Global Compact Network Thailand officially launches and encourages private sectors to adopt sustainable policies

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote at the official launch of Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT), setting off private-sector collaboration for country’s sustainable development, in Bangkok, Thailand on December 14th, 2018. Founded in 2017, GCNT is currently joined by 40 leading Thai corporates whose common purpose is to facilitate balanced and sustainable economic, social and environmental development in accordance with United Nations Global Compact — a collaborative network of private sectors that encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies with more than 13,000 members in 160 countries.

“By assembling leaders from the Thai private sector to form a Global Compact local network, the critical work that you are undertaking to alight your business with the ideals of the United Nations has my deep respect. Our world is going through pronounced changes resulting in elevated uncertainties and new risks. Keep working to make business a force for good. Together, we can respond to the urgency of our global challenges and construct a better tomorrow,” said Ban.

GCNT‘s primary mission in 2019 is to provide private organizations with necessary guidance to ensure that they recognize the role of business case for the achievement of sustainable development and enter the GCNT membership to create high-impact collaborations.

President Suphachai Chearavanont of GCNT says,

“Regarding the four major principles of sustainability, Thailand will start with human rights because it is the critical issue that contributes to the country’s credibility and international economic relations. At GCNT, we realize that human rights is a very sensitive subject and concerns various aspects, including child labors, foreign workers, female labors, welfare, and several other lesser-known issues. Therefore, it is important for us to identify human rights as an urgent priority that needs to be addressed within a short time frame. Apart from taking the role of center in sharing knowledge and opening up learning opportunity for members through activities as previously said, we also would like to invite business organizations across the country to join us in building a strong network capable of impacting a concrete change in the society, with aim to attain 100 members by end of 2019,”

Read more about the launch event and the network here: https://read.bi/2EBCK86

Ban Ki-moon urges leaders to invest in “Health for All” with the launch of the UHC Day

December 12th is endorsed by the United Nations as the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day to call for collective action to ensure that everyone across the world gets access to quality health services without having to suffer from any financial difficulties.

UHC is a fundamentally political goal rooted in the human right to health and is also considered an important investment that countries should make. The UHC Day on 12 December aims to mobilize diverse stakeholders to call for stronger, more equitable health systems to achieve universal health coverage, leaving no one behind. It has become the annual rallying point for the growing global movement for ‘Health for All.

On an ed-op on “Why public finance is Key to Delivering the human right to health,” BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon calls on political leaders to demonstrate their will to finance the public health systems.

“Our advice to US states, to India, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya and other countries approaching the cross roads like Nigeria and Pakistan is to take this path, as this is the only navigable route to health for all and just, stable and prosperous societies,” said Ban.

“Health is a human right,” Ban says “When people are not able to access the healthcare they need, especially if this is for reasons of cost, their human rights are denied. It is vital for the wider fight for rights, justice and sustainable development that policymakers’ actions are informed by this linkage.”

 

Read the ed-op: https://theelders.org/…/why-public-finance-key-delivering-h…
Learn more about the UHC Dayhttp://universalhealthcoverageday.org/
Photo: The Elders

The Peace Museum of the 8th United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon opens in Eumseong

“The Peace Museum of the 8th United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon” had its grand opening on December 6th, 2018. The museum has been established in Eum Seong, a small county in Korea where Ban was born.

The 2800-square-meter museum is equipped with a cultural center that exhibits donated souvenirs that Ban has received from all over the world, materials and videos related to the UN, and also a virtual-experience hall for the Model UN General Assembly. There are also lecture rooms, an outdoor performance stage, and meeting rooms.

Beginning from next year in January, the museum will provide varied experience programs through which youth can learn more about the UN and become inspired to be global citizens. The museum is also surrounded by the Ban Ki-moon Peace Land and the Ban Ki-moon Memorial Hall.

“I hope the peace museum will become a venue for education that helps our youth become global citizens,” said Ban.

At the opening ceremony of the museum, around 300 guests came to celebrate it, including the Ambassadors from the Austrian Embassy, Kuwaiti Embassy, and Tanzanian Embassy in Seoul.

Ban also delivered a special lecture on the topic of “the United Nations and 21st-Century Leadership” at Eum Seong High School, encouraging the students to understand how they can contribute to make the world a better place.

Photo: Eumseong County Office

Global Citizen Festival initiated 5.65M actions led to 58 commitments and announcements

Global Citizen, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ partner, successfully hosted the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 on December 2nd, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. In celebration of the centenary of Nelson Mandela, the festival aimed to raise awareness of the need for more people taking actions for reaching the Global Goals including ending the extreme poverty and achieving gender equality. It featured the world-renowned artists such as Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Ed Sheeran, and many others, for which the tickets were given out for free to those who have successfully taken actions to make a social impact as global citizens.

Over 5.65 million actions were led to 58 commitments and announcements worth $7,207,436,824, which amount is set to affect the lives of 137,368,628 people in the worldGlobal Citizen surpassed its goal for commitments of USD $1 billion by seven times, with commitments from the World Bank, Vodacom, PEPFAR, Cisco, the government of South Africa and not to mention co-hosts of Mandela 100, the Motsepe Foundation. These donations alone added $5.4 billion on top of projected new commitments.

Top commitments:

  • Neglected Tropical Diseases: The fight to end debilitating, disfiguring, and fatal Neglected Tropical Diseases took a big step forward with impressive commitments from the END Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Aid, Virgin Unite, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the ELMA Foundation (UK), Mozambique, Botswana, and Belgium worth $149.9 million.
  • HIV/AIDS: A number of significant pledges were made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Ambassador Deborah Birx, on behalf of the United States, made an historic commitment of $1.2 billion channelled through PEPFAR on Global Citizen’s stage. It is the largest pledge the US government has made to HIV/AIDS. Alongside this pledge, the Global Fund committed $369 million in South Africa over the next 3 years. Of this sum, USD $90 million is set to go towards preventing new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women most at risk.
  • Motsepe Foundation: The hosting and presenting partner of the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 announced a series of massive commitments totaling over USD $104.4 million. These commitments, announced by Dr. Precious Motsepe and Patrice Motsepe are set to advance education, economic inclusion, and equality of women and girls, as well as to ensure that current land discussions and processes in South Africa will result in land being made available to black people living in rural and urban areas.
  • South Africa: His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, former anti-apartheid leader alongside Nelson Mandela, addressed the FNB Stadium and viewers around the world with a message of Global Citizenship, committing RAND 2 million for youth in South Africa, and announcing the government’s intention to spend RAND 6 billion to provide free access to school for poor children in South Africa.
  • Education: Significant strides were made to #FundEducation, with Sierra Leone committing to increase its education budget to 21.5%, Canada committing CAD $50,000,000 to Education Cannot Wait, and Germany committing to double its funding of the Global Partnership for Education from €18M to €37M and to increase its funding of Education Cannot Wait by €15M for a total of €31M. The government of Kenya also made a bold commitment to spend close to 30% of its budget on education.

Top announcements

  • The US Congressional Black Caucusannounced bipartisan support for taking action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through United States leadership and foreign aid.
  • Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that Ireland will increase its aid budget by 15% in 2019, working toward its goal of allocating 0.7% of its total budget to ODA.
  • Ghana has taken the lead alongside a number of Commonwealth countries and signed onto the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace – a digital peace initiative.

Read more about what impacts the actions of the global citizens have brought: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/mandela-100-impact-report-2018/

Photo: Jens Meyer / AP Images

Lisbon hosts international conference and workshops on GCED

Last week, two events were held on the topic of Global Citizenship Education (GCED) in Lisbon, Portugal. The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ partner UNESCO APCEIU hosted a two-day “2018 Europe and North America Regional Global Citizenship Education Network Meeting” in cooperation with UNESCO and GENE (Global Education Network in Europe) from November 21st to 22nd. On the following day, GENE organized an international conference on “Building a World of Justice and Solidarity: Global Education in the School System” in cooperation with the Portuguese government and UNESCO.

The two events gathered educators and researchers from universities and academic institutions, representatives from the ministries of education, stakeholders from inter-governmental organizations and NGOs, and others from different sectors. An interactive platform was provided for the participants to actively share their ideas and expertise on GCED for the successive days.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre also presented its work and advocacy for the subject, including its launch of the Global Citizenship Initiatives Portal, an online course on the SDGs and the notion of global citizenship as well as other upcoming courses, the annual Global Engagement and Empowerment Forum that the Centre hosts, and its number of engagements in other meetings and workshops on GCED.

These regional meetings and networking opportunities let the stakeholders seek for the betterment of the education system not only within the region of Europe and North America but across the world, pointing out the need of overall development of the global education system and cooperation between academic, governmental and international actors.

The outcomes of the discussions held during the two-day workshop hosted by UNESCO APCEIU will be publicized as a report. The report will show suggestions on how to advance GCED specifically in Europe and North America and how to implement and develop the education into working solutions for global challenges that the world faces.

Learn more about UNESCO APCEIU & GENE:
– www.unescoapceiu.org/en
– www.gene.eu

Photo by: Gustavo Lopes Pereira

GCC Health Insurance Conference & Exhibition

On November 18th-19th, 2018, The first “GCC Health Insurance Conference & Exhibition” was held in Bahrain where BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote at the opening session, followed by Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of World Health Organization (WHO). The opening session as well as the ministerial session with Health Ministers, Deputy Ministers and global policy makers were moderated by Ambassador Kim Won-soo, who is a Board member of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.

The Conference aims to bring together health, public policy, and insurance experts from the region and the globe to share insights on implementing and managing national health insurance. The two-day conference featured panel discussions on health insurance schemes and reforms. These include defining the roles of buyers and providers of healthcare services and insurance companies, along with defining the significant role of innovation in health information systems within the reform program.

Learn more about the conference, and stay tuned for pictures: https://www.gcchealthconference.com

 

The Global Fight against Corruption and the Notion of Global Citizenship

colloquium on the topic of “The Global Fight against Corruption and the Notion of Global Citizenship” was co-organized by the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and its partner International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) in Laxenburg, Austria this morning. The event attracted more than 70 attendees from students to professors in academia, delegates from the Embassies, and other stakeholders from different sectors.

BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and IACA Dean & Executive Secretary Martin Kreutner delivered a keynote during the event moderated by Senior Coordinator Richard Eames of IACA. During the Q&A session, the participants actively engaged themselves in the discussions, bringing up questions and sharing ideas. Co-chair Ban said that “anti-corruptions and global citizenship go together hand in hand,” emphasizing that organizations from all different sectors must cooperate.

He added that transparency and accountability is important for any type of organization or company, following the 10 principles that the United Nations Global Compact has set. Co-chair Fischer said that for a state or an organization to be stabilized based on the Rule of Law, they have to “fight corruption.” He added that “corruption is a poison for democracy and for Economic Growth” of any country, emphasizing that it must be cleaned up for a country to prosper.

“There is still a way to go in addressing issues of corruption. What’s important is extending knowledge, focusing on implementation, and encouraging ownership. We need to have the courage of using our own understanding to achieve the common good,” Kreutner concluded. On the margins of the colloquium, BKMC Co-chairs and CEO Monika Froehler also had a bilateral meeting with Kreutner.

Ban Ki-moon speech at the IACA colloquium

Dear President Heinz Fischer, Co-Chair of the BKMC Centre,
Executive Secretary, Mr. Martin Kreutner,
Excellencies,
Dear Students,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
And Dear Global Citizens,

It is my great honor, and pleasure to visit IACA again and address during this Colloquium, hosted by the IACA, this morning. Thank you for your participation.

On behalf of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens co-chaired with the President Heinz Fischer and myself, I wish to inform you that last August our Centre signed a Mamorandum of Understanding of cooperation with the IACA on the occasion of the European Alpbach Forum.

I am very much happy to be back eight years after participating in the inauguration of this very important organization here in Vienna while I was serving as the Secretary General.

How to make this world free from corruption lies on the top of the agenda. People say that the most beautiful palace will collapse, if you build it on sand. It is important to make this world free from all forms of corruption.

But unfortunately, corrupt practices are still a part of reality.

I’d like to highly commend the Dean Martin Kreutner and his hard-working staff as well as its 76 member states. The organization has seen a huge growth in terms of size. The IACA has also worked in close cooperation with the United Nations, the European Union and other regional organizations and I would like to highly commend this.

In 2017 Transparency International asked 160.000 people globally to identify which institutions were the most corrupt. The police and election officials were listed as number two of the top corrupt institutions according to the questioned people.

Around the world nearly 1 in 4 said that they paid a bribe when accessing public services in the last year.  Looking at the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index of 2017 and the recent 2018 Global Peace Index we discover that the five countries perceived to be most corrupt also rank among the seven least peaceful countries. The good news is more than half the people around the world – and particularly young people – agreed that citizens could make a difference.

Now, 58% of young people up to 24 years feel empowered to make a difference. 50% of those aged above 55, elder people, also agreed that they can influence things to the better.

From development perspective, the resources lost through corruptions are simply drained without being used for productive purposes.

The Davos World Economic Forum estimated that the cost of corruption is $ 2.6 trillion annually, while at the same time $ 16 billion could wipe out world hunger, $ 8.5 billion could eradicate malaria, $ 1 trillion could bridge the global infrastructure worldwide and $ 26 billion could provide basic education for all children. Therefore, $2.6 trillion lost through corruption could make our societies much better. Having all children into the school.

Effective anti-corruption efforts provide a huge potential in this regard.

Not many people like all these statistics. When I was starting my job as Secretary-General, I had some media training. All these anchormen and anchor women advised me, “SG don’t use all these numbers nobody remembers number. You may be aware of these numbers but the people will forget. They only remember you face and one or two keywords. Don’t use abbreviations like IACA. What does IACA mean? Nobody remembers IACA. Don’t use abbreviations. Don’t use statistics. But I’m not the Secretary-General anymore. I’m just telling you some secrets without receiving any money. I paid a lot of money for this media training. So that is one thing. Particularly ambassadors should remember this training to make your interview impressive without using all these statistics.

Corruption has disastrous impacts on development when funds should be devoted to schools, health issues, but are actually going to wrong directions. Corruption even exacerbates political insecurity and conflicts.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption provides a comprehensive platform for governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and individual citizens to combat corruption.

Through prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and asset recovery, this Convention advances global progress toward ending corruption.

Anti-corruption efforts are indeed a vital part of achieving the SDGs.

To combat corruption and its vicious cycle, the international community must join hands with the public and private sector and there must be civil society watchers.

There is a saying that goes, “you cannot catch a thief with ten policemen on earth. ten police officers can easily be fooled.” We have the civil society as a guard and watcher to end corruption.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In a recent report by the Bertelsmann Stiftung on Sustainable Governance Indicators in OECD and EU regions, the findings show much room for improvement.

The quality of democracy for the cases evaluated in the report, included a sub-category of “Rule of Law” for corruption prevention.

The findings of the report are troubling and show that not even the major industrial countries of the world are immune to the erosion of democracy and corruption.

There is still corruption in Canada, the United States or in European Union.

Of the 41 OECD and EU countries profiled, 26 showed signs of deterioration in the quality of democracy compared to a report done 4 years ago.

Combating corruption is key to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

In the process of finalizing the Sustainable Development goals, some OECD countries were pushing to include a goal that represented justice, accountability, strong institutions like IACA. Many developing countries opposed this, stressing that development issues should not include justice issues that would interfere with their domestic politics in the name of Sustainable Development Goals.

There was a lot of final negotiation. Developing countries were threatening to reject the Goals, while the European Union threatened to not support developing countries anymore. That was a big final confrontation. In the end there was an agreement that peace, justice and strong institutions should be added to the Goals as the SDG 16.

The SDGs should be implemented as a whole. You cannot choose only one. We have to do more.

SDG 16 is IACA’s main purpose. It is committed to avoid bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption, but also to proactively develop policies to make our institutions stronger and accountable.

Large cases of corruption happen among big companies and smaller and medium-sized companies that work together with bigger companies.

Other International Organizations such as IACA continue to play an important role in fighting corruption.

Another important area is education: how do we teach our young generation, from the beginning? In that regard I believe it is important to stress the notion of global citizenship. This concept is often perceived as very vague. It is not like mathematics or science. But anti-corruption and global citizenship go together, hand in hand.

The International Organizations, like IACA or NGOs as well as other entities in the private and public sector – we have to work together.

My Predecessor, Secretary General Kofi Annan, initiated the Global Compact. About 12.000 big and medium-sized companies are members to this Global Compact and have pledged to follow ten principles. Among them principles about human rights, democracy, a good relationship between management and neighbors, transparency and accountability. Transparency and accountability are very important items of these ten commandments, as we call them. The business communities have it under their control to make business practices free from corruption.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We launched the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna because here we have a United Nations headquarters, we have the IACA, we have all these big international organizations. It is a quasi-international organization. In fact, my name Ban, is a surname that can mean “half” and now I am co-leading a half-international organization.

Promoting the notion of global citizenship is a critical tool in educating the youth of today and instilling in them a sense of collective responsibility for humanity and the planet.

Promoting the notion of global citizenship is a critical tool in educating the youth of today and instilling in them a sense of collective responsibility for the planet.

It is, at its core, the encouragement of empathy rather than blame, open-mindedness rather than the putting up walls, and partnership rather than isolation, global thinking rather than nationalistic notions.

I encourage all of you here today to take-on the mindset of a global citizen in your work and in the fight against corruption.

There is no room and indeed no time for corruption to persist and to derail our efforts toward providing a sustainable future for us all.

With a global perspective, collective responsibility, and compassionate leadership, I think we should work together to make this world a better place.

Thank you.

 

Ban Ki-moon stresses the importance of adapting to climate change at the World Energy Outlook 2018

The World Energy Outlook 2018 was launched by Verbund and International Energy Agency (IEA) at the Technical University of Vienna on November 14th.

This year’s edition of the WEO found that the world population without electricity access fell below 1 billion for the first time ever in 2017, led by India; but despite recent progress, efforts in sub-Saharan Africa need to redouble to achieve the goal of universal access.

The event on Wednesday drew more than 300 participants, including ambassadors from several countries, as well as former Vice-Chancellor of Austria Mr. Reinhold Mitterlehner and high level representatives from UNIDO and OPEC.

Under Co-chair Ban’s leadership as Secretary General of the United Nations, the UN adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) including SDG 7 related specifically to energy in the year 2015. Ban acknowledged the IEA’s role in tracking progress toward SDG 7 and congratulated IEA for the continued efforts in providing analysis and data on the SDG 7 through the World Energy Outlook.

Ban also stressed the importance of adapting to the climate change as Head of Global Commission on Adaptation and Chairman of the Board of Global Center on Adaptation:

“Climate change is a global challenge requiring a global coordination.”

“Adapting to climate will require a complete transformation.”

“Adaptation is not only the right thing to do but a smart thing to do.”

Minister Elisabeth Koestinger of the Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism welcomed this year’s World Energy Outlook as a source of information and data for political leaders while Ban spoke of his childhood experiences with access to energy growing up in South Korea, and highlighted the importance of international cooperation to improve energy access while tackling climate change.

During a dialogue session with Minister Koestinger and Executive Director Fatih Birol of IEA, Ban stressed 3 key points, urging that everyone has to use energy more wisely and sustainably in order to achieve the sustainable development of the future:

1. Enhance effectiveness of energy use
2. Make energy accessible for all
3. Develop renewable energy

Source: https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2018/november/executive-director-in-vienna-for-presentation-of-world-energy-outlook.html
Photo: IEA

“Sustainable Development: The Pathway to the Future” – Ban Ki-moon’s Keynote at the 4th International Growth in Transition Conference

4th Annual Growth in Transition Conference: Europe’s Transformation: Where People Matter

Keynote Speech followed by Moderated Discussion/Q & A – BAN KI-MOON

“Sustainable Development: The Pathway to the Future”

Location: Austrian Center Vienna, Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1, 1220 Vienna

Madam Minister Elisabeth Köstinger,
Mr. Wolfgang Burtscher, Deputy Director-General of DG Research and Innovation of the European Commission,
Ms. Stientje Van Veldhoven, Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands,
Excellencies,
Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to join you today for the 4th Annual Growth in Transition Conference.

I thank Minister Köstinger for her invitation to attend this conference and for the opportunity to share my insights on the sustainable development goals as the pathway for our common future. I also appreciate the leadership of Chancellor Kurz as the Chairperson of the European Union at this time.

It is indeed a timely topic and one which we all should take to heart with a strong ownership in our work, no matter the field or level you are engaging.

Today, we live in a time of great growth and transition globally.

This time is also characterized by heightened uncertainties, rise of populism worldwide, a widening gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” exponential population growth, climate hazards, vast migratory movements and new risks, some more impending than others.

Challenges to the post-modern international order and our multilateral institutions are being felt in a variety of spheres.

International treaties and agreements are being tested and multilateralism is strained as countries become more protectionist and nationalist.

However, this period in history is also defined by impressive and innovative advancements as well as by a growing sense of interconnectivity between societies around the globe.

It is now easier than ever before to be connected, access information, travel and trade and, with the help of internet, we are privileged to have endless information at our fingertips.

New technologies are altering how we communicate, live, and work. Sweeping advances in the fields of artificial intelligence, blockchain, bio- and nanotechnology, and robotics will alter the future of our countries, cities, businesses, and interpersonal relationships.

At a time characterized by waning internationalism and transition, we must continue to work together through expanded partnerships and cooperation as global citizens. We must continue to commit to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and hold up the notion of global citizenship to help cope with these seemingly insurmountable challenges.

The United Nations, during the last seven decades, has presented many important visions and promises to the world. But to my knowledge, the Sustainable Development Goals are by far the most ambitious, most discussed, and most far-reaching vision that the United Nations has ever presented to the world. This is ours, it’s not the United Nations’, now it is in your hands. In everybody’s hands.

Having said this, I will now address three key areas. First, I will discuss the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the need to see them achieved for all of us.

Second, I will address the most serious challenge we currently face globally: the climate change phenomenon.

Last, I will speak about the need for expanded youth participation and the role of global citizenship in forging ahead and in building a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous world for us all. This is the pathway to our common future.

Distinguished participants,

To meet the challenges the world faces, sustainable development must become the hallmark of this era. It must be the virtue that characterizes our actions.

The picture of a sustainable world is envisioned in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2030, showing the path to sustainable development and peaceful co-prosperity of our planet.

Before the SDGs, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) made strides in the field of global development and undoubtedly improved human welfare around the world.

However, there is still much work left to be done.

First, sustainability means ensuring prosperity and environmental protection without compromising future generations and our planet.

We cannot consume all what we need today. We need to leave some and to make sure that the succeeding generations will use the planet’s resources equally and fairly.

Secondly, the sustainability means a world free from poverty where individuals can enjoy decent work without harming the earth’s essential ecosystems and resources.

A sustainable world is one where people can stay healthy and are guaranteed the food and water they need.
It means a world where everyone can access clean energy.
And it also means that women and girls are afforded equal rights and equal opportunities.

To achieve sustainable development, it requires the active participation of us all, especially of women and youth, those whose futures most depend on the realization of our Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed, without the engagement of women and youth, we will not succeed.

Again, during my time as Secretary-General, for the first time in UN history, I established UN Women and again for the first time, I appointed a Special Envoy for Youth. Never in previous United Nation’s history have we focused on these. Now, I am very glad that these two issues, women and youth, are being supported by world leaders.

People often say that half the world is made up of women. There is a book written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn where they describe that “half the sky are women.” If we do not give them more, they should at least be given equal and fairly. This has been my consistent message to the world.

Therefore, we require their active engagement should we hope to realize our goals and to achieve sustainable development.

This year, as was introduced, I co-founded a new initiative in partnership with the former Federal President of Austria Heinz Fischer, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. Why global citizens? This is quite vague in terms of an academic definition. What I observed in the past 10 years, is that largely world leaders, particularly political leaders, come to the United Nations and speak grandeurs and ambitious goals, saying that they are global citizens, but as soon as they return to their countries, they immediately become national leaders. I have seen few global leaders, particularly at this time and  it’s the 21st century.   So, I thought together with Heinz Fischer, that we must foster global citizenship among the people, particularly political leaders and business leaders.

Through leadership, mediation, advocacy, and education, the Centre aims to empower those whose voices often go unheard, offering them the opportunities and potential to drive sustainable development for themselves and for future generations.

Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is essential that we acknowledge climate change and that we find sustainable solutions to mitigate and to adapt to its repercussions.

Climate change is altering the character of our planet.

We must increase our collective efforts to prepare and protect ourselves, our communities, and our world from existential threats that climate change will bring. We are running out of time.

I often say that nature does not wait for us. Nature does not negotiate with human-beings. It is us as human-beings that must negotiate with nature. We must harmonize the way we live with nature. Minister Köstinger already quoted what I often say, there is no “planet B;” therefore, we don’t have a “plan B” we only have “plan A.” To live harmoniously with nature has been my consistent message.

Even here in Vienna, I was told that you have experienced the hottest summer since weather was recorded. We have seen extreme patterns in weather. Wild fires, still it is happening in California. Still at this moment. Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons with strong intensity.

These weather patterns are clear warnings from nature that we must adapt to the changing climate phenomenon.
On the global stage, the world has seen mounting and devastating natural disasters. It’s not usual. Again, this is a clear message.
These and other natural disasters are not going to cease their destructive and deadly course.

Last month, under the leadership of Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, we launched a Global Commission on Adaptation. Why adaptation? We have done some for mitigation because we had to do it. When there’s destruction, you have to rebuild. But we have not been doing much to adapt to climate change. There is much more investment worldwide, for example in 2015 and 2016, in mitigating climate. The records say we spent around 380 billion dollars on mitigating climate change these years and only 20 billion were spent on adaptation. There must be equal efforts – mitigation and adaptation must go together.

The importance of adaptation has become clearer now, and that’s why, with the chairmanship that I’m taking with the co-chairmanship of Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva who used to be Vice-President of EU and now CEO of World Bank, we are leading this commission with strong political support from at least 17 heads of state and governments. From the European Union, the Prime Minister of the UK Theresa May and Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel and of course Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, are on board. Now leaders of China, Xi Jinping, and of India, Narendra Modi, are also supporting us. There are also many African leaders like in Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa, and in Latin America, Mexico, Argentina and Costa Rica, who are also on board.

Also, as you may know, I am acting as President and Chairman of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). This is an international organization with 30 Member States.

So, with all this together, I am continuing what I used to do as Secretary-General. The Paris Climate Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and gender empowerment, are the three most passionate positions that the United Nations presented to the world during my time as Secretary-General. I do not say that it was my own achievement. There are many achievements where Members States have been working together with a sense of unity. This is the time that we must implement, with a strong sense of passion and compassionate leadership among us.

In that regard, I really appreciate that we are working together today.

On September 25th, 2015 I was deeply moved. I never felt that kind of excitement. I was deeply touched by the long standing-ovation and applause we received by world leaders. I didn’t see any world leader, at that moment, with differing ideas. Mostly, this world is divided.

In Vienna you must have seen many beautiful concerts and operas. At the end of the concert, many people stand up and have an extended ovation. But never in my life, have I seen such a long and standing-ovation by world leaders. They were one, united. This is what we want to see among world leaders. Unfortunately, they are too often divided, starting from the biggest country in the world.

With the transformative advancement of science and technology, now everything is moving at lightening speed. We are now talking about artificial intelligence, bio and nanotechnologies and robotics. With the advent of this transformative advancement of science and technology, why are political leaders divided? Why are they not able to implement sustainable development and why are they divided regarding this common threat to our humanity and our planet?

In that regard, I see strong passion among you this morning. So lets work together and lets be united in implementing what has already been given to us: the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

These are the answers to our common prosperity and the future for all of us.

Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let us work together to make this world better for all.

I thank you very much.
Dankeschön.