“Building Bridges”: The BKMC promotes Youth Engagement for the Sustainable Development Goals and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

As part of the Decade of Action to advance the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement, the BKMC is taking part in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization’s (CTBTO) “Building Bridges, Nurture Partnership, Embrace Dialogue” project series in partnership with the Government of Switzerland, which invites youth organizations to engage with CTBTO Youth Group (CYG)  members to share best practices, ideas for cooperation, and build partnerships to lead for sustainable development, climate action, peace, and security advocacy.

On March 18, BKMC Program Officer Julia Zimmerman participated in a panel at the CTBTO’s second webinar “Building Bridges, together with five other youth-led NGOs/community groups, and especially stressed the role of youth as key to speeding up progress for the achievement of the SDGs and the connection between sustainable development and disarmament 

“We need to take on these challenges collectively and apply a global citizen mindset. That also includes in disarmament. There is no sustainable development without disarmament. There is no equal world without disarmament.” 

Ban Ki-moon Centre  Program Officer Julia Zimmerman

Program Officer Zimmerman also highlighted the BKMC’s role in guiding its fellows, scholars, mentors, and mentees in the implementation of SDG Micro Projects for their communities. These are best practice examples of youth contributing to accelerating action for sustainable development, an essential part of which is disarmament for the insurance of peace and security. 

Spot the challenge and find the solution. Everyone can take action for the SDGs in their communities.

Ban Ki-moon Centre  Program Officer Julia Zimmerman

The BKMC is looking forward to cooperating with the CTBTO, CYG, African Young Generation in NuclearGlobal Young Academy, Nuclear and Strategy Network – New Generation, YOUNGO, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network to strengthen young people’s role in tackling challenges and leading within the global peace and security agenda. 

Click HERE to watch a recording of the Building Bridges Webinar.  

For more practical insights, check out “Youth, Peace & Security: A Programming Handbook”

Ban Ki-moon Centre 2020 Annual Report is Out!

We are thrilled to share the 2020 Annual Report of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens with you. We hope to inspire you with what we have accomplished together in 2020  and with what we will build on it in 2021 and beyond with your place in our valuable global network.

“We want to thank our co-chairs, our board, and all our partners and supporters for an unprecendented yet impactful year that gave us hope that with dedication, hope, and team spirit we can continue to contribute to a better future for all – leaving no one behind. “

Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler

Read our report below, share it and join us in supporting global citizens around the world.

 

Ban Ki-moon in conversation with die Furche: “We need more Global Citizens”

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens Co-chair Ban Ki-moon was interviewed by Die Furche for its January Edition about the impact the United Nations had during his upbringing in Korea, his time as United Nations Secretary-General, his expectations for President-Elect Joe Biden, and how the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Climate Agreement and Global Citizenship are the road maps to achieve a better future for all.

Read the full English version below.

Access the full German Version here:

2021.1a Ban Ki-moon ITV 

2021.1b Ban Ki-moon ITV


“We need more Global Citizens”

Die Furche, 7 January 2021

1. Former UN Secretary General, may I start with a personal question: You come from a country that has been divided by war to this day – how did that shape you for your later role as the world’s top peacemaker and peacekeeper? 

When I was born before the end of the Second World War, everybody was poor. Soon after, South Korea was attacked by North Korea. At that time, the United Nations had sent troops and humanitarian aid. As a child growing up during the Korean War my family received food ratios and I studied with either kerosene lamps or with candlelight from schoolbooks that were provided by UNESCO. These are my first memories of the UN. Later it was the United Nations’ efforts that substantially helped rebuild and recover South Korea from the Korean War. Observing the incredible impact of the UN in supporting a divided country and assisting on the road to peace and prosperity has influenced me in my various roles. On many occasions, I have emphasized the importance of multilateralism in peacekeeping and I still believe in the role of the United Nations and the other global players in steering the peace between North and South Korea.

In the first months of this year, while the number of individuals infected by the virus and death tolls rose sharply, many trivialized Covid-19 by comparing it to the annual wave of influenza. On the other hand, others over-dramatized the situation and overstated the actual number of victims. Slowly, a more realistic picture has emerged.

2. 75 years after the end of the Second World War, 75 years after the founding of the United Nations, with the aim of “saving future generations from the scourge of war”, it looks in many places as if politicians and peoples have become “tired of peace”. Do you share this impression and how can the willingness to work for peace be rekindled?

Yes – in 2020 the UN was celebrating its 75th anniversary. It has been a great privilege for me to serve as Secretary-General of the United Nations for two terms. My motto was that I will make this “most impossible job”, as the first UNSG Trygvie Lie said, into a “possible mission.” I have been trying this during my ten years tenure, devoting all my time, passion and energy.

But frankly speaking we need to have much more sense of unity and collaboration amongst states of the world, much more global solidarity and compassion. The unanimous adoption of the 2030 Agenda by the 193 UN member states and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 were steps in the right direction. This still gives me hope. The Sustainable Development Goals provide a clear path towards creating equal, prosperous, and peaceful societies around the globe. By pledging to implement the global goals by 2030, governments, businesses, civil society, and academia are showing their will to join forces in the fight against poverty, hunger, inequality, corruption, human rights abuses and climate change to achieve a peaceful world.  

This is therefore not the time to be “tired of peace”, on the contrary, it is the time to recommit to the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement for our future generations.

3. In a CNBC interview, you were unusually harshly on trial with today’s generation of politicians. You said: “I do not have much expectation on current global leaders – they are all aiming for short time political gains – this is shameful.” Why is that so? How can we as society counteract this? Or is the saying true: people get the politicians they deserve? 

Solidarity, empathy, and cooperation are the foundations on which societies can thrive. Especially in times of crisis, global leaders must portray these values and work together in the common interest of all humanity. However, today we see global leaders who have lost their focus and who do not base their policies on inclusive human rights. We see leaders who are favouring personal interest and profit over the well-being and safety of their own people.

To counteract destructive, exploitative, and unsustainable policies we need to empower a generation of politicians who are passionate and compassionate global citizens and who are living up to leaving no one behind. We can only create these leaders by fostering Global Citizenship Education and by promoting knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals. The global citizenship mindset encompasses global citizen values, knowledge about the sustainable development goals and their implementation and 21st century skills.

4. In 1962 you took a trip to Washington, D.C. for an English competition. A meeting with US President John F. Kennedy during this trip led you, according to your biography, to become a diplomat. Almost 60 years later: Do you think the incoming US President Biden could also motivate young people to stand up for diplomacy and cooperation worldwide?

I will always cherish the memory of this trip to the US as a young man, meeting JFK. It was a turning point in my life. I do believe the new President-elect of the US, Joe Biden will also be an inspiration to a lot of young people around the world. Not only will he motivate youth to stand up for inclusive policies and international cooperation but once President-elect Joe Biden renews America’s commitment to Paris Climate Agreement, he also has a unique role to turn climate ambition into global climate action for the new generation. Also, by joining forces with Kamala Harris as the first female Vice President-elect, he has set an example for inclusive policies and that anything is possible. Despite facing so many challenges at the start of their term, I believe they can inspire next generations, influence their ambition and commitment to make this a better future for all.

5. And beyond that – what do you expect from President Biden and his administration for international cooperation in general and for the United Nations in particular?

The promise of President-elect Joe Biden to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement, as he takes office on 20 January 2021, will hopefully not only restore faith in the United States as an international team player, but will also strengthen cooperation with the United Nations. Not abandoning a commitment made 5 years ago and valuing fundamental rights and freedoms in their international leadership role, will result in the revival of the importance of the US in multilateralism, striving towards global solutions for global challenges.

6. In 2021 we hope to get the health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic under control with vaccinations – what lessons should the global community learn from Corona, in particular for global solidarity and cooperation?

The Covid-19 pandemic hit the global community unexpectedly hard. The pandemic exacerbated existing challenges such as climate change, humanitarian crises, widening disparity and strengthening authoritarian regimes. The tasks we are now facing are enormous, but not impossible to achieve if we work together and act in solidarity. The key notions that matter during and after the pandemic are cooperation, solidarity, responsibility, discipline, and compassion for the most vulnerable. The global situation also requires a strong commitment by all stakeholders to the Agenda 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Covid-19 sheds light on the many profound inequalities that persist on our planet. Therefore, the verbal and theoretical commitments to solidarity must also be reflected in concrete actions supporting vulnerable groups such as refugees, migrants and racial minorities.

It is up to us to chart the right course for a better future for all. The pandemic showed us that we all have a responsibility as global citizens to stay vigilant. If the global community can show courage and empathic leadership today, we will all benefit from it by being equipped with tools to tackle equally grave challenges tomorrow.

7. I started with a personal question. May I end the conversation with another one: How was the feeling when you were no longer UN Secretary-General on the first day and the pressure was gone: Pride? Disappointment? Relief? 

Whatever successes or achievements there may be associated to my tenure, they are the outcome of joint efforts – not by me alone. The Secretary-General, however capable or willing, cannot achieve anything alone. No single country or person can do it alone without support. In that regard, I am deeply grateful to UN´s dedicated staff an all the partners around the globe, who have been working day and night – in many cases, in very dangerous circumstances. Without their hard work, we would not have achieved the Paris Agreement on climate change, we would not have had the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Both compounds serve as blueprints for humankind efforts towards the path to peace, prosperity and to building sustainable societies, a greener economy, and empowering the most vulnerable, leaving no one behind.

During my ten years serving as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I was always guided by four principals: setting priorities, never giving up, focusing on the people, and standing up for those who are left behind. No longer the Secretary-General, I am still guided by these principals. I continue my work by advocating the mindset of global citizenship and the importance of multilateralism.


Ban Ki-moon Centre Annual Report 2019

Ban Ki-moon Centre 2019 Annual Report is Out!

We are thrilled to share the 2019 Annual Report of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens with you. We hope to inspire you with what we have accomplished together in 2019 and with what we will build on it in 2020 and beyond with your place in our valuable global network. Read our report hereshare it and join us in supporting global citizens around the world.  
“To every single member of our Ban Ki-moon Centre family who showed their support with social media posts and likes, donations and collaborations, thank you. Our dedication to supporting global citizen mindsets and empowering youth and women around to world with education and participation is at the heart of who we are.“ Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s Speech at the 2020 Doomsday Clock Announcement Event

Speech by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon

The 2020 Doomsday Clock Announcement

Washington, US

January 23, 2020

  Thank you Mary, and thank you to Governor Brown, Rachel Bronson and all the team at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and all the distinguished guests gathered here today. As Mary Robinson has said, it is an honor to be here today to unveil the Doomsday Clock. But is with a solemn sense of duty, with a moral responsibility, and with a frightening sense of what is happening. These are perilous times. The alarming rise in tensions in the Middle East threatens war, and a return to nuclear weapons development in Iran. The world waits to see how North Korea will respond to stalled negotiations over its nuclear ambitions. I am struck by the news released from North Korea that it would not be committed to previously made commitments, to nuclear disarmament, and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This is surprising and very, very shocking. Also, the situation in Kashmir between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India remains unpredictable and highly dangerous. Such tensions demand responsible global leadership, but instead over the last year we have seen precisely the opposite. We have seen the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, division and uncertainty regarding the upcoming Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and, most worryingly, the absence of any meaningful negotiations between the US and Russia to extend New START. It would send a deeply negative message to the world if New START is allowed to expire in February 2021. This would not only eliminate remaining constraints on deployed nuclear arsenals, but also remove the monitoring and inspection capabilities which have provided both sides with increased transparency regarding nuclear capability. On the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, The Elders believe the world must seize the opportunities presented by the review conference that begins in April. This treaty is the backbone of the multilateral consensus on nuclear arms control, and yet disagreements and frustrations between its signatories mean there is a significant risk that the conference could conclude without an agreed outcome – a scenario that would undermine the treaty and could even trigger withdrawal by member states. Alongside the potential expiry of New START, this is a disastrous scenario for the world. It exemplifies the failures of global leadership, and the weakness of the multilateral system in the face of isolationist politics that sees diplomacy as a zero-sum game rather than a means of finding common solutions to common challenges. At a time when world leaders should be focused on the clear and present dangers of nuclear escalation and the climate emergency, we are instead witnessing denial, disregard and dangerous brinkmanship. The existential risks of climate change and nuclear war are increasing just as the decision-making frameworks to address them are unravelling. From the Paris Agreement to the JCPOA; despondency over the Non Proliferation Treaty to impotency at the UN Security Council – our mechanisms for collaboration are being undermined when we need them most. To echo Mary Robinson – we must see urgent action on the climate crisis in 2020. All countries must come to COP in Glasgow in November with clear plans for delivering carbon net-zero commitments by 2050. We must see an immediate end to the investment in, and exploration of, fossil fuels. We must heed the demands of the young people on our streets and listen to the science. We cannot negotiate with nature. We must listen to the warning of nature. The US must somehow begin to demonstrate leadership at the federal level too. Without it, we cannot hope to meet the targets that will keep global warming to manageable levels. Without US leadership there will be no winners from this climate crisis, only losers. In the end, we will only overcome these existential threats by working together, and to do so the world needs to re-energize multilateralism. I do believe there is an opportunity for this in the coming year. 2020 marks 75 years since the end of Second World War and the birth of the nuclear age – and, indeed, the founding of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. It also marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. This is an opportunity for the world to renew its commitment to multilateralism. It is a time for world leaders to bring a new mindset to the key moments ahead of us in 2020 – to create the foundations for a just transition to a carbon net zero economy and redouble the efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons. We can overcome the existential threats we face, but we must act, together, now. No country, no individual, no matter how powerful or how many resources, can do this on their own. We need to hold hands and work together. Thank you.

WEP Asia fellows actively discuss on the topics of leadership and global issues at tailor-made training sessions

Since the program kicked off on September 30th, the global citizen fellows of the Women’s Empowerment Program Asia (WEP Asia) have actively participated in a number of tailor-made training sessions.
  • Pitching & Presenting – Skills and Capacity Training by Kate WALKER (Lecturer, University of Vienna; Independent Consultant)
  • “Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” by Reinhard STEURER (Associate Professor, Institute of Forest, Environmental and Natural Resource Policy, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences)
  • Leveraging Differences: Building Cross-Cultural Management and Leadership Capacity for Game Changers & Cosmopolitan Leadership for a Complex World by Andreas Sami PRAUHART (Leadership and Development Catalyst and Policy Advisor)
“Climate change is not about some species going extinct. It is about whether we will survive in the next 200 years,” Steurer said.
During the lecture, the fellows shared their own views on climate change, what needs to be done and beyond.
“One part of the negotiation is justice,” said Prauhart who taught the importance of building communication skills to reach mutually beneficial solutions.
Critical questions were raised such as:
  • “What would you do with an apple when two different parties want it?”
  • “How can we overcome the adaptive challenges that we face in our workplaces?”
During their visit to the United Nations Vienna, the WEP Asia fellows also listened to Director Martin Nesirky of the United Nations Information Service Vienna (UNIS) who shared the role of UNIS in giving service to different UN organizations, amplifying their work, and seeking partnerships with the private sector.
Christoph Bierwirth, Head of UNHCR Liaison Office to the OSCE and Vienna-based UN Agencies, and Marie-Claire Sowinetz from the UNHCR Austria also gave lectures on the work of the UNHCR, including its advocacy to raise awareness on refugee issues and to integrate refugees into society.
© BKMC / Eugenie Berger