COVID-19 could push 160 million people into extreme poverty – Sheldrick

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The Co-founder and Chief Policy, Impact and Government Affairs Officer, Global Citizen, a United States-based advocacy organisation, Michael Sheldrick, speaks with FEMI OLANIYI on what the body is doing on poverty alleviation climate change, among others in Nigeria and other parts of the world.

Can you tell me briefly about yourself?

 I am Michael Sheldrick, the Chief Policy and Government Affairs Officer for Global Citizen. I currently lead Global Citizen’s advocacy efforts. I joined the organisation to spearhead its first major advocacy campaign, The End of Polio. That was 10 years ago and came in the lead up to the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in my home town of Perth, Australia. The primary goal of that campaign was to call on the Australian Government to rejoin the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Since then, we’ve taken our experiences in governmental advocacy and partnered with organisations working on addressing issues as wide-ranging as climate change, gender justice, extreme poverty, and criminal justice reform. Most recently, I have been working with our fellow civil society partners to call on the G7, as well as the pharmaceutical industry, to prioritise vaccine equity and an intellectual property waiver to adequately and equitably address the massive global imbalance in access to vaccines and other lifesaving resources in the midst of a global pandemic.

What is the mission and objective of Global Citizen?

Global Citizen is a movement of engaged citizens using their collective voice to call for the solutions needed to end the pandemic and ultimately get us on track to end extreme poverty by 2030. Despite progress over many decades, as a result of the pandemic, it is estimated that more than 160 million people could be pushed back into extreme poverty by the end of this year. The Recovery Plan for the World campaign provides a roadmap that outlines the most critical actions that the world must take now to end the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the social, economic, and environmental hardships that have been brought on by or exacerbated by COVID-19.  This is articulated in Global Citizen’s five campaign pillars.

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