“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.

“Leave no one behind,” says Heinz Fischer at the symposium for Global SDGs in a Mediatized World

A 2-day symposium “Global Sustainable Development Goals in a Mediatized World” took place at the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Vienna, Austria on April 4-5th, 2019.

At the opening, BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer delivered a keynote, mentioning the great success of the world having reached the consensus on the Human Rights Declaration, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and then the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations.

Expressing his appreciation of “what is done and how many institutions and universities are dealing with teaching about the SDGs,” Fischer urged that we should cooperate to advance the SDGs and “leave no one behind.”

Mediatization shapes public discourses and thus influences the way in which the Agenda 2030 is reflected, criticized, and implemented. Communication plays an important and sometimes decisive role in the awareness and individual acceptance and the political and economic legitimization of the SDGs due to digitalization, convergence, and globalization in a rapidly changing societal environment.

The symposium brought together experts, scientists, and researchers in the field to highlight these aspects, discuss the consequences across disciplines, and elaborate the implications of research related to the implementation of the Agenda 2030. Their research findings were also presented during the symposium, and it showed what Austrian scientists can make to the SDGs, deepen the interdisciplinary dialogue among scientists and beyond, and better acquaint researchers with the SDGs.

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/events/384052535730580/

Ban Ki-moon stresses the importance of “resilient and sustainable cities” at the MIPIM 2019

From March 12th to 15th, 2019, the 30th edition of MIPIM, an real estate event, takes place in Cannes, France. It is the world’s leading real estate event gathering key players of the property market. The event allows people from different sectors of the industry to meet and bring the value chain together and provides a unique exhibition and networking platform to forge deals. This year, the main theme for the conferences is “Engaging the Future.”

At the opening ceremony, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote and stressed that

“we must ensure that our future cities are resilient and sustainable, creative and innovate, and inclusive and equitable.”

He pointed out that creating resilient and sustainable cities are they key to our future, and the climate change is the “most pressing threat standing in this path.” He also addressed how the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can help in charting a thriving blueprint for the future.

“Goal 17 of the SDGs clearly highlights the prominent role that the private sector, alongside civil society, academia, and others, should play to help achieve the SDGs,” said Ban. “Global partnerships,” he stressed, “are necessary if we are to deliver on our development commitments.”

Photo by: Yann Coatsaliou

Global Compact Network Thailand officially launches and encourages private sectors to adopt sustainable policies

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote at the official launch of Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT), setting off private-sector collaboration for country’s sustainable development, in Bangkok, Thailand on December 14th, 2018. Founded in 2017, GCNT is currently joined by 40 leading Thai corporates whose common purpose is to facilitate balanced and sustainable economic, social and environmental development in accordance with United Nations Global Compact — a collaborative network of private sectors that encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies with more than 13,000 members in 160 countries.

“By assembling leaders from the Thai private sector to form a Global Compact local network, the critical work that you are undertaking to alight your business with the ideals of the United Nations has my deep respect. Our world is going through pronounced changes resulting in elevated uncertainties and new risks. Keep working to make business a force for good. Together, we can respond to the urgency of our global challenges and construct a better tomorrow,” said Ban.

GCNT‘s primary mission in 2019 is to provide private organizations with necessary guidance to ensure that they recognize the role of business case for the achievement of sustainable development and enter the GCNT membership to create high-impact collaborations.

President Suphachai Chearavanont of GCNT says,

“Regarding the four major principles of sustainability, Thailand will start with human rights because it is the critical issue that contributes to the country’s credibility and international economic relations. At GCNT, we realize that human rights is a very sensitive subject and concerns various aspects, including child labors, foreign workers, female labors, welfare, and several other lesser-known issues. Therefore, it is important for us to identify human rights as an urgent priority that needs to be addressed within a short time frame. Apart from taking the role of center in sharing knowledge and opening up learning opportunity for members through activities as previously said, we also would like to invite business organizations across the country to join us in building a strong network capable of impacting a concrete change in the society, with aim to attain 100 members by end of 2019,”

Read more about the launch event and the network here: https://read.bi/2EBCK86

GCC Health Insurance Conference & Exhibition

On November 18th-19th, 2018, The first “GCC Health Insurance Conference & Exhibition” was held in Bahrain where BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote at the opening session, followed by Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of World Health Organization (WHO). The opening session as well as the ministerial session with Health Ministers, Deputy Ministers and global policy makers were moderated by Ambassador Kim Won-soo, who is a Board member of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.

The Conference aims to bring together health, public policy, and insurance experts from the region and the globe to share insights on implementing and managing national health insurance. The two-day conference featured panel discussions on health insurance schemes and reforms. These include defining the roles of buyers and providers of healthcare services and insurance companies, along with defining the significant role of innovation in health information systems within the reform program.

Learn more about the conference, and stay tuned for pictures: https://www.gcchealthconference.com

 

“Perspectives on the Energy Future and Global Developments”

Keynote Address
Launch of the World Energy Outlook 2018
World Energy Outlook 2018 Launch
International Energy Agency & VERBUND
Technical University Vienna, Kuppelsaal Karlsplatz 13
November 14, 2018, 11:30 – 14:30

Your Excellency Minister Elisabeth Köstinger,

Mr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency,
Mr. Gerhard Roiss, President of Verbund,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank the International Energy Agency and VERBUND for bringing us all together for the launch of the 2018 World Energy Outlook in Vienna.

It is a great privilege for me to address such a distinguished group of global leaders and experts across a wide variety of sectors and regions to talk about “Electrification” and “Making it Happen”.

As a child growing up during the Korean War, I studied with candlelight. Electric conveniences such as refrigerators and fans were largely unknown.

I had to study until I was a freshman at University under candle light.

Yet within my lifetime reality changed utterly. Easy access to energy opened abundant new possibilities for my family, my community, my country and so many others around the globe.

We have come a long way and one thing is clear:

Energy transforms lives, businesses and economies. And it transforms our planet —our climate, natural resources and ecosystems.

Since 2010, less than a decade ago, the average costs of solar power has dropped 73% and the cost of wind energy has dropped 23%, respectively. It may be kind of meaningless for me to point this numbers out in front of many experts like yourselves.

The costs of battery storage technologies are forecasted to decline by as much 60% over the next decade.

In many scenarios, renewable energy is now more competitive than conventional fossil fuel-based energy.

In other words, we have arrived at the tipping point where investing in renewable energy is no longer only the right thing to do to, it is also the sensible thing to do. If we were to push for the new construction of traditional fossil fuel power plants, we would be at risk of being viewed as not only “immoral” but also as “unwise”.

 

Still, real world change is not occurring as rapidly as we want, and current electrification rates are insufficient to achieve Sustainable Development Goal No. 7.

Today still nearly one out of every five people lacks access to electricity.

More than twice that number — 2.8 billion people – still rely on wood, charcoal, animal and crop waste or other solid fuels to cook their food and heat their homes.

For example, Sub-Saharan Africa is far behind the rest of the world in terms of electricity generation capacity, per capita electricity consumption and household access to electricity. If the current trend continues, 674 million people will remain without access, even in 2030.

At the same time the global thermostat is rising, threatening development goals and economies small and large.

Still we need to make modern energy services available to all, increase efficiency and increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

This is why I launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. It has three targets and the headquarters is now here in Vienna.

We must do all of that in a sustainable manner.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In order to address this, there are many ways in which we can redouble our efforts, including:

  • Aiming to achieve the scale of investment and deployment required, by focusing on interventions that develop a fully sustainable market chain from manufacture, to distribution, retail and end-user consumption;
  • Increasing the share of renewables for end-users, including heating, cooling and transportation and by utilizing the rapid technological advances;
  • Decentralizing renewable energy systems, including mini-grids, to ensure that people will have access to power despite disruption to energy services, especially targeting LDCs as energy services are simply non-existent in many regions;
  • Creating institutional arrangements that will increase international cooperation and collaboration; support research and development for green growth and spread those technologies to developing countries; and
  • Developing policies and other innovative ways for the private sector and public institutions—especially those that receive R&D funding from their governments—to be more active in transferring technologies to developing countries so they can decrease fossil fuel imports, reduce air pollution and create green jobs.

 

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Earlier this year, I was elected as the President of the Assembly and the Chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) located in Seoul, a treaty-based intergovernmental organization, by its Member countries.

I chose to lead GGGI because its mandate coincides heavily with the work I pioneered as the United Nations Secretary-General:

  • It supports countries to achieve sustainable development and climate action through new and innovative green industries and jobs;
  • It supports governments to develop socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable green growth plans and policies; and
  • It supports its Member countries achieve the NDCs (national determined contributions) by delivering climate action services in the areas of mitigation, transparency and finance.

GGGI has mobilized 1 billion USD in green investments in developing countries, despite being established only six years ago in 2012.

This Institute currently has thirty Member countries, and they are at the heart of this changing global energy landscape—as they seek to design their future energy systems against the background of population growth, rapid urbanization, economic growth and rising income levels—all of which will require governments to meet soaring energy demands. Additionally, as some of you might already know, only a few weeks ago in The Hague, Netherlands, on Oct. 16th, we launched the Global Commission on Adaptation, which I am honored to lead together with Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of World Bank and Mr. Bill Gates.

On the heels of one of the deadliest summers of climate-related weather disasters affecting countries all over the world, the new Global Commission on Adaptation aims to catalyze a global movement to bring scale and speed to climate adaptation solutions.

Even if countries meet the Paris Climate Accord goal of keeping the rise in Earth’s temperature below two degrees Celsius by rapidly adapting to new forms of energy, the effects of global warming will continue to manifest and intensify.

Millions of lives are being lost. And poor people who did the least to cause the problems are suffering the most.

Over the next two years, the Global Commission on Adaptation will make its action oriented “Action Plans” and will submit them to the United Nations Climate Summit meeting to be held in September next year. Based on that report adopted at the General Assembly, we will try to have a summit meeting for action on adaption. We will provide the roadmap for what new actions are needed and what must be done differently to secure our future.

The urgency around climate adaptation cannot be underestimated. We are at a point of no return. We can choose a path that can lead us toward a more climate resilient future, or we can continue with the status quo, putting at risk global economic growth and social stability that will undermine food, water, and energy security for decades to come.

Preparing for climate risks cannot be done by just one country, or in one sector, or just by governments alone. This is a global challenge requiring global coordination across boundaries. Climate impacts in one country can have effects on the other side of the world. We must learn from one another.

Adapting to climate will require a complete transformation of policies, programs, and projects across governments, the private sector, and civil society to ensure the well-being of humanity.

I believe that climate adaptation is achievable—at scale and at speed. In fact, the costs of adapting are less than the cost of doing business as usual. And the benefits many times larger.

Adaptation is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to emphasize that we have invested for mitigating the climate phenomenon; however, we have not done much to adapt to the situation. That is why we must balance our work between mitigating and adaptation. And in that, of course, I think energy can play a critically import role.

Energy is a cross-cutting issue. When we say cross-cutting issue, energy and water as well as others are cross-cutting issues. Without these, you cannot do anything. Starting from goal number one until goal seventeen, most of the goals are directly incorporated with energy. So, without energy, we cannot do anything at this time.

I was able to study without energy and I was even drinking water from a stream at that time. But if I drink water from a stream today, I will get sick immediately. We are living in a very dangerous world at this time. Without energy, you cannot do anything. You cannot operate any small community. Therefore, sustainable energy is the most important.

There are some initiatives that I have taken – global education, quality education, global heath issues, gender equality, fighting against violence against women, and energy, and water. These are some of the initiatives I have taken in my time.

Sustainable energy for All is one initiative which is located in the beautiful city of Vienna led by Rachel Kyte who previously served as the Vice-President of World Bank. She is doing an excellent job.

We need to work very hard.

The International Energy Agency as well as everyone present here today are playing an important role for the promise of SDG 7.

Allow me to congratulate the World Energy Outlook team for the launching of WEO 2018.  I would also like to encourage the IEA, and all stakeholders here to continue your very important work for sustainable development, building new connections and partnerships with many existing international organizations like GGGI and other organizations to work together

We have the capacity to ensure sustainable futures not only for us, but for succeeding generations to come.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, use your energy wisely and sustainably. That’s my message to you. And I thank you for all of your leadership.

Thank you very much!

 

Photo: IEA

“Are International Treaties in Jeopardy?”

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA) co-organized a forum titled “Are International Treaties in Jeopardy?” in Vienna, Austria on November 13th, 2018.

Prior to the forum, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler had a meeting with Minister Karin Kneissl, Ambassador Andreas Riecken, Cabinet Karl Ehrlich of the Minister, and Deputy Spokesperson Peter Guschelbauer at the Ministry.

The forum facilitated discussions on international treaties and rapidly changing status quo of the global society to seek for global solutions for global challenges impacting international relations. Both Co-chairs of the Centre delivered a keynote.

Co-chair Fischer, former Austrian President, said that

“The commitment solves challenges and problems like migration through cooperation.”

He continued,

“there is still a long way to go, and we have learned that we must work this way together, respecting each other, compromising our own national benefit in order to sustainably pursue this project of humankind.”

Co-chair Ban, former United Nations Secretary-General, highly criticized that Austria has recently withdrawn from the global compact on migration.

“Ever since the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties was signed almost fifty years ago,” Ban said, “commitments are eroding, treaties are disrespected, and agreements are ignored.”

He emphasized that political leaders should approach global issues with moral perspective rather than following their political will.

“World leaders, they led global visions, global citizenship; they always speak loud and clearly that “I work for humanity.” But, when they go back to national governments, they all become national leaders. That is why I really want to foster global citizenship. We need to work together. Nothing can be done alone.”

In order to solve the global issues, Ban said that it is important for the states to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that must be owned by the member states who should prioritize supporting “women, young people, and the least advantaged.”

During the panel discussion, Co-chair Fischer also pointed out that the international rule of law should be the final goal for a state to reach and that one has to rely on international treaties and agreements.

Minister Kneissl, Deputy Spokesperson Guschelbauer, and Head Thomas Hajnoczi of Disarmament Department of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also featured on the panel as well as Ms. Mona Ali Khalil, former Senior Legal Officer with the UN Office of the Legal Counsel, and Professor Gerhard Hafner for International Law at the University of Vienna.

Watch Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s keynote: https://youtu.be/dNlaAP0nP2s
Watch Co-chair Heinz Fischer’s keynote: https://youtu.be/JqaFieHNevM

Photo: Ashraf Mahmoud / BMEIA

Ban Ki-moon’s Keynote at the World Disasters Report 2018 Launch

Keynote Address at the
2018 World Disasters Report Launch
Monday, 12 November 2018
Vienna International Centre (VIC)
15:00 – 15:15, Conference Room C3, 7th floor, UN VIE C-building

Dear Vice-President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and President of the Swiss Red Cross, Annemarie Huber-Hotz,
Dear Under Secretary General Jemilah Mahmood of the IFRC,
Dear Chief Luc St-Pierre of Space Applications at the UNOOSA,
Dear Secretary-General Verner Kerschbaum of Red Cross Austria,

Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to take part in the launch of the World Disasters Report 2018 today at the Vienna International Centre.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has been a frontier drawing attention to the world’s complex challenges, looking into the areas where emergency interventions need to be addressed and advanced.

With its research and analysis, the IFRC has provided the world with guidelines to meet the needs and to improve the wellbeing of humankind exposed to disasters and health emergencies.

I would like to underline my appreciation to the IFRC for its dedication to saving lives, protecting livelihoods, strengthening recovery from disasters and crises, enabling healthy and safe living, and promoting social inclusion and a culture of non-violence and peace.

Now that the year of the final review of the Strategy 2020 is approaching, it is more timely than ever for IFRC and all of us, to closely examine the actions implemented and find out where gaps persist between the “expected” and the “actual” outcomes.

In order to reduce these gaps, the 2018 World Disasters Report aims to provide guidance for the international humanitarian sector, on how to better respond to the needs of the most world´s vulnerable people and how to mobilize the power of humanity.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 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, and this should alert all of us in the international community and particularly donors to do more and reach further.

The 2018 World Disasters Report exemplifies five areas of concern which the international humanitarian system misses when dealing with people in need:

First poor information about who is most in need and second limited understanding about how to help them best as programmes are not always targeting the right people in the right way. Third inadequate access to people who need support, and fourth a lack of flexibility in expanding humanitarian assistance to people outside the traditional areas of conflict, disaster, displacement or disease. And fifth: inadequate funding.

Solving the problems of our rapidly changing world needs everyone, every country, and the international community’s attention and their cooperation. Global issues need global solutions, and global solutions must not leave anyone behind. This requires strengthened partnerships in global policy-making that builds resilience and reduces vulnerability of people.

During my ten-year tenure as United Nations Secretary-General, I sought to build international partnerships and encouraging national, regional and international actors to ensure a more

peaceful, livable, prosperous and sustainable world. I try to continue that work with various roles that I have taken on, continuing to build bridges and raise awareness also with the humble Centre for Global Citizens, which I founded here in Austria together with my good friend Dr. Heinz Fischer.

 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Following up on the Paris Agreement within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in October this year a Global Commission on Adaptation was launched in the Netherlands. Together with Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kristalina Gerogieva, CEO of World Bank, I lead the Commission to catalyze a global movement to bring scale and speed to climate adaptation solutions. As you surely know the Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Elhadj As Sy, was also appointed as a member of the Global Commission on Adaptation.

The Commission works to address opportunities to become more resilient and less vulnerable to climate impacts and natural hazards. It urges governments and businesses to incorporate climate change risks into their social and economic development plans and investments and makes sure that the world’s most vulnerable people receive the benefit.

Climate change is merely one of many causes of natural disasters, and there are countless number of other challenges that the world needs to pay attention to. More than half of the emergencies the IFRC responds to are a direct result of weather-related events. And the majority of the other operations are compounded by and made more complex by changing climate.

Each and every one of us must all play our part with our own expertise to tackle these increasing global challenges. We simply must continue to work to leave no one behind and move forward, together.

 

Thanks to the American Red Cross, I was given an opportunity to join students from 42 countries

to travel across the United States visiting Red Cross chapters, and that is when I opened my eyes to the world and met 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 is engraved in my memory and I continue to try to do my share as a global citizen to help the ones in need. All our helping hands are needed.

With the launch of the 2018 World Disasters Report today, I urge the international community, states, and individuals to come together to further reach marginalized areas and to give hand to people in vulnerable situations. No one should be left behind, and the 2018 World Disasters Report will draw the lines of a picture that the world can paint together to make this world livable for all.

Thank you for your attention. /End/

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivers keynote address at the World Knowledge Forum 2018

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered keynote address at the World Knowledge Forum (WKF) that took place on October 10-12th, 2018 in Seoul, Korea. After the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the WKF was launched in October 2000 with the ambition to transform Korea into a knowledge driven nation. Since then, the World Knowledge Forum has taken on the role as a platform for discussions to reduce knowledge gaps through knowledge sharing, and promote balanced global economic growth and prosperity. A total of over 4,000 global speakers and 43,000 audiences have participated since the first forum with the theme of “Shaping the New Millennium with Knowledge” in 2000, and the forum has now become the biggest knowledge festival in the world. Since last year, BKMC Co-chair Ban has also served as Co-chair of the WKF.

This year the forum adopted “Collective Intelligence: Overcoming Global Pandemonium” as its theme to reflect the situation we are in now and our effort to survive it with collective intelligence. ‘Pandemonium’ refers to the devil’s den featured in renowned English poet John Milton’s epic poem titled ‘Paradise Lost’. In other words, the term is used to depict situations that are chaotic like hell. As such, ‘Pandemonium’ can be utilized to describe the chaos brought about by global challenges such as geopolitical conflicts and trade war. To tackle the global challenges, high-level speakers including Chair Jenet Yellen of Federal Reserve System, President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia, H. R. McMaster, the 26th Advisor to National Security Council, and President Rajeev Suri of Nokia were featured at the WKF 2018.

Photo: WKF

 

Three Young Refugee Women Share Their Inspirational Stories at the BKMC

A multimedia event on “Global Citizenship in a Time of War” organized by Heather Wokusch, an educator who works in the field of women and youth empowerment through education and promotes the SDGs, was hosted at the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens on September 27th, 2018. Having gained international attention while addressing the plight of refugees, three young refugee women shared their experiences and inspirational stories during the event.

  • Nour Barakeh: With a background spanning scientific studies and artistic work, she supports the establishment of sustainable educational projects focused on empowering people to transcend the effects of war. She wrote a theater piece “Not Our Fate” that has been recently performed at European Forum Alpbach as well as at the Weltmuseum Wien hosted by Österreichisches Parlament. She also acted in the play herself.
  • Dooa Al Zamel: She is one of a few survivals from crossing the dangerous #sea from Syria to Europe relying on a boat filled with hundreds of migrants most of whom were killed when attackers sank the vessel. While surviving days alone at sea, Al Zamel also saved the life of an infant and became the subject of a best-selling book “A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea.”
  • Suad Mohamed: From Somalia, she has lived in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, and Austria. She speaks five languages and is currently learning her sixth: German. As a pharmacist, Mohamed works as an Assistant Consultant in the Österreichisches Rotes Kreuz and as an interpreter at Diakonie Österreich. Her aims are to spread awareness about refugee and migration issues, to improve the healthcare and pharmaceutical systems in developing countries, and to empower women.

An excerpt of the video “Escape from Syria: Rania’s Odyssey” was screened during the event to show a journey of Rania Mustafa Ali who filmed her flee from Syria to Austria. On the way, Ali was cheated by smugglers, teargassed and beaten at the Macedonian border. She also risked drowning in the Mediterranean, travelling in a boat meant to hold 15 people but stuffed with 52. Mustafa was also supposed to deliver keynote at the Centre’s event but could not make it due to unexpected flight issues.

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler delivered welcome remarks and also facilitated a Q&A session. Guests from various different sectors such as media, international organization, NGO, etc actively involved themselves in the conversations on the refugee crisis and sought for ways to solve the global issue and to empower those in need of help. A ‘female empowerment’ segment of a video filmed during the European Forum Alpbach capturing “Not Our Fate” was also screened and touched the audience.

Watch the full video of Rania’s Odyssey here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDHwt-ooAi4