Die Presse: “It’s in Our Hands”


The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer have co-authored an article for the Austrian newspaper Die Presse on COVID19 and the challenging tasks that lie ahead. You can access the German version of the article here and read the English version below.


It is in Our Hands

Die Presse, 3 June 2020
by Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer

6 months ago – in December 2019 – the term Covid-19 was, at best, only familiar to a small group of scientists.

Today, the term has captured the attention of the world, bringing with it fear and tension as well as influence on politics, the economy, culture, sport, and most importantly, the lives of individuals. At the same time, it has also raised many questions.

In the first months of this year, while the number of individuals infected by the virus and death tolls rose sharply, many trivialized Covid-19 by comparing it to the annual wave of influenza. On the other hand, others over-dramatized the situation and overstated the actual number of victims. Slowly, a more realistic picture has emerged.

The tasks we are now facing are huge, but not impossible to achieve if we work together and act in solidarity.

The key terms that matter are COOPERATION, SOLIDARITY, RESPONSIBILITY, DISCIPLINE, and COMPASSION FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE.

Let us start with a concrete example: Austria and Korea are two countries with excellent relations which uphold the basic principles of the United Nations. These two countries have had decades of close political, economic, and cultural cooperation and now have been similarly affected by Covid-19. With well-developed healthcare systems, both countries have acted quickly, their populations have behaved responsibly and with great discipline. Fortunately, this can also be said of several other countries which are willing to cooperate, exchange experiences, and provide mutual support.

It should not be overlooked that many countries have also reacted differently, namely by not taking the pandemic seriously enough or withdrawing into a narrow nationalistic mindset and deviating from the principle of solidarity and cooperation.

In addition, the USA and China, superpower G-2 countries, are currently fatally divided.

This does not change the fact that, overcoming this pandemic through medical research, improved healthcare systems and international cooperation, remains a major issue and a global task.

The challenges we face now require a strong commitment to the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, whereby goals number 1 (No Poverty), number 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), number 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), number 13 (Climate Action) and number 17 (Partnership for the Goals) must be tackled and pursued much more vigorously. It is encouraging to note that many countries are taking action for these goals and that G-20 leaders have committed to taking all necessary steps to stop the virus from spreading and to provide the global economy, particularly the global South, with appropriate resources.

The EU is currently working on an extensive reconstruction package with a volume of about 750 billion Euros. An interesting and important discussion is taking place regarding what portion of the package should be spent on grants and what portion should be issued as loans for repayment.

The world is closely watching the process and discussions within the EU which we hope will demonstrate solidarity and compassion based on our common values in a difficult situation.

After the Second World War, Europe benefited greatly from the economic assistance and solidarity shown by the United States in the form of the Marshall Plan.

This plan benefited everyone involved.

Why don’t the G-20 and OECD countries show the same support to the global South now?  Why should stronger countries in Europe not show their solidarity with countries that have been badly affected by the pandemic? This principle must be applied worldwide. The poorest countries in the world are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the Coronavirus. These countries have already suffered from humanitarian crises, conflicts, food insecurity, inadequate healthcare systems, and more. Therefore, the verbal and theoretical commitments to solidarity must also be reflected in concrete actions.

At this time, it is also important to consider how to handle border controls to allow medical devices and urgently required materials to be transported to places where they are most needed.

Covid-19 sheds light on the many profound inequalities that still persist on our planet. The inequalities between and within certain countries have also been exacerbated by the pandemic. Restrictions imposed over the past weeks and months on producers and consumers and their freedom of movement, travel and assembly, have been necessary and expected. However, governments and legislators must take into account that these important and well-intentioned measures should not further marginalize vulnerable groups and individuals, and that due consideration of various points of view should be given in order to find the best possible way forward during each phase.

Even before Covid-19 captivated our attention, we were preoccupied with the existential threats of nuclear weapons and climate change. Covid-19 and its economic and social implications bear consequences that make everyday life harder than ever before.

Together we must have the necessary courage, wisdom, and solidarity to meet these global challenges. We live in a world that is changing rapidly and it is up to us to chart the right course for a better future for all.


Heinz Fischer is the 11th President of Austria and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens based in Vienna, Austria.

Ban Ki-moon is the 8th Secretary-General of the UN and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens based in Vienna, Austria.

Integrating SDGs in Viennese Curriculum

May 27th 2020, marked the start of an influential partnership between the Ban Ki-moon Centre and the Bildungsdirektion fur Wien. (Directorate of Education).

The cooperation between the BKMC and Bildungsdirektion Wien aims to promote and advance the SDGs education in secondary schools in Vienna. Today, Heinz Fischer, the BKMC Co-chair joined Director of Education Mag. Heinrich Himmer at the newly established Bildungshub that serves as a platform to share creative impulses and innovative learning practices where teachers and students discuss new ideas and implement projects. Through the video recorded today Co-chair Heinz Fischer will address teachers and students to express the importance of the SDGs to tackle today’s challenges .

Times of crisis like the COVID19 pandemic highlight the utmost importance of education and knowledge about the interconnectedness of global challenges.The joint mission of education for the Sustainable Development Goals leads to a synergetic pathway between the BKMC and Bildungsdirektion Wien. 

The collaboration will start with an online kick-off event on the topic of “The relevance of the SDGs in Viennese schools” on June 18th . Experts from the education sector will discuss ways of integrating the SDGs into the existing curricula.  

Is preparing for peace and global citizenship a priority?

Watch our CEO Monika Froehler in the Online Education Leadership Forum panel on Education in the Times of Corona: Is preparing for peace and global citizenship a priority?

The panel took place online, on May 14th 2020, and was organized by the Online Education Leadership Forum which is hosted by the Council for Global Citizenship Education (GCED) under the auspices of the Global Citizenship Foundation.

The panel started with a moment of silence to commemorate all those who have lost their lives during the pandemic. The panelists underlined the importance of global citizenship education, especially during the pandemic, that we should look beyond our differences and see what connects us. Global education needs to include crisis and trauma response and appreciation of common humanity. 

Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler mentioned the ‘head, heart, hand’ methodology of GCED: Head – stimulating children intellectually. Heart – stimulating children emotionally. Hand – stimulating skills. It was agreed upon that taking action on grass-root level is key, but that all stakeholders should chip in! The bottom-up approach raises awareness on the importance, but we need governments to transform ideas into policy.

You can watch the full panel below with:

☑️ Dr. Ashok K Pandey, Chairperson of the Counsil for GCED Global Citizenship Foundation

☑️ Dr. Paul Downes, Director Educational Disadvantage Centre, Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Ireland DCU

☑️ Simon Kuany, Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education Specialist,UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development UNESCO MGIEP

Women’s Empowerment for Latin America

The Ban Ki-moon Centre is excited to soon start a new Women’s Empowerment Program catering to young dedicated women from Latin America. The program will be implemented together with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and with the generous support of the State of Qatar.

 The 11th President of the Republic of Austria and BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer and His Excellency Sultan bin Salmeen Al Mansouri, the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN in Vienna showed their dedication to this innovative program through contributing key remarks on the initiation of the Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) for Latin America during an online meeting on 13 May 2020.

UNODC was represented by John Brandolino, Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs and Marco Teixeira, Senior Programme Officer of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration and was moderated by Lulua Assad.

 “We are encouraged to see us joining forces for this tailor-made Women Empowerment Program.  Especially in challenging times like these, it becomes evident how necessary it is to continue our work to strengthen multilateralism, justice, rule of law and build partnerships that contribute to achieving the SDGs.”, emphasized Heinz Fischer Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre.

 

During the virtual exchange, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens CEO Monika Froehler presented some of the details of our future collaboration which will be part of the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, a component of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration. The Program will focus on training and equipping 20 young, dedicated women from Latin American countries with the skill-set to act as SDG leaders within their fields of work. While all of the 17 SDGs provide the framework for the programme, its focus will be on SDGs 4,5,16 and 17. It will start with a period of online learning, followed by 2-week in-person training in Vienna and will conclude with the implementation of SGD Micro-projects by the participants in their local contexts.

 The WEP for Latin America will be the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s first initiative for that region. Taking the first step in this strategic partnership with UNODC, we are looking forward to the opportunity to transform education policy into action with the distinguished support of the State of Qatar.

 Please stay tuned for more information on the program.

Ban Ki-moon Centre Annual Report 2019

Ban Ki-moon Centre 2019 Annual Report is Out!

We are thrilled to share the 2019 Annual Report of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens with you. We hope to inspire you with what we have accomplished together in 2019 and with what we will build on it in 2020 and beyond with your place in our valuable global network.

Read our report hereshare it and join us in supporting global citizens around the world.

 

“To every single member of our Ban Ki-moon Centre family who showed their support with social media posts and likes, donations and collaborations, thank you. Our dedication to supporting global citizen mindsets and empowering youth and women around to world with education and participation is at the heart of who we are.“

Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler

SDGs Adaptation: The OPEC Fund Quarterly

The new edition of the #opecfund magazine is all about #ClimateChange adaptation. The magazine covers subjects from climate action, to sdgs, to sustainable farming and much more. Access the full magazine here. 

 

Monika Froehler Article in OPEC Fun Magazine May 2020
Katrin Harvey part of Mobilising to advance the SDGs panel 2020

 

Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler participated as a guest author for the May 2020 edition of the OPEC Fund quarterly magazine. She emphasized the importance of gender equality in the planning of climate change adaptation. How women’s involvement means better outcomes and more sustainable solutions. Read the full article here.

 

 

 

The magazine also covered the joint event on March 3, between the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, the European Union Delegation in Vienna Joint SDG Fund and The OPEC Fund for International Development. The co-hosted panel discussed the successes and challenges of mobilising to advance the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. Read about the event here. 

“Environmental and Socioeconomic Sustainability: How to Create Lasting Impacts.”

Successful Implementation of SDG 11: Best Practices and Cases 

 In 2019, The Ban Ki-moon Centre strengthened its collaboration with the Regional Academy of the United Nations (RAUN), an international and multi-disciplinary program established in 2012 that provides a forum for youth to discuss issues related to the UN and international affairs.   

This year the Centre mentored three young researchers who were asked to produce an academic paper on a topic related to “Environmental and Socioeconomic Sustainability: How to Create Lasting Impacts.”  

Check out the program flyer here.

Read the full paper here. 

Jakub Adamec (Prague), Eva-Maria Holzinger (Vienna) and Christopher Paul Franz (Hamburg) selected and analysed sustainable city projects in their respective hometowns and defined best practice and sustainability. Based on their research, they developed a set of recommendations of how successful projects could be replicated.   

The results of their paper “Successful Implementation of SDG 11: Best Practices and Cases” aim to support local actors to contribute to a sustainable city transformation and the implementation of SDG 11.  

 

“With this leaflet, we hope to support and motivate aspiring project leaders, policy makers and every citizen, wherever they may be. Create and develop your idea for a sustainable city with the support of our best practice recommendations and help transform our world.” 

 

The researchers were mentored by the BKMC throughout the process and their research will be forwarded to partners of the BKMC such as Stadt Wien and SDG relevant groups interested in SDG community projects in urban areas. 

If you are interested in learning more about SDG 11, contact the researchers via SDG11BestPractice@gmail.com or read the full paper here.

Checking in with Aya Chebbi, The African Union Youth Envoy

The Ban Ki-moon Centre had an informative online session with the first ever African Union Special Envoy on Youth and award-winning Pan-African feminist, Aya Chebbi, on Thursday, April 2.

 

The discussion was centered on the AU Youth Envoy´s amazing campaigns and projects in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic that she and her peers have put into action. (Check out https://auyouthenvoy.org/) Aya Chebbi emphasized that the young people of the African continent were working together and in synchronization in their fight against this difficult challenge.

 

Similar to the calls for solidarity from global leaders, she explained “The young generation is working on coordinated efforts and trying to reach every single person we can.” Mentioning the economic challenges of the situation, she underlined the importance of global response funds such as the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund, the one led by the World Health Organization and the donation of 1.5 million test kits made by the Jack Ma foundation to the continent of Africa. Much more is still needed!

 

Working with volunteers and young change-makers, the African Union Youth Envoy has initiated multiple programs to include, educate and mobilize all countries in the region. Aya stated that young people are following the situation closely, trying to be a part of the solution and coming up with remarkable initiatives and action plans.

 

A pioneering project, the Virtual AU Youth Consultations on COVID-19 for Youth Collective Response in collaboration with Africa CDC, is a series of virtual consultations, now completing its 10th round, convened 150 youth leaders from 40 countries, that allows groups of young people to meet online to discuss emotional and physical issues caused by the virus. During these sessions, the attendees are able to learn from each other, brainstorm and come up with action plans on how to tackle urgent problems. The project highlights cross-border cooperation. These enlightening consultations can be held by any person or institution interested. You can find more information and the registration process here.

 

Aya Chebbi also informed the BKMC on the launch of a new initiative called the African Youth Charter Hustlers, a youth-led Pan-African accountability movement, to engage African youths in continental, regional and country-level advocacy across the continent. For more information on youth policy makers you can click here.

 

Another response of the African Union Youth Envoy was to create hotlines for every country on the continent. Anyone who needs support can call these hotline numbers and reach out for the help they need.

 

The Union is leading many more inspiring projects on topics such as policy making, youth advocacy, women entrepreneurship and fundraising. Visit https://ayachebbi.com/ to follow this great initiative and get updates on African efforts and Aya Chebbi.

 

 

 

Ban Ki-moon: South Koreans “play a key role” in the corona crisis

Checkout our Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s interview with the APA.

“Since I was the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I have always emphasized that problems of global scale require solutions of global scale. The fear of infection has sparked a rise in racism and xenophobia. Such deplorable action would not help in deterring the spread of the virus in anyway. We must never forget that we are all in this together. The global outbreak, and any other global challenge in that matter, can only be overcome by concerted effort and unity.”  Go to article.

AS GLOBAL CITIZENS, HOW ARE WE ALL TACKLING #COVID19?

AS GLOBAL CITIZENS, HOW ARE WE ALL TACKLING #COVID19?

As of today, Monday 23rd of March 2020 the Coronavirus has affected 329,000 people. According to the World Health Organization’s reports at least 14,522 people have died, while the virus has reached more than 160 countries around the world. This pandemic has truly shown how the world has no boundaries and the virus itself does not respect borders, race, ethnicity, age or religion. The world is one and we are all human beings.

Therefore, now is the time to act as Global Citizens. It is vital for us to not only think about ourselves and our own country but about others and the globe. The world has seen epidemics, pandemics and viruses before, but the world has never been as interconnected as it is now. The Information flow has never been as easy as now. Countries have never been as accountable to each other as now. As the Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global citizens, we encourage our staff, our partners, our fellows and all sustainable development goal advocates to act now, innovate, communicate and continue bettering our future.

AS GLOBAL CITIZENS, WHAT CAN WE DO?

 

Take Care of Your Hygiene

 As respiratory viruses like COVID-19 spread through human contact, “Wash your hands!” was the first recommendation given to people all around the globe in an attempt to stop the spreading of the virus. Physical contact is the most common way to transmit the virus to the next person. Keeping in mind SDG 3: Good health and well-being, we must encourage and promote the importance of personal hygiene. In cooperation with the WHO, our Co-Chair Ban Ki-Moon has prepared an explanatory video on the correct and effective way to wash our hands. Share the video and help others too. For people and populations with limited access to  clean water and soap, the WHO has prepared a DYI guide to homemade disinfectant. You can find the guide here.

 

Flatten the Curve

Flattening the curve: A measure that promotes community isolation in an aim to reduce daily case numbers so they are manageable for local medical providers, without overwhelming our health systems. Globally, we are all encouraged to practice social distancing. The rapid growth rate of the virus combined with a lack of resources contribute to high infection and mortality levels. Measures now being implemented such as school and restaurant closure, working from home and the prohibition of public gatherings have been successful in China, Singapore, South Korea and many more countries. To check the latest curves in different countries click here.

The Ban Ki-Moon Centre and its affiliates are all practicing social distancing. We are working from home, connecting with our peers through online meetings and calls. We encourage all businesses that can, to do the same. Here is a list of online tools you can use to work from home.

Mental Health and Online Communities

As most countries encourage their citizens to self-isolate, it is normal to feel anxious, lonely and isolated. As people are finding new ways of coming together in this time of crisis, creative outlets have become available to help individuals who are struggling to keep their spirits high.

As the BKMC, we recommend to our staff and to you to maintain your daily structure and adapt it to the situation. Include social calls to your day and reach out to friends and family. Help them if they are not so well-versed with online tools. Measure your social media use and try to focus on uplifting content. Read the book you’ve been wanting to finish for so long. Go through your movie list at last! Spend some me-time, focus on what is important to you. Accept your feelings and assess them. Here are some interesting resources available to the public:

  • Read through the extensive guide the WHO has prepared covering collaborative and individualistic suggestions.
  • Solidarity Concerts organized by Global Citizens in cooperation with the World Health Organisation. Follow #TogetherAtHome on twitter or visit here to watch previous and future concerts.
  • Many libraries, museums, opera halls are providing online virtual tours and concerts, such as the Vienna State Opera, the New York Public Library, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and many more.

Online education platforms are becoming more and more important with different Universities providing free courses on a wide range of topics.  If you are interested in learning about sustainable development, we have two free courses on our website. Give them a try at your own pace.

Donate

Every individual around the globe can help in some way, and as an interconnected community we can achieve anything and have a great impact. The period we are going through is calling for an urgent collective movement. This is why we would like to call on everyone who can, to donate to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Respond Fund. The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund is a secure way for individuals, philanthropies and businesses to contribute to the WHO-led effort to respond to the pandemic.

 

Our Role as Global Citizens 

Now is the time to understand what we need and want in life and what we can live without. As global citizens this is something we should all do. We must see how the world is changing around us, how education, health, gender equality, sanitation, economic growth, innovation, sustainability, climate and above all international cooperation is affected. Let’s take this situation as a lesson and change our ways moving forward. As global citizens this is our responsibility.

“While these challenges might seem almost insurmountable at times, there is still hope for a better, a brighter, and a more sustainable future.” BKMC Co-Chair Ban Ki-Moon