Ban Ki-moon speaks of multilateralism on Arirang News

“What I am concerned at this time, frankly speaking is that the leaders are not united, the multilateralism is under threat, and people are trying to do it their own way.”

Reflecting on the increased use of trade policies as a means of political action and retaliation, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon stressed the need for diplomatic solutions during his interview with Arirang News.

“My advice at this time, is that there is no other way but to resolve this through diplomatic negotiation. You may have the freedom of choosing your friends, or even your spouse. But you don’t have any choice when it comes to geographically neighboring countries.”

Seoul has repeatedly invited Tokyo to hold talks aimed at resolving the matter,… and raised the issue at the WTO,… as Japan’s export measures run counter to the organization’s provisions on global trade. Many global observers, including Ban, fear Tokyo’s actions are part of a worrying trend of world leaders backing out of multilateral agreements.

Ban says U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement,… while declaring global warming is a hoax,… is a prime example of that.

“I am deeply concerned. Even I felt the anger when President Trump decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. It was only possible because China, number one GHG emitting country and United States were united and they were leading this campaign. What President Trump was saying is first of all, wrong, economically irresponsible, and politically short-sighted.”

In a time when many societies face critical threats,… from poverty and inequality to climate change and environmental degradation,… Ban stressed the need for all countries to band together for the common good.

The hour-long interview with former Secretary General Ban will air in full on Arirang TV on August eighth, 7:30AM Korea time.

Watch the preview of the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch…

JCI Peace Talk with BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer

Q1. You’ve visited Korea in 2007 during your term of office.
How do you like it this time comparing to your last visit to Korea?

My first visit was in an official state visit, and now, in the last two years, I’ve been three times in the past two years in the capacity of co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Center for Global Citizens. Of course, [the past ten years] was a big step forward. Korea has very fast development it’s a leading nation in many fields of technology and in fighting against the spread of nuclear weapons in full compliance with many European countries’ positions. I cannot make a prognosis on the negotiations between the North and South, but we shall keep our fingers crossed that reunification shall be possible as it was between East and West Germany.

 

Q2. You were elected as the President of Austria for the first time in January 2004. Soon after in May of the same year 10 countries joined the European and also in the same year the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was voted down in a referendum in Netherland and France whereas obtaining signatures from other EU leaders. As a President elected amid the turmoil of integration and division, how did you see Europe’s problem-solving process?

It was a disappointment that France and the Netherlands had a negative result in the referendum. But it was a big step forward on the other side, where finally an additional 12 new countries joined the EU. After Austria, Sweden, and Finland—then 15. Then it jumped to 28 countries. This was a big success, no doubt. Looking back, frankly it was easier to reach consensus in a of 12 members than in a with 27 or 28 members. There is a mood in Europe now, a discussion, where we should reduce the number of oppositions. It makes siding much more difficult.

 

Q3. There is widespread concern in Europe about the advent of the extreme right wing that hinders the social integration and as far I know Austria is no exception. Since the current Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has come into office, the concern is growing for a right-wing surge. What is your view on the concern? How do you think it will pan out?

You are right—it is a concern. In my opinion, it has to do with the fact that right-wing nationalism was very much discredited after the end of WWII, because the roots of WWII were an aggressive right-wing nationalism. After ’45 this philosophy was totally out, and a pro-European, multilateral policy was dominant. Now, in the last ten years, the right-wing nationalistic feelings are growing, and not only in Europe. It is not good for international relations. We have to explain to people that nationalism is a philosophy of the past and what we need is cooperation and readiness to cope with other nations and countries and religions. At the end of May, Sebastian Kurz lost a vote of confidence, and now we have a caretaker government and will have new elections in September.

 

Q4. I think the European integration is an ongoing process winning over crises.
How do you expect the Brexit to be settled?

At the beginning, it seemed to be clear that people in Britain were in favor of Brexit. There were difficult negotiations between Britain and the EU, but finally an agreement was reached—the so-called “soft Brexit.” Then, an unexpected situation came: in the British Parliament there was no majority for the deal, but there was also no majority for other options—neither for a second referendum, nor for staying in the EU. After some time, the British prime minister has resigned and the British need to find a new prime minister. I think at the moment the game is very open.

 

Q5. The Helsinki process is a good example of multilateral cooperation in Cold War era. Korea is trying to follow suit by learning a lesson from it.

What do you think a prerequisite for making multilateral cooperation?

The Helsinki Process was a success story, but it took place more than 40 years ago. Times have changed. Empires do not exist anymore. The Soviet dismantled. I believe that foreign policy teaches us that you need a balance of powers that one nation, one country, one superpower dominating everything and the others having to obey—that is not a stable situation. You need to speak to international rules and international tribunals. I was quite sad and disappointed to hear when President Trump quit the agreement from Paris on climate protection and also canceled the agreement with the security powers on Iran’s nuclear proliferation. I think the rule of law in the full sense of the word must be obeyed.

 

Q6. The development of nuclear weaponry and ballistic missiles by North Korea is a hot potato for security in the Northeast Asian region. The North-US negotiation has reached an impasse at this moment. May I ask your advice on the matter?

I know several people like my friend Ban Ki-moon who are much better experts on this issue, but what I can say is until two years ago, the thinking was that the problem cannot be solved eventually and the North Korean system would collapse. But that is not a good solution—then there would be many refugees, there would be a new change in power relations. A peaceful, common solution would be best. That will happen when the leader of North Korea can go so far and wants to go so far that he gives up his nuclear ambitions and is trusting or reliant on agreements and compromises. The only thing I know well is that no one must every use nuclear weapons in war against another nation. This is the most serious war crime you can imagine.

 

Q7. Austria is, like Korea, not so big in terms of its size.
It is also located between much bigger countries like Germany and Italy just like Korea is surrounded by China, Russia and Japan. Both counties share the complexity of history as well.

What do you think Korea can learn from Austria in coping with the surroundings?

You are right in principle that Austria and Korea are relatively small countries and have big neighbors, but the size of the neighbors and the nature of the neighbors is of course different. Our relations with Italy and France are our problems. But the neighborhood of Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Switzerland is relatively easy situation Korea is different. In all cases, we should rely on international law we should respect decisions of the UN and we should respect policies that make the neighborhood as good as possible. That allows us to an atmosphere where solutions are possible. The Korea question is a very complicated situation. But the German example shows us that even very complicated situations can be solved in special circumstances.

 

Source: Jeju Peace Institute

“We need global concerted action,” says Ban Ki-moon at the Boao Forum

The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) 2019 was held in Boao, China from March 26th to March 29th, 2019 under the theme for “Shared Future, Concerted Action, Common Development.”

Ban Ki-moon, who serves as Chair of the BFA delivered a welcoming speech at the opening of the Forum. National leaders such as Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon of the Republic of Korea, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg, and Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus of Sao Tome as well as representatives from the private sector also gave speeches at the Forum, stressing the importance of the international collaboration on solving global issues.

“We need global concerted action; then we have to work for common development in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals the United Nations has presented to the world,” said Ban at the Forum.

Watch Ban Ki-moon’s interview with CNBC:

“Everyone can change the world!” says Ban Ki-moon in the interview with the Austrian Red Cross

Ban Ki-moon Interview
Magazine “My Red Cross” by the Austrian Red Cross

How is the world going to look like in 50 years?

In 50 years sustainability has hopefully become the global norm. The world now has the largest generation of young people in history. I place great hopes in their power and positive activism to shape our future. They are part of the first generation that can end poverty and the last that can avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Hopefully, even before 50 years have passed, quality education will be provided to all, gender equality will become the standard, health and well-being will be guaranteed for each human being and all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be achieved. It has to be an effort of everybody at all leaves to leave no one behind.

 

Are you afraid your children and grandchildren will have to live on a destroyed planet one day?

Climate change is the most pressing challenge we face as human beings today. It is not slowing down, and the clock is ticking. Natural disasters are becoming more and more frequent and devastating, from historic floods, fires, storms, tsunamis and earthquakes. To protect our planet for future generations, steps must be taken to both combat and to adapt to the changing climate and with accelerated action. It is our collective responsibility as global citizens to see that our planet remains inhabitable and safe for the generations to come.

 

There are more extreme weather events in the world and climate change seems to be speeding up. Do you think mankind has realized what is at stake?

Many of us are very aware of what is at stake, especially those who are making it their life’s work to mitigate and adapt to climate change. However, despite the many who are aware and active, some are choosing to turn a blind eye. This is troubling, particularly when it comes from national leaders. When the US and President Trump pulled-out of the Paris Climate agreement, this was deeply concerning. I have been speaking out that his vision is politically short-sighted, and economically irresponsible and scientifically wrong. So, he is standing on the wrong side of history. Despite this, I am encouraged and hopeful that the whole world will be united in moving ahead with this Paris Climate Change Agreement. It is the political and moral responsibility of our political leaders to support this.

 

You traveled to the US in 1962 with students from 42 different countries to visit the American Red Cross and meet president Kennedy. How did that influence you?

Thanks to the American Red Cross, I was given the opportunity to join students from 42 countries to travel across the United States visiting Red Cross chapters. This opened my eyes to the world. During the trip, I met then President John F. Kennedy, who said to us “there are no national boundaries; there is only a question of whether we can extend a helping hand.” This strong message has been engraved in my memory ever since and I continue to try my utmost to do my share as a global citizen to help those in need. All our helping hands are needed.

 

What are your feelings when you look back from our very different time with very different presidents?

The world has changed vastly since 1962. Since then, the world has faced rising global challenges. Leaders, in recent years, have turned towards nationalism and populism, putting up walls instead of extending helping hands. This is, plainly stated, not the way forward. Leaders must have and enlist a global vision in all that they do, seeing beyond their national borders. I have not met many that have a global vision. Nelson Mandela is one of the examples that comes to mind. Many around the world were greatly influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom.  He touched our lives in deeply personal ways.  At the same time, no one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations.

 

You come from South Korea – and 80 percent of the people affected by natural disasters live in Asia. Who should start to accomplish the turnaround in climate politics?

Natural disasters are having a major impact around the world and indeed Asia is majorly affected. China has a great responsibility in the region as well as in the world in leading the turnaround in climate politics. Recently, the country has shown great leadership in cleaning up the air and has contributed greatly to the Green Climate Fund. Additionally, China reached its 2020 carbon emission target three years ahead of schedule with the help of the country’s carbon trading system. China will be key to getting other countries to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

What can individuals do to change the world?

I firmly believe that individuals have the power to change the world for the better, be it at a local, regional, or global level. Women make up half the world and half the world’s population are under the age of 25; therefore, it is vital to empower these groups to act as global citizens, showing solidarity and compassion towards the challenges the world faces. At the beginning of 2018 we founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna, Austria together with my Co-chair Former Federal President of the Republic of Austria Heinz Fischer for this exact purpose. In the world today, there are plenty of people with passion, yet not enough with compassion. This is unfortunate, so we must educate the world’s youth to understand that their actions have ripple effects on other around the world. We must teach empathy alongside math and history, for without this and a global vision, we will not succeed in creating a sustainable future for us all, leaving no one behind.

 

What is necessary to achieve a turnaround – does the planet need a new economic system to find a path towards sustainability?

To achieve the turnaround, there are many steps the world needs to take. These may be at the systemic level, but also at the social and individual levels. Businesses need to understand the economic and additional benefits that come from operating more sustainably. The system may not need to change, but the structures within it and leadership can be transformative. The Global Compact has proven that companies who adapt to more sustainable practices will have a “win-win” situation as their success requires stable economies and healthy, skilled and educated workers, among other factors. And sustainable companies experience increased brand trust and investor support.

Additionally, engaging women more in the economic system will also cause a transformation of the global economy and vastly impact sustainability. When more women work, economies prosper and grow. An increase in female labour force participation and a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation, leads to faster economic growth.

These are just a few of the ways in which the turnaround, with regards to the economy, can be achieved.

 

You say global issues need global solutions, and that it takes responsibility and global citizenship. But isn’t growing nationalism around the world – and blaming globalisation for problems – preventing just that?

Nationalism is truly the antithesis of the notion of global citizenship and it is hampering our progress towards building a sustainable planet. Indeed, global solutions are necessary. However, when world leaders and nations retreat into their own bubbles, we are not able to have the difficult discussions needed to make progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and meeting the challenges we face today. Therefore, multilateralism must continue to be fostered wherever possible. We need to keep these avenues of discourse open.

Read the magazine (German) here: http://epaper.roteskreuz.at/MRK1Wien2019/

Photo: Peter Lechner

 

 

BKMC Co-chairs meet with His Highness Amir of Kuwait

Upon the visit of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens to Kuwait, Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer met with His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait on February 11th. Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning, Minister Mariam al-Aqeel for economic affairs, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim, and Ambassador Sadiq Marafi, who is a Board member of the Centre, were present at the meeting.

As former Secretary General of the UN, Co-chair Ban expressed his appreciation for the Amir’s leading role in global humanitarian activities and mediation efforts in the Middle East region.

At an interview with the Kuwaiti press, Co-chair Fischer said “we are very proud that we had the honor to be received by His Highness the Amir and he promised and announced full support for the goals of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, the goals of humanity and the goals of supporting the sustainable development.”

He added, “I’m impressed that His Highness is very well informed in supporting the bilateral relations between Kuwait and Korea, and Kuwait and Austria.”

Photos: Kuwaiti government
Interview: https://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2777268&language=en

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

 

“Leaving No One Behind” World Disasters Report 2018 Launch

World Disasters Report 2018 was launched by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Austrian Red Cross, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens on November 12th, 2018 in at the Vienna International Centre in Austria.

The event featured BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, Chief Luc St-Pierre of Space Applications at UNOOSA, President Annemarie Huber-Hotz of Swiss Red Cross, Under Secretary-General Jemilah Mahmood of IFRC, and Secretary-General Verner Kerschbaum of Red Cross Austria on the panel.

Addressing his keynote, Co-chair Ban said that

“The IFRC has been a frontier at drawing attention to the world’s complex challenges and looking into the areas where emergency interventions need to be addressed and advanced.”

He underlined his appreciation to the IFRC for its dedication to

“saving lives, protecting livelihoods, strengthening recovery from disasters and crisis, enabling healthy and safe living, and promoting social inclusion and the culture of non-violence and peace.”

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported that only 97 million were selected to receive humanitarian aid out of about 134 million people in need this year. A lack of global investment in disaster relief leaves tens of millions of people exposed to preventable disaster risks. Out of 25 billion dollars required, less than 12 billion dollars have been received.

Titled “Leaving No One Behind,” the World Disasters Report 2018 emphasizes that the international humanitarian sector must do more to respond to the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people.

“The international community, states, and individuals to come together to further reach marginalized area and to give hands to people in vulnerable situations,” urged Ban.

After the launch event, Dr. Eva Poecksteiner from ORF interviewed Co-chair Ban Ki-moon asking some questions including how the international community can prevent disasters, what disasters have touched him personally, and what impact the climate change has on the world’s disasters.

Read more about the World Disasters Report 2018 here: https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/world-disaster-report-2018/

Watch Ban’s interview with ORF here: https://tvthek.orf.at/…/Machtwechsel-in-der-Ostukr…/14395234

Ban Ki-moon Urges Global Citizens to Act Proactively for the Climate Issues at the SIWW Water Dialogue

During the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW), Ban Ki-moon gave a keynote address as a distinguished guest to open the Water Dialogue session. The session was part of the Water Leaders Summit on the topic of “Create: Solutions for our Future” and saught to share insights, trends, and solutions concerning water management and sanitation.

Ban emphasized the importance of the water issues and working together to combat climate change, stating that at least 2 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water. He reminded the attendees that “we are all global citizens” and that we have to proactively take actions for the climate issues that are global issues.

During the SIWW, Ban also mentioned about the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in an interview with CNBC:

“Now with the United States pulling from this Paris agreement, I’m concerned now how to mobilize the necessary financial support for many developing countries who do not have the capacity to address this climate change issues. They do not have any responsibilities historically speaking. Therefore it is absolute necessary that the international community uses its political will to work on this matter.”

Source: https://www.siww.com.sg/
Source & Photo: https://www.facebook.com/siww.com.sg
Interview: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/10/i-sincerely-hope-that-the-us-will-come-back-says-ban-ki-moon.html