, what is free­dom of ex­pres­sion? With­out the free­dom to of­fend, it ceases to ex­ist.

Quite para­dox­i­cally, I sensed that here too, in Ham­burg, like back home, in South Africa, there was an urge and rage to de­stroy, to hurt, to burn.

Un­til all of us un­dergo a meta­mor­pho­sis, street fights will be waged, every­thing that has been built de­stroyed and faces dis­fig­ured, af­ter which we will in all prob­a­bil­ity be­gin all over again.

But at what cost, though? How do we re­spond to this no­tion of a zero sum game where there can be no win­ners?

I have sel­dom seen as many po­lice­men as I did, all over Ham­burg. Yet, I have sel­dom felt so un­safe and in­se­cure.

What was re­ally go­ing on, I asked? For sev­eral hours the 15 000-strong po­lice force ap­peared to have lost con­trol as masked ri­ot­ers erected and set fire to bar­ri­cades, pulled slabs of con­crete out of the pave­ment and looted lo­cal shops, in­clud­ing a su­per­mar­ket, an Ap­ple re­tail store and a pop­u­lar phar­macy.

There were un­doubted and stark par­al­lels to be drawn with our very own South African ex­pe­ri­ence.

This is the time, in global his­tor­i­cal terms, for re­spon­sive and re­spon­si­ble lead­er­ship, with­out any shadow of doubt.

Pe­cu­liar mo­ment

Thirdly, the G20 Sum­mit took place at a very pe­cu­liar mo­ment in the his­tory of global geopo­lit­i­cal devel­op­ment, up­heaval and con­trast.

The sum­mit, just gen­er­ally, was dom­i­nated by global eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal crises, threats of mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion and multi-sided geostrate­gic con­flicts.

South Africa is, of course, one of the 19 mem­ber coun­tries of the G20 which, in ad­di­tion to the EU, the 20th mem­ber, con­cep­tu­alised to sta­bilise and strengthen the global econ­omy, bring­ing to­gether the ma­jor ad­vanced and emerg­ing mar­ket economies, which to­gether rep­re­sent around 85 per­cent of global GDP, 80 per­cent of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s pop­u­la­tion.

South Africa’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the G20 is guided by our na­tional in­ter­est and the pri­macy of the African agenda.

We seek to use our par­tic­i­pa­tion in the G20 to pro­mote and strengthen the in­ter­ests of Africa and of the south, on the un­der­stand­ing that, if man­aged care­fully, the G20 does present mean­ing­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties for ad­vanc­ing much-needed global gov­er­nance re­forms and ori­en­tat­ing the in­ter­na­tional devel­op­ment agenda.

Con­clu­sion

I felt a sense of great hope for my coun­try, South Africa, in Ham­burg. And I won­dered whether the ques­tions “Where were you born?” “Where is your home?” “Where are you go­ing”? “What are you do­ing?” were rel­e­vant any longer…?

Think­ing about these ques­tions in Ham­burg, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Global Ci­ti­zen Fes­ti­val, look­ing at the pro­test­ers, read­ing about the G20, and lis­ten­ing to the con­tend­ing and con­test­ing voices, I re­alised that the an­swers may be ir­rel­e­vant – be­cause, maybe, just maybe we are ask­ing the wrong ques­tions?

And, if the rest­less ones can get you ask­ing the wrong ques­tions, why should they care about the an­swers?

Un­der these cir­cum­stances, I think of heroes as those who un­der­stand the de­gree of re­spon­si­bil­ity that come with the free­doms we have.

This got me think­ing about one of our le­gends, Nel­son Man­dela or Tata Madiba, as we called him, who, had he lived, would have been 100 years old next year.

His­tory will re­mem­ber Tata as one of the great­est men who ever lived. In­cred­i­bly self­less, and one who made so much of a sac­ri­fice to re-write the his­tory of gen­er­a­tions of South Africans and the world.

Dur­ing his life­time Tata in­spired us with his nu­mer­ous words of wis­dom, etched in our mem­o­ries. And so it is that I re­call his eter­nal op­ti­mism, in the dark­est hours of life:

“I am fun­da­men­tally an op­ti­mist. Whether that comes from na­ture or nur­ture, I can­not say. Part of be­ing op­ti­mistic is keep­ing one’s head pointed to­ward the sun, one’s feet mov­ing for­ward. There were many dark mo­ments when my faith in hu­man­ity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give my­self up to de­spair. That way lays de­feat and death.”

PHOTO: GCIS

Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency Jeff Radebe takes the Na­tional Devel­op­ment Plan, Global Vi­sion 2030 to a world-wide au­di­ence at the Global Ci­ti­zen Fes­ti­val in Ham­burg, Ger­many, on July 6.

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