Speech by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon
5 February 2020
Thank you for your warm introduction.
Dr. Hak Ja Han, Universal Peace Federation Founder,
Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation Members,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great privilege to stand before you this evening and humbly accept the 2020 Sunhak Peace Prize.
I’m incredibly grateful for this esteemed honor, and it is quite meaningful to follow in the footsteps of the previous luminary awardees you have bestowed this honor upon.
My special recognition goes to Dr. Hak Ja Han for her visionary patronage of this award, as well as for her longtime advocacy efforts in support of world peace, global citizenship, and sustainable development issues.
I also take this opportunity to commend the impressive work and forward-thinking vision of the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation.
The critical efforts by the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation are essential as we collectively strive to expand essential understanding, cooperation, and tolerance on the road to world peace and global sustainability.
In this connection, I simply couldn’t be more proud to receive this award intended to further the ideals of such a pioneering individual who so firmly believed in the importance of peace, human development, coexistence, and environmental protection.
My deepest gratitude goes to the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation Members for this very special honor.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our world is changing and this is bringing many new challenges and uncertainties to the geopolitical and economic order.
Multilateral cooperation is viewed with increasing skepticism just as the world needs it the most. Human rights are under threat as nationalism spreads. Development and humanitarian funds are being slashed.
And our climate crisis is deepening as wildfires burn, sea levels rise higher, and temperatures continue to surge.
Under this backdrop of instability and waning internationalism, I firmly believe that we must work together through expanded partnerships and cooperation, as well a driving commitment to global citizenship, to cope with these seemingly insurmountable challenges.
During my ten-year tenure as United Nations Secretary-General, I strived to execute my leadership duties by leveraging the power of partnerships and promoting the spirit of global citizenship.
This was critical in bringing the entire world together to agree to the UN’s 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Paris Climate Agreement.
These were two of my biggest achievements leading the UN as they provide humanity, and our planet, with a collaborative blueprint to ensure the future we want.
And global partnerships, including the active participation of nonprofit organizations, civil society groups, religious organizations, philanthropists, and other key stakeholders like you, are necessary if we are to deliver on the United Nations’ development and climate commitments.
But to establish long-term solutions, achieve world peace, and save our rapidly warming planet, we need inclusive and participatory action from all global citizens.
This includes, especially, young people, as they are absolutely essential to solving so many of the world’s challenges such as achieving the SDGs, tackling climate change, and building peace and resolving conflicts.
As such, I’ve been trying my best to help elevate global citizenship as a driving vision for young, transformative leaders to help us forge a more peaceful and sustainable world.
In this regard, two years ago I launched the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, based in Vienna, Austria to help provide young people and women with a greater say in their own destiny, as well as a greater stake in their own dignity.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The actions we take in the next ten years will be critical to ensure the future viability of both humanity and our planet. So we must work hard to illuminate true peace.
What type of peace? I am reminded of the words of President John F. Kennedy who said, “I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and hope and build a better life for their children …not merely peace in our time, but peace for all time.”
In 2020, the year of the rat, and beyond, we all share a common destiny grounded in sustainability, peace, and prosperity. Let’s expand our unified efforts to realize this shared destiny for all global citizens in the years to come.
I thank you for your attention and this great honor.
“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!”
She said, “In the summer we presented our SDG Action Plan 2019+, which summarizes all initiatives of the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism. If we all persistently and committedly implement the measures in our sphere of influence, we will reach our goal more quickly. The realization of the UN SDGs is a shared responsibility that we must take on for the next generations.”Thomas Alge, CEO of ÖKOBÜRO – Alliance of the Environmental Movement and co-founder of SDG Watch Austria, also a gave a welcome remark and said,
“The climate crisis, species extinction, poverty and inequality are highly interconnected. Climate change particularly affects agriculture. It leads to harvest losses and intensifies insect killing. Drought and other climate catastrophes are forcing people from the most affected regions of the world leave their country. The new government must therefore quickly face these challenges and make the implementation of the 2030 Agenda a top priority. Coherent implementation of the Global Sustainable Development Goals can effectively address many of the big challenges of the time.”Sami Pirkkala, Advisor to Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development, also presented about Finland’s efforts in implementation of the SDGs: launching a voluntary commitment platform towards the SDGs and gathering more than 1,600 commitments from companies, education sectors, cities and individuals. Chairman of Austrian Partner Universities Uninetz, Franz Fehr illustrated strategic goals, milestone and daily work of Uninetz and indication of which university leads which subject area of the SDGs. A panel discussion on “Where Do We Stand on the SDGs in Austria,” focusing mainly on ways in which Austria’s new administration can adopt the 2030 Agenda and take a leap toward the SDGs implementation, was moderated by Nina Thüllen and featured stellar panelists including: Parliamentarian Michael Bernhard; Parliamentarian Josef Moser; Ambassador Sylvia Meier-Kajbic; Councilor for Environment and Women Judith Schwentner; Secretary-General Thoams Weninger; Managing Director Anja Appel. © SDG Watch Austria
“More than ever does the world need young female leaders like yourself to advocate for a sustainable future with a fresh and innovative mind,” said Co-chair Ban Ki-moon in his video message.Together with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens hosted a welcome reception for the fellows of the Women’s Empowerment Program GCC on November 11th, 2019.
Co-chair Heinz Fischer warmly welcomed the crowd and briefly introduced the history of Austria as a former President of Austria, and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler and Deputy Director Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger of the Diplomatic Academy also delivered remarks on the first day of the program.
“You will shine, and you will empower others to shine with you!” – CEO Monika Froehler
“In these two weeks, you will further develop your skill-set to make sustainable development happen and to empower women globally,” said Monika Froehler during her welcome remarks.H.E. Ambassador Marafi from the Embassy of Kuwait participated in the welcome reception to welcome and congratulate all the selected fellows from GCC regions. 20 aspiring fellows of WEP GCC gathered from Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They will be participating in a 2-week tailor-made program to advance their global potential to promote the Sustainable Development Goals and foster women’s empowerment. Watch a video diary of WEP GCC’s first day!
“Becoming Global Citizens for a Sustainable Society”The course introduces the SDGs and the notion of global citizenship through the series of lectures by renowned experts from all over the world, interviews with scholars, advocates and representatives from all different sectors, and case presentations by active global citizens. With the course, the Ban Ki-moon Centre aims to examine and critically reflect on the revolving issues around the globe at local, national, and global levels. By introducing the best practices from different parts of the world, the course also encourages learners to take actions as global citizens to reach sustainable development for all. Following topics will be discussed throughout the course ㆍ Global Citizenship and the SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) ㆍ Global Citizenship in a Challenging World ㆍ Act to Change: Global Citizenship for Transformation ㆍ Meet the Global Citizens around the World ㆍ Plan for Action: Becoming Active Global Citizens
Theme: “Promoting the SDGs in Europe with a Global Mindset”
- Brigitte Bierlein, Federal Chancellor of Austria
- Heinz Fischer, Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre & 11th Federal President of Austria
- Ban Ki-moon, Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre & 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations
“One could certainly emphasize that in terms of the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Austria ranks among the top 5 countries worldwide,” said Bierlein.
“For the global policy for our planet,” Co-chair Heinz Fischer said that “the global governing programs are the SDGs.”Fischer said that the Goals are interconnected and that they are based on human dignity, which is the most important matter for mankind. He said that achieving all these goals could be challenging but that “it is a necessary and important task.” Delivering a keynote, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon encouraged all national leaders to act as global leaders with a global citizenship mindset, which he said is a truly crucial asset for every individual to have in order to achieve sustainable development in a global society.
“These 17 Goals offer us a way to confront the most critical issues of our time,” he said, “the opportunities to change the world for the better are all in our hands.”The panel consisted of:
- Pascal Lamy, Chief of the Paris Peace Forum & Former Director-General of the World Trade Organization (2005-2013)
- Maria Patek, Federal Minister for Sustainability and Tourism of Austria (Bundesministerium für Nachhaltigkeit und Tourismus)
- Chad Frischmann, Vice President and Research Director of Project Drawdown