Ban Ki-moon Sends his Condolences for the Passing of Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna, together with its Co-Chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and its Board Members send their condolences to the Bush family on the occasion of the passing of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. In a letter to his son, former U.S. President George W. Bush, Ban Ki-moon wrote:

“The late President was a true statesman, humanitarian, and a devoted public servant. The world is forever indebted to his leadership and diplomatic acumen for safely navigating through the tumultuous collapse of the Soviet Union, bringing the end to the Cold War and guided it into a new era of freedom, peace, and prosperity. Out of the White House, his continued public service in places such as tsunami-hit Thailand inspired many around the world.”

 

“I will never forget the first encounter with him in the Oval Office back in 1990. As a Korean diplomat accompanying the foreign minister at the time, I was touched by his genuine care for the US-Korea alliance and its future. As the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I cherish the memory of speaking with him and First Lady Barbara Bush on the occasion of delivering an address to a kind-hearted audience at the Bush Presidential Library, Texas in 2008.”

Picture:  © APA – Austria Presse Agentur

Ban Ki-moon Centre Participates in Event on the SDGs Featuring Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden

This week, the Ban Ki-moon Centre featured at an event entitled, “The 2030 Agenda – From Global Goals to Local Implementation” hosted by the Swedish Embassy in Vienna. BKMC CEO Monika Froehler moderated the event and led a discussion on the SDGs and local implementation in Austria as well as around the world.

The event began with welcoming remarks from H.E. Ambassador Mikaela Kumlin Granit of the Swedish Embassy followed by a powerful opening statement by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden that set the stage for the discussion that followed. Her H.R.H Princess Victoria said:

“The implementation of the 2030 Agenda is a high priority for the Swedish government, but also for me personally. As advocate of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, I am delighted to see the commitment with which Austria is working to implement the Agenda. Progress is indeed being made, but now we need to step up the pace.”

Following the opening statement, Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák of Slovakia, who is also the former President of the United Nations General Assembly, delivered a keynote in which he stressed the importance of empowering youth and women. He stated:

“Half of this planet are people under 30, and half of this planet are women,” and “our youth are not the future generation; they are here now, and we need to listen to them now.”

Minister Lajčák also thanked the Swedish government for its support of the implementation of  SDG 14, “Life Below Water.”

After the keynote, a panel discussion was moderated by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler, featuring DG Li Yong of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Director-General Désirée Schweitzer of the Department for Development Cooperation at the Austrian Foreign Ministry, VP Ulrike Rabmer-Koller of the Austrian Economic Chambers and Director Monika Langthaler of the R20 Austrian World Summit. Experts from Global ResponsibilitySustainable Energy for All, and the IKEA Foundation also shared their expert insights.

Overall, the event emphasized the need for more advocacy, finance, and innovation to achieve implementation of the SDGs and further global collaboration to reach the most marginalized communities. During the Q&A session, the “Youth SDG Advocates” provided by the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens asked questions about the role that the international community should play in advancing the SDGs and how youth can be engaged and represented.

Check out the full video of the event below!

Gepostet von Schwedische Botschaft Wien – Embassy of Sweden Vienna am Mittwoch, 28. November 2018

 

“Perspectives on the Energy Future and Global Developments”

Keynote Address
Launch of the World Energy Outlook 2018
World Energy Outlook 2018 Launch
International Energy Agency & VERBUND
Technical University Vienna, Kuppelsaal Karlsplatz 13
November 14, 2018, 11:30 – 14:30

Your Excellency Minister Elisabeth Köstinger,

Mr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency,
Mr. Gerhard Roiss, President of Verbund,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank the International Energy Agency and VERBUND for bringing us all together for the launch of the 2018 World Energy Outlook in Vienna.

It is a great privilege for me to address such a distinguished group of global leaders and experts across a wide variety of sectors and regions to talk about “Electrification” and “Making it Happen”.

As a child growing up during the Korean War, I studied with candlelight. Electric conveniences such as refrigerators and fans were largely unknown.

I had to study until I was a freshman at University under candle light.

Yet within my lifetime reality changed utterly. Easy access to energy opened abundant new possibilities for my family, my community, my country and so many others around the globe.

We have come a long way and one thing is clear:

Energy transforms lives, businesses and economies. And it transforms our planet —our climate, natural resources and ecosystems.

Since 2010, less than a decade ago, the average costs of solar power has dropped 73% and the cost of wind energy has dropped 23%, respectively. It may be kind of meaningless for me to point this numbers out in front of many experts like yourselves.

The costs of battery storage technologies are forecasted to decline by as much 60% over the next decade.

In many scenarios, renewable energy is now more competitive than conventional fossil fuel-based energy.

In other words, we have arrived at the tipping point where investing in renewable energy is no longer only the right thing to do to, it is also the sensible thing to do. If we were to push for the new construction of traditional fossil fuel power plants, we would be at risk of being viewed as not only “immoral” but also as “unwise”.

 

Still, real world change is not occurring as rapidly as we want, and current electrification rates are insufficient to achieve Sustainable Development Goal No. 7.

Today still nearly one out of every five people lacks access to electricity.

More than twice that number — 2.8 billion people – still rely on wood, charcoal, animal and crop waste or other solid fuels to cook their food and heat their homes.

For example, Sub-Saharan Africa is far behind the rest of the world in terms of electricity generation capacity, per capita electricity consumption and household access to electricity. If the current trend continues, 674 million people will remain without access, even in 2030.

At the same time the global thermostat is rising, threatening development goals and economies small and large.

Still we need to make modern energy services available to all, increase efficiency and increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

This is why I launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. It has three targets and the headquarters is now here in Vienna.

We must do all of that in a sustainable manner.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In order to address this, there are many ways in which we can redouble our efforts, including:

  • Aiming to achieve the scale of investment and deployment required, by focusing on interventions that develop a fully sustainable market chain from manufacture, to distribution, retail and end-user consumption;
  • Increasing the share of renewables for end-users, including heating, cooling and transportation and by utilizing the rapid technological advances;
  • Decentralizing renewable energy systems, including mini-grids, to ensure that people will have access to power despite disruption to energy services, especially targeting LDCs as energy services are simply non-existent in many regions;
  • Creating institutional arrangements that will increase international cooperation and collaboration; support research and development for green growth and spread those technologies to developing countries; and
  • Developing policies and other innovative ways for the private sector and public institutions—especially those that receive R&D funding from their governments—to be more active in transferring technologies to developing countries so they can decrease fossil fuel imports, reduce air pollution and create green jobs.

 

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Earlier this year, I was elected as the President of the Assembly and the Chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) located in Seoul, a treaty-based intergovernmental organization, by its Member countries.

I chose to lead GGGI because its mandate coincides heavily with the work I pioneered as the United Nations Secretary-General:

  • It supports countries to achieve sustainable development and climate action through new and innovative green industries and jobs;
  • It supports governments to develop socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable green growth plans and policies; and
  • It supports its Member countries achieve the NDCs (national determined contributions) by delivering climate action services in the areas of mitigation, transparency and finance.

GGGI has mobilized 1 billion USD in green investments in developing countries, despite being established only six years ago in 2012.

This Institute currently has thirty Member countries, and they are at the heart of this changing global energy landscape—as they seek to design their future energy systems against the background of population growth, rapid urbanization, economic growth and rising income levels—all of which will require governments to meet soaring energy demands. Additionally, as some of you might already know, only a few weeks ago in The Hague, Netherlands, on Oct. 16th, we launched the Global Commission on Adaptation, which I am honored to lead together with Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of World Bank and Mr. Bill Gates.

On the heels of one of the deadliest summers of climate-related weather disasters affecting countries all over the world, the new Global Commission on Adaptation aims to catalyze a global movement to bring scale and speed to climate adaptation solutions.

Even if countries meet the Paris Climate Accord goal of keeping the rise in Earth’s temperature below two degrees Celsius by rapidly adapting to new forms of energy, the effects of global warming will continue to manifest and intensify.

Millions of lives are being lost. And poor people who did the least to cause the problems are suffering the most.

Over the next two years, the Global Commission on Adaptation will make its action oriented “Action Plans” and will submit them to the United Nations Climate Summit meeting to be held in September next year. Based on that report adopted at the General Assembly, we will try to have a summit meeting for action on adaption. We will provide the roadmap for what new actions are needed and what must be done differently to secure our future.

The urgency around climate adaptation cannot be underestimated. We are at a point of no return. We can choose a path that can lead us toward a more climate resilient future, or we can continue with the status quo, putting at risk global economic growth and social stability that will undermine food, water, and energy security for decades to come.

Preparing for climate risks cannot be done by just one country, or in one sector, or just by governments alone. This is a global challenge requiring global coordination across boundaries. Climate impacts in one country can have effects on the other side of the world. We must learn from one another.

Adapting to climate will require a complete transformation of policies, programs, and projects across governments, the private sector, and civil society to ensure the well-being of humanity.

I believe that climate adaptation is achievable—at scale and at speed. In fact, the costs of adapting are less than the cost of doing business as usual. And the benefits many times larger.

Adaptation is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to emphasize that we have invested for mitigating the climate phenomenon; however, we have not done much to adapt to the situation. That is why we must balance our work between mitigating and adaptation. And in that, of course, I think energy can play a critically import role.

Energy is a cross-cutting issue. When we say cross-cutting issue, energy and water as well as others are cross-cutting issues. Without these, you cannot do anything. Starting from goal number one until goal seventeen, most of the goals are directly incorporated with energy. So, without energy, we cannot do anything at this time.

I was able to study without energy and I was even drinking water from a stream at that time. But if I drink water from a stream today, I will get sick immediately. We are living in a very dangerous world at this time. Without energy, you cannot do anything. You cannot operate any small community. Therefore, sustainable energy is the most important.

There are some initiatives that I have taken – global education, quality education, global heath issues, gender equality, fighting against violence against women, and energy, and water. These are some of the initiatives I have taken in my time.

Sustainable energy for All is one initiative which is located in the beautiful city of Vienna led by Rachel Kyte who previously served as the Vice-President of World Bank. She is doing an excellent job.

We need to work very hard.

The International Energy Agency as well as everyone present here today are playing an important role for the promise of SDG 7.

Allow me to congratulate the World Energy Outlook team for the launching of WEO 2018.  I would also like to encourage the IEA, and all stakeholders here to continue your very important work for sustainable development, building new connections and partnerships with many existing international organizations like GGGI and other organizations to work together

We have the capacity to ensure sustainable futures not only for us, but for succeeding generations to come.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, use your energy wisely and sustainably. That’s my message to you. And I thank you for all of your leadership.

Thank you very much!

 

Photo: IEA

Ban Ki-moon Centre’s First Global Citizen Scholars – European Forum Alpbach 2018

This year, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens sponsored four scholars to attend European Forum Alpbach in Tyrol, Austria. These “Global Citizen Scholars” were nationals of countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

To be selected, each scholar had to show that they were active as global citizens in their communities. Whether founding their own NGOs or participating in leadership roles in already established youth and women’s empowerment organizations, the selected scholars displayed outstanding dedication to the principles of global citizenship.

During the Forum, the scholars had a busy schedule, including opportunities to engage face-to-face with the Centre’s Board and Co-chairs. One event was dedicated to the scholars sharing their stories and plans for their future work as global citizens. After their presentations, they each received a certificate of achievement.

 

The Scholars:

Alhassan is Ghanaian and pursuing his Master’s degree in a joint international MSc program in Sustainable Development, majoring in Energy and Material Resources. Alhassan is also a co-founder of Recycle Up! Ghana (RUG), an NGO working to educate and empower Ghanaian youth to develop local solutions to waste problems. To learn more about this initiative, check out their website!

Loan is Vietnamese and enrolled in a joint program for her European Master’s in Social Work with Family and Children. Loan is a trained Social Worker and recently served as the Manager of “Alumni Hands-on Mentorship,” a partnership with the US Embassy in Hanoi that connects undergraduate alumni from rural communities with alumni mentors from the Vietnam-US Alumni Club.

Mohammad is Lebanese and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After experiencing life as a refugee first-hand, Mohammad was empowered to pursue his higher-education by the United Lebanon Youth Project (ULYP). Today, Mohammad gives back to his community as a volunteer with ULYP and is a passionate advocate for education for all. To learn more about ULYP, check out their website!

Juliana is Palestinian and is enrolled in a Master’s degree in Human Resource Counselling. She recently served as the Vice-President of the local Youth Council in Bethlehem-Palestine. The Youth Council creates opportunities for its members to implement initiatives that serve the city and to represent Bethlehem in many local and international events. To learn more, check out their work here.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Centre’s Global Citizen Scholars! These four change-makers are now alumni and ambassadors of the scholarship program and the Centre looks forward to watching them continue their journeys as global citizens!

Photo: Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens

Premiere of “Not Our Fate” – European Forum Alpbach 2018

This past August at European Forum Alpbach in Austria, Nour Barakeh premiered her theatre piece “Not Our Fate,” a powerful play about the societal dynamics that perpetuate conflict and the pursuit of peace. Ban Ki-moon Centre Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer as well as Board members joined the audience at the premiere.

Barakeh is a young playwright who has experienced life as a refugee firsthand. To create the play, Barakeh conducted interviews in her native Syria, gathering firsthand accounts of life during war and the stages of mutual accusation, estrangement, and finally, shared awareness. The characters in the piece are portrayed by youth of different nationalities and backgrounds, underscoring the universality of the topic.

The play opens with Doaa, a character portrayed by Doaa Al Zamel, real-life subject of the book “A Hope More Powerful than the Sea: One Refugees’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival” by Melissa Flemming. In the play, Doaa speaks about her experience of war, loss, and of her survival.

After Doaa, other characters share their stories and slowly begin pointing fingers at one another, blaming others for their fates. This climaxes in anger and accusations coming from all sides. Suddenly, the room falls silent and the characters turn their backs on one another.

Zina, portrayed by Barakeh, seeks to mediate by explaining the circumstances that led to their current plight, calling for cooperation and understanding. Slowly, the actors turn one by one to face one another, taking hands. This final symbol of unity and peace is profound and moving.

When asked about her experience premiering the play in Alpbach, Barakeh stated,

“’Not Our Fate’ is a real revelation from the heart and a rational analysis seeking methods to build peace among youth in conflict situations. Together with my colleagues from different continents we worked and represented diversity at European Forum Alpbach 2018.”

Having former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Federal President of Austria Heinz Fischer in the audience was particularly meaningful for Barakeh,

“As the Syrian problem symbolizes our world’s interrelated problems, I was honored to perform this piece in front of the man who looked at the core of our interrelated problems and said, ‘leave no on behind.’ Dr. Ban Ki-moon and former Austrian President Dr. Heinz Fischer honored us with their presence.”

 

To learn more about the play, check out the video produced by the ORF Akademie 18’ at European Forum Alpbach (German).

Photo by Laurent Ziegler / European Forum Alpbach

Press Release by the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens on the passing of Mr Kofi Annan, the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna, together with its Co-Chairmen Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and its Board Members are deeply shocked and saddened about the sudden and unexpected passing away of Kofi Annan, the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations. His lifelong dedication for world peace and human rights will not be forgotten and his work towards achieving these goals will last on through the extraordinary work of his whole lifetime and the continued work of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

In these difficult times our heartfelt condolences go out to Nane Annan, his family and friends.

Today the World has lost a great human being and an extraordinary mind.

Ban Ki-moon & Heinz Fischer

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens saddened by the death of Advisory Board Member H.E. Hans Kyrle

Vienna 16 January 2018 – The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens regrets to report the death of H.E. Dr. Hans Kyrle, a member of the Advisory Board of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. The two co-chairmen of the Centre, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and Dr. Heinz Fischer, the fellow Board members and the Centre´s staff are deeply saddened by the sudden death of Hans Kyrle, who was a strong supporter of the Centre for Global Citizens since its inception.

Johannes Kyrle had a long and distinguished career. He had served as Secretary-General of Austria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for many years and had been a member of the National Security Council, advising the Austrian Federal Government on principal matters of foreign, security and defense policy. From 1997 to 2002 he was the Chief of Protocol at the Austrian Foreign Ministry and the Austrian Ambassador to the Principality of Liechtenstein with residence in Vienna from 1991 to 2002.

He was an appreciated member of the Advisory Board of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. He will be missed and thoughts are with his family and friends in these challenging times.