The BKMC becomes Knowledge Partner for the Climate Walkers

BKMC RAUN research mentee Eva-Maria Holzinger got inspired by her academic work on sustainability and together with other young changemakers initiated the project called “Wanderers of Changing Worlds: Walk and Talk through Europe’s Climates”.  

As part of the Knowledge Association Board, the BKMC is actively supporting the project and serving as an expert on the SDGs. The project is touching on SDG 3, SDG 4, SDG 13, and SDG 17. 

The combined research, education, and media project aim to understand the regional experience of climate change by walking through different climate zones in Europe as of 5 June 2022. This summer, the climate activists are undertaking instead a tour across Austria, walking through all 9 counties and entering into dialogue with its citizens to know more about how climate change is impacting their everyday lives. If you would like to join the group on their walk check out their route here

As a preparation for the walk, the group organized a lecture series at the University of Vienna in the first quarter of 2021, to teach students about the multiple perspectives of climate change. The BKMC CEO Monika Fröhler gave a presentation on “The interconnectedness of the SDGs, Global Citizenship and Climate Action” during Lecture Series #4 – “We Talk”. She highlighted the importance and challenges of the Paris Climate Agreement and gave an introduction to the SDGs as a tool to tackle the climate emergency. 

The BKMC is happy to support this important initiative and is looking forward to joining these changemakers on their last stop in Vienna.   

The Climate Walk is a project established by the Wanderers of Changing Worlds in 2019. Through the pillars of research, education and media, the group wants to raise awareness about the changing climate and its impacts on people across Europe by walking 12.000 km from Norway to Portugal, crossing 16 countries in 8 months.  

Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen Scholars 2020 – Closing Ceremony

On December 15, 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen Scholarship Program 2020’s Closing Ceremony took place. The BKMC, together with RELX & University of Bordeaux awarded, six extraordinary African Global Citizen Scholars – Akosua PepraOduor Kevin, Hikmat Baba Dua, Tafadzwa Sachikonye, Barbara Nakijoba, and Ruvimbo Samangafor successfully completing the scholarship program and implementing outstanding SDG Micro-Projects in their communities 

The Ceremony was opened by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, who greeted participants in a video statement and welcomed the scholars to the alumni family of the BKMC, expressing support and gratitude for the scholars’ contributions to the Agenda 2030: More than ever the world needs young leaders like yourselves. It makes me proud that you have chosen to be ambassadors of global citizenship and that we can consider you as a valued member of the BKMC family. 

Márcia Balisciano, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility at RELX Group and a valued member of the BKMC Board, also addressed the audience.  Márcia Balisciano expressed RELX’s enthusiasm for funding the Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen Scholarship Program 2020 while sharing exciting news, We are thrilled to have participated in this program and we would like to announce that we would like to fund this program again next year.”  

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler also congratulated the scholars and emphasized the impact they have created with their projects: This is exactly what a global citizen mindset is about: global citizen values and 21st-century skills. We are honored that we had the chance to have worked with you.  

The University of Bordeaux, represented by Vice President for External Relations Stéphanie Debette, shared her words of congratulations and also positive feedback from professors at the university who mentored the scholars during their SDG Micro-project implementation.

The highlight of the ceremony was the presentations by our GC scholars where they shared the impact they have created in their communities. 

To improve the livelihoods of widows and orphans involved in farming, GC Scholar Akosua Pepra developed the SDG Micro-Project “Climate Resilient Agriculture for Widows and Orphans in Rural Communities in Ghana” (SDGs 1, 2, 5 and 13).  


Barbara Nakijoba, deeply passionate about youth empowerment, conceptualized the “Youth take the lead”  in the Rugaba Division in Uganda to create a more peaceful society by reducing crime by 2021 (SDG 16). 


Action4Periods by Hikmat Baba Dua, created a safe space for 60 women and girls in rural communities in Mbanaailiy (Ghana) by engaging elders, women and girls to discuss the stigma of menstrual hygiene and produced 60-70 reusable pads, improving access to menstrual products (SDG 3, 4, 5 and 13).  


 

GC scholar Oduor Kevin founded INFO4FOOD, as he realized that food waste was dumped on the roads by vendors contributing to environmental degradation. With his project he prevented post-harvest losses, reaching 87 households in Kenya.


 

Ruvimbo Samanga’s project Agrispace, helps farmers in Zimbabwe gather missing agricultural data by using satellite technology to monitor agricultural productivity, leading to more sustainable and climate-resilient practices. The program can map different agricultural zones providing soil data, weather soil analysis, and monitoring crop health and irrigation, allowing farmers to have better time and yield tools for crops. Agrispace contributes to many SDGs, particularly SDG 2 for “zero hunger” and target 2.1.2 for “food insecurity”.


Tafadzwa Sachikonye raised public and private awareness for improved urban wastewater system in Zimbabwe with her project Waterclix for sustainable urban water systems in Zimbabwe (SDG 6 and also 3, 5, 13).  

   

In the last part of the evening, Program Officer Julia Zimmerman awarded the scholars with their certificate of achievement, and Co-chair Heinz Fischer offered closing remarks, commending all GC scholars 2020 on their efforts, You showed resilience, passion and transformed challenges into opportunities. 

We want to congratulate all of our GC scholars 2020! We are immensely proud of the results of your hard work and look forward to seeing what you do next! Additionally, we want to thank our partners RELX Group and the University of Bordeaux again for their wonderful support and collaboration for the program this year! 

Ban Ki-moon and Vanessa Nakate discuss how to save the world at Forum Alpbach

On August 26, 2020, Ban Ki-moon Centre Co-chair Ban Ki-moon and young climate activist Vanessa Nakate from Uganda, took the stage at the first-ever digital European Forum Alpbach to discuss the role of youth activism in building a better future. 

“How to Save the World?”

The session had more than 900 live viewers and was moderated by the Editor in Chief of Politico Europe, Stephen G.Brown. Keynote speeches by Ban Ki-moon and Vanessa Nakate were followed by a moderated discussion, answering questions shared by the diverse and global audience.

In his speech, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon underlined that tackling climate change is an urgent international problem that needs an international solution; the impacts of climate change are being felt around the world and the most vulnerable populations are facing the brunt of the consequences. He stated, “Our Earth itself is running a fever.”

Vanessa Nakate, a youth climate justice activist and founder of the Rise up Movement, called for action to address the climate crisis, highlighting the importance of youth activism, smart agriculture and better infrastructure in fighting #climatechange, protecting the only planet we have.  She emphasized, “We cannot achieve the SDGs without #climateaction.”

Ban Ki-moon gave credit to civil society actors, particularly youth and women, who are speaking out and galvanizing others to address climate change and to develop innovative and sustainable solutions. He said, “I applaud all these young leaders for their wisdom, their passion, and their hard work in combating climate change.”

The discussion also addressed the concept of global citizenship and the role of education for youth and girls in providing necessary tools to achieve the SDGs and tackle climate change.

It was also pointed out that gender inequality and the climate crises go hand in hand. Women are disproportionately effected by the negative repercussion of climate change with loss of livelihoods and more. However, they are also an essential part of the solution. Climate action that neglects half of the population, is not sustainable and it is only with the engagement of women and girls that we will overcome this obstacle.

Quoting Secretary-General Ban: “It is essential that we push for gender-responsive policies when addressing climate change – policy-making that includes the voices of women and recognizes their powerful role as stakeholders who can also act to combat climate change.”

Vanessa also drew attention to the need for inclusive action, mentioning that we have to ensure the protection of the planet and its people. She said, “Climate change affects almost every other sustainable development goal. We cannot have gender equality without climate action.”

The highly awaited discussion ended with a question from the audience asking about the importance of inter-generational action.

Ban Ki-moon answered: “We are abusing the privileges given to us by mother nature. If we don’t act now, we will regret it for the next generations.”

Vanessa called for collaboration stating that, “Young people have to work together with the older generation. If we want to fight the climate crisis, we have a lot to learn from them and they have a lot to learn from us.” 

Learn more about Forum Alpbach here. 

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon speaks at Munich Security Conference 2020

“There is a lot of arguments, a lot of problems and a lot of division in this world. Only with multilateralism, there are solutions.” – Ban Ki-moon at MSC2020
On February 13, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon attended the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany. Ban participated in a panel discussion “Apocalypse Now? – Climate and Security” with stellar speakers and stressed the importance of mutual cooperation among countries and institutes for climate action. Emphasizing the role of youth in the global movement toward climate action, Co-chair Ban said,
“The young people protesting around the world speak more sense than many world leaders…Without the activism and passion of youth, we will not overcome two of the gravest existential threats we have: climate change and nuclear war.”
Lamenting on the United States’ decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement, he also said,
“Paris Agreement is not perfect but is the best that could be reached in 2015; its implementation remains the best way of tackling the multifaceted threats posed by the climate change.”
He further continued and showed his concern toward inadequate action taken to cope with existential climate threats and said,
“I am angry we have to repeat the science yet again. Let’s not waste time with climate skeptics. The science is clear that climate change is happening, hast. IPCC brings together 2,500 of the world’s best scientists and their 5 reports make the facts clear: If we don’t address climate change, then I think we have no hope.”
Jennifer Morgan, the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, said,

“We have seen what they youth has done, but we have to take this forward. We have to shift the power dynamics.”

  Helga Maria Schmid, Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), said,

“It was under Ban Ki-moon’s leadership that the UN Security Council first addressed the links between climate and security.”

“We do have a Schuman Plan: it’s the European Green Deal. It is the transformative vision of the new EU Commission that is not only about reducing emission or leading energy transition. It’s about biodiversity and an alternative growth mode.”

  Tom Middendrop, Chair of the International Military Council on Climate and Security, said,

“I would sacrifice my life for a world where we didn’t need a military…but climate is accelerating scarcity and frictions…that’s why we need the military to help build the resilience we are looking for.”

  John Kerry, former United States Secretary of State, said,

“We need to declare a war on the war of science.”

“We are heading toward an absolute catastrophe…we need to behave like we are at war.”

During this conference, over 500 high-ranking international decision-makers gathered for Munich Security Conference 2020. Personalities from politics, business, science, and civil society will discuss current crises and future security challenges in Munich. On February 14, 18:30 CET, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon will deliver a special lecture at TUM Speakers Series on the margins of the Munich Security Conference. © Munich Security Conference / Kuhlmann

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

Speech by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon

Sunhak Peace Prize 

Seoul, Korea

5 February 2020

 

Thank you for your warm introduction.

Dr. Hak Ja Han, Universal Peace Federation Founder,

Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation Members,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

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

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

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

I thank you for your attention and this great honor.

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon gives a special lecture at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

“Nature is sending us a strong warning: we must listen to its voice. Nature does not negotiate; it does not wait for us. Unless we work together as one, we will never be able to fight climate change.”  – Co-chair Ban Ki-moon
On January 31, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon gave a special lecture on the topic of “Addressing Climate Change and Air Pollution in Asia-Pacific” as a part of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)’s Distinguished Person Lecture Series. The special lecture was opened with UN ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Alisjahbana’s opening remark.
“In Asia-Pacific, it is our historic opportunity to consider how we can be a solution-provider, raise ambition and take transformative action in response to the climate crisis.”
In his lecture, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon expressed his concerns on the gravity of climate change. To warn that we are running out to time, he referenced the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s report, which reported that we are left with only 12 years to make a massive and unprecedented change to mitigate the consequences of global temperature rise to its moderate levels. Moving on, Co-chair Ban underscored the deadly health hazards resulted from air pollution as a global challenge. He said,
“There is clear evidence that links particulate matters to various illnesses such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even cancer.”
He also referred to the findings of the World Health Organization (WHO) that 92% of the Asia-Pacific population – roughly 4 billion people – are already exposed to high levels of air pollution. He noted how these two serious matters are linked together and are like two sides of the same coin. He said,
“Not only they share similar emission sources, but they also influence and exacerbate each other.”
Despite the complexity of these issues, Co-chair Ban showed a sense of optimism.
“Fortunately, the close link between the two challenges means that collective action can maximize impact effectiveness. The intertwined nature of the two challenges also means that effective action cannot be pursued separately. Joint action is an absolute must.”
During his speech, Co-chair Ban commended the efforts and actions taken by the UN ESCAP in adopting the resolution on ‘strengthening regional cooperation to tackle air pollution challenges in Asia and the Pacific’. Moreover, he spoke highly of Italy for taking the first step in making climate change mandatory in early education, and said,
“Last year, we witnessed the power of a single young person. After hearing Greta Thunberg, I’m emphasizing quality education on environment for young people. When they are educated, they will be equipped with leadership and ready to take action.”
As he concluded his lecture, Co-chair Ban said,
“This decade will be the final decade where we can turn the tide against the irreversible destruction of our climate. If we miss that deadline, ALL of us will meet the consequences. A ‘me versus you’ mentality has no meaning in climate action. Remember, that it should be ‘us versus climate change’.”
  Watch the full lecture Source Ban Ki-moon Foundation for a Better Future  © UN ESCAP

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon attends Brookings’ Alan and Jane Batkin International Leaders Forum

“We must educate the next generation in global citizenship. We must increase their understanding of climate change because they are our future leaders.”
On January 24, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon attended and spoke at the Alan and Jane Batkin International Leaders Forum hosted by Foreign Policy at Brookings Institute. During this occasion, Co-chair Ban addressed the climate threats and its implications, climate justice, and climate leadership. In his international leadership roles, Co-chair Ban has been a prominent advocate of bringing climate change to the top of the global agenda, promoting sustainable development and highlighting how environmental degradation has disproportionately affected people in developing countries, especially women. Stressing the importance of multilateralism, Co-chair Ban said,

“A ‘me vs. you’ mentality has no place in climate action. It is about ‘all of us vs. climate change’.”

He also said,
“If we do not solve the problem of climate change we will all be losers. I urge President Trump to return to the Paris Agreement.”

“We need disruption. We need to get urgent on climate. We need a new sense of global citizenship”

He also called world leaders and young generation to harness the mindset of global citizenship to cope of global challenges. Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland, said,
“The climate crisis must be the top priority for all leaders in 2020. It is not hyperbole to say that the fate of humanity as a whole rests on decisions taken this year.”
The event was opened with Brookings Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Bruce Jones’ introductory remarks. Following remarks by Co-chair Ban and Chair of The Elders Mary Robinson, Brookings Senior Fellow and the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies Jung H. Pak joined them on stage for a conversation on climate change, human rights, adaptation measures, and global leadership in the face of a climate emergency.

Climate threats and climate justice: Action and adaptation for sustainable development – Part 1

Climate threats and climate justice: Action and adaptation for sustainable development – Part 2

© Ralph Alswang / Alswang Photography

Mary Robinson and Ban Ki-moon make announcements at the 2020 Doomsday Clock event

“There is an opportunity in 2020 for the world to renew its commitment to multilateralism – to create the foundations for a just transition to a carbon net zero economy, and redouble our efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons,” said Co-chair Ban Ki-moon.
On January 23, together with Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, who also serves as Deputy Chair of The Elders, joined experts from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists for the unveiling of the Doomsday Clock in Washington DC, an annual assessment of the existential risks faced by humanity. The Clock’s hands were moved forward to 100 seconds to midnight – the closest to midnight they have been since they were first set in 1947. The decision takes into account the precarious state of nuclear arms controls, the growing threat of climate disaster, and how these can be compounded by disruptive new technologies.
“Our planet faces two concurrent existential threats: the climate crisis and nuclear weapons. We are faced by a gathering storm of extinction-level consequences, and time is running out,” Mary Robinson said.
Ban Ki-moon and Mary Robinson specifically called on President Trump to respond to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer to open negotiations on New START, which will expire in February 2021 unless the agreement between Washington and Moscow is extended. Following the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in July 2019, the end of New START would mean there was no remaining arms control treaty in force between the United States and Russia, raising the prospect of a new nuclear arms race. The Elders reiterated their proposals for a “nuclear minimization” agenda as the best way of making progress towards complete disarmament by the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and all other nuclear powers. Ban warned that the threat of catastrophe is being exacerbated by attacks on, and disregard for, the multilateral rules-based system:
“The existential risks of nuclear conflagration and climate change are increasing just as the decision-making frameworks to address them are unraveling. From the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal to deadlock on nuclear disarmament talks and division at the UN Security Council, our mechanisms for collaboration are being undermined when we need them most.”
On the climate emergency, The Elders Chair Mary Robinson called for a change of mindset if the world is to tackle the threat effectively:
“The science of the climate crisis makes it imperative that we take urgent action in 2020.  We need a change of mindset in politics, finance, business and civil society, one that enables us to keep temperature rises at or below 1.5°C, whilst protecting the rights, dignity and livelihoods of those affected by the shift to a carbon neutral economy. Not to do so will be a death sentence for humanity.”
Co-chair Ban Ki-moon believes 2020 is a crucial year to defend and revitalize the multilateral system’s ability to address the threats of nuclear and climate catastrophe, as the world marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Source: The Elders © The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon Gives a Keynote during the 6th Seoul Climate-Energy Conference 2019

“The USA should return to Paris Climate Agreement…It is a political and moral responsibility of the US.”
On December 20, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon attended and gave a keynote at the 6th Seoul Climate-Energy Conference 2019 held in Seoul, Korea.  The 6th Seoul Climate-Energy Conference, under the theme of “New Climate Regime and the New Normal,” placed heavy emphasis on global climate change discussions and international cooperation. This year’s conference endeavored to redefine what “normal” is as climate change that has been accelerated by unpredictability in global politics and pushes the globe close to the point of no-return.  Renowned experts from academia, business, industry and policy together reviewed the outcomes of COP 25, examined the tole of higher education in sustainable development, discussed big data as the newest source of clean energy, revisited the importance of the renewable-nuclear alliance, and investigated the prospects of engaging young generations in climate change discussions. Co-chair Ban Ki-moon emphasized the importance of getting support from political leaders to mitigate climate change effects and promote sustainable development, and said, 
“Every state should make choices for humanity rather than its own selfish national interests. It is the responsibility of sovereign states to engage in transnational cooperation and participate in global challenges.”
  He also proposed a multilateral approach as a solution. Co-chair Ban said,
“Even a country with abundant resources like the US cannot solve such a multifaceted issue alone. We must act in unity to solve the problem.”
Co-chair Ban then presented an example of Bangladesh,
“In 1971, a fatal cyclone in Bangladesh resulted in more than 300,000 casualties. However, after devising appropriate policies to prevent future lose, the average number of yearly casualties due to cyclones dropped to less than 10. Likewise, if we implement proper measurements, we can adopt to climate change and prevent climate catastrophes.” 
As he concluded his keynote, Co-chair Ban said,
“Former President John F. Kennedy once said that we choose to go to the moon, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because solving climate change is also hard, we must do it and do it together.”
  © Yonhap News

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler Attended FIA Environment and Sustainability Commission Meeting

Today, FIA’s Environment and Sustainability Commission came together during the Annual General Assembly that is taking place in Paris, France. At the meeting, delegates discussed its aims to strengthen the FIA’s environmental sustainability credentials across its two pillars of Sport and Mobility by advocating for a cleaner, safer and more sustainable urban mobility as their core agenda. And this year’s agenda was on FIA E&S Commission’s support for UNFCCC’s “Sports for Climate Action Initiative.” BKMC CEO Monika Froehler spoke highly of the role of FIA in the field and said,

“IOC and FIA are both important champions in this sport for climate action initiative…We are glad to see President of FIA Jean Todt, E&S Commission Chair President of Mexico Felipe Calderón and other high-level representatives of sports and mobility at FIA taking the lead on contributing to climate action in their respective fields.”

During the meeting, FIA’s Environmental Delegate Garry Connelly said,
“We need to be more vocal also about the positive contribution of motor sport and mobility for the environment and society at large: more efficiency for combustion engines, fuels, oils, less fuel consumption and other technological spin-offs.”
© BKMC / FIA