Youth Agri Champions underway with the development of climate demands for agricultural adaptation

The Youth Agri Champions Webinar Series is underway. Launched with speeches from CEO Monika Froehler and Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, 16 youth agripreneurs and smallholder farmers have started working towards developing demands on climate adaptation in agriculture for COP27. 

The Youth Agri Champions Webinar Series kicked off on July 28th, with 16 smallholder farmers and agripreneurs from Kenya, Nigera, Rwanda, and Zambia. Over the course of three workshops spanning a month, the Youth Agri Champions will develop a set of demands on climate adaptation in the field of agriculture. The BKMC’s Co-Chair, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the BKMC team will then take on these demands for COP27 and in their global advocacy work to promote the climate adaptation needs of smallholder farmers.

Opening the webinar series was the BKMC’s CEO, Monika Froehler. While thanking the Youth Agri Champions for taking part, she underlined the important role that they play in leading their communities in adapting agriculture to climate change. In outlining the importance of the Youth Agri Champions voices, Froehler remarked that “Your valuable on-the-ground first-hand experience will provide great insights into the impact of climate change on agriculture.”

After a presentation from the Elevating Agricultural Adaption Program Manager, Angela Reithuber, on the BKMC’s work on supporting smallholder farmers in agricultural adaptation to climate change, the Youth Agri Champions were joined by, Elizabeth Nsimadala, the Director of Women Affairs at the Pan-African Farmers Organization and the President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation. As a particular highlight for the participants, Nsimadala gave an inspiring speech filled with plenty of tips and motivation. She addressed the need for cooperation and enthusiasm in the drive for agricultural adaptation to climate change and sustainable agriculture.

During the last stage of the first workshop, the Youth Agri Champions got down to work, sharing their own experiences and exciting projects with each other. Split into three working groups (funding/finance, social risk management, and training/capacity building) they began developing their own ideas on adaptation to climate change in agriculture.  In these areas, the Youth Agri Champions worked on identifying the status quo and current obstacles hindering greater adaptation efforts. Promising and stimulating discussions took place on topics including climate-smart technology, crop diversification, crop insurance, and awareness raising.

Over the next two weeks, the Youth Agri Champions will work together to build upon these discussions and develop their ideas from the first workshop further, with the aim of developing concrete demands in the second workshop. The second workshop will take place on the 11th of August.

CEO Froehler mission trip to New York for the HLPF 2022

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler mission travel to New York for the UN High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development July 2022

During 11-15 July 2022, the BKMC delegation co-organized the HLPF High-Level Side Event on “Linking SDG 16 and SDG 5 in a time of crisis – Women in Peacebuilding and Justice”, held meetings with government leaders, board members, programmatic partners, and paid visits to philanthropic organizations in New York.

Check out the photos from the HLPF Side Event on Flickr.

CEO Monika Froehler kicked off the mission travel by meeting with H.E. Ambassador of Austria to the UN in New York Alexander Marschik. With BKMC US Foundation Strategic Engagement Director Kate Landon, they discussed the HLPF side event on linking SDG 16 and SDG 5, Austria‘s UN activities, and developments of the BKMC US Foundation.

Ambassador Marschik and BKMC CEO Froehler

At midday, CEO Froehler and Global Citizen Vice President Nikola Ivejaz touched base on the Elevating Agricultural Adaptation program. The BKMC delegation was delighted to pay a visit to Philanthropic New York at Ford Foundation, the largest professional funders network in New York, and speak about the work of the BKMC. 

CEO Froehler started the third day by meeting with Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable development at Columbia University Yanis Ben Amor and Director of Education and Mission 4.7. Partner Radhika Iyengar to discuss plans for the upcoming Transforming Education Summit. At Columbia University’s Business School Campus, the delegation was given a tour through their premises for the run-up of the BKMC US Foundation launch.

CEO Froehler and Director of Centre for Sustainable Development at Columbia University Radhika Iyengar

In the afternoon, CEO Froehler met UN Foundation Senior Vice President and BKMC Board Member Sofia Borges and highlighted the BKMC’s youth and women empowerment programs. CEO Froehler ended the day by attending a dinner with the Austria delegation for the HLPF.

CEO Froehler and Board Member Sofia Borges

On July 14, Austria, Jordan and Italy co-hosted the HLPF side event on SDG5 and SDG 16. The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens had the great pleasure to organize this event in partnership with UN Women and SDG Watch Europe. This event featured several stellar speakers: H.E. Karoline Edtstadler, Austrian Federal Minister for EU and Constitution, H.E. Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN-Women, H.E. Fabio Cassese, Director-General of Development Cooperation, MFA Italy, H.E. Ms. Adela Raz, Director of the Afghanistan Policy Lab at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, Maria Victoria “Mavic” Cabrera Balleza, CEO of the Global Network for Women Peacebuilder, and Brittany Roser, UN Advocacy Advisor, PAX for Peace.

 “I started my career as a young female professional, as a criminal judge, and “Women & Justice” is by virtue a matter very close to my heart.” – H.E. Karoline Edstadler

H.E. Karoline Edstadler gives her statement of central concern at the HLPF Side Event on SDG 5 and SDG 16

“Don’t forget the women in Afghanistan and don’t think we will accept the status quo, because this status-quo is not the norm for us.” – H.E. Adela Raz

H.E. Adela Raz at the panel discussion of the HLPF Side Event on SDG 5 and SDG 16

“Women must be at the center of everything we do.” – H.E. Sima Bahous

H.E. Sima Bahous at the stage of the HLPF Side Event

Monika Froehler, CEO BKMC, moderated the panel discussion, which focused on the situation of women in conflict situations in Afghanistan and Ukraine as well as environmental peacebuilding.

CEO Monika Froehler moderating the HLPF Side Event

The HLPF Side Event was viewed over 1.800 times from around the globe on the BKMC’s Youtube Livestream and managed to, once more, draw attention to the importance of empowering women in every aspect. Read our event summary here

On the last day, of the BKMC’s mission travel, CEO Froehler linked up with the Ambassador of Zambia to the UN in New York, Dr. Chola Milambo, to discuss the BKMC´s Program on Elevating Agricultural Adaptation, and how to work more closely with smallholder farmers in Zambia.

H.E. Dr. Chola Milambo and CEO Froehler at the BKMC US Foundation

A productive exchange on future collaboration with Director Dr. Khan from the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre took place at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York.

July 15 is World Youth Skills Day, and BKMC Program Officer Kathrin Ebner and Communications Associate Katharina Choe met with Women Empowerment Program Fellow Rosario Garavito, and had the opportunity to learn more about her SDG Micro-Project.

HLPF 2022 High-Level Side Event “Linking SDG 16 & SDG 5 in a time of crisis – Women in Peacebuilding & Justice”

The Republic of Austria and the Hashemite Kingdome of Jordan in cooperation with UN-Women, SDG Watch Europe, and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens are pleased to invite you to the High-Level Political Forum 2022 High-Level Side Event “Linking SDG 16 and SDG 5 in a time of crisis – Women in Peacebuilding and Justice“ on Thursday, 14 July 2022 at 12.30 PM (EDT).

The event will convene a panel of high-level and senior officials from governments, international organizations, and civil society.

Peacebuilding and justice are the foundation for creating sustainable equitable development and a safe and secure environment in countries shaken by conflict. Peaceful, just, and inclusive societies are the basis for achieving all SDGs, and the 2030 Agenda recognizes that sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security.

This side event seeks to explore in a multifaceted discussion how peacebuilding efforts including the concept of environmental peace building, strengthening the rule of law, equal participation, and stopping violence against women are essential components to the work on linking SDG 16 and SDG 5.

Register now

2. SDG Dialogforum – Aktuelle Chancen und Perspektive zur Umsetzung der Agenda 2030

6. October 2022, 9:00 – 13:00 CEST, Virtual Event

7. October 2022, 9:00 – 12:30 CEST, Livestream from MQ Libelle

Against the backdrop of current crises and global challenges, the interlinked 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda are becoming increasingly important. The Republic of Austria, SDG Watch Austria, and Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens are inviting you to the 2. SDG Dialogforum to discuss priorities for the implementation of the Agenda 2030 with experts and the participation of ministers in Austria. 

Please note that this event will be held in GERMAN.

6. Oktober 2022, 9:00 – 13:00 Uhr, Virtuelle Veranstaltung

7. Oktober 2022, 9:00 – 12:30 Uhr, Livestream aus der MQ Libelle

Die Bundesverwaltung, SDG Watch Austria und das Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens laden im Herbst 2022 zum zweiten Mal zum jährlichen SDG Dialogforum ein, um die Agenda 2030 und die 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ins Zentrum zu rücken.

Im Zuge des zweiten SDG Dialogforums werden daher Prioritäten für die Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 mit Expertinnen und Experten vertieft und unter Beteiligung von Ministerinnen und Ministern diskutiert werden. 

Donnerstag, 6.10.2022

Am ersten Veranstaltungstag diskutieren Expert:innen aus Verwaltung, Zivilgesellschaft, Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft in vier öffentlichen Online-Diskussionsrunden („Innovationspools“) zu den folgenden Themen:
  • Wie viel Energie braucht Österreich? Wege zu einer sozial- und naturverträglichen Energiewende

  • Skills für das 21. Jahrhundert

  • Gleiche Chancen, Wohlergehen und soziale Inklusion von Kindern und Jugendlichen

  • Österreichs Entwicklungspolitik: Auf multiple Krisen reagieren und Resilienz fördern

Freitag, 7.10.2022

Am 7. Oktober 2022 vertiefen Frau Bundesministerin Edtstadler, Frau Bundesministerin Gewessler, Herr Bundesminister Rauch, und Generaldirektor der UNIDO Gerd Müller in einer live aus Wien übertragenen Podiumsdiskussion die Ergebnisse der Innovationspools. Moderiert von Corinna Milborn diskutieren sie gemeinsam über Lösungsansätze, Umsetzungspartnerschaften sowie aktuell nötige Schritte Österreichs zur Erreichung der 17 Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung. Die Ergebnisse des 2. SDG Dialogforums werden in die Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 in und durch Österreich einfließen.

Wir danken Ihnen schon jetzt, dass Sie sich diese Veranstaltung vormerken und freuen uns, Sie im Oktober beim 2. SDG Dialogforum Österreich begrüßen zu dürfen! 

Zum Livestream: 

Zum Download:

#WeChampion Interview with Yasmine Sherif – New Date & Time

We have postponed our We Champion Interview with Yasmine Sherif to next Tuesday, 5 July at 4:30 PM CEST. The Ban Ki-moon Centre (BKMC) is organizing the next “We Champion Speaker Series” session which showcases best practices and innovative approaches to Transformative Education. Register here. The event will welcome Director of Education Cannot Wait Yasmine Sherif to discuss the importance of delivering quality education in humanitarian crises like those occurring in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – especially to children and adolescents. Learn how Education Cannot Wait supports rapid responses to urgent education needs, turns investments into concrete public goods, and faces challenges in the field. Building on Mission 4.7’s #WeChampion social media campaign, the “We Champion” speaker series showcases best practices and innovative approaches to Transformative Education from across the Mission 4.7 community and beyond. The series will help further collective thinking around SDG 4.7 implementation and gather momentum on various thematic areas pertaining to SDG 4.7. AGENDA:
  • Interview with Director of Education Cannot Wait Yasmine Sherif and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler
  • Q&A Session with audience
Register here.

Virtual Roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women”

On Wednesday 25 May 5 PM CEST (8:30 PM AFT), the Ban Ki-moon Centre (BKMC) and its Afghan fellows from the Global Citizen Women Empowerment Program hosted a virtual roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women” to highlight the activism of Afghan women on the ground. 

International Gender Champions Her Excellency Manizha Bakhtari, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Vienna, and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler spotlighted Afghan women as resilient and active agents of change fighting for sustainable peace.

“The spirit of Afghan women will never die”  – H.E. Manizha Bakhtari


Both iterated the risks to civil society leaders, activists, and reporters, especially women, and their shrinking involvement in public life due to the Taliban’s fundamentalist hardliner policies. Their resistance is moving more and more off the streets and onto social media and smaller underground movements.

“We are currently experiencing a new generation of [ Afghan women] that is more enthusiastic and more focused.”  – Gender and Feminist Researcher at the McMaster University of Canada, Executive Director of the Immigrant Culture and Art Association (ICAA), and former Law Professor at Kabul University Marufa Shinware

With their knowledge and independence gained over the last 20 years, Afghan women are increasingly trying to transform the system they are living in and resisting the Taliban’s oppression. They also question the international community’s silence and condemn global misbelief in a new and more liberal Taliban regime. 

Increased solidarity is needed to fight for democracy, human rights, and peace. 

Watch the recording of our Roundtable via YouTube. 

Join us for our Virtual Roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women”

On Wednesday 25 May 5 PM CEST (8:30 PM AFT), the Ban Ki-moon Centre (BKMC) and its Afghan fellows from the Global Citizen Women Empowerment Program are organizing a virtual roundtable “Voices of Hope: Realities of Afghan Women” to provide a space for local, regional and international Afghan activists to come together and share their stories to a wide audience.

The event seeks to raise awareness about the current situation of Afghan women on the ground and spotlight local women’s activism as well as the international Afghan diaspora and their efforts in fighting for sustainable peace. The roundtable should serve to devictimize Afghanistan’s women and instead portray them as active agents of change. 


Moderators: BKMC Program Officers Jessica Besch and Viola Christian

Welcome Remarks: BKMC CEO Monika Froehler

Opening Remarks: H.E. Ambassador Manizha Bakhtari, Ambassador of the Republic of Afghanistan to Vienna

Roundtable Discussion:

  • Hooria Sardar, Former Director-General of Women’s Economic Empowerment and Child Care at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Afghanistan (MoLSA), Gender and Women Studies Expert, Women’s Rights Activist, and BKMC Global Citizen Fellow

  • Marufa Shinware, Gender and Feminist Researcher at the McMaster University of Canada, Executive Director of the Immigrant Culture and Art Association (ICAA), and former Law Professor at Kabul University

  • Dr. Zahra M., Dentist and Leader of the Afghan Women’s Unity and Solidarity Group 


In 2019, at the margins of the first BKMC Women Empowerment Program, the Centre together with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and Women in International Security Austria organized the event “ A Long Road to Peace – Realities, Hopes, and Visions from Afghanistan”, featuring five of its stellar Afghan women fellows and activists as speakers. Processes of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban in that year gave reason for hope for a secure, democratic, and equal Afghanistan. Including women in these negotiations was deemed crucial for the achievement of sustainable peace and women’s rights. The fellows suggested solutions for their country’s challenges, talked about their own initiatives, and discussed women’s roles in decision-making and peace processes.

The developments since August 2021 and the internationally unrecognized governmental rule by the Taliban have once again crushed the rights and dignity of women and girls, spiraling into a humanitarian crisis as we speak. While some were able to leave Afghanistan on time, many are still stuck or staying voluntarily to defend their country against the authoritarian and extremist Taliban regime.

Adhering to its mission statement of empowering women and leaving no one behind, the BKMC wants to create a safe platform for its Afghan fellows to raise awareness about the situation of Afghan women and youth on the ground by jointly organizing an virtual roundtable. 

Register for the event here to join or zoom or click here to set a reminder for our live stream via YouTube. 

Investing In Development Programs Means Investing In Our Future

As host of this year’s G7 summit, Germany can set an example. Ban Ki-moon
  Author: Ban Ki-moon May 19, 2022

The world is stuck in a tangle of alarming, severe crises that demand urgent action. The worsening climate crisis is impacting every aspect of our lives. It is further increasing the threat of violent conflicts, health issues, and food insecurity. More than ever, we need developed countries like Germany to uphold and increase their development assistance budgets and lead as an example.

In Yemen, the war has been raging for almost eight years; Syria’s crisis grinds on into its eleventh year. Over two million people have been forcibly displaced by the ongoing fighting in the Tigray region of Ethiopia due to brutal violence against civilians. While Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis plummets to extreme levels of deprivation, Myanmar’s military factions expand the scale of conflict, increasingly involving civilians. Most recently, Russia’s unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine forced more than five million people to flee the country while almost eight million are internally displaced.

These complex emergencies are set against a backdrop of transnational, planetary challenges like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has cost the lives of more than 6 million people worldwide. All of these extremities have consequences far beyond their immediate impacts, most particularly in the realm of food production.


There is a need for investments in climate-resilient agriculture

Agriculture, in particular, is both foundational to human wellbeing and also highly vulnerable during crises. In recent months, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown the devastating impact conflict can have on our ability to cultivate and transport food, with looming surges in hunger anticipated worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has similarly sent shockwaves throughout local food systems, causing the highest levels of hunger seen in modern history. The reduction in yields, the increase in pest infestations, and unpredictable weather patterns have made the impact of climate change more evident than ever. The severity of these disruptions often stems from a lack of investment in the people who produce food and the inevitable precarity they experience on a day-to-day basis.

Two thirds of adults living in poverty work in the agricultural sector, meaning the very people who provide us with nutrition often struggle to get it themselves. Without drastic climate action, these inequities will only increase. Global demand for food is predicted to increase by 50% by 2050, while agricultural yields will likely decrease by up to 30% over the same period due to worsening environmental conditions.

Investing in climate resilient agriculture is essential to improving the lives of 500 million small-holder farmers around the world and bolster local, resilient food systems. Currently, smallholders receive only 1.7% of total climate finance. World leaders need to keep their promise to deliver $100 billion Dollars to climate finance and significantly step up their commitments towards agricultural adaptation to build the resilience of smallholder farmers. In this regard, global champions like CGIAR need to receive more funding for the acceleration of adaptation in agriculture, to ensure food security, increase resilience and protect biodiversity. The right investments in innovation, research and development will lead to food production increases, rather than decreases in the decades ahead.

Just as we cannot prioritize our obligation to meet the human rights needs of one crisis over another, underfunding critical development programs will severely hamstring our ability to prepare for and prevent the crises of tomorrow. That is why global leadership, bold action, and strategic programming are needed now more than ever.

This means identifying and resourcing the communities that exist at the intersections of extreme poverty.


Germany has a special responsibility to step up

In recent years, Germany has taken on a leading role in the global fight against hunger. The government has substantially invested in global food security and rural development and when it comes to the overall provision of official development assistance, Germany ranks second. The leadership the government has shown in recent years when it comes to global development cooperation could not come at a more crucial time. Looking at the multiple crises the world currently faces, funding for development cooperation and strengthening of multilateral institutions will be crucial to be able to respond to the medium and long-term consequences and to prevent future crises.

The German government must therefore consistently continue its commitment to strong development cooperation. Especially in a year in which Germany holds the G7 Presidency, the government’s actions and decisions will have wide repercussions at the international level. With a clear commitment to strengthening development cooperation, the German government can send a strong signal of support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the most marginalized people worldwide. To get the world back on track at the G7 Summit at the end of June, it is important that Germany continues to take on a leading role in international development cooperation.

The last time Germany held the G7 Presidency, back in 2015, G7 countries made a commitment to lift 500 million people out of hunger and to increase funding accordingly. This commitment still remains to be followed-up upon. The war in Ukraine, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the increasing droughts and floods we witness across Africa and Asia have only amplified the urgency. It is the drastic consequences of conflict and climate change that put the livelihoods of millions of people at risk. What is needed by the G7 countries is to take urgent climate actions and to step up their ambition with regards to international climate finance, especially targeting agricultural adaptation measures.

If we don’t respond adequately and equitably now, the world will see a worsened situation for every crisis to follow — from access, availability and affordability of food, fuel prices, climate shocks and exposure to extreme weather events, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the ongoing displacement of people.

In this extraordinary time of need, citizens must urge their government to step up and do all that they can to provide support. That will mean donors raising development budgets to cover rising costs. This year, Germany can be in the driving seat for international solidarity and cooperation.

GC Scholars Discuss Sustainable African Cities at Bordeaux Summer School

Our 2022 Global Citizen Scholars attended the Bordeaux Summer School on “Sustainable African cities: multidisciplinary research to meet health, demographic, economic and political challenges” as their academic training for the scholarship program. 

Guest Blog: Shalom Abebaw, GC Scholar 2022

My personal experience with the Bordeaux Summer School program can be summarized as intense, insightful, and collaborative. I’ve had the honor and privilege of learning about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the sustainability of African Cities from experts from the Ban Ki-moon Centre and Bordeaux University. I’ve gained an interdisciplinary understanding of what it takes to create a sustainable African community. My favorite lecture would be one on air pollution, which is more related to my field of work and my chosen SDG-Micro Project. I’ve also participated in a workshop with other scholars on the SDGs, and I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with peers from various countries and backgrounds. I’ve also learned how businesses and individuals who incorporate SDG concepts into their work can benefit from increased productivity, new market opportunities, and improved stakeholder engagement.

Rania, Khaoula, Greta, and Sharon presented about Green Infrastructure investment in Lusaka, Zambia.

The BKMC Global Citizen Scholars of 2022 participated in a Bordeaux University intense summer school program on “Sustainable African cities: multidisciplinary research to solve health, demographic, economic, and political concerns” from 2 to 6 May.

The program featured an interdisciplinary approach, with professors, researchers, and representatives from Cote d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Health participating to provide deeper insights into sustainable African cities.

The program covered the following topics: African population dynamics, migration, pollution, and transportation, the political economy of food crises and food riots in the MENA region, and diet quality enhancement.

During the summer school week, 8 scholars participated in the tutored group work session with Bordeaux. 7 scholars attended a special workshop on the 17 sustainable development goals with the BKMC.

Food systems and stakeholder interactions in Côte d’Ivoire were presented by Joseph, Anna, and Emmanuel Hanyabui.
Aurian and Esmael gave a presentation on African air pollution.
Moussa and Dula discussed the issue of informal settlements and transportation issues in Addis Ababa.

Dorcas and Shalom presented recent trends on each SDG, providing a great overview of the current state of the global goals.


The scholars underwent the one-week intense summer school program and now have a basic understanding of what is required to build a sustainable city and community, which they will use when implementing their SDG Micro-Project. Stay tuned as our scholars start working on their SDG Micro-Projects! 


Launch Global Citizen Scholarship Program 2022

On 29 April 2022, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens launched its 5th Global Citizen Scholarship Program in partnership with RELX and Université de Bordeaux. 17 young changemakers from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and the Philippines will turn their passion for sustainable development into SDG Micro-Projects and empower their communities. CEO Monika Fröhler and Program Officer Jessica Besch held an introduction call to welcome the cohort and guide them in the different steps of their 8-months journey.


This week, from 2 to 6 May, the scholars are joining the online Summer School hosted by the University of Bordeaux to learn more about sustainable African cities. The program will continue virtually with expert workshops, mentoring sessions, and the SDG Micro-Project implementation phase.


Learn more about the Global Citizen Scholarship program and this year’s cohort here.