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 3rd Anniversary of the Ban Ki-moon Centre

Celebrating the 3rd 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


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.


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


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

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.