“Towards Global Peace:

Strengthening Youth’s Involvement in the Global Nuclear Dialogue”

Keynote Speech by Dr. Heinz Fischer

Address

It is an honour to speak here today about the important topic of youth’s involvement in the global nuclear dialogue.

CTBTO, as you sure all know, works towards preventing the usage and further development of nuclear weapons through binding agreements and is thus working towards sustainable peace. I am proud that their headquarter is located in Vienna and happy that the Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo is here with us today. The Vienna office was founded in 1996 and counts more than 260 staff form over 70 countries.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, Executive Secretary Zerbo, on your excellent work, professionalism and dedication for more than 5 years. Mister Zerbo is a key player in forwarding the CTBT efforts and was responsible for creating the CTBTO Youth Group.

Ever since the existence of humans on this planet, war was part of our history and shaped our history. There have never been long periods of time that war did not interrupt.

The second World War was one of the most devastating wars humanity has ever experienced – counting globally 80 near to million victims.

World War II, at its end in 1945, was the first and last war that saw the actual use of nuclear weapons – we all remember, or heard, or read, about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think I do not need to mention, that the use of nuclear weapons results in an enormous number of casualties and in an unimaginable catastrophe.

So, as of 1945, a new chapter of history was born, the period of nuclear proliferation and the danger of nuclear war.

On the one hand, and here I am referring to Henry Kissinger’s argument, nuclear weapons could contribute to stability on a regional and global level, because nobody wants to carry the responsibility of actually using them. I want to mention the example of the so-called Cold War, where the two big powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, were in a constant nuclear arms race. But they have not been used against each other. The costs and risks of nuclear weapons are so high that it establishes the fear of mutual destruction.

On the other hand, we have no guarantee that this calculation is functioning in every possible situation. Nuclear weapons are the most destructive weapons on our planet and are becoming more and more sophisticated and dangerous. The only logical action should be to decrease, in the best-case scenario fully abolish, the development of nuclear weapons.

9 countries are currently in possession of atomic weapons – The US, Russia, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea. Each of these countries holds a very powerful tool and with this probably also the biggest responsibility in the world.

The security and nuclear dialogue amongst the international community has recently increased, with one of the reasons being the withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal by the United States under President Trump one year ago. This could have very dangerous consequences.

Another reason is the unsolved situation and ongoing tensions between North and South Korea and the unpredictable policy of President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

I personally think that everyone has the responsibility to contribute to a peaceful world without nuclear weapons. Women and youth play a particularly important role in the fight against war and against nuclear weapons.

I remember in 1953, when I was at the age of 15, we were discussing topics of peace and war and nuclear weapons at an international youth conference on peace and disarmament in Vienna. Some of my close friends, who were influenced by that period, later became high-level politicians in Europe.

When I look back at the youth movements of my time, I truly believe that young activists had a great influence on political actions against the Vietnam War, on the Peace Movement in the 70s, as well as on the negotiations about disarmament treaties in the Gorbatschow Era.

It would be wrong to think that these movements are not important anymore today. On the contrary! The fact is that the classical confrontation between the East and the West is behind us, but instead we experience many different violent regional conflicts, tensions and threats, so, I see youth involvement more important than ever!

Modern technology is supporting these movements by delivering different ideas and messages at high speed across the globe and connecting youth with similar interests. Social networks make coalition building easier. But also, conferences like this one today bring youth together to share ideas about how we can make peace sustainable.

 

Today we are discussing youth involvement in the global nuclear dialogue. Looking at a broader picture, it is however not only about nuclear weapons. Recent trends show that the world spent 1.7 trillion dollars last year on militaries and weapons in general. It is only normal that youth steps in and claims how much of this money could have been used for education, economic development and even for the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

Citing from the 2017 Youth and Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations in New York: “The maintenance and modernization of nuclear arsenals has a long-term impact on youth by diverting funding from activities that could make our future better to one that poses a real and concrete threat to humanity.”

As already mentioned above, nuclear threats are also highly linked to the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals, in which youth is greatly involved as well. First, and this is the most obvious connection, nuclear weapons disrupt peace and justice (SDG16).

Second, tensions occurring from the development of new nuclear weapons and its testing, could be turned into cooperation from joint verification of nuclear disarmament agreements. This could in turn lead to stronger partnerships in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and give weight to SDG 17.

A third and crucial connection between nuclear disarmament and the SDGs is the impact of atomic weapons on our environment (SDG13, 14 and 15). The use of nuclear weapons would create such a catastrophic human and environmental consequences that achieving the SDGs would be out of reach.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Having said all this, I want to thank everyone for participating in nuclear dialogues and making it inclusive by incorporating more and more women and youth.

I can tell you from my side that one of Austria´s top foreign policy priority is the achievement of a nuclear weapon free world. The construction of the Equipment Maintenance and Storage Facility (ESMF) in Seibersdorf near Vienna has further strengthened the link between CTBTO and Austria.

I hope that other countries will also soon acknowledge that (and here I quote) “the world is over-armed and peace is under-funded”.

Thank you.

BKMC Board members get welcomed by South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon in Seoul

Upon their visit to Seoul, South Korea to participate in the Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum (GEEF) 2019, some of the Board members of the Centre were welcomed by South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon on February 15th, 2019. Prime Minister Lee has also welcomed the BKMC Board last year on the occasion of the Centre’s first Board meeting held on the margins of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

During the meeting this time, Prime Minister Lee and Ambassador Choo Jong-youn, who is Diplomatic Advisor to the Prime Minister, were informed of the Centre’s implemented projects with the fund received from the Korea Foundation at the end of last year. Including the GEEF 2019 that took place on February 14-15th, the Centre exchanged its successful ongoing and upcoming projects in close partnership with its partners in Korea. BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer, who is former President of the Republic of Austria, and Prime Minister Lee also discussed the peace process in Korea, including denuclearization in the Korean peninsula.

Other BKMC Board members who were present at the meeting were Ambassador Sadiq Marafi of the Kuwaiti Embassy in Vienna, Ambassador Shin Dong-ik of the Korean Embassy in Vienna, Dr. Irina Bokova who is former Director General of UNESCO, Dr. Márcia Balisciano who serves as Director of Corporate Responsibility of RELX Group, and Monika Froehler, CEO of the Centre.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens looks forward to further strengthening its close relationship with Korea throughout pursuing the upcoming cooperative projects with its partner organizations in Korea.

Photo by the Prime Minister’s Office

Ban Ki-moon interviews with CNN and Al Jazeera at the WEF 2019

BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon was interviewed by CNN and Al Jazeera during the World Economic Forum 2019 held in Davos, Switzerland. During his interview with CNN, Ban said that he is concerned about “the global economy because of protectionism and other crises around the world.”

About the global trade war, Ban answered that he is encouraged

“President Trump and President Xi Jinping have agreed to resolve these issues through negotiation. Negotiation seems to be going on well.”

Ban also said that, at opening of the Boao Forum for Asia that Ban has chairmanship of, Xi Jinping promised to have the Chinese people actively engaged in trade and commerce and opening up their market as well as the intellectual property right.

“Never in the past, since the beginning of North Korean nuclear crisis, have we seen such kind of a very positive and exciting development of situation. Particularly during last year, three summit meetings have taken place between the leaders of both South and North Korea and historical first unprecedentedly meeting took place between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un,” said Ban.

Ban expressed his wishes that based on the lessons of the Singapore Summit on June 12th last year,

“two leaders will come out with much more concrete and detailed way to make sure that the complete denuclearization should be realized in a complete, very fiable, and universible manner.”

Watch the interview: https://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2019/01/24/newsstream-stout-intv-bankimoon-davos.cnn

 

Ban urges reinforcement of global citizenship and international collaboration for peace and prosperity in Asia at the Jeju Forum

Ban Ki-moon participated as a panelist and a keynote speaker in the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity held in Jeju, Korea on June 26-28, 2018. The forum was hosted by the Government of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province with support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.

The Jeju Forum is a regional multilateral dialogue where high-ranking public officials, experts, and world leaders gather to discuss and share future visions on how to approach sustainable peace and prosperity in Asia. For this year, “Reengineering Peace for Asia” was the theme for this 3-day forum as Asia has been facing an increasing array of security problems and challenges for the recent years.

The forum suggested that the task of re-engineering peace can be approached in the following ways:

  • to prioritize peace and prosperity in Asia
  • to energize the process of achieving and preserving peace and prosperity
  • to seek after Alternatives as new workable solutions
  • to seek Cooperation rather than competition or conflicts
  • to cultivate Eco-systems ripe for cooperative alternatives for peace and prosperity in Asia

At the Opening ceremony and World Leaders Session, Ban urged reinforcement of global citizenship, collaborative wisdom and cooperation between countries, and peaceful and harmonious way of denuclearization in North Korea. He also emphasized that there should be no more failure or repetition of the mistakes from the past.

Source & Photo: http://jejuforum.or.kr

Ban Ki-moon Makes Mention of the Cancellation of the High-level Inter-Korean Meeting

Regarding North Korea’s sudden cancellation of the high-level talks today, Ban Ki-moon showed his concerns and mentioned North Korea’s nonfulfillment of the previous agreements between two Koreas. An interview with Ban was conducted by the CNBC.

Despite the concerns, Ban showed some optimistic views and contended that

    “it is important that [North Korea] should be fully committed to all these detailed agreements.”

If the Summit between North Korea and the United States is successfully held next month in Singapore,

    Ban stressed that the Summit should draw up “a bold and concrete agreement to dismantle nuclear weapons and to denuclearize North Korea.”

Speaking about the importance of having advanced negotiations, Ban strongly hoped that this time North Korea does not disappoint the excitement and the wish of the international community and that

    “the Summit meeting between the two leaders will be a successful one.”

Although the entire peace process may not be complete by one Summit meeting, Ban sees that it could be possible through mutual efforts of the countries involved and with the great support from the international community.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/16/ban-ki-moon-iran-deal-pullout-sends-bad-message-to-north-korea.html
Photo: Newsis