“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



Ban Ki-moon Keynote Remarks at MIPIM 2019

Keynote Remarks at MIPIM 2019

12 March 2019 14:00, Cannes, France

Je vous remercie pour votre présentation chaleureuse,

MIPIM Directeur Mr. Ronan Vaspart,

Chers invités, Mesdames et Messieurs,

Je suis honoré d’être là cet après-midi au MIPIM 2019— le leader mondial du marché immobilier— comme nous travaillons ensemble pour un avenir engageant.

Et c’est mon grand privilège de délivrer ce discours inaugural à un point nommé pour votre industrie, la durabilité humaine et notre planète.

J’utilise cette opportunité pour montrer ma profonde gratitude aux partenaires, sponsors, investisseurs, les représentants publics, les gestionnaires de fonds du Reed MIDEM, MIPIM 2019 ainsi que les 26,000 participants représentants 100 pays qui se sont rassemblés ici cette semaine.

Depuis les 30 dernières années, ce dynamique rassemblement annuel a été le premier vrai évènement mondial de l’immobilier.

Cela a réuni les intervenants clés de tous les secteurs de l’industrie immobilière mondiale ainsi que des leaders experts mondiaux, des orateurs, des innovateurs et des pionniers.

Toutes les personnes réunies aujourd’hui ont des informations a partager. Le travail crucial que vous menez est toujours plus essential pour s’assurer la viabilité future de notre planète ainsi que de l’humanité.


Je suis vraiment honoré d’avoir l’opportunité de m’adresser à vous cet après-midi.

Je suis également ravie d’être ici à nouveau, dans cette magnifique ville de Canne. La Côte d’Azur est tellement pittoresque en cette période de l’année.

En fait, elle est à n’importe quelle période de l’année. Je remercie aux gens et la ville de Canne pour m’avoir reçu ici aujourd’hui.


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our world is going through pronounced changes resulting in elevated uncertainties and new risks.

Challenges to the existing international order and institutions are being felt across continents and industries.

Leaders are taking advantage of hateful rhetoric for the sake of electoral popularity.

Societies are overwhelmed by an unfounded sense of fear and resentment, often making the enemy out of the weak and the vulnerable. Nations are erecting walls to keep refugees and migrants at bay.

The same logic and sentiment to keep people away are easily applied to the goods and services produced by those same unwanted people. Threats of tariffs and protectionism are disrupting free trade.

People are increasingly looking inward as nationalism and xenophobia spreads. Human rights are no longer respected, threatening the rules-based order based on human decency and mutual respect.

Development and humanitarian resources are being depleted at an alarming rate, as governments are slashing their funding. This is only building up more pressure in places in dire need of help.

At the same time, new technologies are altering how we communicate, live, and work. Sweeping advances in the fields of AI, biotechnology, and robotics will have massive implications for the future of our countries, communities, supply chains, businesses, and interpersonal relationships.

Social media has brought the world increasingly closer, but has also sowed division and discord in our societies through disinformation and hateful rhetoric spread at record speeds.

Here in France, you have seen some of these issues converge in recent months, and the anger and sense of marginalization in response has been manifested through the large grass-roots gilets jaunes protests.

Frustration at structural inequality coupled with economic austerity policies is understandable. And while the French people are making their democratic voices heard, violence can never be the solution.

President Macron’s stated understanding of the “anger and indignation” of the protesters was a courageous start.

Now, like many other leaders around the world, he is actively engaging in an ongoing and difficult process of dialogue among the many stakeholders of French society by touring the country and listening to the concerns of citizens and local mayors through his grand débat. I am confident this will be a rewarding process and France will emerge stronger.


When you look around the world today, here in France and elsewhere, it is apparent that we have globalization that has led to some imbalances and a lot of inequality.

We must find a mutually acceptable solution that is underpinned with sustainability for those who feel they have been left behind without sinking into populist isolationism.

We should understand that in our increasingly interconnected world, global challenges require inherently global solutions.

This is why the UN has a blueprint — the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals — aiming exactly at creating a fair globalization, advancing better conditions, and not leaving anyone behind.

During my ten-year tenure as United Nations Secretary-General, I strived to execute my global leadership duties by leveraging the power of partnerships.

This is important as governments and international institutions can no longer bear these responsibilities alone in our rapidly changing world.

Today, I wish to share with you my thoughts on how to best approach the daunting task of ensuring that our future is sustainable, resilient, and dynamic.

I will propose that the key to achieving this challenge lies with industry leaders such as you. If the world is to succeed in advancing sustainability and prosperity, your help is essential. Having said this let me expand further on the following three critical areas.

First, I will highlight how our collective future will greatly depend on cities that are resilient and sustainable.

Second, I will discuss the most pressing threat standing in this path – climate change.

And third, I will underline how achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can help us chart a thriving blueprint for the future.


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sustainable, inclusive cities are the key to transform our world for the better. How we develop our cities will have major implications in achieving the future we want.

Over the next eleven years, progress in science, technology, and innovation in our cities will be essential in delivering on all of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals—from poverty eradication, food security, to energy, water, and sanitation—and beyond.

As such, I firmly believe that searching for a new city model is urgent because cities bring so many solutions to help overcome humanity’s sustainability crisis.

Current urbanization trends are further aggravating the sustainability crisis, which is proceeding rapidly, particularly in Asia, but also here in Europe and elsewhere.

More than one hundred million people are moving to cities each year, and four hundred million people are projected to add to urban populations. According to the UN, 68% of the world’s population is slated to live in urban areas by 2050.


To cope with these challenges, we must ensure that our future cities are resilient and sustainable, creative and innovative, and inclusive and equitable.

First, as climate change brings dire threats to cities around the world, we must fortify our great cities of today to flourish in the climate realities of tomorrow.

Indeed, we need forward-thinking planning, adaptation, science, engineering, and innovation to make certain that our future cities, and their housing, are resilient in the face of the effects of climate change. This not only includes sea level rise, flooding, extreme heat, and other direct threats, but also expanded levels of hunger, resource depletion, migration, and security concerns stemming from climate change.

Second, we need to come together in partnership to think big, plan ambitiously, and nurture creative urban innovation in the digital era. We need “new civilization” creative cities where data, information, and knowledge-sharing lead to the equitable dissemination of essential services, and where new technologies can bring inclusive benefits during the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Leaders from the real estate industry, investors, and fund managers like you, as well as other stakeholders from the private sector, have a prominent role to play in this regard.

Third, it is not enough for cities to be “smart” if they only cater to affluent professionals, or young people, or those who are able-bodied. Rather, future cities must be underpinned by inclusivity for all: young and old, men and women, rich and poor, citizens and migrants.

Policy-makers and other key stakeholders like you should use the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the New Urban Agenda to anchor our future cities and housing with guiding sustainability.

Building resilient, sustainable cities for the next civilization around the world, as urbanization is rapidly accelerating, is not a project for the future anymore. It is a project for today.

In this context, I appeal to you to combine your vision, strength, and creative innovation to do all you can to prioritize sustainability and climate adaptation in the housing and cities of tomorrow.

The blueprints that you design might just be one of our best hopes to save our vulnerable planet.


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Climate change is creating dire risks and instability. We must increase our collective efforts to protect ourselves, our communities, and our world from the existential threats that this will bring. The clock, however, is counting down fast.

From record-breaking heat waves and wildfires, to hurricanes and flooding of historic intensity, climate change is no longer a debate. It is clearly here right now.

Here in France, a warming planet and rising sea levels could render your scenic regions starkly different in the coming years. Entire seafront communities, including here on the French Riviera, are at serious risk due to rising sea levels. This could upend the real estate market, agriculture production, and contribute to a new, climate-driven financial crisis.

And elsewhere, the extreme weather events of just the last year alone point to a bleak and dangerous future. 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record globally, with the three previous years the only ones hotter.

The western United States was engulfed in flames and smoke from historic and deadly wildfires. Intense and prolonged heat waves claimed dozens of lives in Europe, Japan, and Korea. Near Greenland, the Arctic’s thickest sea ice broke up for first time on record.

These events no longer seem like anomalies; rather they appear to be the new normal.

So we must immediately take the necessary steps to combat climate change, or these turbulent shifts will continue to bring dangerous scorching heat waves to our cities and regions.

They will cause sea levels to rise higher and lead to deadly flooding. They will make wildfires even more frequent and intense. They will drive displacement and seriously threaten entire communities and countries.

With this reality in mind, we must urgently step-up our collective efforts to implement the Paris Agreement. The bottom line is that we don’t have a plan B, simply because we don’t have a planet B either.


The Paris Agreement, signed by 197 state-parties in 2015, offers us a clear game plan to confront these serious threats to our planet. It sets viable targets to impede rising temperatures, constrict greenhouse gas emissions, and spur climate-resilient development and green growth.

I truly believe that the Paris Agreement offers us our best hope to persevere over the serious threats to our ailing planet. But to achieve this goal, we need to keep working together.

We have no time to spare. Indeed, the alarming recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly details that we have just 12 years to act before climate change becomes catastrophic.

Climate change is a global challenge demanding global solutions. The UN IPCC issued its special report to urge the international community to set a new target of reducing the planet’s temperature to 1.5 Celsius degree rather than 2.0 Celsius degree, as agreed by the Paris Climate Accord in 2015.

Equity, inclusivity, and cooperation must underpin our collective response to meet the 1.5 degree target, with states acting in the same spirit that led to the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. Climate change respects no borders; our actions must transcend all frontiers.

But, despite this, there are still many reasons for optimism.

I am impressed by the “We Are Still In” actions of the many cities, states, and companies in the US who have joined together to ensure implementation of the Paris Agreement despite the unfortunate decision of the US government to withdraw.

These actions will help fill the vacuum and work towards US implementation of the Paris Agreement. And this is an inspiring example of the utility of catalyzing partnerships, anchored by the spirit of global citizenship, in helping us achieve our climate goals.

The real estate industry has a prominent role to play in these partnership efforts. Indeed, climate change will have negative impacts on housing worldwide, particularly in large cities in close proximity to the oceans. This is already affecting real estate prices and the potential for future climate-change driven foreclosure crises is real.

Take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in your properties and industry. Scale-up climate adaptation actions for your assets. Ensure that all commercial and residential properties have sustainability certification. Integrate climate-risk considerations into your investment decisions.

Climate change is here right now, and fighting it must be the overarching task of our time. We are all in this together, and to achieve sustainable development, we simply must continue our momentum forward, together.


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

During my two terms as UN Secretary-General, I am proud to have prioritized and expanded the importance of the Organization’s global development efforts.

The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals is one of the UN’s most significant achievements. It builds on the Millennium Development Goals and provides humanity, and our planet, with a collaborative blueprint to ensure the future we want.

Adopted by 193 countries in New York in 2015, the SDGs offer us a way forward to confront the most critical issues of our time, including poverty and hunger, climate change, gender equality, and sustainable cities.

Specifically, Goal 11 of the SDGs calls to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” It aims to provide access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, reduce adverse environmental impact in cities, and strengthen integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, and adaptation to climate change.

However, three and half years since the SDGs were adopted, progress remains uneven and some sectors and geographic areas are moving faster than others.

For example, according to the 2018 SDG Index and Dashboards Report, while most G20 countries have started SDGs implementation, visible gaps remain. Additionally, no country is currently on track towards achieving all of the SDGs.

With this in mind, global partnerships, including the active participation of leaders from the private sector like you, are necessary if we are to deliver on our development commitments.

Goal 17 of the SDGs clearly highlights the prominent role that the private sector, alongside civil society, academia, and others, should play to help achieve the SDGs.

It calls for “multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries.”

In this regard, I am proud to have expanded and mainstreamed the UN Global Compact which ensures that business is done both sustainably and responsibly.

I am encouraged that many organizations in the land, construction, and real estate sector, as well as those working with them, are UN Global Compact participants. I am pleased to see that the initiatives and driving vision of your industry fits seamlessly into this paradigm, particularly as it relates to the UN’s sustainable development and climate goals.

I applaud your driving sense of social responsibility in pursuing growth in step with the international community’s collective efforts to achieve sustainable development and reduce our carbon footprint.

More than ever before, we need elevated solidarity between all stakeholders, particularly the private sector, which is likely to play a more important role than was originally envisaged in the mobilization of funding and the advancement of innovative technologies to help achieve our sustainable development and climate goals.


Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to conclude my remarks by saying that, despite the geopolitical and environmental challenges that we face, if we continue to work together we will not only persevere; we will thrive.

We are living in an age where innovation is soaring in unprecedented ways alongside a striking global interconnectivity of people, businesses, and cultures. And the real estate industry is currently centrally positioned in this regard.

Despite the many diverse challenges we currently face, we must also remind ourselves that we are all global citizens. We all share the land, the oceans, the air, and the planet.

And I strongly believe that in this era of division and uncertainty, fighting climate change and achieving the UN’s SDGs are two efforts that must unite all nations and global citizens through cooperation and partnership. Quite plainly, our collective existence moving forward depends on it.

As long as we keep moving forward in a responsible and sustainable manner while continuing to build dynamic and innovative partnerships, there is simply no limit as to what we can achieve. Our global challenges require robust global solidarity.


Je demande respectueusement à tous ceux qui sont là de continuer leur rôle pour aider les Nations Unis à avancer dans le développement durable et atteindre son objectif en matière de climat.

Continuez à vous efforcer à concevoir, construire les villes souples et inclusives de demain de manière écologiquement viable. Allez plus loin dans le partage des savoirs essentiels et meilleurs pratiques.

Continuez les coopérations fortes tant à l’intérieur qu’à l’extérieur de votre industrie d’une manière que cela transcende les frontières pour le bénéfice de notre future et la planète.

Pensez au-delà de vous-même, votre entreprise et votre pays.

Pensez, vivez, travaillez et rêvez à globalement !

Si vous vous pouvez faire ça, et je suis persuadé que nous le pouvons, notre monde continuera à faire de grands progrès et prospérer pendant de longues années à venir.

Je vous remercie pour votre attention et je vous félicite sincèrement pour l’inauguration du MIPIM 2019.

Merci beaucoup! /END/


Photo: S. d’Halloy IMAGE&CO

Symposium on “Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development and Global Citizenship”

Hosted by the Ministry of Planning and the MOFA
12th of February, 09:30 – 13:45
Location: Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, Kuwait

Dear Ban Ki-moon,

Your Excellency Mariam Al-Aqeel, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs,

Your Excellency Khaled Mahdi, Secretary-General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development,

Your Excellency Ambassador Sadiq Marafi,


Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I want to say that it is a great pleasure and honour for the delegation of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens to be here in this wonderful country and to participate in the Symposium on “Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development and Global Citizenship”.

My first intensive contact to Kuwait was in 1981 when I accompanied Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky on his State visit to Kuwait.

I was able to visit Kuwait for a state visit exactly ten years ago, in February 2009, when I learned to appreciate the great hospitality from His Royal Highnesses Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

I took away great memories from this visit.

Today’s Symposium about Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development and Global Citizenship clearly underscores the vision of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.

Our work at the Centre seeks to empower women and youth to strive as global citizens in a peaceful and prosperous world.

This work cannot be done without a dedicated Board that serves as the backbone of our organization and of course our partners, such as the State of Kuwait, who support us and contribute to the resources that we need to be successful.

Leadership, mediation, advocacy, education, and also compassion are cornerstones and mechanisms that we have identified to be most valuable in the implementation of our goals.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Women represent 50% of the population globally. Nevertheless, the history of civilization is coined by the discrimination of women in various cultures and eras.

Women’s rights have been infringed and the burdens of life have been lying much heavier on women’s shoulders than on men’s.

In the 18th century, during the period of Enlightenment, Europe finally started to have serious discussions about women’s rights and equality.

The idea of universal fundamental and human rights based on human dignity and to be granted regardless of origin, race, sex or religion etc. was introduced to politics and incorporated in the goals of progressive movements and in the texts of modern constitutions.

Documents of the French Revolution and the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America did pioneer work in that regard.

The 20th century was characterized by movements towards the political equality of human beings.

In 1918 and 1919 Germany, Austria and other European countries introduced women’s active and passive right to vote.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Human Rights Declaration of the United Nations was passed in 1948 and the European Human Rights Convention followed five years later in 1953.

In the last 50 years the question of equal rights for women and men is less a legal question, but a question of practice and reality.

More and more legal regulations in politics, economy and society seek to decrease the gap between theoretical equality and practical discrimination of women.

A central initiative for that purpose are the Sustainable Development Goals, especially with Goal 5 for Gender Equality.

Global initiatives against the discrimination of women and for women’s empowerment bring people together to raise awareness.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

History shows that we have come a long way. We achieved a lot but there remains a lot that is to be done.

It is estimated that an alarming 1 in 3 women globally will suffer from violence during their lifetime. Violence against women continues to persist and to pose an extreme obstacle to their ability to live in dignity and to their general well-being.

In the political sphere, female heads of states or heads of government are somewhat present but continue to be a very rare minority.

We need more women in parliaments and as political leaders because politics concerns women as much as it concerns men.

To achieve full gender equality in our societies, politics must serve as an example: women belong in leadership positions because we cannot afford to forget the skills and competencies of the female half of our populations.

The economy also demonstrates various aspects in which women are disadvantaged.

In Europe, for instance, women’s salaries are up to one third less than men’s salaries. This must be adjusted and rectified. Fairness and equality mean that women’s work is valued just as much as men’s work.

Europe has made major progress in the field of education.

In the 50s, while I was studying, the percentage of female students was 20%. Then, in the 80s, when I served as the Austrian Minister for Science and Research, more than a third of all students were female.

Today, in Austria, women make up over 50% of all students and this also goes for many other European States.

Men have a clear advantage over women when it comes to university professor positions, showing the obstacles that women face to access leadership positions.

Women’s empowerment must also be regarded as a global issue and put into the bigger picture. It is a key to peace, to eliminating all forms of violence, and to enable families, communities, and nations to thrive

Today, it is particularly interesting to us that we shed light on the advancement of women’s empowerment in the State of Kuwait.

Preparing for this visit, I learned that when it comes to women’s empowerment in the region of the Gulf states and even the whole Middle East, Kuwait has an indeed pioneering role.

Women in Kuwait are amongst the most emancipated in the whole region.

Especially the last 50 years brought significant change for women in Kuwait. Women’s political rights are increasingly respected, giving us hope that we are on the right path.

The General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development of Kuwait is the entity in charge of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and thus, also of Goal Number 5.

Under the directorship of Khaled A. Mahdi, the Secretariat has been keen on implementing the Global Goals.

Today’s Symposium on Empowering Women and Supporting Youth in Development and Global Citizenship reflects this commendable ambition and gives us the chance to discuss the steps that have been done already to make this world a more peaceful and prosperous place for all.

Thanks to you and your Secretariat, experts from around the world are gathered here today to exchange ideas and concrete action plans to implement the SDGs and promote the concept of Global Citizenship.

My deep appreciation also goes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait H.E. Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled Al Ahmad Al Sabah who are generously hosting today’s third Board Meeting of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.

Our good friend, his Excellency Ambassador Sadiq Marafi has been a committed and generous Board member of the Ban Ki-moon Centre right from the very beginning and is a great partner for all initiatives to foster women’s empowerment. We are very grateful for your support.

We are looking forward to intensifying our work with Kuwait and in particular with the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and to identifying further opportunities for cooperation.

Let us unite our efforts to reach the great and important goal, namely equal rights and chances for men and women globally in our present world.

Thank you very much.


“The global challenge requires global solution,” stresses Ban Ki-moon at the Arctic Circle Korea Forum 2018

“Issues of the Arctic is not for any single or a group of countries to solve alone. The global challenge requires global solution. Not a single country, however powerful or resourceful one may be, can do it alone,”

said BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon at the Arctic Circle Korea Forum 2018.

The Arctic Circle Secretariat In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of Korea, Korea Maritime Institute (KMI), and Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) hosted the Arctic Circle Forum in Seoul, Korea on December 7-8th, 2018.

Under the theme of this year, “Asia meets the Arctic : Science, Connectivity and Partnership,” the Forum targeted:

  • Arctic Science to serve the Arctic and global needs
  • Arctic Innovation
  • Asian Perspective on the Arctic

Lear more about the Forum here: http://www.acforum2018.co.kr/
Watch Ban Ki-moon’s speeches: https://www.youtube.com/watch…

Ban Ki-moon speech at the IACA colloquium

Dear President Heinz Fischer, Co-Chair of the BKMC Centre,
Executive Secretary, Mr. Martin Kreutner,
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.