What's Next for Global Citizen's COVID-19 Efforts After Success of 'One World'?

Lady Gaga
Getty Images for Global Citizen

Lady Gaga performs during "One World: Together At Home" presented by Global Citizen on April, 18, 2020.

April 18 isn't all that long ago, but in a pandemic where days become discombobulated, it seems like a lot has happened since One World: Together at Home aired globally. Benefitting from an A-list group of performers and the novelty factor (it predated the onslaught of remote livestreams and events), One World raised $127.9 million and garnered an estimated 300 million viewers around the world per Global Citizen, who co-hosted the Lady Gaga curated event with World Health Organization. This morning (May 27), Guinness World Records announced that One World set two new records: most musical acts to perform at a remote music festival and most money raised for charity by a remote music festival.

And One World is hardly the final word from Global Citizen regarding COVID-19 relief. Prior to the pandemic, the organization's stated goal was to eliminate extreme global poverty by 2030, a goal that is now inextricably linked to combatting COVID-19. "The reality is, all economists are in agreement that global poverty will be on the increase for the first time since 1998: 40-60 million people will be plunged back into extreme poverty as a result of COVID-19," Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans tells Billboard. "It felt academic to talk about the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030 unless we were at the forefront of combatting COVID."

The next step? Getting people to rally around testing and treatment for everyone.

"People can feel so helpless in this environment, but the music industry and every artist should use their influences to rally around testing, treatment and vaccines for all," Evans says. "It can genuinely be accelerated; it’s not only in the hands of government…. If we want to get back to the touring industry or get the music industry to open up, then the biggest thing the music industry can unite around is testing, treatment and vaccines for all."

Plans for the next step toward that goal are already in the works. After One World, which featured an eclectic list of talent from Gaga to Beyonce to Taylor Swift to the Rolling Stones to Chris Martin, Evans says "we got a number of phone calls from world leaders asking us if we could use the energy that's been created to have an even bigger impact on COVID moving forward." To that end, he says "we've kind of kept the band together" for a not-yet-announced project that will feature some repeat artists and new talent who liked what they saw during the One World broadcast.

"We have no intention of slowing down," Evans says of Global Citizen's COVID-19 relief efforts.

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