Ban Ki-moon meets with Pope Francis to talk about peace in Korea and climate change

On April 11th, 2019, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon visited the Vatican to have a private meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis. The two discussed on the topic of peace in the Korean peninsula and the globe as well as the issues surrounding climate change.

Mentioning his firm advocacy for peace in the Korean peninsula, the Pope stressed the importance of the continuous conversation between two Koreas in settling peace on the peninsula. He also stressed that the environment is the matter directly related to the existence of mankind, and the humankind cannot survive without solving the climate issues.

As the Pope delivered a speech at the UN General Assembly in 2015 and supported the UN with adopting the Paris Climate Agreement, Ban expressed his gratitude again for the Pope’s great attention to the global issues. Mentioning his new leadership role as the Head of the National Committee to fight against micro dust issues in Korea, Ban asked for the Pope’s continuous attention to the climate challenge and support for the necessary cooperation within the international community.

News clip by Yonhap News Agency (Korean): https://bit.ly/2VPVupK 

Photos: The Vatican

Ban Ki-moon speaks of the urgency for climate adaptation at the Korea Global Adaptation Week

During this week from April 8th to 12th, 2019, the “Korea Global Adaptation Week” is taking place in Incheon, South Korea.

The week-long conference is hosted by the Korean Ministry of Environment and co-organized by UN Climate Change (UNFCCC), Korea Environment Institute (KEI), Korea Adaptation Center for Climate Change (KACCC), and Incheon Metropolitan CityExperts and global leaders meeting at the Korea Global Adaptation Week have urged countries to increase their climate ambition and to scale up their efforts to build resilience to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

At the opening, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern that the climate issue is not an issue of tomorrow.

“We have no other place to leave,” said Ban, encouraging all global citizens around the globe “to pay attention to the necessity of urgency and coordinated efforts for adaptation especially in least developed countries and small island developing states.”

For the first time, Resilience Frontiers – an initiative undertaken by multiple agencies – gathered a hundred thought leaders for foresight and collective thinking on how to maximize long-term resilience to climate change!by harnessing the potential of emerging technologies and new sustainability trends, while mitigating associated risks. Marking the 25th Anniversary of UNFCCC this year, Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa also stressed that the climate action is more urgent than ever.

Source: https://bit.ly/2TXShCo
Source: https://bit.ly/2KsHpNq

Photo by UN Climate Change

“Leave no one behind,” says Heinz Fischer at the symposium for Global SDGs in a Mediatized World

A 2-day symposium “Global Sustainable Development Goals in a Mediatized World” took place at the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Vienna, Austria on April 4-5th, 2019.

At the opening, BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer delivered a keynote, mentioning the great success of the world having reached the consensus on the Human Rights Declaration, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and then the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations.

Expressing his appreciation of “what is done and how many institutions and universities are dealing with teaching about the SDGs,” Fischer urged that we should cooperate to advance the SDGs and “leave no one behind.”

Mediatization shapes public discourses and thus influences the way in which the Agenda 2030 is reflected, criticized, and implemented. Communication plays an important and sometimes decisive role in the awareness and individual acceptance and the political and economic legitimization of the SDGs due to digitalization, convergence, and globalization in a rapidly changing societal environment.

The symposium brought together experts, scientists, and researchers in the field to highlight these aspects, discuss the consequences across disciplines, and elaborate the implications of research related to the implementation of the Agenda 2030. Their research findings were also presented during the symposium, and it showed what Austrian scientists can make to the SDGs, deepen the interdisciplinary dialogue among scientists and beyond, and better acquaint researchers with the SDGs.

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/events/384052535730580/

The Elders delegation meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping

The delegation of The Elders met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China on April 1st, 2019. The delegation consisted of Chair of The Elders and former President Mary Robinson of Ireland, Deputy Chair of The Elders and BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, and former President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico.

During the meeting, President Xi pointed out that the world today faces profound changes unseen in a century, while the prospect of international cooperationsolutions to global challenges and the future of human society were being thought on by more and more insightful people.

The Elders delegation expressed that China has played a responsible and constructive role at a crucial moment when multilateralism is faced with challenges, adding that China has adhered to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and taken an active part in the cause of peace and development in Africa.

Source: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1650933.shtml

Photo by Xinhua

Launch Event – Mentoring Project for Young Austrian Muslim Women

This week, the Ban Ki-moon Centre launched its project in partnership with Musllim Youth Austria (MJÖ), “Mentoring for Young Austrian Muslim Women – Global Citizens at work.”

At the launch, mentees and mentors were gathered for the first time in one place. To open the event, Ban Ki-moon Centre Co-chair Heinz Fischer delivered a welcome address emphasizing the need to empower women and to reduce inequalities, both between men and women and between different religions.

After the welcome, coach and speaker Daniela Reiter guided the mentors and mentees through ice-breaker activities and offered an overview of mentoring and the months ahead.

As a way of “formalizing” the partnership, mentees and mentors signed a contract and set goals for their time together. The mentoring period will go from April – September and the pairs are recommended to meet at least once per week. In October, there will be a closing event held at the House of Industry in Vienna where mentees will receive a certificate of completion.

The launch event closed with networking, allowing the mentees and mentors to mingle and to get to know one another.

In the months to come, the Ban Ki-moon Centre will host three skill-building workshops for the mentees on different subjects. One of the workshops will be on “Global Citizenship” and will be led by the Centre’s CEO, Monika Froehler.

As a part of the project, the mentoring pairs will also be asked to complete a small “Global Citizen Project” together. This project will encourage the pairs to take action together to give back to their community.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre is proud to partner with MJÖ on this project and looks forward to seeing the mentoring pairs grow and thrive!

 

 

 

 

Photos: Rached Bouguerra

“We need global concerted action,” says Ban Ki-moon at the Boao Forum

The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) 2019 was held in Boao, China from March 26th to March 29th, 2019 under the theme for “Shared Future, Concerted Action, Common Development.”

Ban Ki-moon, who serves as Chair of the BFA delivered a welcoming speech at the opening of the Forum. National leaders such as Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon of the Republic of Korea, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg, and Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus of Sao Tome as well as representatives from the private sector also gave speeches at the Forum, stressing the importance of the international collaboration on solving global issues.

“We need global concerted action; then we have to work for common development in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals the United Nations has presented to the world,” said Ban at the Forum.

Watch Ban Ki-moon’s interview with CNBC:

Ban Ki-moon holds talks with Chinese Premier Li on solving global issues

On March 27th, 2019, Ban Ki-moon who serves as Chair of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) and the BFA Board of Directors met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Boao, China.

 

Congratulating the new BFA Board of Directors on its achievements last year, Premier Li stressed the importance of various states standing together to solve global issues by enhancing communication and continuously coordinating their actions

Ban Ki-moon, Speaker of the House of Representatives and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines, former Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov of Russia and other members of the BFA Board of Directors congratulated China on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and said China’s development achievements are unparalleled in human history.

Source: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1649532.shtmlPhoto: www.gov.cn

UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development 2019

The UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development took place on 21 and 22 March 2019 in Geneva. The Forum brought together more than 800 pan-European stakeholders to exchange experiences about the progress and challenges in the implementation of the SDGs.

The BKMC gladly accepted the invitation to this important event and formed part of the wide range of civil society representatives, who are advocating political action for the SDGs.

The conference was chaired by H.E. Ms Ogerta Manastirliu who is Albania’s Minister of Health and Social Protection. In welcoming remarks, Deputy UN Secretary-General Amina Mohammed stressed the importance of the Regional Fora to understand how we can increase ambition and accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. Ms Olga Algayerova, UNECE Executive Secretary and Under-Secretary-General, underscored the RFSD’s convening power in the process of sustainable development.

A High-Level Policy Segment served to present Voluntary National Reviews of UNECE countries and facilitate peer-learning among the government representatives.

The second day addressed SDG 4 (Quality Education), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 13 (Climate Action) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) in a variety of focus events, round tables and side events. Fruitful discussions and meaningful exchange explored the interlinkages of the SDGs.

When it comes to SDG 4 Quality Education, for example, the following challenges were identified:

  • urban-rural gaps
  • education for the elderly
  • effectively drawing on digitalization
  • disparities based on income, location, gender, immigration or minority status and disability
  • integration of Global Citizenship Education (GCED) into curricula

A report will summarize the key messages from the UNECE RFSD 2019 and provide the official input from the UNECE region to the 2019 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) which will be held between 9 July and 18 July in New York. The HLPF is the United Nations’ central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. The BKMC is pleased to have been an active part of the RFSD 2019 and have thereby contributed to the HLPF 2019.

MOU Signing between Bahrain and the Ban Ki-moon Centre

Last week, the Ban Ki-moon Centre welcomed a delegation from the Kingdom of Bahrain including H.E. Shaikh Hussam bin Essa Al Khalifa, the current President of His Royal Highness the Prime Minister’s Court.

The meeting included a briefing on the Ban Ki-moon Centre and its work as well as a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing between the Centre and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Bahrain seeks to support and collaborate with the Ban Ki-moon Centre in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2007, the Kingdom established the Khalifa Bin Salman Award for Sustainable Development. Last year, Chairman Ban was awarded with this distinction.

Since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Bahrain has been actively engaged for sustainable development. The Ban Ki-moon Centre is pleased to sign an MOU with the Kingdom and looks forward to fruitful collaboration for the SDGs!

“Everyone can change the world!” says Ban Ki-moon in the interview with the Austrian Red Cross

Ban Ki-moon Interview
Magazine “My Red Cross” by the Austrian Red Cross

How is the world going to look like in 50 years?

In 50 years sustainability has hopefully become the global norm. The world now has the largest generation of young people in history. I place great hopes in their power and positive activism to shape our future. They are part of the first generation that can end poverty and the last that can avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Hopefully, even before 50 years have passed, quality education will be provided to all, gender equality will become the standard, health and well-being will be guaranteed for each human being and all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be achieved. It has to be an effort of everybody at all leaves to leave no one behind.

 

Are you afraid your children and grandchildren will have to live on a destroyed planet one day?

Climate change is the most pressing challenge we face as human beings today. It is not slowing down, and the clock is ticking. Natural disasters are becoming more and more frequent and devastating, from historic floods, fires, storms, tsunamis and earthquakes. To protect our planet for future generations, steps must be taken to both combat and to adapt to the changing climate and with accelerated action. It is our collective responsibility as global citizens to see that our planet remains inhabitable and safe for the generations to come.

 

There are more extreme weather events in the world and climate change seems to be speeding up. Do you think mankind has realized what is at stake?

Many of us are very aware of what is at stake, especially those who are making it their life’s work to mitigate and adapt to climate change. However, despite the many who are aware and active, some are choosing to turn a blind eye. This is troubling, particularly when it comes from national leaders. When the US and President Trump pulled-out of the Paris Climate agreement, this was deeply concerning. I have been speaking out that his vision is politically short-sighted, and economically irresponsible and scientifically wrong. So, he is standing on the wrong side of history. Despite this, I am encouraged and hopeful that the whole world will be united in moving ahead with this Paris Climate Change Agreement. It is the political and moral responsibility of our political leaders to support this.

 

You traveled to the US in 1962 with students from 42 different countries to visit the American Red Cross and meet president Kennedy. How did that influence you?

Thanks to the American Red Cross, I was given the opportunity to join students from 42 countries to travel across the United States visiting Red Cross chapters. This opened my eyes to the world. During the trip, I met then President John F. Kennedy, who said to us “there are no national boundaries; there is only a question of whether we can extend a helping hand.” This strong message has been engraved in my memory ever since and I continue to try my utmost to do my share as a global citizen to help those in need. All our helping hands are needed.

 

What are your feelings when you look back from our very different time with very different presidents?

The world has changed vastly since 1962. Since then, the world has faced rising global challenges. Leaders, in recent years, have turned towards nationalism and populism, putting up walls instead of extending helping hands. This is, plainly stated, not the way forward. Leaders must have and enlist a global vision in all that they do, seeing beyond their national borders. I have not met many that have a global vision. Nelson Mandela is one of the examples that comes to mind. Many around the world were greatly influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom.  He touched our lives in deeply personal ways.  At the same time, no one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations.

 

You come from South Korea – and 80 percent of the people affected by natural disasters live in Asia. Who should start to accomplish the turnaround in climate politics?

Natural disasters are having a major impact around the world and indeed Asia is majorly affected. China has a great responsibility in the region as well as in the world in leading the turnaround in climate politics. Recently, the country has shown great leadership in cleaning up the air and has contributed greatly to the Green Climate Fund. Additionally, China reached its 2020 carbon emission target three years ahead of schedule with the help of the country’s carbon trading system. China will be key to getting other countries to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

What can individuals do to change the world?

I firmly believe that individuals have the power to change the world for the better, be it at a local, regional, or global level. Women make up half the world and half the world’s population are under the age of 25; therefore, it is vital to empower these groups to act as global citizens, showing solidarity and compassion towards the challenges the world faces. At the beginning of 2018 we founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna, Austria together with my Co-chair Former Federal President of the Republic of Austria Heinz Fischer for this exact purpose. In the world today, there are plenty of people with passion, yet not enough with compassion. This is unfortunate, so we must educate the world’s youth to understand that their actions have ripple effects on other around the world. We must teach empathy alongside math and history, for without this and a global vision, we will not succeed in creating a sustainable future for us all, leaving no one behind.

 

What is necessary to achieve a turnaround – does the planet need a new economic system to find a path towards sustainability?

To achieve the turnaround, there are many steps the world needs to take. These may be at the systemic level, but also at the social and individual levels. Businesses need to understand the economic and additional benefits that come from operating more sustainably. The system may not need to change, but the structures within it and leadership can be transformative. The Global Compact has proven that companies who adapt to more sustainable practices will have a “win-win” situation as their success requires stable economies and healthy, skilled and educated workers, among other factors. And sustainable companies experience increased brand trust and investor support.

Additionally, engaging women more in the economic system will also cause a transformation of the global economy and vastly impact sustainability. When more women work, economies prosper and grow. An increase in female labour force participation and a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation, leads to faster economic growth.

These are just a few of the ways in which the turnaround, with regards to the economy, can be achieved.

 

You say global issues need global solutions, and that it takes responsibility and global citizenship. But isn’t growing nationalism around the world – and blaming globalisation for problems – preventing just that?

Nationalism is truly the antithesis of the notion of global citizenship and it is hampering our progress towards building a sustainable planet. Indeed, global solutions are necessary. However, when world leaders and nations retreat into their own bubbles, we are not able to have the difficult discussions needed to make progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and meeting the challenges we face today. Therefore, multilateralism must continue to be fostered wherever possible. We need to keep these avenues of discourse open.

Read the magazine (German) here: http://epaper.roteskreuz.at/MRK1Wien2019/

Photo: Peter Lechner