KATHMANDU: A Guinness world record shattered this weekend when over 173 million citizens gathered at over 3,000 events in more than 120 countries, demanding that their governments eradicate extreme poverty and achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

‘Stand Up, Take Action, End Poverty Now!’, now in its fourth year, has been certified by Guinness World Records as the largest mobilisation of human beings in recorded history, an increase of about 57 million people over last year.

“The more than 173 million people who mobilised this weekend sent a clear message to world leaders that there is massive, universal, global demand for eradicating

poverty and achieving Millennium Development Goals,” said Salil Shetty, director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign.

“In particular, we have seen citizens determined to show their governments that they will hold them accountable for keeping their promises to end hunger, improve maternal health and abolish trade-distorting agricultural subsidies. They will not accept excuses for breaking promises to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, who have already been hardest hit by the global food, economic and climate crises they had no role in causing,” he added.

The 3,000 events across every inhabited continent this weekend included like the ones in New York where United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon led schoolchildren in Standing Up.

Similarly, in Nepal President Dr Ram Baran Yadav read a Stand Up Pledge with members of the Constituent Assembly at an event broadcast live on national television, followed by a concert in a large open-air theatre in the heart of Kathmandu.

“Stand Up has proven to be a growing global mobilisation, as well as an ongoing grass roots movement from remote areas and cities in so many countries, both rich and poor,” said Sylvia Borren, Co-chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), who attended several ‘Stand Up’ events across The Netherlands last weekend.

Currently, one billion people around the world face hunger and 500,000 women continue to die annually as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. The vast majority of these deaths is preventable. The mobilisation was organised globally by the United Nations Millennium Campaign, in partnership with a range of organizations including the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP).

Hundreds of people

gathered at the International Labor Organisation (ILO) headquarters in Geneva to Stand Up Against Poverty in a joint action with UNDP and UN agencies, led by ILO Director-General Juan Somavia on October 16.

The UN Millennium Campaign — established by the UN Secretary General in 2002 — supports citizens’ efforts to hold their governments accountable for the achievement of the MDGs. It was adopted by 189 world leaders from rich and poor countries, as part of the Millennium Declaration which was signed in 2000. These leaders agreed to achieve the Goals by 2015.

Participation around the globe

• In Asia over 100 million people (101,106,845)

• In Africa over 37 million people (37,848,412)

• In Arabia over 31 million people (31,394,459)

• In Europe over 2 million people (2,102,121)

• In Latin America over 200,000 people (229,371)

• In North America nearly 200,000 people (191,535)

• In Oceania over 170,000 people (172,582)