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

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler meets with former UN Under-Secretary-General Dr. Noeleen Heyzer

On July 17th, 2019, BKMC CEO Monika Froehler met with Dr. Heyzer, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, in Vienna, Austria.

Dr. Heyzer was the first woman to serve as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations ESCAP and the first woman from the South to head the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), which is a part of UN Women. She became UNIFEM‘s longest serving Executive Director transforming it from a small entity to a powerhouse leading in women‘s empowerment and gender equality.

Dr. Heyzer also led an unprecedented dialogue with Myanmar’s leaders on development and poverty reduction, resulting in the Government of Myanmar requesting the formation of a development partnership. She was announced by BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, who was then Secretary-General of the UN in 2013, as his Special Adviser for Timor-Leste, working to support peace-buildingstate-building, and sustainable development.

Watch a short video that features Dr. Heyzer, made by the Asian Development Bank. In this video, she shares her thoughts on what goes into making successful women leaders by introducing “The Three Cs” by her definition.

 

“Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”

BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote as well as attending the side events of the 75th session of the UN ESCAP that took place in Bangkok, Thailand from May 27th to 31st. Focusing on the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality,” the session comprised a ministerial segment and a senior officials segment.

“I firmly believe our common endeavour to achieve the SDGS can pave the path to equality, overcome expanding division. In order to meet this noble aspiration for equality, cooperation, innovation and engagement by all stakeholders is vital,” said Co-chair Ban Ki-moon as former United Nations Secretary-General

At a side event hosted with Google and the Thai government, Ban Ki-moon shared innovative solutions that promote digital inclusion as the Asia Pacific region faces a deepening digital divide with more than half of the region without access to basic internet.

Ban underscored the urgency for “all hands on deck” to harness ownership and participation from all sectors of society to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and urged stakeholders from all sectors and countries to work together, ensuring inclusiveness and equality not only in the Asia Pacific region but across the world.

Source: https://unescap.org/commission/75/
Photo: UN ESCAP