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

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s Speech at the 2020 Doomsday Clock Announcement Event

Speech by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon

The 2020 Doomsday Clock Announcement

Washington, US

January 23, 2020

 

Thank you Mary, and thank you to Governor Brown, Rachel Bronson and all the team at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and all the distinguished guests gathered here today.

As Mary Robinson has said, it is an honor to be here today to unveil the Doomsday Clock. But is with a solemn sense of duty, with a moral responsibility, and with a frightening sense of what is happening.

These are perilous times. The alarming rise in tensions in the Middle East threatens war, and a return to nuclear weapons development in Iran. The world waits to see how North Korea will respond to stalled negotiations over its nuclear ambitions. I am struck by the news released from North Korea that it would not be committed to previously made commitments, to nuclear disarmament, and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This is surprising and very, very shocking. Also, the situation in Kashmir between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India remains unpredictable and highly dangerous.

Such tensions demand responsible global leadership, but instead over the last year we have seen precisely the opposite. We have seen the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, division and uncertainty regarding the upcoming Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and, most worryingly, the absence of any meaningful negotiations between the US and Russia to extend New START.

It would send a deeply negative message to the world if New START is allowed to expire in February 2021. This would not only eliminate remaining constraints on deployed nuclear arsenals, but also remove the monitoring and inspection capabilities which have provided both sides with increased transparency regarding nuclear capability.

On the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, The Elders believe the world must seize the opportunities presented by the review conference that begins in April. This treaty is the backbone of the multilateral consensus on nuclear arms control, and yet disagreements and frustrations between its signatories mean there is a significant risk that the conference could conclude without an agreed outcome – a scenario that would undermine the treaty and could even trigger withdrawal by member states.

Alongside the potential expiry of New START, this is a disastrous scenario for the world. It exemplifies the failures of global leadership, and the weakness of the multilateral system in the face of isolationist politics that sees diplomacy as a zero-sum game rather than a means of finding common solutions to common challenges.

At a time when world leaders should be focused on the clear and present dangers of nuclear escalation and the climate emergency, we are instead witnessing denial, disregard and dangerous brinkmanship.

The existential risks of climate change and nuclear war are increasing just as the decision-making frameworks to address them are unravelling. From the Paris Agreement to the JCPOA; despondency over the Non Proliferation Treaty to impotency at the UN Security Council – our mechanisms for collaboration are being undermined when we need them most.

To echo Mary Robinson – we must see urgent action on the climate crisis in 2020. All countries must come to COP in Glasgow in November with clear plans for delivering carbon net-zero commitments by 2050. We must see an immediate end to the investment in, and exploration of, fossil fuels. We must heed the demands of the young people on our streets and listen to the science.

We cannot negotiate with nature. We must listen to the warning of nature.

The US must somehow begin to demonstrate leadership at the federal level too. Without it, we cannot hope to meet the targets that will keep global warming to manageable levels. Without US leadership there will be no winners from this climate crisis, only losers.

In the end, we will only overcome these existential threats by working together, and to do so the world needs to re-energize multilateralism. I do believe there is an opportunity for this in the coming year.

2020 marks 75 years since the end of Second World War and the birth of the nuclear age – and, indeed, the founding of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. It also marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.

This is an opportunity for the world to renew its commitment to multilateralism. It is a time for world leaders to bring a new mindset to the key moments ahead of us in 2020 – to create the foundations for a just transition to a carbon net zero economy and redouble the efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

We can overcome the existential threats we face, but we must act, together, now. No country, no individual, no matter how powerful or how many resources, can do this on their own. We need to hold hands and work together.

Thank you.

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