Closing Event for “Mentoring for Young Austrian Muslim Women – Global Citizens at Work”

Yesterday, the Ban Ki-moon Centre co-hosted the final closing event for the mentoring project “Mentoring for Young Austrian Muslim Women – Global Citizens at Work” conducted in partnership between the BKMC and Muslim Youth Austria (MJÖ).

The event, held at the House of Industry in Vienna, was a celebration for the 23 mentoring pairs and the relationship they have built together over the past 6-months since the start of the project.

At the event, BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer delivered his words of congratulations to all participants. Additionally, speeches were given by Barbara Coudenhove-Kalergi from the House of Industry, Ana Shakfeh, former President of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria, BKMC CEO Monika Froehler, and National Chair of the MJÖ Nermina Mumic.

Following the speeches, there was a panel discussion entitled “Strong – Stronger – Woman! Successful Women Speak.” The panel featured Irmgard Griss, Austrian lawyer and judge who served as President of the Supreme Court of Justice from 2007 to 2011, Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, Austrian Politician, Anna Steiger, Vice-Rector at the Technical University in Vienna, and Amena Shakir of the Sigmund Freud Private University.

After the panel, Hagar Abowarda, a member of Muslim Youth Austria, delivered a spoken-word performance on the challenges Muslim women face in the workplace in Austria entitled, “Fatima’s Choice?”

The final part of the evening was the certificate ceremony where mentees were awarded with a “Certificate of Achievement” signed by BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer, CEO Monika Froehler, and National Chair of MJÖ Nermina Mumic. The mentors also received a bouquet of flowers and a quote framed and personalized by their mentee.

 

The Ban Ki-moon Centre is very pleased with the cooperation with the MJÖ for the mentoring project and looks forward to future collaboration in the years to come!

To view photos from the event, visit our online gallery here.

To learn more about the project, visit our website!

Heinz Fischer’s speech at the Impact Days Vienna 2019

The Room Sofiensäle

Marxergasse 17, 1030 Vienna, Austria

Friday 11 October, 2019

Heinz Fischer

Keynote Speech

The Relevance of SDGs in A Globalized World

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure and an honour to be your guest today and to present some deliberations and observations to the relevance of the SDGs in a globalized world.

Already the title of my intervention today can be seen an indication for a major breakthrough: The SDGs were adopted in New York in September 2015 – 4 years ago – and today their global relevance is recognized more and more.

Indeed, the globalized world needs global goals:

Sustainable Development Goals.

They are finally based on the human rights declaration of the United Nations, claiming that all human beings are born equal in rights and human dignity.

They are universally agreed upon and support the idea, that no one should be left behind.

This – in itself – is innovative and has not existed to that ‘consensual’ degree ever before in human development.

The SDGs are, in my opinion, a “world governmental program”.

*

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For thousands of years the societies developed into different great powers and different economic centres, which were always in competition with each other.

Lots of conflicts and wars originated from this competition.

Latest after WWII, with 60 million victims, most of us had bitterly learnt that war cannot be an instrument to solve problems and that collaboration and peace have to take pre-eminence. A consequence was the birth of the United Nations and some years later the birth of the European Union.

What developed in the last couple of years is a global realization that in our today’s interconnected world we need to have in addition to the worldwide UN some “global goals” covering societal, political and economic dimensions to everyone’s advantage.

These goals, the SDGs, were adopted in 2015 by 193 Member States of the United Nations and celebrate their 5th anniversary next year.

It is inspiring to observe an increasing relevance and approval of them. More and more institutions, organisations and civil society groups support the SDGs.

They are starting to feature prominently in media, in newspapers and television. They too find entry into agendas of parliaments and government programs and step by step they even find their way into our education systems.

In several countries, for example in Korea, we can see with satisfaction, that schools and universities adopt the SDGs in their curricula.

But we shall not be mistaken. A long and difficult way still lies ahead, and a lot of work needs to be done. We are strongly aware that from 2020 onwards we have 10 years left to meaningfully implement them.

Nobody should call the SDGs utopian goals and say that they are impossible to implement and transform into reality. The German writer Martin Walser said: “Only the one with utopian goals is a realist”

I also agree with those who say that we need to focus on a detailed discussion process for the financing of the SDGs. It is estimated that until 2030, 5-7 trillion dollars are necessary to translate the SDGs into reality.

Ladies and gentlemen,

One of the most urgent or even the most urgent goal of the SDGs is SDG 13 climate protection.

The four years since the decision on the SDGs have indeed displayed a great number of evidences for the urgency of measures for climate protection.

There are undebatable data about the developments reading the increase of temperature worldwide and during all seasons.

We see that the polar ice is melting, the glaciers are retreating, the snow boarders are going higher up and the sea levels are rising.

Everyone in Europe knows that the last summer was one of the hottest since temperatures are registered and even hotter summers will follow.

 

And if you look at the entirety of the SDGs, you will realize that most of the other major questions of our time find meaningful reflection: the topics of fighting extreme poverty, health, education, sustainable consumption and production, infrastructure and innovation as well as the necessity for gender equality, rule of law, peace and the partnership for the goals as a whole.

The importance of the SDGs is also reflected in the World Risk Report of the Davos World Economic Forum. This report deals with the question, which risks are most striking and most worrying worldwide.  Even there, the danger of a climate crisis, besides the dangers of war and the danger of social conflicts as a consequence of growing disparities play a central role. The private sector is at the heart of this as drivers of economy shape consumer choices and influence the development of small and large nations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Ban Ki-moon, the former UN Secretary-General, can be credited as father of the global goals and the Paris Climate Agreement and he led the difficult diplomatic process at the UN to come to a world consensus.

To carry forward his legacy, he founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna in 2017, for which I serve as a co-chair together with him. We work for the promotion and advancement of the SDGs with a specific focus on women and youth. Gender equality is goal number 5 in the SDGs and this is a subject were everybody agrees that the gender gap must be bridged. But theory and practice, speaking and doing are still in great disparity. You all know the dispute on equal pay for equal work and about the underrepresentation of women in leading position in business and politics. I use this opportunity to call on you to TACKLE this problem by deeds and not only by words.

However, a far-reaching world government program cannot be the agenda of only a few stakeholders.

This agenda needs everybody: individuals, communities, cities, governments, businesses, academia and the non-governmental sector to implement these ambitions.

SDGs are relevant: in an Austrian context, a European context and in the context of increasing global collaboration.

I hope that your respective businesses and entities become champions of the innovative global agenda.

And fortunately, many companies have already realized the tremendous business opportunities that are enshrined in these goals. Also, many Austrian companies are successfully championing the SDG implementation in their respective work and with their Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Reports.

I do not pretend to be a business expert, but I have the impression that many start-ups make it their goal to be profitable in their entrepreneurial action as well as to have positive societal impacts.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As I just came back from an extensive journey through China, including Tibet, let me also mention that it was interesting and encouraging to see that China is very positively viewing the SDGs and not only viewing, they attach great relevance to them.

In China, economic development is taking place at an unprecedented level.

To give you a little example about technological innovation and the quality of the latest generation of computers: I was very impressed participating in the World Manufacturing Convention in Hefei, China, 3 weeks ago and addressing the audience. The organizers presented examples of most recent technological advancements, as for instance middle class electro cars with batteries and a reach of 500 to 600 km, microchips, robots, drones, etc. Similar to the so called “Einstein computer” in Japan, they had a computer in the shape of a human sized attractive young lady, who was interacting with visitors and answering all sorts of difficult questions. And when I simply asked her how old she was, her outstanding and witty answer was “Sorry, I am a lady and you should know, that it is not polite to ask a lady how old she is.”

Besides being a technological champion, China is stepping up its efforts in the sphere of climate change. It does so with massive re-forestation programs, a focus on clean transportation and smart city planning and far reaching poverty eradication programs. The speed of fast trains is so high, that within a distance of 600 km between two cities, it is faster to take a train than a plane.

In contrast to the United States, China has become more and more a strong supporter of the Paris Climate Agreement. China pressures itself internally to make many polluted urban centres liveable again.

European expertise in green technology is sought after and there is great interest in public transport systems, architectural smart city planning, energy efficient technology and technology that increases industrial efficiency as well as expertise in green tourism.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Globally we have come to a day and age where it is not only a unipolar world, led by the United States, but an emerging multipolar world with currently three comparable power centres of world economic significance. The US, China and Europe.

China is nowadays typically considered the second largest economy in the world. But if we compare the gross domestic product (GDP) on the economically more relevant Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis, China has even surpassed the US economy. Measured in PPPs, the GDP of China in 2018 was 25 trillion dollars (18% of the global GDP). The European Union had a GDP of 23 trillion dollars (17% of the global GDP) and the US 20 trillion dollars (15% of the global GNP).

30 years ago, in 1990, the Chinese income per capita accounted for only 4% of the US and 7% of the European income per capita.

In 2018, China had a third of the income per capita of the US and 40% of the income per capita of the European Union.

So we can legitimately talk about three centers of economic gravity nowadays: USA, China and Europe.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me come back to the SDGs.

It is encouraging to hear that in spite of the current Brexit phase of intensive EU “introspection”, the designated President of the European Commission, Ursula van der Leyen, referenced Sustainable Development in her first announcement in August this year. The Parliamentary elections in Austria 12 days ago clearly highlighted that the topics of climate action and sustainability are top priorities of Austrian voters and a main subject of the political debate.

Where are we standing now?

Every year since 2015 the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network are issuing an SDG ranking, depicting an evaluation on how well European Countries are performing in the implementation of the global goals. Among the 30 top ranking countries only 4 are not located in Europe (South Korea, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore). Number 1 in this ranking is Denmark, followed by Sweden.

Austria was ranked 9th worldwide in 2018 and managed to move to 5th rank in 2019 – sharing this rank with Germany.

Austria wants to continue to successfully grow with the SDGs in mind. The former government entrusted the Ban Ki-moon Centre in Vienna to share its opinion on how the situation of Austria could be further improved.

We believe that the SDGs must in any case be a very relevant part of the upcoming government program – whatever coalition might be getting into office.

We also believe that the Austrian government must support an EU commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas by 2050 and ensure consensus on the EU Long-Term Climate Strategy.

We encourage green finance and environmental fiscal reform, including carbon pricing to ensure transparency on subsidies in the EU and ensure the rapid phase-out of harmful subsidies. We also advocate that the SDGs should be part of all school curricula.

And we find it necessary that the Austrian government reports every second year to Parliament about the progress and results of the above-mentioned and other goals. This should increase the awareness of the public on our achievements and deficits and create certain incentives for government and administration to take the necessary measures in time.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have worked in politics for many decades, as member of parliament for 33 years, as minister for science and research, 4 years as president of the parliament for 12 years and finally 12 years as president of Austria. I know how difficult it is to build opinion and awareness in the public sphere on a specific issue. But the SDGs are truly an exception. Why?

You cannot bargain with the climate and the environment of our planet and you cannot make a policy of wait and see. We have only one planet and no planet B. With the SDGs we are not only in the realm of politics but also in the realm of nature sciences, biology, botanics etc.

Hence, I want to thank you that you are actively engaging in these topics and wish you all the best for your discussions.

Thank you.

© Lea Fabienne Photography

Ban Ki-moon’s Speech at the International BAR Association (IBA) Conference

COEX Convention & Exhibition Center 513,

Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Sunday 22-27 September 2019

BAN KI-MOON

Opening Ceremony

Welcoming Remarks

 

The Honorable Mayor of Seoul, Park Won Soon,

Chair of IBA Seoul Conference Host Committee, The Hon. Song Sang Hyun,

President of International Bar Association, Horacio Bernardes Neto,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the Opening Ceremony of the 2019 International Bar Association Annual Conference.

 

This is the first time that this huge gathering of esteemed international lawyers has gathered in Seoul. I am simply honored to have been invited to address such an important and influential group hailing from so many continents. I take this opportunity to applaud each of you for making the journey here, whether short or long, and I know some have been of considerable length.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Our world is presently in flux. It always is, but in recent times there has been a notable acceleration. Perhaps this is due to the fact that we live in an increasingly interconnected world, where what happens on one part of our planet is immediately known and occasionally felt in another part. Under this backdrop, unfortunately, and in a relatively short period, a shrinking of civil society has occurred and the rule of law of is being eroded.

 

Imagine what the world would look like without the rule of law: No independent media. No freedom to assemble and protest peacefully. No freedom to think individual ideas and articulate an opinion. No independent judiciary and no independent legal profession. Just imagine that for a moment.

 

This erosion is happening, gradually. You are the chief guardians of the rule of law, and, in this regard, must increase your unified efforts to stand firm in halting its erosion. As we all know, the rule of law promotes inclusive economic growth and builds accountable institutions that underpin global sustainable development. It protects individuals and businesses alike.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

As the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, I am fully aware of the IBA’s rich history and its founding principles. Now, I would like to briefly remind you of the establishment of the UN in 1945, the IBA in 1947, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Each were the product of like-minded individuals determined, through passion, compassion, integrity, and a guiding sense of justice to carve out a better world for our future generations. What these key institutions have in common is that they were all developed by diverse representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds hailing from all regions of the world.

 

As the IBA matches the UN in both structure and ambition, I believe this makes it easier to talk to you because the issues that are important to the UN are also critical to the IBA. From such topics as climate change, poverty eradication, cultural diversity, and the promotion of human rights, mental health, and gender equality; it is clear that there is much work to be done, with new challenges always emerging. However, I firmly believe that each of you will contribute in some way towards what is required in these areas. Indeed, we should be reminded of an old proverb that says, ‘It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.’

 

In this respect, the work of the IBA relating to business and human rights, gender equality, and climate change, as well as promoting justice and upholding the principle of accountability are all illuminated candles, and they are lit in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 

In addition, I feel particularly connected to the IBA in other ways too, knowing that Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders, of which I am a Deputy Chair, and the late Nelson Mandela, Founder of The Elders, both have longstanding links to the substantive work of the IBA. Mary Robinson is working on climate justice and Nelson Mandela was the Founding Honorary President of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute.

 

Before concluding my remarks, I would like to emphasize that an independent legal profession and judiciary are the cornerstone of functioning democracies, and that as much as possible needs to be done to safeguard them.

 

Thanks to your active participation, I am confident that this conference will be crowned with great success. Please allow me to finish by quoting the late Dr Martin Luther King who once said; ‘Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.’

 

Thank you very much for your attention.

Ban Ki-moon’s Speech at the BFA Ulaanbaatar Conference

BFA Chairman Ban Ki-moon’s Speech
BOAO Forum for Asia
Ulaanbaatar Conference
August 19-20th, 2019

 

Your Excellency Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

 

It’s a privilege to address you here as the Chairman of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA).

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Your Excellency, Mr. Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, Prime Minister of Mongolia, for the warm reception and tremendous support.

I also appreciate our local partners making the effort to assist us to hold the BFA Ulaanbaatar Conference.

 

As one of landlocked developing countries, Mongolia’s economic momentum revved up in the first quarter of 2019, with growth exceeding

6 percent, following an already-strong performance last year. It came primarily on the back of continuous investment in Mongolia, having the effect of spurring its export and import to faster growth. Domestic demand also strengthened as government spending rebounded while private consumption gained steam.

In addition, the government’s commitment to discipline on public spending has resulted in large outperformance on its fiscal targets.

 

It also should be stressed that Mongolia is strengthening its engagement with Asian partners to address critical regional and global challenges nowadays. Mongolia has made good progress with building closer intraregional trade integration and escalating its eco-industrial supply chains with various regional countries.

 

The cooperation between Mongolia and other Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Japan is stepping to a higher level.

The greater cooperation in natural resource development, electricity, renewable energy, and infrastructure sectors has benefited those countries and given a positive impetus to the Asian economy.

 

Moreover, the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor (CMREC) has been playing a pivotal role in strengthening connectivity partnerships between participating countries, thereby boosting the Mongolian economy and promoting common development in the region. As the premier forum for international economic cooperation, the BFA applauds for what Mongolia has accomplished, and stands ready to make contributions to Mongolia sustainable and inclusive development.

 

The BFA, based in Asia and with a global outlook, always strives to enhance the economic exchange and cooperation among Asia, emerging economies, and other parts of the world, and to promote free trade and multilateralism.

 

Since 2018, under the leadership of the new Board of Directors, the BFA recalibrates its strategy as one running theme and five focal areas.

 

In particular, the BFA would continue to devote itself to taking the economy as its mainline, while actively expanding into five areas such as scientific and technological innovation, health, education, culture as well as media. Undoubtedly, the BFA seeks to offer a high-end international platform for governments and business, helping countries in Asia and the rest of the world keep up with latest global advances, seize development opportunities, and unleash their growth potential.

 

In today’s world, all countries’ interests are inextricably intertwined. It would be erroneous that some governments in the world allow themselves to become prisoners of short-term interests and make irrevocable mistakes of historic consequences. We must bear in mind that there is only one Earth in the universe and we mankind have only one homeland. The theme of Annual Conference 2019 of the Boao Forum constituted of three phrases in terms of Shared Future, Concerted Action, and Common Development. Our shard future guides our actions. We should respond to the people’s call and jointly make the effort to achieve shared and win-win development.

 

Ladies and Gentleman,

 

In this hall, we come from many places, but we share a common future. No longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together. The time has come for the world to move in a new direction, so we must tap into the prevailing trend of development, as well as embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We know the future will be forged by deeds and not simply words. Speeches alone will not solve our problems — it will take persistent action. It is what I would like to speak about today – cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation. We are all gathering here for discussing how to take concerted action for common development and a shared future.

 

The world economy is now once again at a crossroad ten years after the global financial crisis broke out. With the world witnessing a growing backlash against globalization and surging populism and protectionism, global governance faces greater difficulties. The spreading unilateralism has increased downward pressure on global economic growth, while trade protectionism is damaging the multilateral free trade system. In addition, nuclear security, geopolitical conflicts, terrorist attacks and influx of refugees have not yet been effectively resolved and controlled.

 

Emerging markets and developing countries are vulnerable to internal imbalances and external shocks. Growth in emerging and developing Asia will dip from 6.5 percent in 2018 to 6.3 percent in 2019 and 6.4 percent in 2020. Non-traditional challenges, such as climate change, aging population, and digital divide may strongly change the future of Asian and global economy.

 

Under the circumstances, tremendous efforts must be made to uphold multilateralism, promote globalization and sustain open world economy. We should open up to embrace opportunities of development and seek win-win outcomes through further cooperation. The challenges facing the world today are related in one way or another to the development gap and deficit. The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development still remains a daunting task for many countries. It is against such a backdrop that China announced the Belt and Road initiative in 2013.

The initiative has been playing a great role in mobilizing more resources, boosting connectivity links, and leveraging potential growth momentums. The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation recently has demonstrated the broad welcome and support for this Initiative from the global community, representing that more countries and regions are willing to achieve shared prosperity by mutually beneficial collaboration.

I am impressed that Mongolia’s Steppe Road program is aligned with the Belt and Road Initiative, and the two countries actively support their border areas in order to expand exchanges and cooperation.

 

Meanwhile, we must keep in mind green growth and sustainable development.

The world economy is in a transition from old to new momentums of growth.

If we continue a conventional approach to meeting the rising global demand for food, energy, and infrastructure, the world will exceed its ecological carrying capacity.

Uncontrollable pollution, severe damage to human health, and irreversible loss of biodiversity systems will be the consequence of those investment decisions.

The environment should be recognized as a strong engine helping drive the region’s economic development.

 

Hence, a green development approach is the chance for emerging and developing economies to leapfrog unsustainable and wasteful production and consumption patterns. They can still factor environmental issues into their infrastructure investment decisions and can further develop agriculture and other natural resources in a way that improves livelihoods, creates jobs, and reduces poverty.

 

It is paramount for all countries to commit to supporting UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and improve energy, environmental and digital governance. We must work together to find the best way to develop a future-oriented industry structure, and switch the development paradigm from resource-consuming to environmentally friendly, thus delivering a better life to all our people.

 

In a world full of challenges and opportunities, the Boao Forum for Asia calls on Asian economies to actively contributes to open world economy.

At the same time, the Boao Forum for Asia will continue to promote connectivity within and beyond the region, through better synergies among the Belt and Road Initiative and other regional cooperation programs, to effectively mobilize regional savings and capitalize on comparative advantages of each economy. The BFA will also keep advocating on the importance of green development, to lay down a solid foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth.

 

We have reached a pivotal moment. We stand ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation — one that recognizes the common development of all Asian countries. And so, with confidence in our cause, and with a commitment to our values,

we call on all of you to join us in building the future that our people so richly deserved.

 

At the very end, I wish the conference a great success.

Thank you!

 

Ⓒ BOAO Forum for Asia

Keynote Speech at the Global Programming Conference

 KEYNOTE SPEECH
by Ban Ki-moon
Global Programming Conference
August 19, 2019 (Mon); 11:30-11:45
Main Plenary Hall, Convensia Center, Songdo

Mr. Vice President Teuea Toatu, /
Mr. Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown, /
Mr. Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled, /
Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund Mr. Yannick Glémarec, /
ministers and vice ministers, / distinguished experts and guests, / ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting me to address this distinguished group of leaders and experts / from so many governments and institutions, / and from so many countries and regions of the world.

Most of all, / thank you for allowing me to be a part of the all-important dialogue / concerning the future direction and replenishment of the Green Climate Fund.

I was the United Nations Secretary-General during the time of the creation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Green Climate Fund, / and I still have a keen interest in the successes of both / because I still believe / without doubt / that our future livelihoods depend on it.

The report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is very clear. We have 10 years to cut carbon emission by half / in order to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius / and to prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change.

Today, / we can already see the sad consequences of 1 degree of global warming—not only on the news channels and front pages—but in our beaches, mountains, farmlands and cities / in the form of extreme weather patterns, / rising sea levels / and changing landscapes.

Even if we were to do everything right starting today, / these climate-related impacts, / which are already prevalent and on its way to becoming the new norm, / will still increase because it takes time to reverse the damages that we, / the inhabitants of planet Earth, / have already put in motion. Just as a huge pot of boiling water takes time to cool, / our planet will require time to cool.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

That is why we cannot procrastinate / or defer to the next generation any longer. We must act now, / and we must act together.

On this backdrop, / I would like to highlight three points today.

First, / the Green Climate Fund, / as the largest multilateral fund dedicated to climate change, / has a key role to play. But for it to do so, / it must be resourced ambitiously, / so it can deliver effectively and urgently.

It is not a mere coincidence / that the Global Green Growth Institute and the Green Climate Fund have been partnering together closely since 2017, / the year in which the two organizations signed a bilateral MOU of cooperation, / as well as the Readiness and Preparatory Support Agreement.

As a result, / more than 20 GGGI Member Countries have nominated GGGI to be their delivery partner for GCF’s Readiness Program, / resulting in $7.5 million secured / and with more than twice that amount on the way.

Second, / mitigation and adaptation need to move together, / and adaptation should also move into the mainstream of policy making and development planning.

The negative effects of climate change will not disappear overnight, / and investing in adaptation is the wise choice to make.

It should not be mistaken / as a sign of giving up hope on mitigation. It is a two-pronged maneuver: / one to simultaneously lessen and reverse the threats to communities, businesses and economies in the longer-term, / and another to protect from climate shocks in the near-term.

This is why the Global Commission on Adaptation—a commission I am currently chairing to accelerate adaptation action—is looking to work more closely with the Green Climate Fund / and to increase adaptation finance, / which has lagged behind mitigation finance.

Lastly, / I have emphasized again and again to leaders of developed countries / to not overlook the most vulnerable countries / and the marginalized groups of the world, / and I would like to do so again.

In a twist of cruel irony, / the poorest and most vulnerable countries—the ones that often have the least capacity to access climate funds / and often tend to be the most exposed or susceptible to climate change—the Small Island Developing States and the natural resource-dependent countries, / they face some of the greatest challenges from climate change, / whether it be loss of land from rising sea levels, / land degradation / or loss of biodiversity.

GCF should be applauded for its pioneering efforts to set ambitious benchmarks for climate finance / and to improve direct access to funds, / including through the Simplified Approvals Process / and a fast-tracking accreditation process for entities already accredited with the Adaptation Fund.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope you will remember these three points I have just made.

In order to have GCF continue to play a key role, / in order to foster a successful two-pronged strategy with mitigation and adaptation, / and in order to justly help the poorest and most vulnerable countries, / the ongoing and new collaboration between institutions will be of utmost importance, / and the scaling up of resources and support will be absolutely critical.

More institutions such as the Global Green Growth Institute and the Global Commission on Adaptation / will need to collaborate with GCF, / and governments need to follow in the footsteps of Germany and Norway / and provide scaled-up resources.

Because climate change is not a problem bound to only one country, region or sector, / and green growth and adaptation solutions cannot be implemented by one country, region or sector.

We need to transcend and cross political aisles, national boundaries and sectors / to work together to discover innovative solutions / and pull together to combine all the resources and support.
Either we will all benefit together, / or we will all suffer together. And, in order for all of us to benefit together, / we need to do start now.

If we do this, / I believe this could be perhaps the greatest contribution of our generation / to our future generations.
Thank you for your attention.

 

/END

 

Opening Address of Ban Ki-moon at the 24th World Scout Jamboree

Opening Address
24th World Scout Jamboree

Glen Jean, West Virginia, USA
Ban Ki-moon
August 1, 2019

Mr. Craig Turpie, Chairperson of the World Scout Committee,
Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary-General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement,
Scouts and 24th World Scout Jamboree participants,
Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen,

It is my great honor to be here with you today at the 24th World Scout Jamboree in the beautiful city of Glen Jean, West Virginia!
I take this opportunity to offer my sincere congratulations to the Boy Scout of America, Scouts Canada, and Asociacion de Scouts de Mexico for their hard work in realizing such an important and transformational event.

Scouts, you have discovered the key to live in peaceful coexistence over these last ten days. If you can do this for ten days, you can certainly do this for one hundred days, and then a thousand days.
Choosing this path is yours.

However, the secret of peace and harmony that you have unlocked here is not meant for you to retain simply as a memory.
Rather, it is a mission beckoning you to do your part in unlocking the possibility of peace for our entire world moving forward.

In this regard, I am confident that you Scouts are now well-equipped to tackle the challenges of both today and tomorrow as engaged global citizens.
More than ever before the world needs a new generation of thinkers and doers that are globally engaged and sustainability-minded.

You are now true global ambassadors who will return to your own countries to unlock a new world; one anchored in coexistence, tolerance, and sustainability for our planet.
Baden Powell, Scouting’s founder, had a driving goal throughout his life: to ensure that Scouting became a World Brotherhood of Peace.

The mission of the United Nations is very similar: to promote international peace, tolerance, and co-existence between all peoples and nations.
In the last 112 years, a Scouting program has been adopted in nearly every nation on earth. Tomorrow’s leaders are built through Scouting and the values it instills. Its central mission is to prepare young people to be ethical citizens.

Today, I would like to humbly ask you 3 important ways you can contribute.

First, try to be a global citizen as you continue in your own lives, studies, and careers. Global citizenship is a unique tool that can help solve some of our most pressing challenges and assist us in building peace and reaching sustainability.

Global citizens are those who identify themselves not as a member of a nation, but instead as a member of humanity. They are understanding and tolerant of other people and cultures. They fight for the protection of our planet. They are committed to service and helping others.

Second, be a Scout championing to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are the most ambitious and far-reaching visions for us, humanity and nature the UN has ever presented to the world. SDGs cover all spectrums of human life and our planet earth.

Third, be an agent to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement. We need your active participation. Climate change is approaching much faster than we think.
– We cannot negotiate with nature.
– Nature does not wait for us.
– Nature is sending strong warnings for us to act.
– We do not have Plan B because we do not have a Planet B.

Scouts and 24th World Scout Jamboree participants,
Over the next four years, when the World Organization of the Scout Movement reassembles in Sae Man Geum, Chollabukdo, Republic of Korea, I challenge you to broaden the values of Scouting throughout our world.
President Ham Jong-Han of the Korea Scout Association and Governor Song Ha-Jin and all the citizens of Korea will welcome all of you in 2023.

Particularly, I greatly hope that you can help widen respect for all people, expand care for our earth and its resources, and enhance the development of other young people through both education and guiding moral values.
I have no doubt that through your vision and actions to this end, we can construct a more peaceful and sustainable future for all.

Dear Scouts, ladies and gentlemen,
Let us work together to make this world better for all.
The future of our world is in your hands.
Thank you.

Photo by World Scouting

JCI Peace Talk with BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer

Q1. You’ve visited Korea in 2007 during your term of office.
How do you like it this time comparing to your last visit to Korea?

My first visit was in an official state visit, and now, in the last two years, I’ve been three times in the past two years in the capacity of co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Center for Global Citizens. Of course, [the past ten years] was a big step forward. Korea has very fast development it’s a leading nation in many fields of technology and in fighting against the spread of nuclear weapons in full compliance with many European countries’ positions. I cannot make a prognosis on the negotiations between the North and South, but we shall keep our fingers crossed that reunification shall be possible as it was between East and West Germany.

 

Q2. You were elected as the President of Austria for the first time in January 2004. Soon after in May of the same year 10 countries joined the European and also in the same year the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was voted down in a referendum in Netherland and France whereas obtaining signatures from other EU leaders. As a President elected amid the turmoil of integration and division, how did you see Europe’s problem-solving process?

It was a disappointment that France and the Netherlands had a negative result in the referendum. But it was a big step forward on the other side, where finally an additional 12 new countries joined the EU. After Austria, Sweden, and Finland—then 15. Then it jumped to 28 countries. This was a big success, no doubt. Looking back, frankly it was easier to reach consensus in a of 12 members than in a with 27 or 28 members. There is a mood in Europe now, a discussion, where we should reduce the number of oppositions. It makes siding much more difficult.

 

Q3. There is widespread concern in Europe about the advent of the extreme right wing that hinders the social integration and as far I know Austria is no exception. Since the current Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has come into office, the concern is growing for a right-wing surge. What is your view on the concern? How do you think it will pan out?

You are right—it is a concern. In my opinion, it has to do with the fact that right-wing nationalism was very much discredited after the end of WWII, because the roots of WWII were an aggressive right-wing nationalism. After ’45 this philosophy was totally out, and a pro-European, multilateral policy was dominant. Now, in the last ten years, the right-wing nationalistic feelings are growing, and not only in Europe. It is not good for international relations. We have to explain to people that nationalism is a philosophy of the past and what we need is cooperation and readiness to cope with other nations and countries and religions. At the end of May, Sebastian Kurz lost a vote of confidence, and now we have a caretaker government and will have new elections in September.

 

Q4. I think the European integration is an ongoing process winning over crises.
How do you expect the Brexit to be settled?

At the beginning, it seemed to be clear that people in Britain were in favor of Brexit. There were difficult negotiations between Britain and the EU, but finally an agreement was reached—the so-called “soft Brexit.” Then, an unexpected situation came: in the British Parliament there was no majority for the deal, but there was also no majority for other options—neither for a second referendum, nor for staying in the EU. After some time, the British prime minister has resigned and the British need to find a new prime minister. I think at the moment the game is very open.

 

Q5. The Helsinki process is a good example of multilateral cooperation in Cold War era. Korea is trying to follow suit by learning a lesson from it.

What do you think a prerequisite for making multilateral cooperation?

The Helsinki Process was a success story, but it took place more than 40 years ago. Times have changed. Empires do not exist anymore. The Soviet dismantled. I believe that foreign policy teaches us that you need a balance of powers that one nation, one country, one superpower dominating everything and the others having to obey—that is not a stable situation. You need to speak to international rules and international tribunals. I was quite sad and disappointed to hear when President Trump quit the agreement from Paris on climate protection and also canceled the agreement with the security powers on Iran’s nuclear proliferation. I think the rule of law in the full sense of the word must be obeyed.

 

Q6. The development of nuclear weaponry and ballistic missiles by North Korea is a hot potato for security in the Northeast Asian region. The North-US negotiation has reached an impasse at this moment. May I ask your advice on the matter?

I know several people like my friend Ban Ki-moon who are much better experts on this issue, but what I can say is until two years ago, the thinking was that the problem cannot be solved eventually and the North Korean system would collapse. But that is not a good solution—then there would be many refugees, there would be a new change in power relations. A peaceful, common solution would be best. That will happen when the leader of North Korea can go so far and wants to go so far that he gives up his nuclear ambitions and is trusting or reliant on agreements and compromises. The only thing I know well is that no one must every use nuclear weapons in war against another nation. This is the most serious war crime you can imagine.

 

Q7. Austria is, like Korea, not so big in terms of its size.
It is also located between much bigger countries like Germany and Italy just like Korea is surrounded by China, Russia and Japan. Both counties share the complexity of history as well.

What do you think Korea can learn from Austria in coping with the surroundings?

You are right in principle that Austria and Korea are relatively small countries and have big neighbors, but the size of the neighbors and the nature of the neighbors is of course different. Our relations with Italy and France are our problems. But the neighborhood of Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Switzerland is relatively easy situation Korea is different. In all cases, we should rely on international law we should respect decisions of the UN and we should respect policies that make the neighborhood as good as possible. That allows us to an atmosphere where solutions are possible. The Korea question is a very complicated situation. But the German example shows us that even very complicated situations can be solved in special circumstances.

 

Source: Jeju Peace Institute

Keynote Speech of Heinz Fischer at the CTBT Science & Technology Conference

Keynote speech
Opening Ceremony of the CTBT Science & Technology Conference
Heinz Fischer
24 June 2019, Vienna

Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour and a privilege to be with you here today for this important science and technology forum.

My friend and colleague Ban Ki-moon regrets very much that he cannot be here today. Sad personal circumstances prevented him to come to Vienna and to speak at today’s Opening Ceremony of the Science and Technology Conference of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation.

Ban Ki-moon asked me to be here in his stead, and speak to you about the important role, the CTBTO continues to play for a peaceful and secure cohabitation of this planet.

He served as the CTBTO’s Chairman of its Preparatory Commission back in 1999. This shows, that this organisation has been dear to him since the initial years of its existence.

The basis of this keynote speech is the manuscript of Ban Ki-moon, transformed in my language with some personal observations from my side and shortened to a certain extent.

The CTBTO remains a shining example of how science and technology can help contribute to positive political and diplomatic outcomes.

The Treaty has had a significant positive impact since it was adopted in 1996. With the notable exception of North Korea, the CTBT has achieved de facto implementation despite not having entered into force, with no other nuclear state having carried out a nuclear test since 1998.

And despite the lack of entry into force, the CTBT and CTBTO have made important contributions in making it easier to detect nuclear tests, and in establishing a strong normative taboo against states carrying out nuclear tests.

This has made a notable contribution to protecting the world from the deeply harmful environmental and health impacts of nuclear testing, and is an important step on the path towards total disarmament.

All this has been possible because of the hard work and commitment of a group of scientists and technology experts who nearly thirty years ago undertook intensive, complex and sensitive groundwork to pave the way for a deal.

Their efforts made it easier for the diplomats to negotiate the final text, because there was already a scientific and technological consensus on the parameters.

Therefore, all of us express our admiration and gratitude for all that this organisation has done over the decades to support nuclear non-proliferation and the true cause of peace.

But I fear it is a bittersweet moment, because there is today an acute risk that rash and hubristic policy shifts could undo all the valuable work the CTBTO and others have achieved, bringing us closer to the brink of a devastating nuclear war than any time since the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

We currently find ourselves at one of the most dangerous times for arms control efforts for many decades. The bilateral arms control architecture developed between the US and the Soviet Union towards the end of the Cold War is being rapidly unravelled, through a combination of neglect, hubris and erroneous threat analysis.

The risk of a catastrophic nuclear event, whether by accident or design, is increased by the paralysis in international bodies charged with upholding peace and security, most notably the United Nations Security Council.

Ban Ki-moon had the honour of addressing the Council earlier this month in New York as a member of The Elders, the group of independent leaders founded by Nelson Mandela who work for peace, justice and human rights.

Together with Mary Robinson, he spoke frankly to the Council and particularly its five permanent members – all nuclear-armed states – to remind them of their uniquely heavy responsibility to develop effective processes of non-proliferation and disarmament.

But there are only few signs of the P5 and other states with nuclear weapons capabilities showing willing to meet these, as national and international politics appears increasingly driven by polarisation, isolationism and an alarming disdain for the very principles of multilateralism.

The imminent expiration of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in August is the most significant blow, with the potential to threaten the stability not only of Europe, but also much of Asia, if it leads to a renewed arms race involving the US, China, India and Pakistan.

The decision of US President Donal Trump to withdraw from the INF is symptomatic of a much broader negative context of unilateral moves and repudiation of previous agreements.

Consider the possible collapse of the JCPOA – an agreement negotiated so painstakingly here in Vienna, and which was universally deemed to be working well before the American decision, with all the implications we see now for rising tensions between Iran and the United States and wider Middle East security.

Consider as well the recent US withdrawal from the Arms Trade Treaty, and growing concern as to whether the New START treaty between the US and Russia will be extended beyond February 2021.

The world needs to wake up to the severity of the current threat, and the nuclear states must get serious about taking steps towards disarmament to avert an incalculable catastrophe.

Nuclear weapons constitute an existential threat to the future of humanity, just as much as climate change.

And just as science plays an indispensable role in the fight against climate change, so it must now be mobilised in the service of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

This includes exact and dispassionate analysis of new technological developments that risk complicating and destabilising traditional practices of arms control and disarmament, including artificial intelligence, cyber-technology and space-based delivery and tracking systems.

In the longer term, total disarmament is likely to require the multilateral agreement of a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

This may seem a remote prospect today.But, in order for such a convention to be a realistic possibility in the future, there is an important need for substantial work to be done now to find technological solutions that can enable total disarmament to take place with confidence that effective verification and enforcement mechanisms are in place.

All of us need to treat these issues with the utmost seriousness and urgency.

This is why The Elders have launched a new initiative on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, which was presented by Mary Robinson and Lakhdar Brahimi to the Munich Security Conference this February.

They are calling on the nuclear powers to pursue a “minimisation agenda” that could help to reduce the nuclear threat and make concrete progress towards disarmament.

Nuclear states should and must make progress in four areas:

  • doctrine – all states making a “no first use” declaration;
  • de-alerting – taking almost all nuclear weapons off high alert status;
  • deployment – dramatically reducing the numbers of weapons actively deployed;
  • and decreased numbers – for Russia and the US to adopt deep cuts in warhead numbers to around 500 each, with no increase in warheads by other states.

Above all, the nuclear states must work to reduce tensions and take practical, concrete steps to demonstrate to the world that they do not intend to keep these weapons indefinitely.

In this regard, it would be a tremendously positive step for the nuclear states to make concrete progress towards finally bringing the CTBT into force. Ban Ki-moon is calling upon the eight remaining “Annex 2 states” who have not yet ratified the CTBT – six of whom possess nuclear weapons – to do so at the earliest opportunity. There is no good reason to fail to sign or ratify this treaty, and any country that opposes this is failing to meet its responsibilities as a member of the international community.

 

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Steps towards disarmament need to be implemented with the understanding that the binary divide of the Cold War, with Washington on the one side and Moscow on the other, is no longer dominant.

Instead we live in a world of interlinked nuclear chains, where decisions by one state can have a ripple effect beyond any one immediate strategic environment. The threatened collapse of the INF is a case in point; its demise will not just raise security threats on the European continent but also spark instability and potential strategic escalation in other regions, especially Asia.

The only way to tackle these threats is to internationalise and multilateralise the issue, including via the United Nations and bodies such as the CTBTO. Only by facing this threat together, as a global community, can we hope to find a durable solution.

No country individually, nor the international system collectively, has the capacity to cope with the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.

When the first atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, it made no distinction between combatants and civilians, old and young, or victims and the first responders trying to help them.

For the very survival of humanity, nuclear weapons must never be used again, under any circumstances. The only guarantee of the non-use of nuclear weapons is their complete abolition.

We will only reach this goal if the broad mass of humanity understands the urgent nature of the threat, and the political and moral imperative for drastic action to cut the number of warheads and fundamentally reassess strategic defence postures and doctrines.

This means we need to think as global citizens. On the initiative of Ban Ki-moon, we established the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens here in Vienna in 2018.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre works to empower women and young people to act as global citizens and to contribute to the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In this context, it is utmost necessary to mobilise young people to better understand and tackle the nuclear threat.

Later today, at 2 pm, the Ban Ki-moon Centre will co-host the Youth Forum on Global Citizenship and Youth Inclusion. In a lively session we will focus on the ways youth can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs as well as to peace and security. The Forum will take place in this same hall, and I am looking forward to seeing many of you there, because I am convinced that the idealism of young people will be a powerful motivating force in the fight against nuclear weapons.

I know that all of you here understand the seriousness of the issue, and I look forward to intensive, focused and principled discussions ahead.

But I also hope that we can all find time to step back for a moment from detailed technical and scientific analyses and reflect on the political choices that have led us to today’s situation, and what questions we should ask of our leaders to put humanity on a different path.

To my mind, no-one summed this up better than Nelson Mandela, perhaps the greatest moral statesman of the twentieth century.

In 1998, as President of the new, multi-racial, democratic South Africa, he addressed the UN General Assembly on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and posed a challenge to the leaders of the nuclear powers:

“We must ask the question, which might sound naïve to those who have elaborated sophisticated arguments to justify their refusal to eliminate these terrible and terrifying weapons of mass destruction – why do they need them anyway?

In reality, no rational answer can be advanced to explain what, in the end, is the consequence of Cold War inertia and an attachment to the use of the threat of brute force.”

His words still ring true today. The time to act is now: otherwise we risk slipping from inertia into irreversible rigor mortis.

Thank you.

Ban Ki-moon – Speech to UN Security Council

Speech to UN Security Council
Ban Ki-moon
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
New York, US

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Members of the Security Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by echoing the words of my esteemed colleague, the Chair of The Elders, Mary Robinson, and thank you for the opportunity to address this august gathering.

As a former Secretary-General of the United Nations I have the utmost respect for the institution of the Security Council and the principles and values it is designed to uphold.

When the Council can cooperate and speak with a strong common voice, its decisions can have a decisive impact.

This strong, common voice is needed more than ever at this current time, when the deceptive allure of populism and isolationism is growing across all continents, from North and South America to Africa, Asia and Europe.

Faced with complex, multi-faceted and gravely serious challenges from nuclear proliferation to climate change and a radical transformation of our economic and social paradigms, it is perhaps understandable that many people from everyday walks of life feel overwhelmed and seek solace in simplified narratives of a bygone “golden age” when they had a sense of being in control of their individual and national destinies.

What is profoundly irresponsible, however, is for politicians – especially but not exclusively in democratic societies – to collude in or deliberately stoke these illusions for their own aims of securing and sustaining power, in full knowledge that no one country, however powerful, will be able to meet these global challenges on its own.

Mr. President,

This is why I believe it is absolutely essential for global peace and security that the member states of the United Nations, and especially those who have the honour of serving as members of the Security Council, understand and meet their responsibilities under the UN Charter and act in the service of all humanity rather than the narrow fields of national, ideological or sectarian interests.

The Council needs to be bold and assert its collective voice to meet common challenges, heeding the words of my illustrious predecessor as Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld:

“It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the ‘dark shade of courage’ alone that the spell can be broken.”

The Council has always been intended as a forum for collective engagement in the broader interests of peace and security, as well as an opportunity for member states to reflect their capital’s perspective on the issue under discussion.

In the humble view of The Elders, based on our substantial collective experience of working for and within the international system, the decision-making processes of the Council could be improved to encourage Council members agree on a joint common position to address conflicts in their early stages.

The Council should explore ways to be more efficient and effective, and to assert its collective voice through timely and strong statements. It needs to speak for and to the whole of the United Nations, rather than being constrained by the respective agendas and priorities in national capitals of its member states.

Mr. President,

Building on the remarks of President Robinson, I would like to highlight three more areas where I feel the Council can show effective leadership to support the work of the Secretary-General and improve general conditions for peace and conflict resolution:

1. The importance of prevention

The Secretary-General’s emphasis on the priority to be given to prevention is very welcome, and member states must ensure that UN prevention and peacebuilding work is properly supported and funded.

Council members should do more to support the Secretary-General in using his “good offices” to help prevent and reduce the threat of conflict. Council members should also recognise that the Council’s work on peace and security is undermined when its members undermine the UN’s own peace envoys and peace processes. The human cost of these machinations is all too painful to see, with Libya and Yemen standing out as just two grim examples.

2. Regional institutions

Strong multilateral regional institutions are essential for the maintenance of peace and security, both as forums for dialogue and as mechanisms for economic and political cooperation between states.

Positive examples include the European Union and OSCE.

By contrast, the absence of dialogue between states or of inclusive forums for dialogue in the Middle East is one of the reasons for the persistence and recurrence of conflict there.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend our host, the State of Kuwait, for its persistent commitment to and support for the values that have historically underpinned the Gulf Cooperation Council.

I would urge all other members of the GCC to act in the same spirit to restore this body to its vital role as a guarantor of regional stability, governed by mutual respect for national sovereignty and a shared understanding of common challenges.

The role of regional organisations in preventing and resolving conflict should be strengthened, not only in the Middle East but across the wider world. Greater coordination between the UN Security Council and regional organisations would also be beneficial.

3. Nuclear threat

The risks of nuclear conflict are higher than they have been in several decades.

As Mary Robinson so rightly said, nuclear weapons and climate change pose two of the most severe existential threats to life on Earth as we know it.

When it comes to nuclear non-proliferation, the international community is confronted with two serious challenges, namely the Iranian nuclear development programmes and securing the complete denuclearisation of North Korea.

Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, I am deeply concerned by the US decision to withdraw from the JCPOA because it not only weakens the regional stability of the Middle East, but also sends the wrong signal to ongoing negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear issues.

Unfortunately, the negotiations between the US and North Korea have come to a deadlock since the failure of the Hanoi summit last February.

I support the US government’s efforts to realise the complete denuclearisation of North Korea. In this context, we should maintain and faithfully comply with the sanction measures imposed by the Council on North Korea. I sincerely hope that all the Member States of the UN faithfully implement the sanction measures.

On the other hand, according to the FAO and WFP, actual food shortages in North Korea might reach around 1.5 million tons.

Considering the fact that North Korea has suffered chronic food shortages during the last two decades, the situation seems to be worsening without support from the international community.

In view of this, the government of the Republic of Korea has announced that it would contribute 8 million US dollars to the United Nations agencies to help North Korea address the current humanitarian situations.

I sincerely hope that the currently deadlocked negotiations will resume among the parties concerned as soon as possible.

But beyond these two regional issues, there is also the very real risk that the whole architecture of arms control and nuclear non-proliferation that was built up during the decades of superpower confrontation may collapse, through a combination of neglect, hubris and ill-founded threat analysis.

This issue goes to the very heart of the Security Council. Its permanent members are all nuclear-armed states, and they thus possess a uniquely heavy responsibility to develop effective processes of non-proliferation and disarmament.

Yet the failure of the P5 to make progress on their disarmament commitments under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty risks undermining the NPT, which has been a highly effective multilateral mechanism for preventing proliferation.

It is in the interests of the P5 to get serious about disarmament if they wish to maintain the near-universal international commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation, particularly in the lead up to next year’s NPT Review Conference.

The consequences of failure do not bear contemplation.

Mr. President,

I hope that in our contributions, The Elders have highlighted opportunities for progress as well as challenges to be overcome. We look forward now to a stimulating interactive discussion with the Council members, and thank you again for the privilege to take part in this debate.

Thank you.

“Towards Global Peace:

Strengthening Youth’s Involvement in the Global Nuclear Dialogue”

Keynote Speech by Dr. Heinz Fischer

Address

It is an honour to speak here today about the important topic of youth’s involvement in the global nuclear dialogue.

CTBTO, as you sure all know, works towards preventing the usage and further development of nuclear weapons through binding agreements and is thus working towards sustainable peace. I am proud that their headquarter is located in Vienna and happy that the Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo is here with us today. The Vienna office was founded in 1996 and counts more than 260 staff form over 70 countries.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, Executive Secretary Zerbo, on your excellent work, professionalism and dedication for more than 5 years. Mister Zerbo is a key player in forwarding the CTBT efforts and was responsible for creating the CTBTO Youth Group.

Ever since the existence of humans on this planet, war was part of our history and shaped our history. There have never been long periods of time that war did not interrupt.

The second World War was one of the most devastating wars humanity has ever experienced – counting globally 80 near to million victims.

World War II, at its end in 1945, was the first and last war that saw the actual use of nuclear weapons – we all remember, or heard, or read, about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think I do not need to mention, that the use of nuclear weapons results in an enormous number of casualties and in an unimaginable catastrophe.

So, as of 1945, a new chapter of history was born, the period of nuclear proliferation and the danger of nuclear war.

On the one hand, and here I am referring to Henry Kissinger’s argument, nuclear weapons could contribute to stability on a regional and global level, because nobody wants to carry the responsibility of actually using them. I want to mention the example of the so-called Cold War, where the two big powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, were in a constant nuclear arms race. But they have not been used against each other. The costs and risks of nuclear weapons are so high that it establishes the fear of mutual destruction.

On the other hand, we have no guarantee that this calculation is functioning in every possible situation. Nuclear weapons are the most destructive weapons on our planet and are becoming more and more sophisticated and dangerous. The only logical action should be to decrease, in the best-case scenario fully abolish, the development of nuclear weapons.

9 countries are currently in possession of atomic weapons – The US, Russia, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea. Each of these countries holds a very powerful tool and with this probably also the biggest responsibility in the world.

The security and nuclear dialogue amongst the international community has recently increased, with one of the reasons being the withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal by the United States under President Trump one year ago. This could have very dangerous consequences.

Another reason is the unsolved situation and ongoing tensions between North and South Korea and the unpredictable policy of President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

I personally think that everyone has the responsibility to contribute to a peaceful world without nuclear weapons. Women and youth play a particularly important role in the fight against war and against nuclear weapons.

I remember in 1953, when I was at the age of 15, we were discussing topics of peace and war and nuclear weapons at an international youth conference on peace and disarmament in Vienna. Some of my close friends, who were influenced by that period, later became high-level politicians in Europe.

When I look back at the youth movements of my time, I truly believe that young activists had a great influence on political actions against the Vietnam War, on the Peace Movement in the 70s, as well as on the negotiations about disarmament treaties in the Gorbatschow Era.

It would be wrong to think that these movements are not important anymore today. On the contrary! The fact is that the classical confrontation between the East and the West is behind us, but instead we experience many different violent regional conflicts, tensions and threats, so, I see youth involvement more important than ever!

Modern technology is supporting these movements by delivering different ideas and messages at high speed across the globe and connecting youth with similar interests. Social networks make coalition building easier. But also, conferences like this one today bring youth together to share ideas about how we can make peace sustainable.

 

Today we are discussing youth involvement in the global nuclear dialogue. Looking at a broader picture, it is however not only about nuclear weapons. Recent trends show that the world spent 1.7 trillion dollars last year on militaries and weapons in general. It is only normal that youth steps in and claims how much of this money could have been used for education, economic development and even for the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

Citing from the 2017 Youth and Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations in New York: “The maintenance and modernization of nuclear arsenals has a long-term impact on youth by diverting funding from activities that could make our future better to one that poses a real and concrete threat to humanity.”

As already mentioned above, nuclear threats are also highly linked to the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals, in which youth is greatly involved as well. First, and this is the most obvious connection, nuclear weapons disrupt peace and justice (SDG16).

Second, tensions occurring from the development of new nuclear weapons and its testing, could be turned into cooperation from joint verification of nuclear disarmament agreements. This could in turn lead to stronger partnerships in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and give weight to SDG 17.

A third and crucial connection between nuclear disarmament and the SDGs is the impact of atomic weapons on our environment (SDG13, 14 and 15). The use of nuclear weapons would create such a catastrophic human and environmental consequences that achieving the SDGs would be out of reach.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Having said all this, I want to thank everyone for participating in nuclear dialogues and making it inclusive by incorporating more and more women and youth.

I can tell you from my side that one of Austria´s top foreign policy priority is the achievement of a nuclear weapon free world. The construction of the Equipment Maintenance and Storage Facility (ESMF) in Seibersdorf near Vienna has further strengthened the link between CTBTO and Austria.

I hope that other countries will also soon acknowledge that (and here I quote) “the world is over-armed and peace is under-funded”.

Thank you.