Gates Foundation hosts young activists tackling global problems

UN General Assembly

World leaders have descended upon New York for the United Nations General Assembly, but they aren’t the only ones in town. Young activists have gathered there as well for the Gates Foundation’s “Goalkeepers” event.

The event is meant to highlight how the leaders of tomorrow are tackling today’s most pressing issues.

CGTN’s Karina Huber filed this report from the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation kicked off its two-day ‘Goalkeepers’ event in New York, highlighting the work of activists (or goalkeepers) tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems.

British singer Ed Sheeran may have been one of the most recognizable faces at the event, but the focus was squarely on young people.

“Of course, I’m not one of these young people, but I do remember what it was like to be rebellious and have new ideas,” Co-Founder Bill Gates said. 

It’s these ‘new ideas’ that the Gates Foundation hopes young people will use to help to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (set forth by the United Nations in 2015). The goals include eradicating extreme poverty, hunger, and infectious diseases by 2030.

One region was featured more prominently at this year’s Goalkeepers Award: Sub-Saharan Africa. That’s because so many of the world’s biggest challenges are centered in that area.

The Gates Foundation predicts that by 2050, almost 90-percent of the world’s extreme poor will be living in Sub-Saharan Africa. That’s because the region is plagued by severe drought, political instability, and gender inequality – all while experiencing a population boom.

According to French President Emanuel Macron, that population growth may also give the continent a competitive edge.

“The future of an African young is not to leave Africa. The future of an African young people is not to hope to become like a European or an American of the 80’s. It’s to become an African of the 21st century,” Macron said.

In the annual Goalkeepers report, China was cited for its achievements in alleviating extreme poverty.

According to the World Bank, the number of people in China living on less than $1.90 has dropped by more than 800 million over the past 40 years.

“China really drove the first wave of poverty reduction,” Gates said. “It’s quite phenomenon how over about a 20-year period they drove the rate of extreme poverty down dramatically.”

China has targeted 2020 as the year for eliminating extreme poverty – completely. Macron is also looking to China to take a strong leadership role in fighting climate change.

“China is more and more committed on climate change. They decided to have a carbon pricing and a carbon market,” Macron said. “I think we can have much more results if we have this sort of special relationship on climate.”

Yinuo Li of the Gates Foundation discusses efforts to fight poverty in China

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted its “goalkeepers” event on the side-lines of the U.N. General Assembly. Yinuo Li is director of the foundation’s China office, and spoke with CGTN’s Karina Huber about Beijing’s efforts to eliminate poverty.