“If we continue to hold back [women that is] a half of the world’s population, it is simply impossible to reach our full potential on the three UN pillars of peace and security, sustainable development, and human rights.”On January 21, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon visited the Cambridge Union and gave a keynote on “SDGs and Women,” followed by a Q&A session.
Co-chair Ban Ki-moon started off his address by reiterating the importance of multilateralism. According to him, multilateralism is the key to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the world where nationalism, armed conflicts, climate crisis, and corruption are still rampant.
“I believe that multilateralism much be the glue that binds our targeted efforts together.”
With respect to the fact that the progress of implementing the SDGs is indeed speeding up, Co-chair Ban also pointed out uneven rates of the implementation of the Global Goals across different regions. He boldly called for an “All Hands-on Deck” approach. Co-chair Ban furthermore stressed the importance of women’s empowerment of their active participation in achieving the SDGs. He said,
“We need to move forward with a sense of urgency with 10 years left to go.”
“The Empowerment of women is a prerequisite to global responses to global challenges, which are inherently interconnected.”As a concluding remark, Co-chair Ban encouraged the Cambridge students to take a role as an active global citizen in coping with global challenges, think beyond national boundaries, and harness a global vision to achieve a better future for our planet and for humanity. He said,
“We can create the future we want, one that is anchored in sustainability, inclusion, and empowerment for all people and our planet. But we must remember that the challenges we face are simply too enormous to be left in the hands of a few leaders. All of us have to work together in solidarity.”The Cambridge Union Society is the oldest debating society in the world and has been defending free speech since its start in 1815. Watch the full video. © Nordin Ćatić / Cambridge Union