Climate Adaptation Summit 2021

The Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 led by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, hosted by the Netherlands and the Global Center on Adaptation convened over 18,000 registrations, 300 speakers, 160 side events, 32 countries, world leaders, and local stakeholders.

It launched a comprehensive Adaptation Action Agenda and heard of new financial pledges to initiatives to make the world more resilient to the effects of climate change.

BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon led several discussions before and during the summit. On January 22nd, five Nobel Laureates and more than 3,000 scientists from over 100 countries signed up to the Groningen Science Declaration calling on world leaders, decision-makers and investors, to change the way we understand, plan and invest for a changing climate to ensure we limit future damage. On January 25th, a Ministerial Dialogue saw over forty countries committing to adaptation.

Watch the summary video of all the events right here:

©GCA

The opening session on January 25th, led by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, under the patronage of Ban Ki-Moon, demonstrated the world’s leading countries and the international development communities’ commitments to climate adaptation and showcased some of their prominent programs and initiatives. The event gave us a clear message: we need to treat climate adaptation as urgently as we have mitigation within the development agenda towards achieving the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.

 

Food security is an increasing threat in Africa in face of climate change. The anchoring event on Africa stressed the need for predictable long-term public financing for climate change, which should then allocate 50% to adaptation. Donor countries are urged to provide bridging finance to prepare projects into bankable projects. 

 

The anchoring event on finance and investment highlighted the important fact that the world needs 300 billion USD for adaptation efforts while there is currently only 30 billion USD reserved for it. In order to raise that number and attract more investment, climate risk visibility and evaluation should be integrated into every decision-making, from national planning to financial decisions. In addition, green bond has proven to be a viable and attractive option to raise finance.

   

 

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler moderated a panel session on the need for increased commitment to agricultural adaptation focusing on building the resilience of small-holder farmers. The panel hosted sector doyens such as: 

●Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development ● Yannick Glemarec , Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund ● Dr. Sinead Walsh , Deputy Director General & Climate Envoy, Development Cooperation and Africa Division Department of Foreign Affairs, Government of Ireland ● Michael Sheldrick, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Global Citizen

IFAD announced its ASAP+ Program which is the world’s largest fund dedicated to small-scale food producers, aimed at raising 500 million USD to benefit more than 10 million people. Read the summary of the event right here. 

There is an opportunity right now to utilize the available liquidity for COVID19 recovery to invest in adaptation. The need to start investing in large-scale agriculture resilience in lieu of small pilot projects is crucial.

   

The BKMC is also excited about its upcoming cooperation with GCA to foster the role of young women in climate adaptation under GCA’s Young Leadership Programme. The Anchoring Event on Youth Leadership on January 25th marked the launch of the program and served to handover the Global Youth Call to Action on Adaptation prepared by young people from 120 countries to Co-chair Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders. The call aims to help bridge the adaptation action gap, especially amongst youth. The BKMC is keen on strengthening the role of young women in this field. 

Conclusion of First Research Cycle with Students of University of Economics, Vienna

On January 26th, the BKMC successfully concluded the first research cycle in partnership with the institute for Public Management and Governance at the University of Economics, Vienna (WU). During the winter semester 2020/2021 the BKMC cooperated with a group of six Bachelor students of the Public and Non-Profit Management program to conduct research on the BKMC’s SDG Micro-Projects.

SDG Micro-Projects lie at the heart of the BKMC’s objective to equip young and dedicated individuals with the skills they need to be agents of change for the achievement of the SDGs. So far nearly 100 small-scale activities were implemented under the guidance of the BKMC, contributing to one or more SDGs in 23 different countries. The SDG Micro-Projects are concluded with an SDG Micro-Project report, summarizing the activities, achievements, and impact of the projects and their implementers.

The WU students were tasked to conduct research on impact reporting and develop an optimized prototype of an SDG Micro-Project report form and impact measurement scheme, to be used by the BKMC for all future SDG Micro-Projects.

After four moths of empirical research based on interviews and literature research, the students presented their results to the BKMC and submitted a final report as well as sophisticated prototypes. Their findings will guide the BKMC in our efforts to optimize the process of evaluating and presenting the SDG Micro-Projects as concrete examples of acting as global citizens.

The students, in turn, gained a thorough understanding of the SDGs and were inspired to act for the SDGs themselves. The research project did not only advance them in their studies, but also allowed them to peek behind the scenes of a non-profit organization in an international environment.

We congratulate the students on their insightful research and look forward to a renewed cooperation with the next group of young researchers in the summer semester of 2021. Together with the students we will investigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the digitalization of youth activism and youth organizations and related lessons learned.

Global Citizen Scholar Samuel Afadu & Global Citizen Fellow Horia Sardarzada at VEF

The VEF Virtual Series “Empowering Women and Youth to Accelerate the Clean Energy Transition”, on January 12-13, invited women and young leaders to discuss how we can ensure a clean energy transition that is just and leaves no one behind.

For this year’s first virtual VEF session, we were excited to see our Global Citizen Scholar (2019) Samuel Kofi Afadu & Global Citizen Fellow (2019) Horia Sardarzada participate in the January Edition, focused on gender, youth and equity.

After introductory remarks, the session diverged into four Breakout Sessions on different themes. The session “Enabling Environment for Youth,” featured Global Citizen Scholar Samuel Kofi Afadu Co-founder of Light my World International, an NGO that is working to promote access to clean energy solutions to off-grid communities in Ghana. The session also featured Israel FaleyeMYSOLARBID LTD, Jichen Liu Clear Plate®, Pontsho Moletsane – GCIP South Africa 2017 Youth Winner, Esther Wanza – SDG7 Youth Constituency, Tracey CroweSeforAll, Anurag MalooSeedstars Asia-Pacific , and David OutRural Electrification Agency (REA).

Global Citizen Scholar Samuel commented how including youth is a prerequisite to a successful clean energy transition. He also highlighted that there is a need for youth to take action and that their actions should be taken seriously by decision-makers. “It is time for the youth to take action. The youth of today and the world will benefit or suffer from our actions and in-actions. Let’s take action in solving problems and connecting them with our passions, creating a sustainable and equitable world for all.”  

 

Global Citizen Fellow Horia Sardarzada, who is currently serving as Director-General of Early Childhood Care and Education ECCE/Kindergartens at Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Afghanistan, participated in the Breakout Session “Enabling Environment for Women,” alongside Sheila OparaochaENERGIA/Hivos, Abir El SaadiMinistry of Trade and Industry Egypt, Kerry MaxGlobal Affairs Canada, Kavita SinhaGreen Climate Fund, Marta Luca- SNAM, Jasmin Haider – Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation & Technology, and Reuben James Barrete – Male Champions of Change.

Horia pointed to gender norms, social and cultural practices, the lack of financial funds, and limited access to networks and partnerships as the main challenges women entrepreneurs face in equally leading, contributing to and benefiting from the clean energy transition.    

“Through the platform Women’s Initiatives for Sustainable Energy (WISE) we started to provide input, access to information for female fresh graduates who want to invest in green energy or do partnerships. We provided them with access to information, training, advocacy, where they could meet with financial organizations.”

Horia Sardarzada is founder of the organization Women’s Initiatives for Sustainable Energy (WISE), which is aiming to economically empower women in Afghanistan to invest in clean energy sector. 

Credits: https://twitter.com/ForumVienna/status/1350056114260504576

 

To watch a recap of the session, visit VEF Virtual Series

For more information about the VEF, visit VIENNA ENERGY FORUM

Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen Scholars 2020 – Closing Ceremony

On December 15, 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen Scholarship Program 2020’s Closing Ceremony took place. The BKMC, together with RELX & University of Bordeaux awarded, six extraordinary African Global Citizen Scholars – Akosua PepraOduor Kevin, Hikmat Baba Dua, Tafadzwa Sachikonye, Barbara Nakijoba, and Ruvimbo Samangafor successfully completing the scholarship program and implementing outstanding SDG Micro-Projects in their communities 

The Ceremony was opened by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, who greeted participants in a video statement and welcomed the scholars to the alumni family of the BKMC, expressing support and gratitude for the scholars’ contributions to the Agenda 2030: More than ever the world needs young leaders like yourselves. It makes me proud that you have chosen to be ambassadors of global citizenship and that we can consider you as a valued member of the BKMC family. 

Márcia Balisciano, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility at RELX Group and a valued member of the BKMC Board, also addressed the audience.  Márcia Balisciano expressed RELX’s enthusiasm for funding the Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen Scholarship Program 2020 while sharing exciting news, We are thrilled to have participated in this program and we would like to announce that we would like to fund this program again next year.”  

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler also congratulated the scholars and emphasized the impact they have created with their projects: This is exactly what a global citizen mindset is about: global citizen values and 21st-century skills. We are honored that we had the chance to have worked with you.  

The University of Bordeaux, represented by Vice President for External Relations Stéphanie Debette, shared her words of congratulations and also positive feedback from professors at the university who mentored the scholars during their SDG Micro-project implementation.

The highlight of the ceremony was the presentations by our GC scholars where they shared the impact they have created in their communities. 

To improve the livelihoods of widows and orphans involved in farming, GC Scholar Akosua Pepra developed the SDG Micro-Project “Climate Resilient Agriculture for Widows and Orphans in Rural Communities in Ghana” (SDGs 1, 2, 5 and 13).  


Barbara Nakijoba, deeply passionate about youth empowerment, conceptualized the “Youth take the lead”  in the Rugaba Division in Uganda to create a more peaceful society by reducing crime by 2021 (SDG 16). 


Action4Periods by Hikmat Baba Dua, created a safe space for 60 women and girls in rural communities in Mbanaailiy (Ghana) by engaging elders, women and girls to discuss the stigma of menstrual hygiene and produced 60-70 reusable pads, improving access to menstrual products (SDG 3, 4, 5 and 13).  


 

GC scholar Oduor Kevin founded INFO4FOOD, as he realized that food waste was dumped on the roads by vendors contributing to environmental degradation. With his project he prevented post-harvest losses, reaching 87 households in Kenya.


 

Ruvimbo Samanga’s project Agrispace, helps farmers in Zimbabwe gather missing agricultural data by using satellite technology to monitor agricultural productivity, leading to more sustainable and climate-resilient practices. The program can map different agricultural zones providing soil data, weather soil analysis, and monitoring crop health and irrigation, allowing farmers to have better time and yield tools for crops. Agrispace contributes to many SDGs, particularly SDG 2 for “zero hunger” and target 2.1.2 for “food insecurity”.


Tafadzwa Sachikonye raised public and private awareness for improved urban wastewater system in Zimbabwe with her project Waterclix for sustainable urban water systems in Zimbabwe (SDG 6 and also 3, 5, 13).  

   

In the last part of the evening, Program Officer Julia Zimmerman awarded the scholars with their certificate of achievement, and Co-chair Heinz Fischer offered closing remarks, commending all GC scholars 2020 on their efforts, You showed resilience, passion and transformed challenges into opportunities. 

We want to congratulate all of our GC scholars 2020! We are immensely proud of the results of your hard work and look forward to seeing what you do next! Additionally, we want to thank our partners RELX Group and the University of Bordeaux again for their wonderful support and collaboration for the program this year! 

BKMC RAUN scholars present paper on “Global Citizenship Education in the European Union: Dimensions and Differences”

On 10 and 11 December, RAUN held its online closing event for this year’s program “Partnership and Cooperation for the Future: 75 Years of UN Action”. This event is particularly important as it highlights the results of each research group and gives them the opportunity to present their outcomes to their mentors and peers. At the end of the 2-day conference, the RAUN scholars received their well-deserved certificates, even if only virtually this time.

 

The Ban Ki-moon Centre participated in Session II called “Citizen and Community Education” on the first day of the conference. CEO Monika Froehler gave an input speech about the challenges and opportunities of quality education. She stressed that discrimination, nationalism, human rights abuses, and corruption can be fought through global citizenship education (GCED) and communal sports, referring to the topics of the session’s research groups.

 

 

The BKMC RAUN scholars presented the methodology and results of their paper on “Global Citizenship Education in the European Union: Dimensions and Differences”. With the creation of 114 qualitative indicators, Andreas, Helena, and Jülide tackled the blind spots of GCED and investigated its concrete application. They concluded that in GCED, the focus lies on the learning process, moral development within, dialogue, and empathy.

Jessica Besch, Executive Assistant to Co-Chairman Heinz Fischer, commented on the group’s work and her experience as a mentor.

The second group presentation on “Promoting Peace and Security through Sports: Lessons Learned from Selected Youth Programs (OSCE)” was followed by a panel discussion, opening the floor to the audience to ask questions about the respective research topics.

Innovative Initatives to Prevent Gender-Based Violence

As a part of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and the Orange the World Campaign, the Ban Ki-moon Centre hosted an interactive session during the  Education for Justice Global Dialogue Series organized by the United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime.

The event series, part of the Education for Justice initiative held between 1 – 4 December, was launched with a virtual high-level opening, where Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered his opening remarks, underlining the importance of youth education and rule of law for a more just world Empowering children & youth to understand & exercise their rights is what will bring us an equitable & sustainable future based on the universality of human rights” – Ban Ki-moon 

 

The interactive session hosted by the BKMC titled “Education, Empowerment and Effective Policies: Preventing Gender-Based Violence”  welcomed three experts and presentations of their innovative initiatives to prevent gender-based violence.

Setting the tone of the discussion, CEO Monika Froehler highlighted the urgency of the topic: Education, empowerment, and effective policies are key tools to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence. We must act now to create a long-term solution.” 

As the first intervention Humberto Carolo – Executive Director of White Ribbon Canada, shared his expertise on education for and inclusion of all, in particular men and boys, to address all forms of gender-based violence:  “Accountable, intersectional, human rights-based, feminist-informed primary prevention with men and boys is an important complementary approach to ending all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination. Men and boys have important roles to play as gender equality allies and change agents at the individual and systemic levels.  

Sabeeka Ahmad, BKMC Global Citizen Fellow, and Social Entrepreneur shared her expertise on women’s empowerment and the mission of her business. The Bahrain based social enterprise Warsha develops customized programs for survivors of violence and works with women in the long run especially on financial stability:  “We support survivors of GBV by listening to them. Only then we can design our intervention towards empowerment and recovery!” 

With regards to effective policies for #GBV, Kristina Lunz, Co-founder & Co-director of the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy underlined how current ideas and concepts in the security and foreign policy sector are based on an idea of dominating other states and individuals. She claimed: “Domination always requires violence. Gender-based violence is an epidemic in our society – we will only be able to overcome male violence against women once we have created a society based on equality. An end to violence is always grounded in mutual respect. “

 

 

Following the presentations, the audience was invited to join three virtual booths with each expert (Education, Empowerment, and Effective Policies) to engage in a brainstorming session and discuss innovative initiatives to prevent gender-based violence.  

The education booth led by Humberto emphasized the need for a multi-stakeholder approach against backlashes to women’s rights. Sabeeka engaged her participants in the discussion via an online survey, discussing the complementing elements to financial empowerment such as education, trained health services, women’s clubs, etc. 

Kristina encouraged attendees with a provoking question to think about how to drive change: “What makes you furious and angry about current policies for GBV? “ . Effective policies are only so effective when more women are part of the decision-making process, all people are educated on the issue, and multi-stakeholders recognize and raise awareness on GBV. 

Tackling the Shadow Pandemic: Violence Against Women During COVID-19 Times

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, data estimated that 1 in 3 women will experience violence in their lifetime. As countries went into lockdownreports on domestic violence have spiked 

Kicking off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and as part of the global Orange the World Campaign, the BKMC hosted virtual High-Level Roundtable titled “Tackling the Shadow Pandemic – Violence against Women During COVID-19 Times on 26 November 2020. The multi-stakeholder event aimed to highlight the dramatic impact of COVID-19 on violence against women and girls (VAWG).   

Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer, Co-chairs of the BKMC, opened the BKMC’s Orange the World event showing their support in emphasizing that VAWG violates our common values as humanity.

VAWG does not only affect victims, it impacts the entire society through multiple generations. We must engage in an open dialogue and bring all stakeholders to the table. Every field, every sector must be involved. – Ban Ki-moon

Heinz Fischer highlighted the life-threatening aspect of VAWG and underlined that women’s rights are also human rights: Only solidarity, empathy, and the will for action can turn this shadow pandemic around and give women and girls the rights and dignity they deserve.

In a special message, Phumzile Mlambo-NgcukaUnited Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director called for “all hands on deck” to address the silence around VAWG and the discrimination against survivors:We must engage as allies in this situation, and that includes men and boys.

The highlight of the OTW event was the high-level roundtable discussing how to tackle the Shadow Pandemic with the outstanding panelists Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New ZealandAngela Cretu, CEO of AvonMohammad Naciri, Regional Director of UN Women Asia and Pacific & Trisha Shetty, women’s rights activist and founder of SheSays 

Helen Clark highlighted the need to have more women in leadership to formulate gender-responsive responses against VAWG, arguing that “More attention is paid to issues that address women when women are there to do something about it”. 

Along with raising awareness for domestic violence, Angela Cretu stressed that the private sector provides the necessary economic measures to empower women: “Only 10% of women report abusers to officials in fear of losing their children or livelihood. Businesses, together with governments need to create opportunities for women to gain financial freedom.”

With a unique perspective from the Asia & Pacific Region, Mohammad Naciri underscored that victims are not only trapped at home with their abusers, but digitalization has enabled the rise of online harassment and online misogyny: “We need to expand the legislation that criminalizes harassment as stalking. This does not exist in some countries.”  

Considering the dramatic increase of domestic violence cases, Trisha Shetty especially advocated taking action by investing in support services for survivors and advocating for leadership that celebrates women’s dignity and proactively acts against VAWG.  

Trisha emphasized,“…we are leaving far too many behind. It is costing us progress to our society and economy.” Ending violence concerns everyone!

Watch the whole event:

Special Message from Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka:

To learn more about orange the world click here.

Turning challenges into opportunities – Global Citizen Scholars engage in inspiring talk with Arrey Obenson, CEO of Transformunity

 

Last week, our current Global Citizen Scholars and Alumni from the program had the chance to attend an expert workshop with Arrey Obenson, CEO of Transformunity. Transformunity is a consulting company that tackles the opportunities of organizations, drawing on expertise in movement building and citizens engagement to accelerate positive change and sustainable development for a better future.

Based on his experiences from the past 20 years, Arrey shared his personal theory of change, kicking off the workshop with an inspiring speech on how we can choose between two roles when we approach challenges: spectator or actor. He emphasized that only one role will lead to finding solutions and living a prosperous life.

“I choose to be an actor rather than a spectator. I see life as a stage where we have a choice to be in the audience cheering others on or can use the opportunity to play a role”.

During the workshop, Arrey prepared a thought-provoking exercise for our scholars and alumni and asked them to write down what challenges they saw standing in the way of their success. Afterwards he asked them to determine opportunities within those challenges.

We all know how incredibly challenging this year has been, as our realities were significantly altered by the global pandemic Covid-19. But as Arrey and our global citizen scholars discussed, the crisis has also brought with it many opportunities, including new ways of learning through increased access to online education globally as well as opportunities for international cooperation and gatherings without burdening our resources, both in the financial sense as well as the environmental sense. These are just a few of the opportunities that were shared.

Instead of focusing on challenges alone, Arrey advocated looking at the possible opportunities and solutions. Arrey exemplified Africa as a case where challenges often overshadow the opportunities in the global dialogue. However, he sees so many opportunities! To Arrey, it is a “land of a billion opportunities”, vastly rich in 1.2 billion human resources.

Moreover, he illustrated how his theory has proven successful in his own work. After the outbreak of Covid-19 in Cameroon, Transformunity organized a massive education campaign on health and wellness: “Covid-19 was the challenge, but the opportunity was to build resilience in Cameroonian communities against infectious diseases”.

To conclude his presentation, Arrey encouraged everyone to turn every challenge into an opportunity.

Following the workshop, the scholars had the chance for peer-to-peer exchange with the alumni of the scholarship program who joined the call. After a round of introductions, the scholars were sorted into breakout rooms to connect and network.

At the end of the breakout room rotations, Program Officer Julia, thanked the scholars for their participation and shared ways for them to stay in contact!

We are very excited to celebrate the closing of this year’s scholarship program on December 15th! Stay tuned for information for how you can join the virtual event and watch our scholars present their SDG Micro-Projects!

Inspiration in focus at the Closing Ceremony of the 2020 Mentorship Program

This week, on November 17, 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Centre, in partnership with the Muslim Youth of Austria (MJÖ), successfully hosted its second closing ceremony of the mentorship program. The event was an online celebration for the partnerships built between the mentoring pairs and their successful completion of 20 SDG micro-projects over the past year. It was moderated by a former mentee from 2019, Nesrin El-Isa.

In their opening remarks, BKMC Co-chair and 11th Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Heinz Fischer, and CEO Monika Froehler congratulated the 20 mentees on their exceptional achievements.

CEO Monika Froehler spoke about what the results of the SDG micro-projects represent, stating that: “SDG micro-projects are like puzzle pieces of hope. They are expressions of the fact that we all believe that the world can be made a little better.”

Other high-profile speakers included Sonja Hammerschmidt – Member of the Austrian Parliament Social Democrats, and Sybille Hamann – Member of the Austrian Parliament Green Party, and Nermina Mumic – Co-chair of the Muslim Youth and CEO of Legitary. All speakers underlined the necessity of building a support network for young women and girls, particularly from the Muslim community in Austria, in order to create an equal, tolerant, and inclusive society.

Co-chair of the MJÖ Nermina Mumic, is also a former mentee of the program. In an anecdote, she shared that her mentor gave her the courage to build her own start-up which is now thriving. She also was recently honored by being named a Forbes “30 under 30.” She appealed to all mentees to dare to believe in themselves: “The mentoring project is just the nudge you need to have courage.”

 

Three mentees and mentors were selected to present their excellent SDG micro-projects:

1. Video for Little Helps: a video to encourage engagement with NGOs and volunteer work

2. Dreams – Youth – Covid-19: A study and webinar on the effects of the pandemic on the dreams of young people

3. “The Conference of Animals”: A theatre piece done with school children

The closing ceremony ended with words of appreciation from the mentors and mentees for the wonderful cooperation, emphasizing how the solidarity among the women led to inspiring outcomes.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre is very proud of this year’s mentoring pairs and looks forward to staying in touch and following the SDGs micro-projects that remain active! Together we can create a better and more sustainable future for all, leaving no one behind.

Click here to watch the closing ceremony of the mentorship program (German language).

Accelerating Action for SDGs in Austria

Following Austria’s presentation of its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the United Nations in July 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Centre, in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Chancellery and Think Austria, organized a virtual high-level event, “Accelerating Action for SDGs in Austria,” on November 12, 2020, moderated by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler.

 © Bundeskanzleramt
© Bundeskanzleramt

The virtual high-level event was opened by H.E. Austrian Federal Minister for EU and Constitution, Karoline Edtstadler, who emphasized Austria’s commitment to the Agenda 2030: “We have to proceed with the consistent implementation of the SDGs until 2030 and set measures now to see visible effects in 10 years. The Agenda 2030 remains a main ambition in Austria.”

Ban Ki-moon, 8th UN Secretary-General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, welcomed participants and lauded the participatory, multi-stakeholder process that led up to Austria’s first VNR report: “Austria’s first Voluntary National Review to the High-Level Political Forum of the United Nations was very well received by the international community and I want to commend all stakeholders for the work accomplished thus far.”

 © Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens
© Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens

Dr. Antonella Mei-Pochtler, Special Advisor to the Chancellor and Head of Think Austria, delivered a keynote where she emphasized the goal: “To position Austria as one of the most liveable and innovative countries in the heart of Europe. To do this, we cannot rest on our laurels, but must increase our ambition, strengthen our commitment, and decisively drive the process forward!”

The Covid-19 pandemic, together with the three VNR focus areas (digitalization, climate action and women, youth, and leaving no one behind) were cross-cutting themes throughout the event.  Mag.a Alexandra Wegscheider-Pichler, Senior-Advisor of Statistics Austria presented recent SDG data and reflected that: “COVID19 has had various effects on the SDGs in Austria, mainly negative on health, economy, education, inequality, and the environment. One positive impact is that it has enhanced people’s views on sustainably sourced food and products.”

To read the recently published report from Statistics Austria, click here!

©Lana Lauren
 

One of the highlights of the event was the virtual high-level panel “What is next? Accelerating Action for the SDGs in Austria” which welcomed speakers Dr. Christian KrollBertelsmann Stiftung, Dr. Antonella Mei-PochtlerFederal Chancellery of Austria and Think Austria, Dr. Astrid Rössler – parliamentarian from the Green Party, Mag.a Carmen Jeitler-Cincelli – parliamentarian from the Austrian People’s Party, and Klaus HeidingerSiemens Advanta.

The panel discussion started with each speaker sharing their statement of central concern and especially addressed the question of how we can positively use the Covid-19 pandemic to accelerate action for SDGs and leave no one behind.

 

Astrid Rössler, recommended that the SDGs should form the meta-level of every political discourse, in particular in the parliament: “There are many possibilities to include the SDGs in Parliament. Starting from addressing them in committees, to interactions with the government, integrating them in all departments, and the visible embedment of civil society and academia.”

In addition, Dr. Christian Kroll named multilateralism as key for Austria and other states to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs: “Many states in Europe have the same weaknesses, and because of this, it is extremely important that states learn from each other for how to overcome these weaknesses with multilateral approaches.”

In the last hour of the event, four best practice champions for the SDGs in Austria were showcased. The four examples came from private, education, and civil society sectors.

               

Heinz Fischer, 11th Federal President of the Republic of Austria and Co-Chair of the BKMC closed the event on a positive note: “I am convinced that it is possible to achieve our ambitious goals. Where we protect our environment and its biodiversity where every citizen can live FREE and EQUAL IN DIGNITY.”

Stay tuned for more updates on our cooperation with the Austrian Federal Chancellery for promoting the SDGs in Austria!