Ban Ki-moon emphasizes on the importance of youth engagement at TUM Speakers Series

“The climate crisis and the nuclear threat are two of the urgent issues that demand a collaborative global approach,” said Co-chair Ban Ki-moon.

Celebrating 20 Years of TUM Speakers Series and the 75th anniversary of United Nations, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a speech at an official side event to Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 14th.

Ban emphasized the importance of empowering and engaging youth in the process of solving global issues:

“All the topics that are on the agenda at this year’s Munich Security Confer
ence require  
a similar approach. From terrorism to violent extremism, gender and economic inequality, and how to adapt to new disruptive technologies. The voice and perspective of youth is critical to these conversations.”
Under the theme of “Global Solutions for Global Challenges – The Need to Defend Multilateralism in 2020,” the event was attended by students and aspiring global leaders, whom Ban encouraged to take actions as global citizens. TUM Speakers Series is organized by students for their fellow students to provide a platform for public figures to share their expertise and knowledge and to actively involve students and youth in discussing current challenges and issues around the world.
 
Watch the live-streamed video:

© Andreas Heddergott /TUM

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s acceptance speech for Sunhak Peace Prize

Speech by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon

Sunhak Peace Prize 

Seoul, Korea

5 February 2020

 

Thank you for your warm introduction.

Dr. Hak Ja Han, Universal Peace Federation Founder,

Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation Members,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is my great privilege to stand before you this evening and humbly accept the 2020 Sunhak Peace Prize.

I’m incredibly grateful for this esteemed honor, and it is quite meaningful to follow in the footsteps of the previous luminary awardees you have bestowed this honor upon.

My special recognition goes to Dr. Hak Ja Han for her visionary patronage of this award, as well as for her longtime advocacy efforts in support of world peace, global citizenship, and sustainable development issues.

I also take this opportunity to commend the impressive work and forward-thinking vision of the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation.

The critical efforts by the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation are essential as we collectively strive to expand essential understanding, cooperation, and tolerance on the road to world peace and global sustainability.

In this connection, I simply couldn’t be more proud to receive this award intended to further the ideals of such a pioneering individual who so firmly believed in the importance of peace, human development, coexistence, and environmental protection.

My deepest gratitude goes to the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation Members for this very special honor.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our world is changing and this is bringing many new challenges and uncertainties to the geopolitical and economic order.

Multilateral cooperation is viewed with increasing skepticism just as the world needs it the most. Human rights are under threat as nationalism spreads. Development and humanitarian funds are being slashed.

And our climate crisis is deepening as wildfires burn, sea levels rise higher, and temperatures continue to surge.

Under this backdrop of instability and waning internationalism, I firmly believe that we must work together through expanded partnerships and cooperation, as well a driving commitment to global citizenship, to cope with these seemingly insurmountable challenges.

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

This was critical in bringing the entire world together to agree to the UN’s 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Paris Climate Agreement.

These were two of my biggest achievements leading the UN as they provide humanity, and our planet, with a collaborative blueprint to ensure the future we want.

And global partnerships, including the active participation of nonprofit organizations, civil society groups, religious organizations, philanthropists, and other key stakeholders like you, are necessary if we are to deliver on the United Nations’ development and climate commitments.

But to establish long-term solutions, achieve world peace, and save our rapidly warming planet, we need inclusive and participatory action from all global citizens.

This includes, especially, young people, as they are absolutely essential to solving so many of the world’s challenges such as achieving the SDGs, tackling climate change, and building peace and resolving conflicts.

As such, I’ve been trying my best to help elevate global citizenship as a driving vision for young, transformative leaders to help us forge a more peaceful and sustainable world.

In this regard, two years ago I launched the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, based in Vienna, Austria to help provide young people and women with a greater say in their own destiny, as well as a greater stake in their own dignity.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The actions we take in the next ten years will be critical to ensure the future viability of both humanity and our planet. So we must work hard to illuminate true peace.

What type of peace? I am reminded of the words of President John F. Kennedy who said, “I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and hope and build a better life for their children …not merely peace in our time, but peace for all time.”

In 2020, the year of the rat, and beyond, we all share a common destiny grounded in sustainability, peace, and prosperity. Let’s expand our unified efforts to realize this shared destiny for all global citizens in the years to come.

I thank you for your attention and this great honor.

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s speech during opening session of PMAC 2020

Speech by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon

Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) 2020

Bangkok, Thailand

January 31, 2020

 

Your Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Your Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired, Prince Mahidol Award Laureates, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to speak to you today at the opening ceremony of the Prince Mahidol Awards Conference, which has become one of the most important events on the global health calendar. This conference has had a profound impact in shaping the global health agenda – most notably through initiating and spearheading the campaign for Universal Health Coverage. Leading health activists and policy makers have been championing UHC at PMAC for almost a decade now and your collective efforts helped ensure that UHC was incorporated into the Sustainable Development Goals. I congratulate you all for this tremendous achievement.

This year, PMAC is taking place at a time of acute public concern about the global health risks posed by the corona virus in China, which has already spread to other countries and continents. As with SARS and avian flu, this epidemic highlights the critical importance of achieving UHC through resilient health systems that can protect all citizens, regardless of income or background.

The WHO has just declared corona virus to be a global health emergency. The way to overcome the corona virus is through countries working together in a spirit of solidarity and coordination. This is the same spirit that informs the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, of which UHC forms an integral element.

Ladies and gentlemen, today I am speaking to you as the Deputy Chair of The Elders. The Elders believe that the best way to achieve the health SDG is though UHC, where everybody receives the quality health services they need, without suffering financial hardship. By 2030, there should be no one dying needlessly from preventable diseases; no one should be left behind. That is the philosophical motto of the SDGs.

Three times over the last decade, all countries have committed themselves to achieving UHC at the United Nations –most recently at the High-Level Meeting on UHC in September 2019. At this, dozens of heads of state said that they would ensure that their countries reach UHC by 2030 and made bold announcements about the health reforms they will implement to achieve this goal.

But if we are being honest, we have to acknowledge that since the signing of the SDGs, progress towards UHC has been inadequate and uneven. The latest WHO and World Bank UHC Monitoring Report shows that although health service coverage has been improving, levels of out-of-pocket health spending have been rising, meaning that more people are being impoverished because of health costs. This shows that governments are not meeting their obligations to finance UHC properly – too much of the burden is falling on households. This not only undermines achieving UHC, it is also a threat to global health security, because out-of-pocket-spending on medicines is one of the main drivers of anti-microbial resistance. High private health spending also inhibits progress towards other SDGs including eliminating poverty, reducing inequality and achieving gender equality. Women and their children often suffer most when health services are underfunded, as they have higher healthcare needs but often lower access to financial resources to pay for services themselves. This is why, when implementing UHC reforms, countries must prioritize delivering the health services women and children need most and provide them free at the point of delivery.

With the clock ticking to the SDG deadline in 2030, it is therefore appropriate that the theme of this year’s PMAC is “Accelerating Progress Towards UHC”. To achieve this target, many countries will require massive investments in their health systems and radical changes in policies to improve access to care for the poor and vulnerable.

The good news is that, by learning from UHC success stories from around the world, including Thailand, we know what works and what doesn’t. Take for example the tricky issue of how to finance UHC.

As my fellow Elder, Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the WHO, highlighted at the United Nations High-Level Meeting in September: there was a time when some development agencies and Western countries used to discourage higher government spending on health and instead promoted private voluntary financing like user fees and private insurance.

But thankfully across the world political leaders, and the heads of international financial institutions and lenders, have now listened to the needs of their people. They have rejected these failed policies and instead switched to a health financing system dominated by public financing – either through general taxation or compulsory social health insurance. This is the only way to ensure that healthy, wealthy members of society subsidize services for the sick and the poor, so that nobody gets left behind. As Dr. Brundtland said in New York:

“If there is one lesson the world has learned, it is that you can only reach UHC through public financing.”

Therefore one of the simplest ways we can hold political leaders to account in reaching UHC is tracking how much public financing they allocate and disburse to their health systems.

Transitioning from a health system dominated by private out-of-pocket financing to one mostly financed by public financing has become one of the defining steps in achieving UHC. It’s a transition my own country, the Republic of Korea, made in 1977 and was also seen as the key step to bringing UHC to the United Kingdom in 1948 and Japan in 1961.

And of course one of the most celebrated and impressive transitions to publicly financed UHC happened right here in Thailand in 2002, with the launch of the Universal Coverage scheme. It’s worth remembering that this was implemented in the immediate aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis, when the World Bank advice was that Thailand couldn’t afford to increase public health spending to cover everyone. But as my good friend and former World Bank President, Jim Kim, said at the World Health Assembly in 2013, the Thai Government wisely ignored this advice and in one year injected around half a percent of GDP in tax financing into its health system. In the process, the country swiftly moved from around 70% coverage to almost full population coverage – a shining example of how to accelerate progress towards UHC. In fact, during my time as Secretary-General, I have introduced this story every time we talk about public health and UHC.

What Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the UK and many other countries have also shown is that UHC reforms are so effective and so popular, they can become part of a nation’s identity and prove resilient in the face of changes of government.

So what are the implications for the theme of this year’s PMAC: accelerating progress towards UHC?

On a global level, we need to prioritize helping countries that are still to make the transition to a universal publicly financed health system. Here our focus should be on countries with low levels of public health spending, often less than 1% of GDP, where up to three quarters of health spending is in the form of user fees. These countries need to double or triple their public spending on health over the next decade and prioritize funding a universal package of services, focusing on primary care services provided free at the point of delivery.

These low-spending countries tend to be in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia but there are already shining examples of countries in these regions using public financing to extend health coverage –  for example Sri Lanka in South Asia and Rwanda in Africa. Also, it is perfectly feasible to increase public spending on health this quickly, if there is political will, as shown by Thailand and China. This reinforces the point made by the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros that UHC is a political choice.

Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude.

The focus of our UHC program at The Elders is to encourage political leaders to make this choice, by helping them appreciate the health, economic, societal and political benefits of achieving UHC. Some of my fellow Elders have spearheaded successful UHC reforms themselves, like former President Ricardo Lagos of Chile and former President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico – so we are speaking from experience.

In doing this we are very keen to work with you, the UHC community, to identify opportunities to promote UHC reforms at the highest level of government. We have already engaged with political leaders in Indonesia, India, South Africa, Tanzania and the United States to promote UHC and are always on the lookout for windows of opportunity to champion UHC to the next generation of global leaders. So if you feel political commitment to UHC is lacking in your country and we can be of assistance, do please let us know, as we want to play our part in accelerating UHC as a means to deliver the SDGs.

UHC makes medical, economic, political and social sense. But as the founder of The Elders, Nelson Mandela, so powerfully stated:

“Health cannot be a question of income; it is a fundamental human right.”

At the start of a new decade which also marks the 30th anniversary of Mandela’s freedom from prison, let us commit to work together to realize his vision and make UHC a reality for all. Let us join our hands together to help make the world healthier and stronger

Thank you.

Source: The Elders

 

Op-Ed by Ban Ki-moon: “A new generation of global citizens gives hope to humanity”

Ban Ki-moon, Special to Gulf News

I was recently in Dubai for a Model United Nations conference where students from across the United Arab Emirates gathered to participate in simulated sessions of the UN Security Council to address key issues that directly impact the world we live in. The title of the conference was ‘Challenges of Intervention in a Complex World’. Our world is complex, yes, and it faces unprecedented global challenges that require unprecedented global responses.

Maintaining peace is invariably challenging given there are always many sides to any issue. Conflicts and wars run the risk of becoming protracted, and dialogue often slows things down. When inflammatory words are used, angers flare and emotions go unchecked. The risks to humanity and the world as we know it must always be at the forefront of any decision. Dialogue, if used correctly, can play a crucial role. Agreements can be formed.

Take, for example, the 2016 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which was backed by more than 200 governments after a process of dialogue. Strong international support and unwavering commitment was reflected in the consensus of governments around the world that robust global cooperation — and action — was essential to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

Students’ leadership skills

In Dubai, I was hugely impressed by the young men and women I met. Their passion for the world and its future was clear to see as each sought to find realistic solutions to some of the biggest issues facing our planet. Finding solutions that are acceptable to a majority of representatives requires incredible skills of negotiation, conflict resolution and cooperation. I was interested to see what leadership skills these students would portray and if they would explore solutions that world governments, NGOs and others might not have thought of before.

Ban Ki-moon
Former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon addresses a Model United Nations conference in Dubai recently. Image Credit: Supplied

“The best advice I can give students, who could one day be our leaders, is to always consider each person’s point of view and find dialogue that takes everyone’s needs into consideration.” – Ban Ki-moon

As the conference got under way there were reports circulating of an escalating crisis between the US and Iran. Fortunately, the crisis is now de-escalating, and dialogue is the only way to resolve it going forward to ensure permanent solutions are found. Forging an international consensus, at the best of times, is not simple, and even harder when tension sets in.

The best advice I can give these students, who could one day be our leaders, is to always consider each person’s point of view and find dialogue that takes everyone’s needs into consideration. For that, they must be armed not with weapons or threats, but with two key traits — passion and compassion.

Global citizens

When I left the United Nations, I founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens based in Vienna along with Heinz Fischer, former president of Austria. The centre focuses on the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals for empowering women and youth. Gender equality and quality education are critically important for the future of our planet. The reason is that women make up half of the world’s population, while half of the world’s population is also under the age of 25. Yet, despite best efforts, in many developing countries, primary, secondary and tertiary education for girls remains a challenge. Currently 264 million children are not at school, and a majority of them are girls. The world is also home to the largest generation of youth ever, with 1.8 billion young people worldwide. Nearly 90 per cent of which live in developing countries. More than 70 million youth are currently unemployed, and around 40 per cent of the world’s active youth are either jobless or living in poverty — despite working. As we all know, unemployment breeds many problems, ranging from inequality and crime to terrorism.

It is up to us as individuals to go out into the world and work for the betterment of humankind. To be a global citizen and act with passion and compassion so we can make the world a safer and more sustainable place for generations to come.

The youth I encountered in Dubai gave me hope, and filled me with great pride, that together we can make a difference and drive change. A brighter future depends on global citizens like you.

— Ban Ki-moon is 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Co-founder of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.

Original source: https://gulfnews.com/opinion/op-eds/a-new-generation-of-global-citizens-gives-hope-to-humanity-1.69230614#

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s Speech at the 2020 Doomsday Clock Announcement Event

Speech by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon

The 2020 Doomsday Clock Announcement

Washington, US

January 23, 2020

 

Thank you Mary, and thank you to Governor Brown, Rachel Bronson and all the team at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and all the distinguished guests gathered here today.

As Mary Robinson has said, it is an honor to be here today to unveil the Doomsday Clock. But is with a solemn sense of duty, with a moral responsibility, and with a frightening sense of what is happening.

These are perilous times. The alarming rise in tensions in the Middle East threatens war, and a return to nuclear weapons development in Iran. The world waits to see how North Korea will respond to stalled negotiations over its nuclear ambitions. I am struck by the news released from North Korea that it would not be committed to previously made commitments, to nuclear disarmament, and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This is surprising and very, very shocking. Also, the situation in Kashmir between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India remains unpredictable and highly dangerous.

Such tensions demand responsible global leadership, but instead over the last year we have seen precisely the opposite. We have seen the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, division and uncertainty regarding the upcoming Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and, most worryingly, the absence of any meaningful negotiations between the US and Russia to extend New START.

It would send a deeply negative message to the world if New START is allowed to expire in February 2021. This would not only eliminate remaining constraints on deployed nuclear arsenals, but also remove the monitoring and inspection capabilities which have provided both sides with increased transparency regarding nuclear capability.

On the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, The Elders believe the world must seize the opportunities presented by the review conference that begins in April. This treaty is the backbone of the multilateral consensus on nuclear arms control, and yet disagreements and frustrations between its signatories mean there is a significant risk that the conference could conclude without an agreed outcome – a scenario that would undermine the treaty and could even trigger withdrawal by member states.

Alongside the potential expiry of New START, this is a disastrous scenario for the world. It exemplifies the failures of global leadership, and the weakness of the multilateral system in the face of isolationist politics that sees diplomacy as a zero-sum game rather than a means of finding common solutions to common challenges.

At a time when world leaders should be focused on the clear and present dangers of nuclear escalation and the climate emergency, we are instead witnessing denial, disregard and dangerous brinkmanship.

The existential risks of climate change and nuclear war are increasing just as the decision-making frameworks to address them are unravelling. From the Paris Agreement to the JCPOA; despondency over the Non Proliferation Treaty to impotency at the UN Security Council – our mechanisms for collaboration are being undermined when we need them most.

To echo Mary Robinson – we must see urgent action on the climate crisis in 2020. All countries must come to COP in Glasgow in November with clear plans for delivering carbon net-zero commitments by 2050. We must see an immediate end to the investment in, and exploration of, fossil fuels. We must heed the demands of the young people on our streets and listen to the science.

We cannot negotiate with nature. We must listen to the warning of nature.

The US must somehow begin to demonstrate leadership at the federal level too. Without it, we cannot hope to meet the targets that will keep global warming to manageable levels. Without US leadership there will be no winners from this climate crisis, only losers.

In the end, we will only overcome these existential threats by working together, and to do so the world needs to re-energize multilateralism. I do believe there is an opportunity for this in the coming year.

2020 marks 75 years since the end of Second World War and the birth of the nuclear age – and, indeed, the founding of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. It also marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

This is an opportunity for the world to renew its commitment to multilateralism. It is a time for world leaders to bring a new mindset to the key moments ahead of us in 2020 – to create the foundations for a just transition to a carbon net zero economy and redouble the efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

We can overcome the existential threats we face, but we must act, together, now. No country, no individual, no matter how powerful or how many resources, can do this on their own. We need to hold hands and work together.

Thank you.

Ban Ki-moon’s Keynote Address at the Opening of the GEMS World Academy Model United Nations

Ban Ki-moon’s Keynote Address
Opening of the Inaugural Model United Nations Conference
GEMS World Academy – Dubai
January 9, 2020

I am delighted to be here at the inaugural GEMS World Academy, Dubai Model United Nations conference. It is energizing to see so many individuals and schools represented.

To be an Ambassador of GWA MUN is a great honour and privilege for me. One of the main reasons I accepted this position from Mr. Sunny Varkey, Founder and Chairman of GEMS Education, was because I knew it would give me incredible insight into the way youth are thinking.

You are the world’s future leaders, and by being here it shows that you are committed to the world we live in and your passion to make a difference. I commend you all for that.

The theme of the conference, “Challenges of intervention in a complex world”, is so important. It gives you all the opportunity to explore global issues and look for solutions that perhaps world governments, NGOs, and many others haven’t thought of.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting the GEMS World Academy Secretariat who organised this conference. I was impressed with the leadership of the entire Secretariat team led by their Director-General Lihong Wang, and Deputy General Aditya Joshi. Without them this conference would not have been possible. Their passion, enthusiasm, and their drive to make a change gives me great comfort.

Like all of you, they are so committed to the MUN concept. This fills me with so much pride.

You may ask “why?”

You are our future and I am confident that you will have prudent solutions to real 21st century problems.

But, this conference is about more than that… and I hope that when the conference is over you will realise that you have personally grown and have met inspiring people and that you will have learned a lot.

The conference will train some of your skills that will help you shape your future in many ways; from developing key leadership abilities to researching, writing and public speaking.

Some of you will learn

Moreover, finding realistic solutions to real world problems that are acceptable to a majority of representatives requires incredible skills of negotiation, conflict resolution and cooperation. This is easier said than done!

I hope that the biggest take away for your all will be OWNERSHIP. Ownership of the world we all live in. OWNERSHIP for the Sustainable Development Goals. OWNERSHIP of the Agenda 2030. OWNERSHIP of the principle of leaving no one behind.

When I ended my tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I knew that there was much more work to be done… So, I founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens along with Heinz Fischer, the former President of Austria.  The Centre is based in Vienna and focusses on empowering women and the youth in the framework of the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.

You might ask why we chose to focus on Gender Equality and Quality Education because half of the world is women and half the world is under 25 years of age.

And, despite best efforts, in many developing countries, primary, secondary and tertiary education for girls STILL remains a challenge. We cannot ignore this.

Currently 264 Million children are not at school, a majority of them are girls.
In matters of access to education, professional opportunities, pay and representation there is no gender equality…yet!
Women are still under-represented in top positions…
1 in 3 women in the world have experienced physical or sexual violence…
And trafficking women and girls is still happening around the world.
Child marriage is still practiced and women and young people are the hardest hit in any conflict, war or crisis.
This has to stop!

The world is currently home to the largest generation of youth ever – with 1.8 billion young people worldwide. Nearly 90 per cent of which live in developing countries.

More than 70 million youth are currently unemployed and around 40 percent of the world’s active youth are either jobless or living in poverty – despite working.

As we know, unemployment breeds many problems from inequality, crime to terrorism.

And this has to be addressed.

Yes, progress is being made.  But it is not enough. The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens puts emphasis on decreasing youth mortality, supporting education, women and youth entrepreneurship – and raises awareness for global citizenship issues.

We want to make sure that all young people know about the SDGs and become agents of positive change. This is important given today’s challenges globally.

I am often asked: ‘but what can I do as an individual?’ believing that your contribution won’t make a difference. That is wrong! And if you think that it is someone else’s responsibility, then the world will continue to suffer.

It doesn’t matter how small your contribution to society is, as long as you are contributing in whatever way you can – within your capability.

We all know that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are each mammoth tasks… but they are achievable if each and every one of us plays our part.

One of the biggest challenges is mobilising sufficient financing to effectively pursue the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.

But, it is also about human-power.

This brings me back to ‘what is achievable’ for an individual? You should never think your contribution won’t be enough to be a catalyst for change. Everyone can make a difference. And I want to give you a real example from within GEMS Education.

I was delighted to learn that many GEMS teachers are United Nations Climate Change certified – with one school, The Kindergarten Starters, recently becoming the World’s first fully-accredited UN:CC school with all 300-plus of its teachers and support staff certified.

I am even more pleased to hear that other teachers across GEMS Education schools are following suit.

This was all made possible after ONE single teacher from GEMS First Point – The Villa – Candice Wright – discovered that accreditation was ONLY possible for teachers in the United Kingdom. However, she questioned the process and now as a result of her perseverance, the qualification is available to everyone around the world.

This has now resulted in hundreds of teachers becoming UN:CC certified in less than a year. And, it is evidence – within your own network of schools – that one person CAN make a difference.

I would like to leave you with this.
Be inspired to go out into the world and to work not only for the betterment of your own country, or the country you live in but for the betterment of humankind.
Be a global citizen! Act with passion and compassion!

Together, we can make the world safer and more sustainable for today, and for generations to come.
This is our moral responsibility as human beings.

Thank you.

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler’s remark on the 2nd Anniversary of the Ban Ki-moon Centre

Celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of the Ban Ki-moon Centre on January 3rd, 2020, CEO Monika Froehler shared her remark:

“On January 3rd, 2018, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens was officially inaugurated at the Austrian Chancellery. What a journey it has been since then?”

“We supported our co-chairs’ leadership, built lasting partnerships across the globe, spread the information on the SDGs and their implementation, and most importantly, touched the lives of hundreds of women and young people to support them and give them a voice, a seat at the table, and opportunities they did not have before.”

“We are grateful for all the support we received on our journey and are humbled by the vast tasks ahead to enhance global citizenship. But as an old Chinese proverb says, ‘No road is too long with friends at your side.’ Thanks to all global citizens for being with us on that journey!”

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s Speech at the Opening of the Asia-Europe Cooperation Dialogue

Speech by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon

Asia-Europe Cooperation Dialogue

Chongqing, China

December 2, 2019

 

Fellow Delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to join you at this grand gathering of leaders from Asia and Europe. As Chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia, I am delighted to conclude the Forum’s 2019 initiatives with this Cooperation Dialogue in the beautiful and economically robust city of Chongqing. I would like to acknowledge the contributions and hard work of our co-organizers, the European House – Ambrosetti and the Chongqing Municipal Government.

For the past year and a half since the new BFA leadership took office, a number of conferences and initiatives have been held in China, Asia and other parts of the world. Despite the diversity and richness of these events, there is a lasting underlying theme – globalization, free trade, multilateralism and an open world economy. It conforms with the mission and purposes of the Boao Forum for an economically integrated Asia. It is called for by the harsh reality of rising protectionism and unilateralism in today’s world. It is only natural that we reassert the theme again by bringing together leaders from two of the staunchest supporters of these principles – Asia and Europe – as the year nears the end.

Several weeks ago, the Board of Directors of the Boao Forum held a working meeting in Changsha to examine the global economic situation and expressed deep concerns over the world economy. We identified several key factors that threaten our shared future. Protectionism has derailed the good momentum of global trade growth, leaving behind a world economy gloomier by the day. Unilateralist actions throw the established world order back into chaos. Rules and institutions that have proven effective post-WWII are disregarded. A globalized world is being fragmented. Our common future risks eroding by Law of the Jungle.

I am not trying to be sensational. These are real threats that have gradually come true. If we do not act now to reverse the trend, our next generation and our children will suffer. Two months ago, the UN Climate Change Summit in New York calls for decisive actions against a global climate disaster, stressing that this is a race we can win and a race we must win. I see the same urgency and confidence in reversing the trend of unilateralism and protectionism at this critical juncture of human history.

My confidence is reinforced when being with hundreds of government, business and intellectual leaders of Asia and Europe here today. This is the largest single continent of our planet that accounts for 60% of the world’s population and 65% of global GDP. The absolute majority of countries here are both beneficiaries and staunch supporters of multilateralism and an open world economy. If we stand together, firm and united, we can win the race because we represent the majority and the just cause of international cooperation. The majority rules. Justice will prevail.

One year ago, the Boao Forum and the European House – Ambrosetti initiated this Asia-Europe Cooperation Dialogue in Rome. We were encouraged and emboldened by the broad consensus reached between Asian and European leaders, and the follow-up actions thereafter. We agree to carry on the dialogue this year as a valuable platform for in-depth and substantive dialogue on cooperation.

The areas for Asia-Europe cooperation are limitless. First and foremost, a united, vocal and unequivocal voice for multilateralism and an open world economy. One year ago, the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Summit reaffirmed support for the rules-based international order, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. Leaders committed to forge a stronger global partnership between Asia and Europe in face of global challenges such as climate change and sustainable development.

There are many we can do together. Traditional ties in trade, investment and financial cooperation could be stronger and more robust. A number of arrangements have been made to facilitate trade and capital flows. Both have much to offer to the other side. Europe has the largest number of developed economies whereas Asia is mostly a developing world. Different levels of development mean different and mutually complementary advantages. This generates room and potential for cooperation. I encourage governments to take bolder actions in trade liberalization and investment facilitation, both bilateral and multilateral. We need more free trade agreements, not less. We need higher level of economic integration across the continent, not the other way back.

Fresh opportunities keep popping up. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an attempt to revive the ancient Silk Road between Asia and Europe, is now in its sixth year. This is an initiative from Asia but depends on the joint efforts of both Asia and Europe. At a time when globalization and international cooperation are set back, the BRI offers a fresh opportunity for us to work together and go forward. At a time when global public good is in short supply, the BRI proves an effective way to bring all countries along and leave no one behind. Connectivity, both hard and soft, will ensure freer flow of goods, services, capital and people. Eventually, the initiative will turn Asia and Europe into one continent in the economic sense instead of a sheer geographical concept.

Every major economic boom is driven by major technological breakthroughs or revolution. The lacklustre performance of the world economy since the Global Financial Crisis is largely owed to the slowdown of technological advances. While Europe has mostly been a technology leader and Asia a learner and follower, this is beginning to change as Asia is quickly catching up and may even take the lead in some areas. China, India, Japan and South Korea have invested heavily in AI, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Smart City, Smart Manufacturing, life sciences, new energies and new materials. Europe, for its part, has put in place strategies to be innovation-driven and technology-leading. There is much for Asia and Europe to learn from each other. By working together and giving play to each other’s advantages, we could be much closer to the next technological revolution in partnership than in isolation.

These are the messages the Boao Forum wishes to convey through this Chongqing Dialogue: a stronger voice for multilateralism and an open world economy; more robust trade, investment and financial ties; closer cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative; collaborative innovation towards the next technological revolution.

I could not find a better place to hold such a conference and get these messages across other than the city of Chongqing. We learned from the Chongqing leadership yesterday how much Chongqing has benefited from integrating with the world economy. For the past two decades, Chongqing has recorded double-digit growth annually. Originally an inland city, Chongqing is now one of the “windows” for opening up to the outside world. With the help of the Belt and Road Initiative, Chongqing now has direct rail freight lines all the way to Europe. Its blueprint is to become not just an industry center and trade hub, but also a Smart City and a Smart Manufacturing powerhouse.

Fellow delegates, that’s all I wish to share with you before the full day of sessions start. I hope that your vision and wisdom will help move Asia-Europe cooperation onto a new level.

Thank you.

Ban Ki-moon hopes for strengthened cooperation between Asia and Europe

On December 2, 2019, the 2nd Asia-Europe Cooperation Dialogue held its Opening and Plenary Session in Chongqing, which was addressed by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, who also serves as Chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA); Zhou Xiaochuan, Vice Chairman of the BFA; Esko Aho, former Prime Minister of Finland; Tang Liangzhi, Mayor of Chongqing; Li Baodong, Secretary General of the BFA; and Paolo Borzatta, Senior Partner of the European House-Ambrosetti. The event was also attended by more than 400 participants from 21 countries and regions as well as from three international organizations.

In his speech, Ban Ki-moon highlighted the fact that 60% of the world’s population live in Asia and Europe, whose combined GDP also represents over 60% of the world’s total.

“With today’s world economy challenged by protectionism, unilateralism, unstable and uncertain factors, it’s necessary to send a clear message of supporting globalization and free trade to the international community.”

He also expressed his hope that Asia and Europe will strengthen their traditional economic and trade ties, expand cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, increase exchanges in the fields of culture and technology innovation and take concrete actions to practice multilateralism and promote an open world economy.

Zhou Xiaochuan emphasized the need for more concerted actions from Asia and Europe—to promote trade and investment, safeguard multilateral trade systems and restore the authority and efficacy of the WTO; to improve infrastructure connectivity, so as to reduce transportation and communication costs and bring about synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Strategy for “Connecting Europe and Asia”; to address the global challenge of climate change by effectively implementing the Paris Agreement, developing low-carbon economies and providing policy, technology and financial support to developing countries; and to strengthen cooperation in innovation in response to challenges created by disruptive technologies.

After the end of the opening plenary, more than 400 guests and participants will have one-day discussions on topics such as “Belt and Road Initiative and European Development Strategy”, “Prospects and Challenges of Financial Globalization” and “Internet of Things & Smart City”. Asian and European business leaders will also have a closed-door meeting regarding micro-level cooperation.

  • Ban Ki-moon’ interview with CGTN
  • Ban Ki-moon’s interview with iChongqing

  • Ambassador Kim Won-soo, BKMC Board Member, interview with iChongqing

Source: http://english.boaoforum.org/mtzxxwzxen/48092.jhtml

Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin’s Speech at the WEP GCC Closing Event

Speech by Adnan Shihab-Eldin
Director-General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences
Women’s Empowerment Program – GCC Closing Ceremony
November 22, 2019

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, and colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of HE Ambassador Marafi and my esteemed colleagues from the Permanent Mission   of the State of Kuwait in Vienna, and KFAS, it gives me great pleasure to be among you to welcome you to this award ceremony of the 1st “WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM GCC” a Tailor-Made Fellowship Training for Female Global Citizen Leaders,” organised by the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens (BKMC) and The Diplomatische Akademie Wien – Vienna School of International Studies. KFAS is pleased to be supporting this program as it is initiatives such as these that are at the core of ensuring that we continue to empower the Kuwaiti society, and the region at large, to leverage the innovative talents of its women, and to unlock their true potential for the future advancement of the country and its people. For only then, will we truly be able to realize social and economic prosperity? As His Excellency, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, once stated at the High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment in 2016, “If the world is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need a quantum leap in women’s economic empowerment.”

For the past 43 years, in line with the long-term vision of its founders the late Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, and  the leaders in the private sector, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) has been on a journey to harness science, technology and innovation in Kuwait, and catalyse their applications to promote modernization, a better quality of life and a sustainable future for the Kuwaiti people. Today, KFAS continues to benefit from the generous contributions of the Kuwaiti shareholding companies to support its programs, under the inspiring leadership and guidance of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, the Chairman of the KFAS Board of Directors.

Within its current strategy, the Foundation has renewed its commitment to play a leading catalytic role in supporting the national efforts to transform the country from a rentier state to a knowledge-driven economy, as well as serving the national goals envisioned in the New Kuwait-2035 Vision.

Currently, KFAS’s programs are organised in three main strategic thrust areas, focused on  supporting the advocacy of science culture,  the enabling capacity for  innovation  of its youth,  and ensuring that science, technology, and innovation (STI) play a vital role within every aspect of Kuwait’s society, including the research community, the private and public sectors, and non-governmental organizations. This has also involved supporting partnerships with regional and international centres of excellence and establishing and funding specialized centres of excellence, tasked with addressing specific high priority national challenges, such as diabetes, through research, nurturing the talent of its youth,  delivering the education  of STEM for the IV industrial revolutions, amongst others.

As part of our current strategic objectives, KFAS programs have involved developing initiatives and implementing activities to help close the gender gap in Kuwait, aspiring to become a role model for the region. For decades KFAS has supported the efforts of inclusion of women in STEM and celebrated their achievements, to inspire the next generation of women scientists and highlight the importance of STEM education.  In 2017, for example, in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and others, KFAS hosted the International Conference on Women Leaders in Science, Technology, and Engineering,

Following that Conference, KFAS has established an ongoing collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences in the US, in the form of a Workshop Series for the inclusion of women in STEM in Kuwait and the US. The first was launched this October, which discussed the challenges and barriers facing women to enter and thrive in the science, engineering, and medical professions in both countries. The goal from such collaboration, similar to this program is to provide young and dedicated women, who strive to be future leaders with the essential skills, needed to achieve their aspirations and to foster women’s empowerment.

Every single one of you here today has been selected because of your demonstrated potential, accomplishments and passion for participating in, and leadership for change. Your experiences and expertise to date, have no doubt served your communities well.  We trust that through this program, you were able to further your skills and knowledge, and connect with other like-minded, ambitious women, to empower your aspirations and help in accelerating the progress needed in your own societies, as well as the regional and international community as a whole.

Thank you all again for being here today. Again, on behalf of my esteemed colleagues from the Kuwait mission and KFAS, my congratulations to all the young women who have participated in this program. I look forward to hearing of your continued success. We and the future generations are relying on you to make the difference needed.

Finally, allow me to extend my gratitude and thanks to the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens (BKMC) and The Diplomatische Akademie Wien – Vienna School of International Studies for organizing this event and I look forward to future opportunities for collaboration on activities of mutual interest. I must not forget to extend my sincere thanks and deep appreciation to Ms. Monika Froehler and her team at the Centre, for the excellent organisation, and to HE Ambassador Marafi and his team at the Kuwait Mission in Vienna for their enthusiastic support and encouragement for this initiative.