“Everyone can change the world!” says Ban Ki-moon in the interview with the Austrian Red Cross

Ban Ki-moon Interview
Magazine “My Red Cross” by the Austrian Red Cross

How is the world going to look like in 50 years?

In 50 years sustainability has hopefully become the global norm. The world now has the largest generation of young people in history. I place great hopes in their power and positive activism to shape our future. They are part of the first generation that can end poverty and the last that can avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Hopefully, even before 50 years have passed, quality education will be provided to all, gender equality will become the standard, health and well-being will be guaranteed for each human being and all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be achieved. It has to be an effort of everybody at all leaves to leave no one behind.

 

Are you afraid your children and grandchildren will have to live on a destroyed planet one day?

Climate change is the most pressing challenge we face as human beings today. It is not slowing down, and the clock is ticking. Natural disasters are becoming more and more frequent and devastating, from historic floods, fires, storms, tsunamis and earthquakes. To protect our planet for future generations, steps must be taken to both combat and to adapt to the changing climate and with accelerated action. It is our collective responsibility as global citizens to see that our planet remains inhabitable and safe for the generations to come.

 

There are more extreme weather events in the world and climate change seems to be speeding up. Do you think mankind has realized what is at stake?

Many of us are very aware of what is at stake, especially those who are making it their life’s work to mitigate and adapt to climate change. However, despite the many who are aware and active, some are choosing to turn a blind eye. This is troubling, particularly when it comes from national leaders. When the US and President Trump pulled-out of the Paris Climate agreement, this was deeply concerning. I have been speaking out that his vision is politically short-sighted, and economically irresponsible and scientifically wrong. So, he is standing on the wrong side of history. Despite this, I am encouraged and hopeful that the whole world will be united in moving ahead with this Paris Climate Change Agreement. It is the political and moral responsibility of our political leaders to support this.

 

You traveled to the US in 1962 with students from 42 different countries to visit the American Red Cross and meet president Kennedy. How did that influence you?

Thanks to the American Red Cross, I was given the opportunity to join students from 42 countries to travel across the United States visiting Red Cross chapters. This opened my eyes to the world. During the trip, I met then President John F. Kennedy, who said to us “there are no national boundaries; there is only a question of whether we can extend a helping hand.” This strong message has been engraved in my memory ever since and I continue to try my utmost to do my share as a global citizen to help those in need. All our helping hands are needed.

 

What are your feelings when you look back from our very different time with very different presidents?

The world has changed vastly since 1962. Since then, the world has faced rising global challenges. Leaders, in recent years, have turned towards nationalism and populism, putting up walls instead of extending helping hands. This is, plainly stated, not the way forward. Leaders must have and enlist a global vision in all that they do, seeing beyond their national borders. I have not met many that have a global vision. Nelson Mandela is one of the examples that comes to mind. Many around the world were greatly influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom.  He touched our lives in deeply personal ways.  At the same time, no one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations.

 

You come from South Korea – and 80 percent of the people affected by natural disasters live in Asia. Who should start to accomplish the turnaround in climate politics?

Natural disasters are having a major impact around the world and indeed Asia is majorly affected. China has a great responsibility in the region as well as in the world in leading the turnaround in climate politics. Recently, the country has shown great leadership in cleaning up the air and has contributed greatly to the Green Climate Fund. Additionally, China reached its 2020 carbon emission target three years ahead of schedule with the help of the country’s carbon trading system. China will be key to getting other countries to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

What can individuals do to change the world?

I firmly believe that individuals have the power to change the world for the better, be it at a local, regional, or global level. Women make up half the world and half the world’s population are under the age of 25; therefore, it is vital to empower these groups to act as global citizens, showing solidarity and compassion towards the challenges the world faces. At the beginning of 2018 we founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna, Austria together with my Co-chair Former Federal President of the Republic of Austria Heinz Fischer for this exact purpose. In the world today, there are plenty of people with passion, yet not enough with compassion. This is unfortunate, so we must educate the world’s youth to understand that their actions have ripple effects on other around the world. We must teach empathy alongside math and history, for without this and a global vision, we will not succeed in creating a sustainable future for us all, leaving no one behind.

 

What is necessary to achieve a turnaround – does the planet need a new economic system to find a path towards sustainability?

To achieve the turnaround, there are many steps the world needs to take. These may be at the systemic level, but also at the social and individual levels. Businesses need to understand the economic and additional benefits that come from operating more sustainably. The system may not need to change, but the structures within it and leadership can be transformative. The Global Compact has proven that companies who adapt to more sustainable practices will have a “win-win” situation as their success requires stable economies and healthy, skilled and educated workers, among other factors. And sustainable companies experience increased brand trust and investor support.

Additionally, engaging women more in the economic system will also cause a transformation of the global economy and vastly impact sustainability. When more women work, economies prosper and grow. An increase in female labour force participation and a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation, leads to faster economic growth.

These are just a few of the ways in which the turnaround, with regards to the economy, can be achieved.

 

You say global issues need global solutions, and that it takes responsibility and global citizenship. But isn’t growing nationalism around the world – and blaming globalisation for problems – preventing just that?

Nationalism is truly the antithesis of the notion of global citizenship and it is hampering our progress towards building a sustainable planet. Indeed, global solutions are necessary. However, when world leaders and nations retreat into their own bubbles, we are not able to have the difficult discussions needed to make progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and meeting the challenges we face today. Therefore, multilateralism must continue to be fostered wherever possible. We need to keep these avenues of discourse open.

Read the magazine (German) here: http://epaper.roteskreuz.at/MRK1Wien2019/

Photo: Peter Lechner

 

 

A ‘Small UN’ Ban Ki-moon Foundation to be opened in Seoul

On March 5th, the “Ban Ki-moon Foundation for a Better Future (tentative title)” was announced to be established in Korea at the meeting of promoters held in Seoul. Having BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon as the Chair of its Board, the Foundation will serve as a non-political, non-profit public organization that acts as a ‘small UN’ with below objectives:

  • To improve and promote Ban Ki-moon’s philosophy and vision as the 8th UN Secretary-General by realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and conducting academic researches and suggesting policies in order for everyone to ensured of human rights
  • To establish a perpetual peace in the Korean Peninsula as well as to promote peace in East Asia and the globe
  • To protect the future vision and the rights of women, youth, and children and to establish future-oriented values
  • To create and execute varied programs to eradicate poverty and disease in developing countries
  • To lead education on cultivating people of talents and global citizenship in cooperation with various international organizations, including the United Nations, and civil organizations, academic institutes, and  educational institutions both inside and outside Korea

Starting from May 2019, the Foundation will pursue projects with the above visions.

Ban mentioned that “I have tried to promote the agenda on climate change, sustainable development, and women’s empowerment while in the UN” and “now I would like to realize such visions both inside and outside the country in cooperation with the people from different sectors in Korea.”

The meeting of promoters had 46 participants, including:

  • Kim Hwangsik, former Prime Minister of Korea; Chairman of the Board of Directors at Ho-am Foundation (Head of the Meeting of Promoters for the BKM Foundation)
  • Gong Ro-myung, former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Chairman of East Asia Foundation
  • Lee Sang-hee, former Minister of National Defense
  • Kim Yong-hak, President of Yonsei University
  • Han Bi-ya, President of Global Citizen School of World Vision; Author of a best-selling book “Daughter of the Wind: Three and a Half Times around the Globe on Foot”
  • Kim Sook, former Korean Ambassador to the UN; former President of UN Women’s Executive Board
  • Rye Seung-min, Korean gold-medalist table tennis player; Athlete Member of the IOC
  • Son Yeon-jae, Korean retired rhythmic gymnast; 3-time Asian Championships All-around Champion
  • Yoo Dong-geun, Korean actor

BKMC strengthens its partnership with UNESCO APCEIU

On February 18th, 2019, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and its partner UNESCO APCEIU had an official MOU signing ceremony at the APCEIU office in Seoul, South Korea.

The two organizations electronically signed the MOU on October 19th, 2018 and have collaborated on promoting Global Citizenship Education (GCED), organizing experts’ meeting on education, and developing online courses on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and women’s empowerment. BKMC CEO Monika Froehler has also moderated a plenary session of the 3rd International Conference on GCED hosted by the APCEIU in Seoul in September 2018.

The MOU was signed by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler and APCEIU Director Chung Utak in order to work together on further promoting the notion of global citizenship and fostering many collaborative activities, including organizing meaningful workshops and conferences on GCED.

Upon the visit to the APCEIU office, the Centre also had an opportunity to introduce its work and mission to the professors of Kyung-Hee University, who were having a meeting to discuss implementing global citizenship courses as mandatory courses for all students at the university to take starting from this spring semester.

BKMC signs an MOU with the Supreme Council for Planning and Development of Kuwait

On February 11th in Kuwait, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer signed an MOU with Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development of the State of Kuwait. The two partners aim to empower women in GCC region by developing fellowship programs and more.

To further discuss the projects and potential areas of collaboration, BKMC CEO Monika Froehler and Associates Julia Zimmerman and Viola Christian had a meeting with Dr. Khaled Mahdi at the Secretariat.

Read Alrai Media’s news article on the MOU signing: http://www.alraimedia.com/Home/Details?id=ac9a5a67-b3de-426d-87fa-f3a05acfbd9d

BKMC Co-chairs meet with His Highness Amir of Kuwait

Upon the visit of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens to Kuwait, Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer met with His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait on February 11th. Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning, Minister Mariam al-Aqeel for economic affairs, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim, and Ambassador Sadiq Marafi, who is a Board member of the Centre, were present at the meeting.

As former Secretary General of the UN, Co-chair Ban expressed his appreciation for the Amir’s leading role in global humanitarian activities and mediation efforts in the Middle East region.

At an interview with the Kuwaiti press, Co-chair Fischer said “we are very proud that we had the honor to be received by His Highness the Amir and he promised and announced full support for the goals of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, the goals of humanity and the goals of supporting the sustainable development.”

He added, “I’m impressed that His Highness is very well informed in supporting the bilateral relations between Kuwait and Korea, and Kuwait and Austria.”

Photos: Kuwaiti government
Interview: https://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2777268&language=en

Ban emphasizes the importance of leadership in ahiceving the SDGs at the WGS 2019

On February 10th during the World Government Summit 2019 held in Dubai, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon spoke about the importance of the leadership of national and international leaders and the governments

“in the formulation of policies that can lead to achieve the UN SDGs.”

As President of Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Ban featured at the “High-Level Panel on the Implementation of the SDGs” which was moderated by Catherine Cheney, Senior Reporter for Devex, and consisted of

  • Henry Puna, Prime Minister, Cook Islands
  • María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the UN General Assembly
  • Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President, World Bank Group
  • Ban Ki-Moon, 8th UN Secretary General

Ban also spoke at the Climate Change Forum to discuss the impact of climate change on human health.

The participants included:

  • Gina McCarthy, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Adnan Amin, Director General, IRENA
  • Laurent Fabius, President of the Constitutional Council in France
  • Luis de Alba, UNSG Special Envoy for 2019 Climate Summit

Ban Ki-moon interviews with CNN and Al Jazeera at the WEF 2019

BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon was interviewed by CNN and Al Jazeera during the World Economic Forum 2019 held in Davos, Switzerland. During his interview with CNN, Ban said that he is concerned about “the global economy because of protectionism and other crises around the world.”

About the global trade war, Ban answered that he is encouraged

“President Trump and President Xi Jinping have agreed to resolve these issues through negotiation. Negotiation seems to be going on well.”

Ban also said that, at opening of the Boao Forum for Asia that Ban has chairmanship of, Xi Jinping promised to have the Chinese people actively engaged in trade and commerce and opening up their market as well as the intellectual property right.

“Never in the past, since the beginning of North Korean nuclear crisis, have we seen such kind of a very positive and exciting development of situation. Particularly during last year, three summit meetings have taken place between the leaders of both South and North Korea and historical first unprecedentedly meeting took place between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un,” said Ban.

Ban expressed his wishes that based on the lessons of the Singapore Summit on June 12th last year,

“two leaders will come out with much more concrete and detailed way to make sure that the complete denuclearization should be realized in a complete, very fiable, and universible manner.”

Watch the interview: https://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2019/01/24/newsstream-stout-intv-bankimoon-davos.cnn

 

Global Compact Network Thailand officially launches and encourages private sectors to adopt sustainable policies

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote at the official launch of Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT), setting off private-sector collaboration for country’s sustainable development, in Bangkok, Thailand on December 14th, 2018. Founded in 2017, GCNT is currently joined by 40 leading Thai corporates whose common purpose is to facilitate balanced and sustainable economic, social and environmental development in accordance with United Nations Global Compact — a collaborative network of private sectors that encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies with more than 13,000 members in 160 countries.

“By assembling leaders from the Thai private sector to form a Global Compact local network, the critical work that you are undertaking to alight your business with the ideals of the United Nations has my deep respect. Our world is going through pronounced changes resulting in elevated uncertainties and new risks. Keep working to make business a force for good. Together, we can respond to the urgency of our global challenges and construct a better tomorrow,” said Ban.

GCNT‘s primary mission in 2019 is to provide private organizations with necessary guidance to ensure that they recognize the role of business case for the achievement of sustainable development and enter the GCNT membership to create high-impact collaborations.

President Suphachai Chearavanont of GCNT says,

“Regarding the four major principles of sustainability, Thailand will start with human rights because it is the critical issue that contributes to the country’s credibility and international economic relations. At GCNT, we realize that human rights is a very sensitive subject and concerns various aspects, including child labors, foreign workers, female labors, welfare, and several other lesser-known issues. Therefore, it is important for us to identify human rights as an urgent priority that needs to be addressed within a short time frame. Apart from taking the role of center in sharing knowledge and opening up learning opportunity for members through activities as previously said, we also would like to invite business organizations across the country to join us in building a strong network capable of impacting a concrete change in the society, with aim to attain 100 members by end of 2019,”

Read more about the launch event and the network here: https://read.bi/2EBCK86

Ban Ki-moon urges leaders to invest in “Health for All” with the launch of the UHC Day

December 12th is endorsed by the United Nations as the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day to call for collective action to ensure that everyone across the world gets access to quality health services without having to suffer from any financial difficulties.

UHC is a fundamentally political goal rooted in the human right to health and is also considered an important investment that countries should make. The UHC Day on 12 December aims to mobilize diverse stakeholders to call for stronger, more equitable health systems to achieve universal health coverage, leaving no one behind. It has become the annual rallying point for the growing global movement for ‘Health for All.

On an ed-op on “Why public finance is Key to Delivering the human right to health,” BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon calls on political leaders to demonstrate their will to finance the public health systems.

“Our advice to US states, to India, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya and other countries approaching the cross roads like Nigeria and Pakistan is to take this path, as this is the only navigable route to health for all and just, stable and prosperous societies,” said Ban.

“Health is a human right,” Ban says “When people are not able to access the healthcare they need, especially if this is for reasons of cost, their human rights are denied. It is vital for the wider fight for rights, justice and sustainable development that policymakers’ actions are informed by this linkage.”

 

Read the ed-op: https://theelders.org/…/why-public-finance-key-delivering-h…
Learn more about the UHC Dayhttp://universalhealthcoverageday.org/
Photo: The Elders

The Peace Museum of the 8th United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon opens in Eumseong

“The Peace Museum of the 8th United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon” had its grand opening on December 6th, 2018. The museum has been established in Eum Seong, a small county in Korea where Ban was born.

The 2800-square-meter museum is equipped with a cultural center that exhibits donated souvenirs that Ban has received from all over the world, materials and videos related to the UN, and also a virtual-experience hall for the Model UN General Assembly. There are also lecture rooms, an outdoor performance stage, and meeting rooms.

Beginning from next year in January, the museum will provide varied experience programs through which youth can learn more about the UN and become inspired to be global citizens. The museum is also surrounded by the Ban Ki-moon Peace Land and the Ban Ki-moon Memorial Hall.

“I hope the peace museum will become a venue for education that helps our youth become global citizens,” said Ban.

At the opening ceremony of the museum, around 300 guests came to celebrate it, including the Ambassadors from the Austrian Embassy, Kuwaiti Embassy, and Tanzanian Embassy in Seoul.

Ban also delivered a special lecture on the topic of “the United Nations and 21st-Century Leadership” at Eum Seong High School, encouraging the students to understand how they can contribute to make the world a better place.

Photo: Eumseong County Office