38.7 million people break Guinness World Record for Stand Up Speak Out on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Published: 18 October 2007

New York, 18 October 2007: Over 38.7 million people, in 110 countries have broken the Guinness World Record – set last year at 23.5 million – for the largest number of people to “STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY” in 24 hours.

The “Stand Up and Speak Out” record attempt took place over 16th and 17th October and was jointly organized by the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) and the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) with a wide range of other partners. The challenge saw millions of people physically and intentionally standing up against poverty, inequality and in support of the Millennium Development Goals. They spoke out to demand a more urgent political response to the growing crisis of global poverty.

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who led a stand up action at UN Headquarters in New York, said: “Today tens of millions of people are making their voices heard by standing up and speaking out against poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals. They are sending messages that call on their leaders to keep their promises. They are calling for the actions of citizens to be matched by the actions of Governments, in developing and developed countries alike, to demonstrate the political will required to end the scourge of poverty once and for all."

For 24 hours from 9pm GMT on the 16th of October people around the world from all walks of life came together in their schools, streets, market places, in front of government buildings and local councils, in workplaces and houses of worship, at sports and cultural events and at public landmarks to demonstrate their frustration that we still live in a world where 50,000 people die daily from preventable causes.

The mass mobilization provided a platform for global civil society seeking more active involvement in the current aid architecture debate, debt cancellation processes, trade negotiations and public accountability monitoring. The largest numbers of people who took part in this mobilization came from developing countries.

Kumi Naidoo, Chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty said: "The confirmation of the new Guinness Record coupled with the political dimension to this year’s action, tells us we are a growing movement of people holding our leaders to account for tackling global poverty and inequality. The impressive efforts of our brothers and sisters in developing countries through new lobbying actions like delegations to politicians on this date, shows the poor are watching how resources are allocated and want to have a say how policies are made. It now falls on rich countries to fulfil their side of the bargain too.”

The UN Millennium Campaign’s Executive Coordinator Eveline Herfkens said: “Together we have broken the incredible record for the largest number of people standing up to demand action on poverty. But the record we really want to break is the world’s record of breaking promises and ignoring the poor. We don’t want to record numbers of people dying of poverty every year.  This is the great issue of our times, let us become great by dealing with it decisively.”  

 GCAP‘Stand Up’ regional overview of World record numbers
Africa: 7,473,057
Arab Region: 2,546,885
Asia: 27,612,061
Europe: 144,931
Latin America & Caribbean: 734,105
North America: 109,828
Oceania: 117,333

For country breakdowns and for full list of events from around the world, including photographs, please visit the Stand Up Against Poverty website.

Contact Information

For more information contact:
Ciara O’Sullivan, Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) Media Coordinator, ciara_os@hotmail.com
Tel: +34 679 594 809 GCAP

Anand Kantaria, Global Media Coordinator, United Nations Millennium Campaign
Anand.kantaria@undp.org Tel: +44 7908 230 165