Ban Ki-moon speech at the IACA colloquium

Dear President Heinz Fischer, Co-Chair of the BKMC Centre,
Executive Secretary, Mr. Martin Kreutner,
Excellencies,
Dear Students,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
And Dear Global Citizens,

It is my great honor, and pleasure to visit IACA again and address during this Colloquium, hosted by the IACA, this morning. Thank you for your participation.

On behalf of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens co-chaired with the President Heinz Fischer and myself, I wish to inform you that last August our Centre signed a Mamorandum of Understanding of cooperation with the IACA on the occasion of the European Alpbach Forum.

I am very much happy to be back eight years after participating in the inauguration of this very important organization here in Vienna while I was serving as the Secretary General.

How to make this world free from corruption lies on the top of the agenda. People say that the most beautiful palace will collapse, if you build it on sand. It is important to make this world free from all forms of corruption.

But unfortunately, corrupt practices are still a part of reality.

I’d like to highly commend the Dean Martin Kreutner and his hard-working staff as well as its 76 member states. The organization has seen a huge growth in terms of size. The IACA has also worked in close cooperation with the United Nations, the European Union and other regional organizations and I would like to highly commend this.

In 2017 Transparency International asked 160.000 people globally to identify which institutions were the most corrupt. The police and election officials were listed as number two of the top corrupt institutions according to the questioned people.

Around the world nearly 1 in 4 said that they paid a bribe when accessing public services in the last year.  Looking at the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index of 2017 and the recent 2018 Global Peace Index we discover that the five countries perceived to be most corrupt also rank among the seven least peaceful countries. The good news is more than half the people around the world – and particularly young people – agreed that citizens could make a difference.

Now, 58% of young people up to 24 years feel empowered to make a difference. 50% of those aged above 55, elder people, also agreed that they can influence things to the better.

From development perspective, the resources lost through corruptions are simply drained without being used for productive purposes.

The Davos World Economic Forum estimated that the cost of corruption is $ 2.6 trillion annually, while at the same time $ 16 billion could wipe out world hunger, $ 8.5 billion could eradicate malaria, $ 1 trillion could bridge the global infrastructure worldwide and $ 26 billion could provide basic education for all children. Therefore, $2.6 trillion lost through corruption could make our societies much better. Having all children into the school.

Effective anti-corruption efforts provide a huge potential in this regard.

Not many people like all these statistics. When I was starting my job as Secretary-General, I had some media training. All these anchormen and anchor women advised me, “SG don’t use all these numbers nobody remembers number. You may be aware of these numbers but the people will forget. They only remember you face and one or two keywords. Don’t use abbreviations like IACA. What does IACA mean? Nobody remembers IACA. Don’t use abbreviations. Don’t use statistics. But I’m not the Secretary-General anymore. I’m just telling you some secrets without receiving any money. I paid a lot of money for this media training. So that is one thing. Particularly ambassadors should remember this training to make your interview impressive without using all these statistics.

Corruption has disastrous impacts on development when funds should be devoted to schools, health issues, but are actually going to wrong directions. Corruption even exacerbates political insecurity and conflicts.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption provides a comprehensive platform for governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and individual citizens to combat corruption.

Through prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and asset recovery, this Convention advances global progress toward ending corruption.

Anti-corruption efforts are indeed a vital part of achieving the SDGs.

To combat corruption and its vicious cycle, the international community must join hands with the public and private sector and there must be civil society watchers.

There is a saying that goes, “you cannot catch a thief with ten policemen on earth. ten police officers can easily be fooled.” We have the civil society as a guard and watcher to end corruption.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In a recent report by the Bertelsmann Stiftung on Sustainable Governance Indicators in OECD and EU regions, the findings show much room for improvement.

The quality of democracy for the cases evaluated in the report, included a sub-category of “Rule of Law” for corruption prevention.

The findings of the report are troubling and show that not even the major industrial countries of the world are immune to the erosion of democracy and corruption.

There is still corruption in Canada, the United States or in European Union.

Of the 41 OECD and EU countries profiled, 26 showed signs of deterioration in the quality of democracy compared to a report done 4 years ago.

Combating corruption is key to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

In the process of finalizing the Sustainable Development goals, some OECD countries were pushing to include a goal that represented justice, accountability, strong institutions like IACA. Many developing countries opposed this, stressing that development issues should not include justice issues that would interfere with their domestic politics in the name of Sustainable Development Goals.

There was a lot of final negotiation. Developing countries were threatening to reject the Goals, while the European Union threatened to not support developing countries anymore. That was a big final confrontation. In the end there was an agreement that peace, justice and strong institutions should be added to the Goals as the SDG 16.

The SDGs should be implemented as a whole. You cannot choose only one. We have to do more.

SDG 16 is IACA’s main purpose. It is committed to avoid bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption, but also to proactively develop policies to make our institutions stronger and accountable.

Large cases of corruption happen among big companies and smaller and medium-sized companies that work together with bigger companies.

Other International Organizations such as IACA continue to play an important role in fighting corruption.

Another important area is education: how do we teach our young generation, from the beginning? In that regard I believe it is important to stress the notion of global citizenship. This concept is often perceived as very vague. It is not like mathematics or science. But anti-corruption and global citizenship go together, hand in hand.

The International Organizations, like IACA or NGOs as well as other entities in the private and public sector – we have to work together.

My Predecessor, Secretary General Kofi Annan, initiated the Global Compact. About 12.000 big and medium-sized companies are members to this Global Compact and have pledged to follow ten principles. Among them principles about human rights, democracy, a good relationship between management and neighbors, transparency and accountability. Transparency and accountability are very important items of these ten commandments, as we call them. The business communities have it under their control to make business practices free from corruption.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We launched the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna because here we have a United Nations headquarters, we have the IACA, we have all these big international organizations. It is a quasi-international organization. In fact, my name Ban, is a surname that can mean “half” and now I am co-leading a half-international organization.

Promoting the notion of global citizenship is a critical tool in educating the youth of today and instilling in them a sense of collective responsibility for humanity and the planet.

Promoting the notion of global citizenship is a critical tool in educating the youth of today and instilling in them a sense of collective responsibility for the planet.

It is, at its core, the encouragement of empathy rather than blame, open-mindedness rather than the putting up walls, and partnership rather than isolation, global thinking rather than nationalistic notions.

I encourage all of you here today to take-on the mindset of a global citizen in your work and in the fight against corruption.

There is no room and indeed no time for corruption to persist and to derail our efforts toward providing a sustainable future for us all.

With a global perspective, collective responsibility, and compassionate leadership, I think we should work together to make this world a better place.

Thank you.

 

Ban Ki-moon stresses the importance of adapting to climate change at the World Energy Outlook 2018

The World Energy Outlook 2018 was launched by Verbund and International Energy Agency (IEA) at the Technical University of Vienna on November 14th.

This year’s edition of the WEO found that the world population without electricity access fell below 1 billion for the first time ever in 2017, led by India; but despite recent progress, efforts in sub-Saharan Africa need to redouble to achieve the goal of universal access.

The event on Wednesday drew more than 300 participants, including ambassadors from several countries, as well as former Vice-Chancellor of Austria Mr. Reinhold Mitterlehner and high level representatives from UNIDO and OPEC.

Under Co-chair Ban’s leadership as Secretary General of the United Nations, the UN adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) including SDG 7 related specifically to energy in the year 2015. Ban acknowledged the IEA’s role in tracking progress toward SDG 7 and congratulated IEA for the continued efforts in providing analysis and data on the SDG 7 through the World Energy Outlook.

Ban also stressed the importance of adapting to the climate change as Head of Global Commission on Adaptation and Chairman of the Board of Global Center on Adaptation:

“Climate change is a global challenge requiring a global coordination.”

“Adapting to climate will require a complete transformation.”

“Adaptation is not only the right thing to do but a smart thing to do.”

Minister Elisabeth Koestinger of the Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism welcomed this year’s World Energy Outlook as a source of information and data for political leaders while Ban spoke of his childhood experiences with access to energy growing up in South Korea, and highlighted the importance of international cooperation to improve energy access while tackling climate change.

During a dialogue session with Minister Koestinger and Executive Director Fatih Birol of IEA, Ban stressed 3 key points, urging that everyone has to use energy more wisely and sustainably in order to achieve the sustainable development of the future:

1. Enhance effectiveness of energy use
2. Make energy accessible for all
3. Develop renewable energy

Source: https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2018/november/executive-director-in-vienna-for-presentation-of-world-energy-outlook.html
Photo: IEA

“Sustainable Development: The Pathway to the Future” – Ban Ki-moon’s Keynote at the 4th International Growth in Transition Conference

4th Annual Growth in Transition Conference: Europe’s Transformation: Where People Matter

Keynote Speech followed by Moderated Discussion/Q & A – BAN KI-MOON

“Sustainable Development: The Pathway to the Future”

Location: Austrian Center Vienna, Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1, 1220 Vienna

Madam Minister Elisabeth Köstinger,
Mr. Wolfgang Burtscher, Deputy Director-General of DG Research and Innovation of the European Commission,
Ms. Stientje Van Veldhoven, Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands,
Excellencies,
Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to join you today for the 4th Annual Growth in Transition Conference.

I thank Minister Köstinger for her invitation to attend this conference and for the opportunity to share my insights on the sustainable development goals as the pathway for our common future. I also appreciate the leadership of Chancellor Kurz as the Chairperson of the European Union at this time.

It is indeed a timely topic and one which we all should take to heart with a strong ownership in our work, no matter the field or level you are engaging.

Today, we live in a time of great growth and transition globally.

This time is also characterized by heightened uncertainties, rise of populism worldwide, a widening gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” exponential population growth, climate hazards, vast migratory movements and new risks, some more impending than others.

Challenges to the post-modern international order and our multilateral institutions are being felt in a variety of spheres.

International treaties and agreements are being tested and multilateralism is strained as countries become more protectionist and nationalist.

However, this period in history is also defined by impressive and innovative advancements as well as by a growing sense of interconnectivity between societies around the globe.

It is now easier than ever before to be connected, access information, travel and trade and, with the help of internet, we are privileged to have endless information at our fingertips.

New technologies are altering how we communicate, live, and work. Sweeping advances in the fields of artificial intelligence, blockchain, bio- and nanotechnology, and robotics will alter the future of our countries, cities, businesses, and interpersonal relationships.

At a time characterized by waning internationalism and transition, we must continue to work together through expanded partnerships and cooperation as global citizens. We must continue to commit to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and hold up the notion of global citizenship to help cope with these seemingly insurmountable challenges.

The United Nations, during the last seven decades, has presented many important visions and promises to the world. But to my knowledge, the Sustainable Development Goals are by far the most ambitious, most discussed, and most far-reaching vision that the United Nations has ever presented to the world. This is ours, it’s not the United Nations’, now it is in your hands. In everybody’s hands.

Having said this, I will now address three key areas. First, I will discuss the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the need to see them achieved for all of us.

Second, I will address the most serious challenge we currently face globally: the climate change phenomenon.

Last, I will speak about the need for expanded youth participation and the role of global citizenship in forging ahead and in building a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous world for us all. This is the pathway to our common future.

Distinguished participants,

To meet the challenges the world faces, sustainable development must become the hallmark of this era. It must be the virtue that characterizes our actions.

The picture of a sustainable world is envisioned in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2030, showing the path to sustainable development and peaceful co-prosperity of our planet.

Before the SDGs, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) made strides in the field of global development and undoubtedly improved human welfare around the world.

However, there is still much work left to be done.

First, sustainability means ensuring prosperity and environmental protection without compromising future generations and our planet.

We cannot consume all what we need today. We need to leave some and to make sure that the succeeding generations will use the planet’s resources equally and fairly.

Secondly, the sustainability means a world free from poverty where individuals can enjoy decent work without harming the earth’s essential ecosystems and resources.

A sustainable world is one where people can stay healthy and are guaranteed the food and water they need.
It means a world where everyone can access clean energy.
And it also means that women and girls are afforded equal rights and equal opportunities.

To achieve sustainable development, it requires the active participation of us all, especially of women and youth, those whose futures most depend on the realization of our Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed, without the engagement of women and youth, we will not succeed.

Again, during my time as Secretary-General, for the first time in UN history, I established UN Women and again for the first time, I appointed a Special Envoy for Youth. Never in previous United Nation’s history have we focused on these. Now, I am very glad that these two issues, women and youth, are being supported by world leaders.

People often say that half the world is made up of women. There is a book written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn where they describe that “half the sky are women.” If we do not give them more, they should at least be given equal and fairly. This has been my consistent message to the world.

Therefore, we require their active engagement should we hope to realize our goals and to achieve sustainable development.

This year, as was introduced, I co-founded a new initiative in partnership with the former Federal President of Austria Heinz Fischer, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. Why global citizens? This is quite vague in terms of an academic definition. What I observed in the past 10 years, is that largely world leaders, particularly political leaders, come to the United Nations and speak grandeurs and ambitious goals, saying that they are global citizens, but as soon as they return to their countries, they immediately become national leaders. I have seen few global leaders, particularly at this time and  it’s the 21st century.   So, I thought together with Heinz Fischer, that we must foster global citizenship among the people, particularly political leaders and business leaders.

Through leadership, mediation, advocacy, and education, the Centre aims to empower those whose voices often go unheard, offering them the opportunities and potential to drive sustainable development for themselves and for future generations.

Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is essential that we acknowledge climate change and that we find sustainable solutions to mitigate and to adapt to its repercussions.

Climate change is altering the character of our planet.

We must increase our collective efforts to prepare and protect ourselves, our communities, and our world from existential threats that climate change will bring. We are running out of time.

I often say that nature does not wait for us. Nature does not negotiate with human-beings. It is us as human-beings that must negotiate with nature. We must harmonize the way we live with nature. Minister Köstinger already quoted what I often say, there is no “planet B;” therefore, we don’t have a “plan B” we only have “plan A.” To live harmoniously with nature has been my consistent message.

Even here in Vienna, I was told that you have experienced the hottest summer since weather was recorded. We have seen extreme patterns in weather. Wild fires, still it is happening in California. Still at this moment. Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons with strong intensity.

These weather patterns are clear warnings from nature that we must adapt to the changing climate phenomenon.
On the global stage, the world has seen mounting and devastating natural disasters. It’s not usual. Again, this is a clear message.
These and other natural disasters are not going to cease their destructive and deadly course.

Last month, under the leadership of Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, we launched a Global Commission on Adaptation. Why adaptation? We have done some for mitigation because we had to do it. When there’s destruction, you have to rebuild. But we have not been doing much to adapt to climate change. There is much more investment worldwide, for example in 2015 and 2016, in mitigating climate. The records say we spent around 380 billion dollars on mitigating climate change these years and only 20 billion were spent on adaptation. There must be equal efforts – mitigation and adaptation must go together.

The importance of adaptation has become clearer now, and that’s why, with the chairmanship that I’m taking with the co-chairmanship of Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva who used to be Vice-President of EU and now CEO of World Bank, we are leading this commission with strong political support from at least 17 heads of state and governments. From the European Union, the Prime Minister of the UK Theresa May and Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel and of course Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, are on board. Now leaders of China, Xi Jinping, and of India, Narendra Modi, are also supporting us. There are also many African leaders like in Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa, and in Latin America, Mexico, Argentina and Costa Rica, who are also on board.

Also, as you may know, I am acting as President and Chairman of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). This is an international organization with 30 Member States.

So, with all this together, I am continuing what I used to do as Secretary-General. The Paris Climate Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and gender empowerment, are the three most passionate positions that the United Nations presented to the world during my time as Secretary-General. I do not say that it was my own achievement. There are many achievements where Members States have been working together with a sense of unity. This is the time that we must implement, with a strong sense of passion and compassionate leadership among us.

In that regard, I really appreciate that we are working together today.

On September 25th, 2015 I was deeply moved. I never felt that kind of excitement. I was deeply touched by the long standing-ovation and applause we received by world leaders. I didn’t see any world leader, at that moment, with differing ideas. Mostly, this world is divided.

In Vienna you must have seen many beautiful concerts and operas. At the end of the concert, many people stand up and have an extended ovation. But never in my life, have I seen such a long and standing-ovation by world leaders. They were one, united. This is what we want to see among world leaders. Unfortunately, they are too often divided, starting from the biggest country in the world.

With the transformative advancement of science and technology, now everything is moving at lightening speed. We are now talking about artificial intelligence, bio and nanotechnologies and robotics. With the advent of this transformative advancement of science and technology, why are political leaders divided? Why are they not able to implement sustainable development and why are they divided regarding this common threat to our humanity and our planet?

In that regard, I see strong passion among you this morning. So lets work together and lets be united in implementing what has already been given to us: the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

These are the answers to our common prosperity and the future for all of us.

Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let us work together to make this world better for all.

I thank you very much.
Dankeschön.

“Do not erect walls; build bridges!” Ban Ki-moon urges at the 4th International Growth in Transition Conference

“Sustainable development must become the hallmark of this era,”

claimed BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon at the “4th International Growth in Transition Conference” hosted by Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2018 at the Austria Center Vienna on November 14th, 2018. This year, the conference focused on topic of ‘Europe’s Transformation: Where People Matter.’

The conference was facilitated by Mr. Peter Woodward, Co-Founder and Director of Quest Associates, and featured Minister Elisabeth Koestinger of the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism of Austria and Deputy Director-General Wolfgang Burtscher of the Research and Innovation Department at the European Commission.

The participants actively participated in discussing sustainability and were given time to introduce their work to each other.

During the moderated discussion session, Co-chair Ban said that “there is no country in the world that can solve the global issues alone no matter how powerful a country may be” and stressed that global citizenship should be fostered among people.

Ban also emphasized the importance of advancing the SDGs during his keynote speech. The implementation of the SDGs, he said, should be done in the effort of finding #challenges that the world faces. Doing so, Co-chair Ban stressed that empowering youth and women should be the priority. During his tenure as the UN Secretary-General, Ban has established UN Women and UN Youth Envoy.

During the press conference with Minister Koestinger, Ban shared his deep concerns that multilateralism is now under attack. He urged world leaders to be more united to better cooperate and address global challenges together.

“So many people are with passion, and not enough with compassion,”

Ban stressed the importance of tackling global problems with compassion and moral attitude.

“Do not erect walls; build bridges!”

 

Watch the live-streamed video of the conference here:

4th International Growth in Transition Conference: ‘Europe’s Transformation: Where People Matter’- Opening- Key Conference Challenges- Keynote – Sustainable Development: The Pathway To The Future- Political Panel: "Politics, People And Transition" – Introduction to the "Call To Action" Challenge

Gepostet von Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2018 am Mittwoch, 14. November 2018

 

Watch the live-streamed press conference here:

Jetzt live: Pressekonferenz anlässlich der 4. Internationalen Wachstum im Wandel-Konferenz mit Nachhaltigkeitsministerin Elisabeth Köstinger und Ban Ki-Moon (ehemaliger Generalsekretär der Vereinten Nationen und Vorsitzender des Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens)

Gepostet von Für ein nachhaltiges Österreich am Mittwoch, 14. November 2018

“Are International Treaties in Jeopardy?”

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA) co-organized a forum titled “Are International Treaties in Jeopardy?” in Vienna, Austria on November 13th, 2018.

Prior to the forum, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler had a meeting with Minister Karin Kneissl, Ambassador Andreas Riecken, Cabinet Karl Ehrlich of the Minister, and Deputy Spokesperson Peter Guschelbauer at the Ministry.

The forum facilitated discussions on international treaties and rapidly changing status quo of the global society to seek for global solutions for global challenges impacting international relations. Both Co-chairs of the Centre delivered a keynote.

Co-chair Fischer, former Austrian President, said that

“The commitment solves challenges and problems like migration through cooperation.”

He continued,

“there is still a long way to go, and we have learned that we must work this way together, respecting each other, compromising our own national benefit in order to sustainably pursue this project of humankind.”

Co-chair Ban, former United Nations Secretary-General, highly criticized that Austria has recently withdrawn from the global compact on migration.

“Ever since the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties was signed almost fifty years ago,” Ban said, “commitments are eroding, treaties are disrespected, and agreements are ignored.”

He emphasized that political leaders should approach global issues with moral perspective rather than following their political will.

“World leaders, they led global visions, global citizenship; they always speak loud and clearly that “I work for humanity.” But, when they go back to national governments, they all become national leaders. That is why I really want to foster global citizenship. We need to work together. Nothing can be done alone.”

In order to solve the global issues, Ban said that it is important for the states to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that must be owned by the member states who should prioritize supporting “women, young people, and the least advantaged.”

During the panel discussion, Co-chair Fischer also pointed out that the international rule of law should be the final goal for a state to reach and that one has to rely on international treaties and agreements.

Minister Kneissl, Deputy Spokesperson Guschelbauer, and Head Thomas Hajnoczi of Disarmament Department of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also featured on the panel as well as Ms. Mona Ali Khalil, former Senior Legal Officer with the UN Office of the Legal Counsel, and Professor Gerhard Hafner for International Law at the University of Vienna.

Watch Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s keynote: https://youtu.be/dNlaAP0nP2s
Watch Co-chair Heinz Fischer’s keynote: https://youtu.be/JqaFieHNevM

Photo: Ashraf Mahmoud / BMEIA

Kuwait gives another fund to the Ban Ki-moon Centre

The Kuwaiti government donated another fund to the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens through its Embassy in Vienna. H.E. Ambassador Sadiq Marafi and First Secretary Abdullah Alobaidi of the Embassy of the State of Kuwait and Permanent Mission to the United Nations visited the Centre on November 13th, 2018.

The Centre’s Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler welcomed the delegation, and during the bilateral meeting, the Centre was given an official certificate of the voluntary contribution of 350,000 USD from the Kuwaiti government to the Centre.

Kuwait has been one of the biggest supporters of the Centre and has offered to tentatively host an affiliated office of the Ban Ki-moon Centre in Kuwait. Ambassador Marafi has also been an active ex officio member of the Board of the Centre and has fully supported the Centre’s various activities and engagements. In the first half of next year, the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s third Board Meeting will be hosted by the Kuwaiti government in Kuwait in February.

Ban Ki-moon’s Keynote at the World Disasters Report 2018 Launch

Keynote Address at the
2018 World Disasters Report Launch
Monday, 12 November 2018
Vienna International Centre (VIC)
15:00 – 15:15, Conference Room C3, 7th floor, UN VIE C-building

Dear Vice-President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and President of the Swiss Red Cross, Annemarie Huber-Hotz,
Dear Under Secretary General Jemilah Mahmood of the IFRC,
Dear Chief Luc St-Pierre of Space Applications at the UNOOSA,
Dear Secretary-General Verner Kerschbaum of Red Cross Austria,

Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to take part in the launch of the World Disasters Report 2018 today at the Vienna International Centre.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has been a frontier drawing attention to the world’s complex challenges, looking into the areas where emergency interventions need to be addressed and advanced.

With its research and analysis, the IFRC has provided the world with guidelines to meet the needs and to improve the wellbeing of humankind exposed to disasters and health emergencies.

I would like to underline my appreciation to the IFRC for its dedication to saving lives, protecting livelihoods, strengthening recovery from disasters and crises, enabling healthy and safe living, and promoting social inclusion and a culture of non-violence and peace.

Now that the year of the final review of the Strategy 2020 is approaching, it is more timely than ever for IFRC and all of us, to closely examine the actions implemented and find out where gaps persist between the “expected” and the “actual” outcomes.

In order to reduce these gaps, the 2018 World Disasters Report aims to provide guidance for the international humanitarian sector, on how to better respond to the needs of the most world´s vulnerable people and how to mobilize the power of humanity.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that only 97 million were selected to receive humanitarian aid out of about 134 million people in need this year. A lack of global investment in disaster relief leaves tens of millions of people exposed to preventable disaster risks. Out of 25 billion dollars required, less than 12 billion dollars have been received, and this should alert all of us in the international community and particularly donors to do more and reach further.

The 2018 World Disasters Report exemplifies five areas of concern which the international humanitarian system misses when dealing with people in need:

First poor information about who is most in need and second limited understanding about how to help them best as programmes are not always targeting the right people in the right way. Third inadequate access to people who need support, and fourth a lack of flexibility in expanding humanitarian assistance to people outside the traditional areas of conflict, disaster, displacement or disease. And fifth: inadequate funding.

Solving the problems of our rapidly changing world needs everyone, every country, and the international community’s attention and their cooperation. Global issues need global solutions, and global solutions must not leave anyone behind. This requires strengthened partnerships in global policy-making that builds resilience and reduces vulnerability of people.

During my ten-year tenure as United Nations Secretary-General, I sought to build international partnerships and encouraging national, regional and international actors to ensure a more

peaceful, livable, prosperous and sustainable world. I try to continue that work with various roles that I have taken on, continuing to build bridges and raise awareness also with the humble Centre for Global Citizens, which I founded here in Austria together with my good friend Dr. Heinz Fischer.

 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Following up on the Paris Agreement within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in October this year a Global Commission on Adaptation was launched in the Netherlands. Together with Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kristalina Gerogieva, CEO of World Bank, I lead the Commission to catalyze a global movement to bring scale and speed to climate adaptation solutions. As you surely know the Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Elhadj As Sy, was also appointed as a member of the Global Commission on Adaptation.

The Commission works to address opportunities to become more resilient and less vulnerable to climate impacts and natural hazards. It urges governments and businesses to incorporate climate change risks into their social and economic development plans and investments and makes sure that the world’s most vulnerable people receive the benefit.

Climate change is merely one of many causes of natural disasters, and there are countless number of other challenges that the world needs to pay attention to. More than half of the emergencies the IFRC responds to are a direct result of weather-related events. And the majority of the other operations are compounded by and made more complex by changing climate.

Each and every one of us must all play our part with our own expertise to tackle these increasing global challenges. We simply must continue to work to leave no one behind and move forward, together.

 

Thanks to the American Red Cross, I was given an opportunity to join students from 42 countries

to travel across the United States visiting Red Cross chapters, and that is when I opened my eyes to the world and met 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 is engraved in my memory and I continue to try to do my share as a global citizen to help the ones in need. All our helping hands are needed.

With the launch of the 2018 World Disasters Report today, I urge the international community, states, and individuals to come together to further reach marginalized areas and to give hand to people in vulnerable situations. No one should be left behind, and the 2018 World Disasters Report will draw the lines of a picture that the world can paint together to make this world livable for all.

Thank you for your attention. /End/

New York Times Posts Ban Ki-moon’s Opinion on the Refugee Crisis

In 1951 a young boy and his family fled their burning village during a brutal war that brought immeasurable death and destruction to their country. He witnessed pronounced human suffering that would continue to haunt him in the days and years to come.

This child uprooted by conflict was me — the same boy who would grow up to be elected as the eighth secretary general of the United Nations in 2006.

As secretary general, I met so many children around the world, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, who reminded me of my own wrenching experience of displacement. Seeing myself in each of them, I have remained determined to elevate the plight of refugees to the top of the global agenda today.

As of the end of 2017, a record 68.5 million people around the world had been forced from their homes, including 25.4 million refugees, according to the United Nations refugee agency. Only 102,800, less than 1 percent of the total number of displaced, were admitted for resettlement in 2017. Furthermore, data from the Missing Migrants Project shows that nearly 2,000 refugees and migrants died during the first six months of 2018 as they made perilous journeys across borders and high seas.

Despite the scale of the refugee challenge, we need to think of it first and foremost as a crisis of solidarity. Whether the world can come together to effectively support these vulnerable groups will be a true test of our collective conscience.

An increase in political will is urgently needed from our world leaders, as is a readiness to partner with others. This political will must be guided by an enhanced sense of our common humanity, rather than a belief in barriers and barbed wire.

Faced with images of unthinkable suffering from the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, or with evidence of gross human rights violations in Myanmar and elsewhere, too many leaders have lacked the necessary courage to respond with generosity and support. Some leaders have gone so far as to actively encourage prejudice against refugees and migrants simply to win votes.

Countries in the developing world — Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda, Lebanon, Iran, Bangladesh and Sudan — are host to among the largest numbers of refugees, while the prosperous nations of the global north have failed (with the exception of Germany) to share the burden fairly. This needs to change.

Wealthier countries must admit and resettle significantly more than the less than 1 percent of the world’s refugee population resettled in 2017. Such equitable sharing of responsibility is critical to ameliorating this crisis of global solidarity.

In September 2016, I convened the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York to confront the refugee challenge head-on. At this historic gathering, world leaders committed to developing a Global Compact on Refugees and a Global Compact for Migration, an international negotiation process overseen by the United Nations until its conclusion this past summer. Together, these agreements — which will likely be adopted by the United Nations later this year — will help ensure the dignity and protection of refugees, migrants and host communities alike.

In particular, the Global Compact on Refugees will allow for better burden-sharing among host countries, while elevating the voices of refugees and civil society groups.

Despite the hard work undertaken by the international community in support of refugees, we must recognize that the global political environment has changed dramatically in recent years. In a number of countries, the global compacts were negotiated in the shadow of populist backlashes that have tapped into and stoked nativist fears about immigrants and their descendants. Some politicians feel that they must be tough toward immigrants, that they must protect their country’s borders and national identities. In the United States, the resulting policies have taken on increasingly cruel forms, with children detained and separated from their asylum-seeking parents in violation of the best interests of the child.

The United States’ decision to withdraw from the migration pact, announced in December 2017, is a deeply regrettable step that undermines international solidarity. It also hampers efforts by nation-states, international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations and others to increase partnership efforts.

Such partnerships are crucial in easing the suffering of refugees. For example, the United Nations refugee agency and the Ikea-supported company Better Shelter have come together to provide thousands of innovative temporary housing structures for refugees and displaced families in Iraq, Greece and elsewhere. The Japanese government generously supported Better Shelter’s housing efforts in Iraq.

In Lebanon, Johnson & Johnson has partnered with the nongovernmental organization Save the Children to provide refugees displaced by the crisis in Syria with access to early childhood development services.

I fondly remember when, in 2016 — my last year as secretary general — I witnessed the entry of the Refugee Olympic Team at the opening ceremony of the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. For the first time, refugees were allowed to compete in the Olympics as a stand-alone team. The refugee athletes said to the world: We are young people, just like scores of others, and although we are refugees, we can compete at the highest level.

The huge crowd gathered at Maracanã Stadium felt the same way: Tens of thousands of people gave the refugee team an extended standing ovation. It was a beautiful moment, full of pride, solidarity and hope.

This is the same spirit in which we must address the global refugee crisis. Only by standing together — with each other and with refugees — can we succeed.

Original publication with photos: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/16/opinion/politics/ban-ki-moon-refugee-crisis.html

Photo: Ali Dia/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ban Ki-moon speech at the EFA 2018 Opening Session

Your Excellency President Van der Bellen,
Your Excellency President Pahor
Your Excelleny President Vučić,
Your Excellency President Thaci,
Your Excellency President Fischler,
Your Excellency Commissioner Hahn,
Your Excellency Minister Kneissl,
Your Excellency Minister Köstinger,
Dear Heinz,
Distinguished Guests,
Dear Global Citizens,
Gruess Gott! Good Afternoon!

I am pleased to join you today on the occasion of the opening of the Political Symposium of the European Forum Alpbach 2018.
This year marks the third time I have had the pleasure to be part of the vibrant and truly global atmosphere which everyone can experience year after year in Alpbach. In fact, this should be my 4th time, had I not cancelled my participation in 2013 because of the Syrian Crisis. Now, I am here to pay my overdue

Today, the values of mutual understanding and tolerance – so deeply embedded in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – celebrating its 70th Anniversary this Year – are facing profound tests around the world.
Diversity in the form of an open and inclusive society continues to be challenged by walls, closed doors, prejudice and fear. People are targeted because of their origins, culture, faiths and traditions.
Today, too many decision makers and politicians use cynical math and biased messaging to steer fear.

In times of fear and growing hate and discrimination towards people of different beliefs, nationalities, and sexual orientations, promoting tolerance through diversity and resilience should be of fundamental importance for decision-makers worldwide.
Therefore, resilient and thus more inclusive and diverse societies that can draw on the ideas, creative energy and talents of each of their members, are profoundly encouraged by tolerance, acting as a lever for sustainable development.

Already as Secretary-General of the United Nations I underlined that the Sustainable Development Goals are our only chance to put our planet on the right path. We do not have a Plan B or a Planet B – we only have one world and one plan. The SDGs are the people’s agenda, a plan of action for putting social conflicts to a rest, for reaching equality in all its dimensions, irreversibly, globally.
The SDGs and the Paris Climate agreement need to be our guiding principles to leave no one behind. We owe this to the billions of children, women and men who, through their courage, vitality, dreams and engagement help make our global society a more prosperous, resilient and diverse one.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I have special ties to Austria. As many of you know I have opened a small humble Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna in January this year and I am leading it together with my dear friend, Heinz Fischer. Thanks to you, President Van der Bellen, Chancellor Kurz and the whole Austrian government and many others who supported us on this journey so far.

Since the beginning of this year, we have worked to build the Cente up. It is still a small start- up enterprise. We created it to help to continue to address some of the challenges the world faces today. The Centre is just a small contribution to the worldwide ongoing efforts and we are still in the process of raising adequate funding for putting our plans into practice. We cannot do this alone, so we need all your help.

Let us act as Global Citizens. Let us look beyond national borders and empower each other to thrive in a peaceful and prosperous world. For the first time in history we can end poverty, for the first time in history we are all interconnected and have the knowledge of humankind at our fingertips. We have more tools at hand than ever before. Particularly the young need to be given the right opportunities to build “their tomorrow.”

Let us therefore see the world and all its possibilities through the prism of “we the people” and let us – at the same time – reject the failed mindset of “us” versus “them.”
We are all in this together.

I believe in a world of justice and peace for all. A world where girls can grow up free of fear of abuse. A world where human rights are respected, and women are treated with the respect and dignity. A world where poverty is eradicated. A world where economic growth and sustainable development are not mutually contradictory. A world where young people have a voice and a chance for a prosperous tomorrow.

Ladies and gentlemen,
As the leaders of tomorrow, I urge you all to remain engaged, not only during this year’s European Forum Alpbach, but also beyond: You have the passion and energy and commitment to make a difference. Exchange experiences and lessons learned and encourage each other to go faster and further. Have a global vision. Go beyond your country; go beyond your national boundaries and act as a truly Global Citizen.
We can build this world – together – to leave no one behind.
Thank you.

Statement by Mr. Ban Ki-moon on passing of Mr. Kofi Annan, the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations

Having heard with a great shock and deepest sorrow, my wife and I join the world´s people and all the colleagues of the United Nations system in extending our deepest condolences to Mrs. Annan and his bereaved family on the untimely passing of Mr. Kofi Annan, my predecessor Secretary General of the United Nations I also convey the same to the government and the people of Ghana.

For the last 15 years, I have had closely worked with Secretary General Kofi Annan for peace, development and human rights for all the people around the world. After retirement from the United Nations, Mr. Annan has been most energetic in the sublime works of realizing the goals of the United Nations, and has been leading The Elders Group where I had been honoured to work with him since 2017.

During and after his life-long service with the United Nations, he has been astutely guiding the United Nations organization into the 21st century defining an ambitious agenda that had made the UN truly indispensable to peace, prosperity and human dignity around the world.

He will always be admired and remembered for his vision and courage in upholding the United Nations principles and ideals.

May his soul rest in peace and eternity,

Ban Ki-moon
8th Secretary General of the United Nations