Bill and Melinda Gates Host Inaugural ‘Goalkeepers’ Event to Engage a New Generation of Leaders in the Fight Against Poverty and Disease

Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama join other leaders from business, technology, media and entertainment to help speed progress toward the ‘Global Goals’

NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Barack Obama, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Her Majesty and UN Secretary-General Special Advocate Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and Nobel Peace Prize winners Leymah Gbowee and Malala Yousafzai today joined forces with Bill and Melinda Gates at the inaugural Goalkeepers event to highlight world progress and outline a path to a more prosperous, healthy and just future.

“The Sustainable Development Goals are as ambitious as they are essential. It’s up to all of us to stand up for women’s rights, make sure women’s voices are heard, and break down stereotypes that hold women back,” said Prime Minister Trudeau. “And the best way to achieve equality is to directly support women around the world. The further we push ourselves toward gender equality the faster we will achieve the SDGs. It’s that simple. A fairer, more sustainable world is within our reach – but only if women play a leading role.”

“Our challenges are real. They’ll take time to solve. But each of us can make a difference, and all of us ought to try,” said President Obama. “That’s what I believe, that’s what the ‘Goalkeepers’ believe, and I am certain that if we all keep pushing forward, the world will make even more progress in the years to come.”

The event, coinciding with the UN General Assembly, offered an opportunity to focus on positive progress – a counterpoint to a negative narrative that has dominated international headlines over the past several months. During sessions framed around women and girls, purpose-driven technology and global health, speakers shared stories of bold leadership and innovative solutions that are driving down poverty and child deaths.

“The remarkable progress against poverty and disease in the past two decades is one of the most important stories of our lifetimes,” said Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “The leaders and heroes who shared their stories today remind us that progress is possible, but not inevitable. It takes effective leadership and unwavering focus. All of us have a role to play in achieving the Global Goals.”

The event was a showcase of creativity with live storytelling, data visualization, new films and appearances by performers, global health experts and everyday heroes, aimed at inspiring a new generation of leaders to help achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) – ending extreme poverty and inequality and combatting climate change by 2030.

“We are at a defining moment in the history of global development where we can either collectively show resolve and get the job done, or turn our backs on human suffering and inequity,” said Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “I believe when people know about the progress we’ve already made, they’ll be inspired to finish the job.”

Several announcements were made during the event, signifying further international commitment across sectors to the achievement of the Global Goals. In addition to the Gates Foundation’s new $200 million contribution to the Global Financing Facility – a platform supporting women’s and children’s health in developing countries – four other multisector “Accelerators” were announced at the event:

  • Women’s movements: The Governments of Canada and the Netherlands, Vidya Shah on behalf of the EdelGive Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, leading U.S. travel website The Points Guy, Glamour and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined together to support local grassroots women’s organizations and women’s movements, which are leading gender equality campaigns around the world, yet remain unrecognized and underfunded.
  • Community health workers: A diverse set of actors committed to supporting the development and expansion of national community health worker programs through online platforms. Led by Last Mile Health, this accelerator includes support from TED, edX, HarvardX, Aspen Management Partners for Health, Child Relief International, Financing Alliance for Health, Global Health Alliance, Hope through Health, Living Goods, Lwala Community Alliance, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, Possible Health, Project Muso, The END Fund, UBS Optimus Foundation, UN Special Envoy for Health, VillageReach and the Government of Liberia.
  • Digital financial inclusion: Alliance for Financial Inclusion, Better than Cash Alliance, GSMA, Unilever and UNHCR are together advancing a shift from cash to digital payments through new technologies and innovative policy approaches. Their work is helping expand access to digital financial services for the world’s poorest, including an estimated 2 billion who lack access to basic financial services and the economic benefits they provide.
  • Child undernutrition: The Power of Nutrition, a platform founded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the UK Department for International Development, and the UBS Optimus Foundation, UNICEF and the World Bank, multiplies contributions from new investors by at least four times to reach millions of children with high-impact nutrition interventions. Partners include Comic Relief, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, Medicor Foundation, Nutrition International and Tata Trusts. With program investments already made in Ethiopia, Liberia and Tanzania, the Power of Nutrition is now planning to invest in programs in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, India and Madagascar.

Goalkeepers 2017 was preceded by the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards dinner on September 19, co-hosted by Melinda Gates and UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed. The event honored outstanding activists who have demonstrated a positive impact on people’s lives, and who inspire others to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

Winners of the Global Goals Awards:

  • Laura Ulloa, Colombia, recipient of the Young Leader Award
  • Felix Manyogote, Tanzania, recipient of the Leave No One Behind Award
  • Marieme Jamme, Senegal / UK, recipient of the Innovation Award
  • Bernard Coulibaly, Mali, recipient of the Healthy Not Hungry Award
  • President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia, recipient of the Global Goalkeeper commendation
  • Ria Sharma, India, recipient of the Leadership Award

These events followed the release last week of Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data, a new report by Bill and Melinda Gates that uses data projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington to forecast better and worse future scenarios for 18 indicators of the Global Goals, including child and maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, stunting, family planning and access to financial services.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About Goalkeepers
Goalkeepers is the foundation’s first annual report and global event dedicated to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). By sharing stories and data behind the Goals, we hope to inspire a new generation of leaders – Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable and drive action to achieve the Goals.

About the Global Goals
On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious targets to achieve three extraordinary things in the next 15 years: end extreme poverty; fight inequality and injustice; and combat climate change.

Project Everyone, co-creators of Goalkeepers, was founded by writer, director and SDG Advocate Richard Curtis with the ambition to help achieve the Global Goals through raising awareness, holding leaders accountable and driving action. Find out more at

With thanks to the Project Everyone Global Goals Awards partners: Caterpillar Foundation, Pearson, UNICEF, Unilever, The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

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