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 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