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16 September 2010

Citizens' Voices Against Poverty will be Heard Around the World

Citizens will Make their Expectations that Governments Achieve the Millennium Development Goals Too Loud to Ignore:
Events planned in Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary on 17-19 September

VIENNA, 16 September (UN Information Service) - From 17 to 19 September, people across the globe will turn up the volume on their call for Heads of State gathering at the United Nations on 20-22 September to demonstrate leadership in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Citizens will gather at events across continents to amplify their support for the eight MDGs, a set of targets to eradicate extreme poverty and its root causes by 2015 that marks its tenth anniversary this week. They will be singing, chanting, blowing whistles, playing drums, blowing vuvuzelas, banging pots and pans and setting off alarm clocks. The sounds of these noises emanating from villages, towns and cities around the world as part of the three day mobilization "Stand Up, Take Action, Make Noise for the MDGs" will make citizens' commitments to track and support their countries' achievement of the Goals visible, vocal and impossible to ignore.

At a Teachers Forum hosted by UNIS Vienna in cooperation with the Vienna School Board and the Bratislava Region earlier this week, close to 60 teachers from Austria and Slovakia came together to prepare Stand Up events at their schools. The events that are being planned at schools in Vienna and the Bratislava region range from a primary school action art project, essays, graphic design and posters, to synchronized mobile phone ringing as well as an MDG march by the students. Providing for a learning experience on the MDGs for the participating school children and an exchange between them were important considerations besides contributing to the larger event.

"Stand Up" events being organized across the globe include:

  • The Austrian non-governmental organization and platform for development and humanitarian aid "Global Responsibility" will organize a concert and jam session at the Vienna Museumsquartier on 17 September, featuring SambAttac and Oficina Art Vienna. For more information on the event visit
  • Slovenia will have an International Model United Nations conference (SIMUN), where university students simulate the discussions on the MDGs in the United Nations. The programme includes a cultural and musical evening on 15 September, a bazaar on 16 September and a charity concert on 18 September as well as presentations by NGOs working in the fields of the MDGs. A round table on "Realization of the Millennium Development Goals: Between Fairy Tale And Reality", organized by NGOs at the University of Ljubljana on 17 September will also be held as a Stand Up Against Poverty event.
  • In Budapest/Hungary an event at the central plaza (Erzsébet tér) on 17 September at 5 pm will feature a reggae concert as well as a joint standing up and release of balloons.
  • Manifold events are planned in the Bratislava region in Slovakia, among them an MDG march, awareness campaign by the graphic design school including posters and banners, T-shirt and sticker designs, flash mobs using the simultaneous ringing of cell phones, jingling of keys and screaming of the campaign claim will be in the city of Bratislava.
  • Concerts across Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal and Zimbabwe, where local artists will sing their support of the MDGs.
  • In Jordan, 40,000 children are expected to simultaneously blow whistles in support of the MDGs, in an attempt to set a new world record.
  • In India, "Stand Up" will kick off with a film festival on 17 September.
  • In New York City, Lincoln Plaza will be the hub of Stand Up activity on 19 September, with exhibitions on promises and progress to end poverty as well as speakers and performers.
  • In Paris, French citizens and civil society organizations are organizing a flash mob and Stand Up moment in front of the Eiffel Tower on 18 September.
  • In Washington, DC, citizens will come together with local musicians, drummers and bands just two blocks from the White House, to amplify their voices in support of the MDGs.

"The Secretary General's recent report on the Millennium Development Goals has made it clear that with only five years until the deadline by which world leaders have promised to eradicate extreme poverty and its root causes, the active partnership of citizens and governments is more important than ever," said Corinne Woods, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign.

Last year, more than 173 million people participated in "Stand Up," setting a new Guinness World Record. "Stand Up and Take Action" is organized globally by the United Nations Millennium Campaign, in collaboration with a wide range of partners, including the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP).

For event listings, photos, sounds from Stand Up events and more information, visit

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Regina Rohrbach
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United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna
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