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Peter and I were guests at yesterday’s launch of the Dow Live Earth Run for Water in New York. It was a big moment for us, as simultaneously the development team in Europe flicked a big switch and lots of Live Earth projects became live on the Akvo system – more on that here.

Photo: Global Water Challenge CEO Paul Faeth, with actress Jessica Biel. Live Earth press conference, New York, 13 October 2009.

“The largest global water initiative in history” is how Live Earth founder Kevin Wall described this ambitious series of awareness-raising and fundraising events to be held on 18 April 2010, including concerts and runs.

“Everyone involved in Live Earth is an optimist”

The press event, overlooking the Hudson River at Chelsea Piers, brought together celebrities and media – granddaughter of explorer Jacques, Alexandra Cousteau opened proceedings, actress Jessica Biel dazzled us all, musician Pete Wentz impressed the need to engage youth, and athlete and model Jenny Fletcher hit the nail when she explained how “everyone involved in Live Earth is an optimist”. And that’s coming from the tallest woman I’ve ever seen. Global Water Challenge president and CEO Paul Faeth was great on stage as he set out the scale of the challenge to provide clean water to the billion who today lack it around the world. Paul’s influenced many of the ideas behind Akvo – and introduced us to Live Earth in the first place – and it was fantastic to see him set out his ambitions in front of top media. Another highlight was singer Angelique Kidjo, the only African on stage, who talked about her childhood in Benin, the need for action on water, and the fact that “everywhere I’ve travelled, I’ve experienced the power of music to bring people together”.

See the video below for a sense of what it was like to be there, a glimpse of Jessica Biel and a short description of who was there and what was going on from Live Earth general manager Catherine Geanuracos.

After the launch finished at 11am, we spent a few hours talking over lunch with the fantastic network of NGOs that are involved, all of whom will be reporting on projects through our system. See the Live Earth partners already on Akvo here.

For a more detailed outline of how Akvo fits into the Live Earth Run for Water, see this extended video discussion here with Live Earth general manager Catherine Geanuracos.

Check out our photos from the event by clicking here or on the collage below.

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Mark Charmer is a co-founder of Akvo.