Ban Ki-moon Keynote Remarks at MIPIM 2019

Keynote Remarks at MIPIM 2019

12 March 2019 14:00, Cannes, France

Je vous remercie pour votre présentation chaleureuse,

MIPIM Directeur Mr. Ronan Vaspart,

Chers invités, Mesdames et Messieurs,

Je suis honoré d’être là cet après-midi au MIPIM 2019— le leader mondial du marché immobilier— comme nous travaillons ensemble pour un avenir engageant.

Et c’est mon grand privilège de délivrer ce discours inaugural à un point nommé pour votre industrie, la durabilité humaine et notre planète.

J’utilise cette opportunité pour montrer ma profonde gratitude aux partenaires, sponsors, investisseurs, les représentants publics, les gestionnaires de fonds du Reed MIDEM, MIPIM 2019 ainsi que les 26,000 participants représentants 100 pays qui se sont rassemblés ici cette semaine.

Depuis les 30 dernières années, ce dynamique rassemblement annuel a été le premier vrai évènement mondial de l’immobilier.

Cela a réuni les intervenants clés de tous les secteurs de l’industrie immobilière mondiale ainsi que des leaders experts mondiaux, des orateurs, des innovateurs et des pionniers.

Toutes les personnes réunies aujourd’hui ont des informations a partager. Le travail crucial que vous menez est toujours plus essential pour s’assurer la viabilité future de notre planète ainsi que de l’humanité.


Je suis vraiment honoré d’avoir l’opportunité de m’adresser à vous cet après-midi.

Je suis également ravie d’être ici à nouveau, dans cette magnifique ville de Canne. La Côte d’Azur est tellement pittoresque en cette période de l’année.

En fait, elle est à n’importe quelle période de l’année. Je remercie aux gens et la ville de Canne pour m’avoir reçu ici aujourd’hui.


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our world is going through pronounced changes resulting in elevated uncertainties and new risks.

Challenges to the existing international order and institutions are being felt across continents and industries.

Leaders are taking advantage of hateful rhetoric for the sake of electoral popularity.

Societies are overwhelmed by an unfounded sense of fear and resentment, often making the enemy out of the weak and the vulnerable. Nations are erecting walls to keep refugees and migrants at bay.

The same logic and sentiment to keep people away are easily applied to the goods and services produced by those same unwanted people. Threats of tariffs and protectionism are disrupting free trade.

People are increasingly looking inward as nationalism and xenophobia spreads. Human rights are no longer respected, threatening the rules-based order based on human decency and mutual respect.

Development and humanitarian resources are being depleted at an alarming rate, as governments are slashing their funding. This is only building up more pressure in places in dire need of help.

At the same time, new technologies are altering how we communicate, live, and work. Sweeping advances in the fields of AI, biotechnology, and robotics will have massive implications for the future of our countries, communities, supply chains, businesses, and interpersonal relationships.

Social media has brought the world increasingly closer, but has also sowed division and discord in our societies through disinformation and hateful rhetoric spread at record speeds.

Here in France, you have seen some of these issues converge in recent months, and the anger and sense of marginalization in response has been manifested through the large grass-roots gilets jaunes protests.

Frustration at structural inequality coupled with economic austerity policies is understandable. And while the French people are making their democratic voices heard, violence can never be the solution.

President Macron’s stated understanding of the “anger and indignation” of the protesters was a courageous start.

Now, like many other leaders around the world, he is actively engaging in an ongoing and difficult process of dialogue among the many stakeholders of French society by touring the country and listening to the concerns of citizens and local mayors through his grand débat. I am confident this will be a rewarding process and France will emerge stronger.


When you look around the world today, here in France and elsewhere, it is apparent that we have globalization that has led to some imbalances and a lot of inequality.

We must find a mutually acceptable solution that is underpinned with sustainability for those who feel they have been left behind without sinking into populist isolationism.

We should understand that in our increasingly interconnected world, global challenges require inherently global solutions.

This is why the UN has a blueprint — the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals — aiming exactly at creating a fair globalization, advancing better conditions, and not leaving anyone behind.

During my ten-year tenure as United Nations Secretary-General, I strived to execute my global leadership duties by leveraging the power of partnerships.

This is important as governments and international institutions can no longer bear these responsibilities alone in our rapidly changing world.

Today, I wish to share with you my thoughts on how to best approach the daunting task of ensuring that our future is sustainable, resilient, and dynamic.

I will propose that the key to achieving this challenge lies with industry leaders such as you. If the world is to succeed in advancing sustainability and prosperity, your help is essential. Having said this let me expand further on the following three critical areas.

First, I will highlight how our collective future will greatly depend on cities that are resilient and sustainable.

Second, I will discuss the most pressing threat standing in this path – climate change.

And third, I will underline how achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can help us chart a thriving blueprint for the future.


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sustainable, inclusive cities are the key to transform our world for the better. How we develop our cities will have major implications in achieving the future we want.

Over the next eleven years, progress in science, technology, and innovation in our cities will be essential in delivering on all of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals—from poverty eradication, food security, to energy, water, and sanitation—and beyond.

As such, I firmly believe that searching for a new city model is urgent because cities bring so many solutions to help overcome humanity’s sustainability crisis.

Current urbanization trends are further aggravating the sustainability crisis, which is proceeding rapidly, particularly in Asia, but also here in Europe and elsewhere.

More than one hundred million people are moving to cities each year, and four hundred million people are projected to add to urban populations. According to the UN, 68% of the world’s population is slated to live in urban areas by 2050.


To cope with these challenges, we must ensure that our future cities are resilient and sustainable, creative and innovative, and inclusive and equitable.

First, as climate change brings dire threats to cities around the world, we must fortify our great cities of today to flourish in the climate realities of tomorrow.

Indeed, we need forward-thinking planning, adaptation, science, engineering, and innovation to make certain that our future cities, and their housing, are resilient in the face of the effects of climate change. This not only includes sea level rise, flooding, extreme heat, and other direct threats, but also expanded levels of hunger, resource depletion, migration, and security concerns stemming from climate change.

Second, we need to come together in partnership to think big, plan ambitiously, and nurture creative urban innovation in the digital era. We need “new civilization” creative cities where data, information, and knowledge-sharing lead to the equitable dissemination of essential services, and where new technologies can bring inclusive benefits during the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Leaders from the real estate industry, investors, and fund managers like you, as well as other stakeholders from the private sector, have a prominent role to play in this regard.

Third, it is not enough for cities to be “smart” if they only cater to affluent professionals, or young people, or those who are able-bodied. Rather, future cities must be underpinned by inclusivity for all: young and old, men and women, rich and poor, citizens and migrants.

Policy-makers and other key stakeholders like you should use the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the New Urban Agenda to anchor our future cities and housing with guiding sustainability.

Building resilient, sustainable cities for the next civilization around the world, as urbanization is rapidly accelerating, is not a project for the future anymore. It is a project for today.

In this context, I appeal to you to combine your vision, strength, and creative innovation to do all you can to prioritize sustainability and climate adaptation in the housing and cities of tomorrow.

The blueprints that you design might just be one of our best hopes to save our vulnerable planet.


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Climate change is creating dire risks and instability. We must increase our collective efforts to protect ourselves, our communities, and our world from the existential threats that this will bring. The clock, however, is counting down fast.

From record-breaking heat waves and wildfires, to hurricanes and flooding of historic intensity, climate change is no longer a debate. It is clearly here right now.

Here in France, a warming planet and rising sea levels could render your scenic regions starkly different in the coming years. Entire seafront communities, including here on the French Riviera, are at serious risk due to rising sea levels. This could upend the real estate market, agriculture production, and contribute to a new, climate-driven financial crisis.

And elsewhere, the extreme weather events of just the last year alone point to a bleak and dangerous future. 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record globally, with the three previous years the only ones hotter.

The western United States was engulfed in flames and smoke from historic and deadly wildfires. Intense and prolonged heat waves claimed dozens of lives in Europe, Japan, and Korea. Near Greenland, the Arctic’s thickest sea ice broke up for first time on record.

These events no longer seem like anomalies; rather they appear to be the new normal.

So we must immediately take the necessary steps to combat climate change, or these turbulent shifts will continue to bring dangerous scorching heat waves to our cities and regions.

They will cause sea levels to rise higher and lead to deadly flooding. They will make wildfires even more frequent and intense. They will drive displacement and seriously threaten entire communities and countries.

With this reality in mind, we must urgently step-up our collective efforts to implement the Paris Agreement. The bottom line is that we don’t have a plan B, simply because we don’t have a planet B either.


The Paris Agreement, signed by 197 state-parties in 2015, offers us a clear game plan to confront these serious threats to our planet. It sets viable targets to impede rising temperatures, constrict greenhouse gas emissions, and spur climate-resilient development and green growth.

I truly believe that the Paris Agreement offers us our best hope to persevere over the serious threats to our ailing planet. But to achieve this goal, we need to keep working together.

We have no time to spare. Indeed, the alarming recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly details that we have just 12 years to act before climate change becomes catastrophic.

Climate change is a global challenge demanding global solutions. The UN IPCC issued its special report to urge the international community to set a new target of reducing the planet’s temperature to 1.5 Celsius degree rather than 2.0 Celsius degree, as agreed by the Paris Climate Accord in 2015.

Equity, inclusivity, and cooperation must underpin our collective response to meet the 1.5 degree target, with states acting in the same spirit that led to the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. Climate change respects no borders; our actions must transcend all frontiers.

But, despite this, there are still many reasons for optimism.

I am impressed by the “We Are Still In” actions of the many cities, states, and companies in the US who have joined together to ensure implementation of the Paris Agreement despite the unfortunate decision of the US government to withdraw.

These actions will help fill the vacuum and work towards US implementation of the Paris Agreement. And this is an inspiring example of the utility of catalyzing partnerships, anchored by the spirit of global citizenship, in helping us achieve our climate goals.

The real estate industry has a prominent role to play in these partnership efforts. Indeed, climate change will have negative impacts on housing worldwide, particularly in large cities in close proximity to the oceans. This is already affecting real estate prices and the potential for future climate-change driven foreclosure crises is real.

Take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in your properties and industry. Scale-up climate adaptation actions for your assets. Ensure that all commercial and residential properties have sustainability certification. Integrate climate-risk considerations into your investment decisions.

Climate change is here right now, and fighting it must be the overarching task of our time. We are all in this together, and to achieve sustainable development, we simply must continue our momentum forward, together.


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

During my two terms as UN Secretary-General, I am proud to have prioritized and expanded the importance of the Organization’s global development efforts.

The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals is one of the UN’s most significant achievements. It builds on the Millennium Development Goals and provides humanity, and our planet, with a collaborative blueprint to ensure the future we want.

Adopted by 193 countries in New York in 2015, the SDGs offer us a way forward to confront the most critical issues of our time, including poverty and hunger, climate change, gender equality, and sustainable cities.

Specifically, Goal 11 of the SDGs calls to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” It aims to provide access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, reduce adverse environmental impact in cities, and strengthen integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, and adaptation to climate change.

However, three and half years since the SDGs were adopted, progress remains uneven and some sectors and geographic areas are moving faster than others.

For example, according to the 2018 SDG Index and Dashboards Report, while most G20 countries have started SDGs implementation, visible gaps remain. Additionally, no country is currently on track towards achieving all of the SDGs.

With this in mind, global partnerships, including the active participation of leaders from the private sector like you, are necessary if we are to deliver on our development commitments.

Goal 17 of the SDGs clearly highlights the prominent role that the private sector, alongside civil society, academia, and others, should play to help achieve the SDGs.

It calls for “multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries.”

In this regard, I am proud to have expanded and mainstreamed the UN Global Compact which ensures that business is done both sustainably and responsibly.

I am encouraged that many organizations in the land, construction, and real estate sector, as well as those working with them, are UN Global Compact participants. I am pleased to see that the initiatives and driving vision of your industry fits seamlessly into this paradigm, particularly as it relates to the UN’s sustainable development and climate goals.

I applaud your driving sense of social responsibility in pursuing growth in step with the international community’s collective efforts to achieve sustainable development and reduce our carbon footprint.

More than ever before, we need elevated solidarity between all stakeholders, particularly the private sector, which is likely to play a more important role than was originally envisaged in the mobilization of funding and the advancement of innovative technologies to help achieve our sustainable development and climate goals.


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to conclude my remarks by saying that, despite the geopolitical and environmental challenges that we face, if we continue to work together we will not only persevere; we will thrive.

We are living in an age where innovation is soaring in unprecedented ways alongside a striking global interconnectivity of people, businesses, and cultures. And the real estate industry is currently centrally positioned in this regard.

Despite the many diverse challenges we currently face, we must also remind ourselves that we are all global citizens. We all share the land, the oceans, the air, and the planet.

And I strongly believe that in this era of division and uncertainty, fighting climate change and achieving the UN’s SDGs are two efforts that must unite all nations and global citizens through cooperation and partnership. Quite plainly, our collective existence moving forward depends on it.

As long as we keep moving forward in a responsible and sustainable manner while continuing to build dynamic and innovative partnerships, there is simply no limit as to what we can achieve. Our global challenges require robust global solidarity.


Je demande respectueusement à tous ceux qui sont là de continuer leur rôle pour aider les Nations Unis à avancer dans le développement durable et atteindre son objectif en matière de climat.

Continuez à vous efforcer à concevoir, construire les villes souples et inclusives de demain de manière écologiquement viable. Allez plus loin dans le partage des savoirs essentiels et meilleurs pratiques.

Continuez les coopérations fortes tant à l’intérieur qu’à l’extérieur de votre industrie d’une manière que cela transcende les frontières pour le bénéfice de notre future et la planète.

Pensez au-delà de vous-même, votre entreprise et votre pays.

Pensez, vivez, travaillez et rêvez à globalement !

Si vous vous pouvez faire ça, et je suis persuadé que nous le pouvons, notre monde continuera à faire de grands progrès et prospérer pendant de longues années à venir.

Je vous remercie pour votre attention et je vous félicite sincèrement pour l’inauguration du MIPIM 2019.

Merci beaucoup! /END/


Photo: S. d’Halloy IMAGE&CO