Asia Development Bank: Developing Asia Beyond the Pandemic
On September 18, 2020, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon participated in the Asia Development Bank’s Annual Meeting together with ADB President Masa Asakawa, Indonesia’s Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati, and Bank of Japan’s Haruhiko Kuroda.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended developing Asia’s economic expansion, threatening to halt its progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Governments in Asia and the Pacific responded decisively to the crisis but now must get their economies on track while grappling with the constraints of the “new normal.” Join a distinguished panel as they explore policies for crisis response, safe reopening, inclusive recovery, and future resilience.
Watch the full event here.
“Now more than ever before, the world needs a new generation of thinkers and doers. We need thinkers who can appreciate the scale of the challenges before us. And we need doers who will step forward to act.” Ban Ki-moon
Read Ban Ki-moon’s Keynote Speech:
It is my great honor to address the 53rd Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors.
It is truly regrettable that the Annual Meeting could not be held in Incheon, Korea, because of COVID-19. Thanks to advanced technologies, however, we are virtually meeting today to discuss a wide range of important agenda without any technical problems. I would like to hereby extend my special thanks to all staff who have made this meeting possible.
In this light, I believe this virtual setting manifests the theme of today’s meeting: Innovation, Inclusiveness and Integration.
Indeed, we are living through a period of converging crises and pressing challenges that have upended the international order and ushered in a new period of global unpredictability and risk.
COVID-19 has completely shifted the way we live; the climate crisis continues to deepen; economic powers are escalating tension; and technological advancement is pressuring countries around the world to constantly innovate.
Even before the pandemic took hold of our lives, populist skepticism and anger have fueled many of the seismic geopolitical changes we have witnessed in the recent years.
Now, these same dynamics are hindering our unified response to COVID-19 and climate change. Instead of cooperation, we have seen a failure in listening to scientists and experts, and a resounding lack of trust in mainstream media, political leaders and institutions.
Against this backdrop, we must understand that in our increasingly interconnected world, global challenges inherently require global solutions.
Today, I will highlight the global challenges of COVID-19 and climate change, which simply cannot be solved without international cooperation, and the UN’s role as the cornerstone of solidarity, partnership and recommitment to multilateralism.
I will also elucidate the essential role of education in solving the challenges of today, as well as cultivating the leaders of tomorrow.
First, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our common reality in unprecedented ways. There have been over 30 million total cases of COVID-19 and nearly 1 million global deaths. The UN estimates that COVID-19 has cost 400 million jobs in the 2nd quarter of 2020 alone.
And behind these staggering numbers, COVID-19 has amplified existing inequities in health care, labor, housing, food, gender equality, and other key areas.
This pandemic has underlined the great need for global leadership and a strong multilateral response. Unfortunately, we are lacking both at such a critical time.
Indeed, in the last six months, we have witnessed a major failure in global leadership in response to COVID-19 as nationalism has been placed at the heart of great power politics.
It is no longer enough to simply go back to business as usual; we must build back better, as well as greener.
Governments need to elevate political commitment and public financing to health. A three-pronged approach is necessary to holistically integrate public health preparedness, universal health coverage, and healthy societies. Policy-makers must also scale-up investment in public health services to help prevent future pandemics. Protecting and improving the health of all people everywhere should become an all-government, all hands-on-deck strategy led by heads of state.
To holistically respond to COVID-19 and other major global challenges, such as our deepening climate crisis, we must expand multilateral cooperation, and in particular, partnership based on innovation, inclusiveness and integration.
We must prepare for future pandemics as we combat this one, share information and best practices, and ultimately restore international cooperation and trust. We are all in this together, and only as strong as our weakest health system.
- Climate Change
Second, climate change is fueling conflict, migration, and public health risks around the world. These dynamics will continue to worsen in the absence of strong multilateral action and renewed political will.
The global disruptions we have witnessed this year as a result of COVID-19 may be a preview of the chaos soon to be unleashed from cascading climate tipping points. We have no time to spare.
Bringing the entire world together to achieve the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015 is one of my proudest personal achievements as UN Secretary-General. Signed by 197 countries, 4 countries more than the 193 UN Member States, the historic Paris Accord offers us a clear game plan to confront the 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.
Our pandemic recovery will offer a unique and critical opportunity to forge meaningful progress to meet the aspirations agreed under the Paris Agreement. It provides a collaborative blueprint to ensure the future we want. But we must all work in partnership to realize this future.
In addition, I would like to draw your attention to the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies designated by the UN. The adoption of this resolution took less than three months after President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea first had proposed it at the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23rd last year. The accelerated adoption process demonstrates the international community’s high interest and desire for clean air and blue skies. Air pollution and climate change are two sides of the same coin. This year marked the first year of International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, and we need to harness the political momentum to tackle air pollution as a gateway to address climate change.
Taking this opportunity, I extend my deep appreciation to the ADB member states for their strong support and participation in this important campaign.
Another important area in addressing the climate change is to strengthen our capacity of adaptation. Adaptation is as important as mitigation in fighting back and prevent in advance for consequences caused by climate change. As you may know, in my capacity as Co-chairman of the Global Center on Adaptation, I launched, together with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, a South East Asia regional center on Adaptation in Dhaka, Bangladesh on September 8th, 2020. I hope ADB work closely with the regional center. The first was established in Beijing in 2019, another regional office for Africa was also established this week on September 16th, with the African Development Bank hosting the Global Center for Adaptation Africa. .
No single country can confront climate change or achieve sustainable development on their own. We need international solutions. In this regard, we must seize this generational opportunity to build back better from COVID-19, help catalyze climate action, and steer our planet and humanity towards a more sustainable and prosperous future. Through our collective actions, we can turn crisis into opportunity and walk towards a better future.
Last but not least, education will play a vital role in restoring multilateralism to address COVID-19 and the climate crisis.
Now more than ever before, the world needs a new generation of thinkers and doers. We need thinkers who can appreciate the scale of the challenges before us. And we need doers who will step forward to act.
We have seen so clearly with the recent turn of events and the challenges with COVID-19 that technology, when harnessed appropriately, can be an indispensable resource with immeasurable impacts—far greater than what the current system has shown to be able to provide, as we see today and in this Annual Meeting. So how do we begin to uncover, understand, and utilize the full potential of a technology-enriched learning experience?
I believe that it begins with an understanding that education technology is not simply online learning or even a particular software or program that merges technology with education.
Rather, it is about creating an ecosystem that ensures local adaptability of the program at hand; requires a well-functioning infrastructure; develops sufficient and competent human capital; and is housed within a visionary, committed, and supportive policy environment.
To witness true innovation, we must be prepared for a disruption to the traditional concept of education as we know it, and a reshaping of the existing learning structures in place.
While this may sound a bit drastic, this simply means that we must proactively explore new ways of learning and create a culture of embracing change—change that can break down barriers of inflexibility, inaccessibility, inefficiency, and inequity.
I believe that partnerships flourish when all actors are united in their understanding of purpose and priority.
The leadership role of the government is, therefore, critical in setting an overarching vision and strategy for innovation that is aligned to the country’s larger national education and development priorities.
In keeping with this agenda, local actors (including teachers, schools, businesses, NGOs, and universities) can and should take a more proactive role in leading the change—appropriately adapted to their specific context.
Through such locally-driven initiatives, relevant partnerships will be forged; genuine collaboration will be fostered; and valuable feedback of local experience and knowledge will be channeled back into the system.
- Recovery through multilateralism
In conclusion, in order to protect global public goods, such as the environment, and effectively address COVID-19, we need to renew our commitment to multilateralism.
Education, cooperation, partnership, and global governance, including the strong leadership of the UN and the WHO, are needed to underpin our fight against climate change and COVID-19, as well as its secondary economic and societal aftershocks.
We must remember that in our globalized world, we are only as strong as the weakest link. COVID-19 and climate change do not respect borders, but they do magnify inequities.
COVID-19 has illuminated our interconnected nature. Multilateralism is the only effective way forward.
As such, international cooperation, partnership, and global governance—fortified by solidarity and climate action—must light our way to a more healthy, sustainable, and resilient future for our children and grandchildren.
I thank you for your leadership and action to this end. Let us work together to make this world better for all!
Watch the full event here.
“Start small, start with something and have trust that it will grow.”Zoe Kelland
This week, our Global Citizen Scholars had the opportunity to attend their 2nd Expert Workshop hosted by the BKMC featuring Zoe Kelland, Digital Campaigns Director at Global Citizen.
During the workshop, Zoe shared her experiences working with both Global Citizen and her own NGO Nakuru Children’s Project in Kenya and offered advice on how to scale a movement. She also had the opportunity to hear from each scholar about their own SDG Micro-Project for their communities.
During her presentation, Zoe shared some background information about Global Citizen, including their mission and the tools they use to activate over 4 million global citizens around the world.
Zoe also highlighted the organization’s tremendous impact over its’s 10-years of existence.
Additionally, to illustrate the way that Global Citizen works, Zoe exemplified a case-study in Sub-Saharan Africa where 1 in 10 girls miss school during their menstrual cycles. In 2018, Global Citizen organized a massive music festival in Johannesburg, South Africa in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. In the lead-up to the festival, Global Citizens sent 86,000 emails and 22,000 tweets to the South African Government demanding removal of the tax on sanitary products, funding for adequate sanitation in schools, and the provision of quality menstrual hygiene education for boys and girls. As a result, President Ramaphosa appeared on the stage during the festival and committed to taking action to provide sanitary products to girls with vulnerable backgrounds across the country.
Zoe also shared a bit about her NGO Nakuru Children’s Project in Kenya. Nakuru works in partnership with government schools to support vulnerable children through every stage of their education: providing free school meals; building classrooms; paying their school fees; and establishing extra support for children with special needs.
Since its founding over 10 years ago, Nakuru Children’s Project has directly impacted an estimated 2,000 children — through providing 330,000 free school meals; sponsoring 148 kids through secondary school; building 20 classrooms and other facilities; and creating a special needs unit where 42 children now learn.
To conclude her presentation, Zoe offered her advice for how to scale a movement:
- Find a gap in the Market
- Make it accessible
- Tap into influencers
- Use the power of storytelling
- Start small and it will grow
To learn more about Global Citizen visit: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/
To learn more about Nakuru Children’s project: https://www.nakuruchildrensproject.org.uk/
On September 1, 2020 – Ban Ki-moon Centre Co-chair, Ban Ki-moon participated in a discussion panel hosted by IACA – International Anti-Corruption Agency during the European Forum Alpbach.
The highlighted session at the Forum also welcomed Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva; (WRITTEN STATEMENT); Angel Gurria Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris; Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, Banker, Social Entrepreneur, Dhaka.
The stellar panel focused on why and how corruption happens and various solutions to tackle corruption worldwide. Co-chair Ban Ki-moon highlighted the need for leadership during these times: “The current pandemic spotlights the vast inequalities that still persist in our societies. World leaders must take responsibility in creating inclusive healthcare systems and social policies that leave no one behind. “
He also urged that to build a sustainable global economy, we need to use the 2030 Agenda as a roadmap: “We are entering the Decade of Action and effective anti-corruption measures are essential for the achievement of all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Ending his speech, Ban Ki-moon, once again underlined the importance of multilateralism and the role of global citizens in fighting corruption: “Successfully addressing corruption requires synergies of politicians, businesses, media, NGOs and civil society through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach.”
Moderator Dean Thomas Stelzer read out the statement of Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as she couldn’t join the call due to technical reasons. Her speech shed light on the money lost through bribes and corruption and said, “The money stolen through corruption every year is enough to feed the world’s hungry 80 times over.”
Angel Gurria Secretary-General of OECD defined corruption as a threat to inclusive growth that widens inequalities and undermines the values of democracy. He urged the viewers, “As corruption is a moving target we must keep running, we must keep joining forces”
During his passionate intervention, Prof. Muhammed Yunus clearly ascribed the root of corruption to the theory of economy and the focus on profit maximization. In his words: “Free market economy as the root of corruption. Human beings are driven by self-interest. We have to look at the root of why humans act corruptly. We need to reexamine the definition of a human being to find anti-corruption solutions. Only human beings, not institutions can change the system.”
Following a short Q&A session, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon closed the session by stating: “How to educate people as global citizens is a baseline on how to make our societies free of corruption.”
On August 26, 2020, Ban Ki-moon Centre Co-chair Ban Ki-moon and young climate activist Vanessa Nakate from Uganda, took the stage at the first-ever digital European Forum Alpbach to discuss the role of youth activism in building a better future.
“How to Save the World?”
The session had more than 900 live viewers and was moderated by the Editor in Chief of Politico Europe, Stephen G.Brown. Keynote speeches by Ban Ki-moon and Vanessa Nakate were followed by a moderated discussion, answering questions shared by the diverse and global audience.
In his speech, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon underlined that tackling climate change is an urgent international problem that needs an international solution; the impacts of climate change are being felt around the world and the most vulnerable populations are facing the brunt of the consequences. He stated, “Our Earth itself is running a fever.”
Vanessa Nakate, a youth climate justice activist and founder of the Rise up Movement, called for action to address the climate crisis, highlighting the importance of youth activism, smart agriculture and better infrastructure in fighting #climatechange, protecting the only planet we have. She emphasized, “We cannot achieve the SDGs without #climateaction.”
Ban Ki-moon gave credit to civil society actors, particularly youth and women, who are speaking out and galvanizing others to address climate change and to develop innovative and sustainable solutions. He said, “I applaud all these young leaders for their wisdom, their passion, and their hard work in combating climate change.”
The discussion also addressed the concept of global citizenship and the role of education for youth and girls in providing necessary tools to achieve the SDGs and tackle climate change.
It was also pointed out that gender inequality and the climate crises go hand in hand. Women are disproportionately effected by the negative repercussion of climate change with loss of livelihoods and more. However, they are also an essential part of the solution. Climate action that neglects half of the population, is not sustainable and it is only with the engagement of women and girls that we will overcome this obstacle.
Quoting Secretary-General Ban: “It is essential that we push for gender-responsive policies when addressing climate change – policy-making that includes the voices of women and recognizes their powerful role as stakeholders who can also act to combat climate change.”
Vanessa also drew attention to the need for inclusive action, mentioning that we have to ensure the protection of the planet and its people. She said, “Climate change affects almost every other sustainable development goal. We cannot have gender equality without climate action.”
The highly awaited discussion ended with a question from the audience asking about the importance of inter-generational action.
Ban Ki-moon answered: “We are abusing the privileges given to us by mother nature. If we don’t act now, we will regret it for the next generations.”
Vanessa called for collaboration stating that, “Young people have to work together with the older generation. If we want to fight the climate crisis, we have a lot to learn from them and they have a lot to learn from us.”
Learn more about Forum Alpbach here.
Part of the European Forum Alpbach, this week, BKMC CEO Monika Froehler joined fellow speakers Dr. Katharina Mader (Dept. of Economics at the University of Vienna) and Dr. Mireille Ngosso (medical doctor and social democratic politician in Vienna) for a virtual discussion on the role of women during crises.
The session was hosted by the Initiative Group Alpbach Vienna (IG Vienna) and moderated by Elisabeth Lechner (President of IG Alpbach Vienna). The speakers focused on women’s role at the forefront of the Covid-19 crisis and the structures of inequality that the pandemic has brought to light.
Dr. Mader shared results from her recent study with more than two thousand participants on the impact of the pandemic on the distribution of unpaid work in Austrian households (childcare and housework). The survey paints a picture of urban, middle-class women affected by the crisis; mothers in two-parent households were found to be responsible for the same amount of unpaid care work as those in single-parent households. These initial findings illustrate that, at least in this cross-section of Austrian society, the pandemic has not altered gender-specific norms in terms of unpaid and housework.
Dr. Ngosso started her intervention by sharing her personal experience growing up in crisis – fleeing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a child and later living in a women’s shelter for over a year with her mother in Vienna. She emphasized that the current situation for African women who have lost their livelihoods is evidently much worse than the experience of Austrian women.
She also mentioned that 88% of care workers in Austria are women. However, pointing out that women have had to double burdened themselves to take care of their homes and children while holding jobs. She also shared that 85% of those now unemployed in Austria due to the pandemic are women. Additionally, she said that working hours should be made more compatible so that women can have the opportunity to work full-time jobs and not be forced into part-time work. Dr. Ngosso finished with a call to action, emphasizing that it is the responsibility of political leaders to tackle gender inequality and unequal pay especially when comes to social services jobs.
Lastly, Dr. Ngosso was asked to share a bit about her work in organizing the Black Lives Matter demonstration held in Vienna. She shared her surprise to see 50.000 people join the event, showing a strong sign of solidarity.
BKMC CEO Monika Froehler’s keynote speech focused on three aspects of women in crises: women leaders during the pandemic, women’s situation in the pandemic, and the opportunities that can come from this challenging time.
She shared that only 7% of humanity is currently governed by women even though half of the world population is women. She then noted that, in the current crisis, women leaders are outperforming their colleagues in responding to the pandemic by utilizing a more collaborative approach. She added that, while this observation is profound, it does not mean that women are innately better leaders than men.
Froehler continued by sharing the various challenges that women and girls are met with globally from child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), unequal pay, domestic violence, sexual violence, violence as a weapon of war, a lack of access to education, lack of property rights, and more. In addition, women are now facing additional negative and disproportional impacts from the pandemic.
Lastly, Froehler highlighted the opportunities that exist, emphasizing that, “Women are indeed the solution to much of this.” Women should be empowered to use an entrepreneurial mindset, to tackle climate change, to be active participants in peace-making processes, and to take on the diverse challenges we are confronted with globally.
At the end of the session, concluding that women are suffering more from the current pandemic than men, the floor was opened up for questions. One question that came up often was about the role of men in this process. Dr. Ngosso responded that “Men and women have to work together, side-by-side for change.” Dr. Mader called on men to be, “Active fathers – you are setting an example.” Lastly, Froehler added, “Men are half of humanity and we must work in collaboration to achieve what we want to achieve.”
Learn more about Forum Alpbach here.
On August 6, 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Centre launched a new interview series: #superwomen. The first guest for the series hosted by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler, was Aya Chebbi the first African Union Envoy on Youth.
#superwoman in this new Ban Ki-moon Centre interview series that highlights the stories of incredible female role models, who have a special calling and are making an impact on the world.
Aya Chebbi, a Pan-African activist, Tunisian diplomat, and feminist, became the first appointed African Union Envoy on youth in November 2018. During the interview, she was able to give insight into her background and the moment she decided on her path.
She described this moment during the Tunisian Revolution as “It starts from identity. If you don’t know who you are, if you don’t tell the world who you are, the world starts putting labels on you. I started a blog and the conversation about who we were and about the revolution.”
Answering why she is the person she is today she mentioned the first moment she realized her calling “When I was 9. There was a ritual to ‘save’ a girl’s virginity. After crying that night, I realized there had been a violation of rights because of my gender. I became convinced that these practices were weapons of patriarchy. That’s when I became a feminist.”
She continued “The second turning point was when the rebel in me turned into a political voice. I didn’t think that I could be on the frontline and speak up. But we stood up even though we knew that the person next to us could be shot, killed, or imprisoned.”
The #superwomen concluded the interview by a little guidance “Your power is your radical self. Find it, and live with it. You don’t just dream about it. Be that person and go liberate yourself.”
Watch the full interview below and don’t miss the word-rap at the end.
#Feminism: is radical when women support women #Growth: inner peace #Africa: what I breathe and live for every day, every soul, my mind, everything.
The second #superwomen interview will be held on September 2nd with the UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake.
On 28 July 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Centre along with UNICEF and Generation Unlimited featured in a Y20 working meeting on global citizenship, speaking to 45 youth delegates, who represent the young generation of the G20 countries.
The Y20 Youth Summit is a youth-led event that convenes young leaders from all G20 countries to discuss and debate the G20 Leaders’ agenda. The Group of 20, also known as G20, is the premier forum for international economic cooperation and brings together the leaders of both developed and developing countries from every continent to discuss financial and socioeconomic issues.
In an effort to include the voices of civil society and the scientific community, the forum receives input from various engagement groups, who meet in tandem with the G20 and keep up a dialogue with policymakers.
Monika Froehler, CEO of the BKMC, was invited to provide input on the topic of Global Citizenship Education during the Y20 virtual working meeting on Global Citizenship. Froehler emphasized that “The principles of GCED should be interwoven into every level of education.” highlighting that “Only 7% of humankind knows about the SDGs”. Representatives from UNICEF stressed the urgency to invest in adolescents to bring about sustainable development and exemplified their work on youth engagement all around the world.
This year’s Y20 engagement group focuses on the areas of Future Fit, Youth Empowerment, and Global Citizens, digging into the topics of future skills, future of work, entrepreneurship, decision-making inclusion, leadership development, multiculturalism, and sustainable development.
With the newly acquired knowledge during the meeting, it is now up to the Y20 delegates to interweave lessons learned about Global Citizenship into their Y20 Communiqué, which will serve to inform G20 decision-makers at the summit in Fall 2020.
The BKMC Global Citizen Scholars attended their very first “Expert Workshop” on Thursday, July 23rd. The scholars had the unique opportunity to discuss funding opportunities with expert Katharina Meder, Deputy Head of Program for Water and Energy for Food at the GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation).
During the online workshop, Katharina gave a brief overview of the GIZ and the four different funding options that the company offers: service contracts, public-private partnerships, calls for solutions, and grants/financing contracts for non-profits. She also elaborated on the different processes for applying and receiving these grants.
Additionally, she spent time sharing examples of projects that the GIZ funds, particularly for Water and Energy for Food.
Following her presentation, the scholars were able to ask questions and get feedback about their individually proposed SDG Micro-Projects. For many of the scholars, the topic of Water and Energy for Food is very relevant for their projects which deal with sustainable agriculture and wastewater management.
The BKMC is grateful to Katharina for taking the time to share her expertise and insights with our young changemakers! Learn more about our scholars and scholarship program here.
On July 15th, 2020 Austria presented its first Voluntary National Review (#VNR) on SDG implementation as a part of the High-Level Political Forum. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Austrian delegation was not able to travel to New York to present the report in-person at the United Nations Headquarters. Despite this, the VNR was conducted virtually and vital Austrian stakeholders were invited to watch the presentation at the Austrian Federal Chancellery.
Sylwia Meier-Kajbic BMEIA, Monika Froehler BKMC
Representatives of the inter-ministerial coordination group (IMAG), NGOs, youth representations and the BKMC were all present for the presentation of the VNR. BKMC CEO Monika Froehler attended on behalf of the BKMC and shared her support and congratulations for the great achievement.
Over the past year, Austria conducted an intensive, multi-stakeholder consultation process for the SDGs and presented many of the outcomes of this process in the final VNR report. The BKMC hosted and facilitated some of these multi-stakeholder events in 2019, including best-practice events spotlighting international examples and a high-level retreat and breakout session at European Forum Alpbach. The international SDG ranking of the Bertelsmannstiftung and SDSN served as a reference point during the preparation and delivery of 14 recommendations by the BKMC for the Austrian government to improve SDG implementation.
Highlights from the 14 recommendations:
Focusing the next decade on achieving the SDGs
Recognizing the climate emergency and driving climate commitments
Strengthening initiatives to close the gender pay gap
Raising awareness for the SDGs across society, in particular in schools
Strengthening the exchange with Parliament on the SDGs