Inspiration in focus at the Closing Ceremony of the 2020 Mentorship Program

This week, on November 17, 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Centre, in partnership with the Muslim Youth of Austria (MJÖ), successfully hosted its second closing ceremony of the mentorship program. The event was an online celebration for the partnerships built between the mentoring pairs and their successful completion of 20 SDG micro-projects over the past year. It was moderated by a former mentee from 2019, Nesrin El-Isa.

In their opening remarks, BKMC Co-chair and 11th Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Heinz Fischer, and CEO Monika Froehler congratulated the 20 mentees on their exceptional achievements.

CEO Monika Froehler spoke about what the results of the SDG micro-projects represent, stating that: “SDG micro-projects are like puzzle pieces of hope. They are expressions of the fact that we all believe that the world can be made a little better.”

Other high-profile speakers included Sonja Hammerschmidt – Member of the Austrian Parliament Social Democrats, and Sybille Hamann – Member of the Austrian Parliament Green Party, and Nermina Mumic – Co-chair of the Muslim Youth and CEO of Legitary. All speakers underlined the necessity of building a support network for young women and girls, particularly from the Muslim community in Austria, in order to create an equal, tolerant, and inclusive society.

Co-chair of the MJÖ Nermina Mumic, is also a former mentee of the program. In an anecdote, she shared that her mentor gave her the courage to build her own start-up which is now thriving. She also was recently honored by being named a Forbes “30 under 30.” She appealed to all mentees to dare to believe in themselves: “The mentoring project is just the nudge you need to have courage.”

 

Three mentees and mentors were selected to present their excellent SDG micro-projects:

1. Video for Little Helps: a video to encourage engagement with NGOs and volunteer work

2. Dreams – Youth – Covid-19: A study and webinar on the effects of the pandemic on the dreams of young people

3. “The Conference of Animals”: A theatre piece done with school children

The closing ceremony ended with words of appreciation from the mentors and mentees for the wonderful cooperation, emphasizing how the solidarity among the women led to inspiring outcomes.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre is very proud of this year’s mentoring pairs and looks forward to staying in touch and following the SDGs micro-projects that remain active! Together we can create a better and more sustainable future for all, leaving no one behind.

Click here to watch the closing ceremony of the mentorship program (German language).

Accelerating Action for SDGs in Austria

Following Austria’s presentation of its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the United Nations in July 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Centre, in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Chancellery and Think Austria, organized a virtual high-level event, “Accelerating Action for SDGs in Austria,” on November 12, 2020, moderated by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler.

 © Bundeskanzleramt
© Bundeskanzleramt

The virtual high-level event was opened by H.E. Austrian Federal Minister for EU and Constitution, Karoline Edtstadler, who emphasized Austria’s commitment to the Agenda 2030: “We have to proceed with the consistent implementation of the SDGs until 2030 and set measures now to see visible effects in 10 years. The Agenda 2030 remains a main ambition in Austria.”

Ban Ki-moon, 8th UN Secretary-General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, welcomed participants and lauded the participatory, multi-stakeholder process that led up to Austria’s first VNR report: “Austria’s first Voluntary National Review to the High-Level Political Forum of the United Nations was very well received by the international community and I want to commend all stakeholders for the work accomplished thus far.”

 © Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens
© Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens

Dr. Antonella Mei-Pochtler, Special Advisor to the Chancellor and Head of Think Austria, delivered a keynote where she emphasized the goal: “To position Austria as one of the most liveable and innovative countries in the heart of Europe. To do this, we cannot rest on our laurels, but must increase our ambition, strengthen our commitment, and decisively drive the process forward!”

The Covid-19 pandemic, together with the three VNR focus areas (digitalization, climate action and women, youth, and leaving no one behind) were cross-cutting themes throughout the event.  Mag.a Alexandra Wegscheider-Pichler, Senior-Advisor of Statistics Austria presented recent SDG data and reflected that: “COVID19 has had various effects on the SDGs in Austria, mainly negative on health, economy, education, inequality, and the environment. One positive impact is that it has enhanced people’s views on sustainably sourced food and products.”

To read the recently published report from Statistics Austria, click here!

©Lana Lauren
 

One of the highlights of the event was the virtual high-level panel “What is next? Accelerating Action for the SDGs in Austria” which welcomed speakers Dr. Christian KrollBertelsmann Stiftung, Dr. Antonella Mei-PochtlerFederal Chancellery of Austria and Think Austria, Dr. Astrid Rössler – parliamentarian from the Green Party, Mag.a Carmen Jeitler-Cincelli – parliamentarian from the Austrian People’s Party, and Klaus HeidingerSiemens Advanta.

The panel discussion started with each speaker sharing their statement of central concern and especially addressed the question of how we can positively use the Covid-19 pandemic to accelerate action for SDGs and leave no one behind.

 

Astrid Rössler, recommended that the SDGs should form the meta-level of every political discourse, in particular in the parliament: “There are many possibilities to include the SDGs in Parliament. Starting from addressing them in committees, to interactions with the government, integrating them in all departments, and the visible embedment of civil society and academia.”

In addition, Dr. Christian Kroll named multilateralism as key for Austria and other states to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs: “Many states in Europe have the same weaknesses, and because of this, it is extremely important that states learn from each other for how to overcome these weaknesses with multilateral approaches.”

In the last hour of the event, four best practice champions for the SDGs in Austria were showcased. The four examples came from private, education, and civil society sectors.

               

Heinz Fischer, 11th Federal President of the Republic of Austria and Co-Chair of the BKMC closed the event on a positive note: “I am convinced that it is possible to achieve our ambitious goals. Where we protect our environment and its biodiversity where every citizen can live FREE and EQUAL IN DIGNITY.”

Stay tuned for more updates on our cooperation with the Austrian Federal Chancellery for promoting the SDGs in Austria!

BKMC joined the #Y20 Working Meeting on Global Citizenship

On 28 July 2020, the Ban Ki-moon Centre along with UNICEF and Generation Unlimited  featured in a Y20 working meeting on global citizenship, speaking to 45 youth delegates, who represent the young generation of the G20 countries.

The Y20 Youth Summit is a youth-led event that convenes young leaders from all G20 countries to discuss and debate the G20 Leaders’ agenda. The Group of 20, also known as G20, is the premier forum for international economic cooperation and brings together the leaders of both developed and developing countries from every continent to discuss financial and socioeconomic issues.

In an effort to include the voices of civil society and the scientific community, the forum receives input from various engagement groups, who meet in tandem with the G20 and keep up a dialogue with policymakers.

Monika Froehler, CEO of the BKMC, was invited to provide input on the topic of Global Citizenship Education during the Y20 virtual working meeting on Global Citizenship. Froehler emphasized that “The principles of GCED should be interwoven into every level of education.” highlighting that “Only 7% of humankind knows about the SDGs”. Representatives from UNICEF stressed the urgency to invest in adolescents to bring about sustainable development and exemplified their work on youth engagement all around the world.

This year’s Y20 engagement group focuses on the areas of Future Fit, Youth Empowerment, and Global Citizens, digging into the topics of future skills, future of work, entrepreneurship, decision-making inclusion, leadership development, multiculturalism, and sustainable development.

With the newly acquired knowledge during the meeting, it is now up to the Y20 delegates to interweave lessons learned about Global Citizenship into their Y20 Communiqué, which will serve to inform G20 decision-makers at the summit in Fall 2020.

The First Expert Workshop for our Scholars is Complete!

The BKMC Global Citizen Scholars attended their very first “Expert Workshop” on Thursday, July 23rd. The scholars had the unique opportunity to discuss funding opportunities with expert Katharina Meder, Deputy Head of Program for Water and Energy for Food at the GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation).

During the online workshop, Katharina gave a brief overview of the GIZ and the four different funding options that the company offers: service contracts, public-private partnerships, calls for solutions, and grants/financing contracts for non-profits. She also elaborated on the different processes for applying and receiving these grants.

 

Additionally, she spent time sharing examples of projects that the GIZ funds, particularly for Water and Energy for Food.

Following her presentation, the scholars were able to ask questions and get feedback about their individually proposed SDG Micro-Projects. For many of the scholars, the topic of Water and Energy for Food is very relevant for their projects which deal with sustainable agriculture and wastewater management.

The BKMC is grateful to Katharina for taking the time to share her expertise and insights with our young changemakers! Learn more about our scholars and scholarship program here.

Austria’s First Voluntary National Review at the HLPF

On July 15th, 2020 Austria presented its first Voluntary National Review (#VNR) on SDG implementation as a part of the High-Level Political Forum. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Austrian delegation was not able to travel to New York to present the report in-person at the United Nations Headquarters. Despite this, the VNR was conducted virtually and vital Austrian stakeholders were invited to watch the presentation at the Austrian Federal Chancellery.

Thomas Alge Oekobüro, Bernhard Zlanabitnig EUumweltbüro, Sabine Schneeberger, BKA,

Sylwia Meier-Kajbic BMEIA, Monika Froehler BKMC

Representatives of the inter-ministerial coordination group (IMAG), NGOs, youth representations and the BKMC were all present for the presentation of the VNR. BKMC CEO Monika Froehler attended on behalf of the BKMC and shared her support and congratulations for the great achievement.

Over the past year, Austria conducted an intensive, multi-stakeholder consultation process for the SDGs and presented many of the outcomes of this process in the final VNR report. The BKMC hosted and facilitated some of these multi-stakeholder events in 2019, including best-practice events spotlighting international examples and a high-level retreat and breakout session at European Forum Alpbach. The international SDG ranking of the Bertelsmannstiftung and SDSN served as a reference point during the preparation and delivery of 14 recommendations by the BKMC for the Austrian government to improve SDG implementation.

Highlights from the 14 recommendations:

  • Focusing the next decade on achieving the SDGs

  • Recognizing the climate emergency and driving climate commitments

  • Strengthening initiatives to close the gender pay gap

  • Raising awareness for the SDGs across society, in particular in schools

  • Strengthening the exchange with Parliament on the SDGs

Learn more about the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s work with the Austrian government on achieving the SDGs here. 

The VNR presentation (below) elaborated on the outcomes of the reporting process and focused particularly on three primary themes: Climate Action and Climate Change, Digitalization, and Youth, Women and Leaving no One Behind. The Federal Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz, various ministers, as well as youth representatives, and representatives of the private sector and civil society organizations featured in the presentation.

 

Austrian Minister Karoline Edtstadler presented the #VNR on behalf of Austria. After the presentation, the Chair opened the floor for questions. These questions were answered by Minister Edtstadtler, Minister for the EU and Constitution.

Read the full report :

Access the Ban Ki-moon Centre SDG Resource Hub here.

Check out pictures from the event here.

Integrating SDGs in Viennese Curriculum

May 27th 2020, marked the start of an influential partnership between the Ban Ki-moon Centre and the Bildungsdirektion fur Wien. (Directorate of Education).

The cooperation between the BKMC and Bildungsdirektion Wien aims to promote and advance the SDGs education in secondary schools in Vienna. Today, Heinz Fischer, the BKMC Co-chair joined Director of Education Mag. Heinrich Himmer at the newly established Bildungshub that serves as a platform to share creative impulses and innovative learning practices where teachers and students discuss new ideas and implement projects. Through the video recorded today Co-chair Heinz Fischer will address teachers and students to express the importance of the SDGs to tackle today’s challenges .

Times of crisis like the COVID19 pandemic highlight the utmost importance of education and knowledge about the interconnectedness of global challenges.The joint mission of education for the Sustainable Development Goals leads to a synergetic pathway between the BKMC and Bildungsdirektion Wien. 

The collaboration will start with an online kick-off event on the topic of “The relevance of the SDGs in Viennese schools” on June 18th . Experts from the education sector will discuss ways of integrating the SDGs into the existing curricula.  

Is preparing for peace and global citizenship a priority?

Watch our CEO Monika Froehler in the Online Education Leadership Forum panel on Education in the Times of Corona: Is preparing for peace and global citizenship a priority?

The panel took place online, on May 14th 2020, and was organized by the Online Education Leadership Forum which is hosted by the Council for Global Citizenship Education (GCED) under the auspices of the Global Citizenship Foundation.

The panel started with a moment of silence to commemorate all those who have lost their lives during the pandemic. The panelists underlined the importance of global citizenship education, especially during the pandemic, that we should look beyond our differences and see what connects us. Global education needs to include crisis and trauma response and appreciation of common humanity. 

Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler mentioned the ‘head, heart, hand’ methodology of GCED: Head – stimulating children intellectually. Heart – stimulating children emotionally. Hand – stimulating skills. It was agreed upon that taking action on grass-root level is key, but that all stakeholders should chip in! The bottom-up approach raises awareness on the importance, but we need governments to transform ideas into policy.

You can watch the full panel below with:

☑️ Dr. Ashok K Pandey, Chairperson of the Counsil for GCED Global Citizenship Foundation

☑️ Dr. Paul Downes, Director Educational Disadvantage Centre, Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Ireland DCU ☑️ Simon Kuany, Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education Specialist,UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development UNESCO MGIEP

Women’s Empowerment for Latin America

The Ban Ki-moon Centre is excited to soon start a new Women’s Empowerment Program catering to young dedicated women from Latin America. The program will be implemented together with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and with the generous support of the State of Qatar.

 The 11th President of the Republic of Austria and BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer and His Excellency Sultan bin Salmeen Al Mansouri, the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN in Vienna showed their dedication to this innovative program through contributing key remarks on the initiation of the Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) for Latin America during an online meeting on 13 May 2020. UNODC was represented by John Brandolino, Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs and Marco Teixeira, Senior Programme Officer of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration and was moderated by Lulua Assad.
 “We are encouraged to see us joining forces for this tailor-made Women Empowerment Program.  Especially in challenging times like these, it becomes evident how necessary it is to continue our work to strengthen multilateralism, justice, rule of law and build partnerships that contribute to achieving the SDGs.”, emphasized Heinz Fischer Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre.
  During the virtual exchange, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens CEO Monika Froehler presented some of the details of our future collaboration which will be part of the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, a component of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration. The Program will focus on training and equipping 20 young, dedicated women from Latin American countries with the skill-set to act as SDG leaders within their fields of work. While all of the 17 SDGs provide the framework for the programme, its focus will be on SDGs 4,5,16 and 17. It will start with a period of online learning, followed by 2-week in-person training in Vienna and will conclude with the implementation of SGD Micro-projects by the participants in their local contexts.  The WEP for Latin America will be the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s first initiative for that region. Taking the first step in this strategic partnership with UNODC, we are looking forward to the opportunity to transform education policy into action with the distinguished support of the State of Qatar.  Please stay tuned for more information on the program.

SDGs Adaptation: The OPEC Fund Quarterly

The new edition of the #opecfund magazine is all about #ClimateChange adaptation. The magazine covers subjects from climate action, SDGs, to sustainable farming, and much more. Access the full magazine here.

Monika Froehler Article in OPEC Fun Magazine May 2020

Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler participated as a guest author for the May 2020 edition of the OPEC Fund quarterly magazine. She emphasized the importance of gender equality in the planning of climate change adaptation. How women’s involvement means better outcomes and more sustainable solutions. Read the full article here.

Katrin Harvey part of Mobilising to advance the SDGs panel 2020

The magazine also covered the joint event on March 3, between the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, the European Union Delegation in Vienna Joint SDG Fund, and The OPEC Fund for International Development. The co-hosted panel discussed the successes and challenges of mobilizing to advance the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. Read about the event here. 

BKMC co-hosts the event “Evolving beyond Trauma” as part of the Orange the World Campaign 2019

“The world needs to heal from trauma.” – Elena Castellucci, Past-President Juvenilia Club Vienna, Soroptimist International Austria, founding member TANKA Solutions.
On the occasion of the UN Women campaign “Orange The World”, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens brought together an event Orange the World 2019: Evolving Beyond Trauma with partners Juvenilia Club Vienna, Soroptimist International Vienna on December 3, 2019. Every fifth woman in Austria – around 20 percent of all women – is exposed to physical and/or sexual violence from the age of 15. One in three women had to experience some form of sexual harassment since they were 15 years old. Every seventh woman is affected by stalking from the age of 15. Many women experience traumas that accompany them throughout their lives. The events included keynote speeches and a panel discussion on trauma of female victims of violence against women including domestic violence. This topic was addressed by a jury of internationally acclaimed experts who will speak openly about their personal, unfiltered stories and share their knowledge and valuable insights into this complex topic.

Co-chair Heinz Fischer delivered a keynote speech and stressed three important points:

  • Education and Information
  • Safe space (which should be funded by the government)
  • Awareness (which should create solidarity, help, understanding, and courage)
Elena Castellucci, Past-President Juvenilia Club Vienna, Soroptimist International Austria, founding member TANKA Solutions, said during the opening that we need to create a shift and decrease the amount of trauma by creating a real support system.” Before the panel discussion, an actress and author Erika Pluhar read an excerpt from one of her books “Raising the Voice.” Many inspiring stellar speakers were there to support the victims because talking about trauma requires courage and learning about it requires compassion. Speakers: Elena Castellucci, Past-President Juvenilia Club Vienna, Soroptimist International Austria, founding member of TANKA Solutions Co-chair Heinz Fischer, Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, former President of Austria Dr. Desiree Schweitzer, UN Women Austria Marcella Sigmund-Graff, President of the Austrian Union, Soroptimist International Austria Reading: Erika Pluhar Panel discussion: Kimberly Budinsky, moderator Sean McCarthy, Founder of TEDS Foundation, CEO of Tanka Solutions & HolisticHealth Coach Louise Deininger, Conceptual Artist & Founder of GYCO Sharon Anena, GYCO Administration Manager & Chief Assistant, Founder of Julias Heart CBO Rania Mustafa Ali, Jornalist & Documentarist Dr. Susanne Hölbfer, Senior Physician Gynecology at Wilhelminenspital Serani Siegel, Project Manager in the Gender Section of the Office of the OSCE Secretary General Source: UN Women