SDSN Youth launches the SDG Students Program in support of the Ban Ki-moon Centre

On September 17th, the SDSN Youth officially announced that the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens is endorsing its SDG Students Program, which is a youth initiative aimed to engage students in higher education in the global effort to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDSN Youth representative said,

“The BKMC’s recognition of the fantastic work done by our SDG Student Hubs and SDG Coordinators in engaging students in the 2030 Agenda is an important encouragement so that we can keep working towards our goal of a better future.”

As the youth division of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the SDSN Youth’s mission is to empower young people globally to create sustainable solutions. Through its SDG Students Program, the SDSN Youth aims to not only engage students globally but also to empower them with the knowledge, skills, and pathways to action to be effective agents of change today, which coincides with the mission of the Ban Ki-moon Centre.

To those students who have actively learned about, engaged with, and taken action on the SDGs, “The SDG STudents Program Certificate” signed by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon of the Centre, Global Coordinator Siamak Sam Loni of the SDSN Youth, and President Chandrika Bahadur of the SDSN Association will be conferred at the end of the program, One of the required criteria to complete the program is to take the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s online course titled “Sustainable Development in the 21st Century with Ban Ki-moon.” This course was co-developed by the Centre and its partner Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment (IGEE) at Yonsei University and was launched on Coursera.

Watch Ban Ki-moon’s advocacy video:

Be Part of SDSN Youth's SDG Students Program!

A big thank you to Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens for giving a shout-out to our SDG Students Program, which brings 🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️ together to create positive change for the #SDGs and the 🌎! Learn more about the Program ➡️ www.sdgstudent.orgCheck out what Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations Secretary-General and Co-Chair of the centre, has to say about it! ⬇️

Gepostet von UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth am Dienstag, 17. September 2019

Learn more about the SDSN Youth: https://sdsnyouth.org/ 
SDG Students Program: https://www.sdgstudent.org/ 

Ban Ki-moon speaks to OPEC Secretariat

BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon and CEO Monika Froehler visited the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna on August 28th. Ban delivered an address as a former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“OPEC is an intergovernmental organization which takes the principles of multilateralism seriously … witnessed through the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ and ‘Charter of Cooperation’ that has been in the interests of producers, consumers and the global economy,” said Ban.

He emphasized that global challenges that we are facing must be solved through global solutions and global partnerships:

“Keep working with others and strengthen the relationships you already have. Listen to consumers. Promote dialogue. Respect all points of view. Reach consensus.”

During a bilateral meeting between Co-chair Ban Ki-moon and Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo of OPEC, Barkindo said that “Energy is one of the most cross-cutting issues when it comes to sustainability – without energy, there is no industry.” Both recalled the tireless efforts that went into the annual COP meetings that led to the Paris Agreement.

Barkindo praised Ban Ki-moon’s dedication to preventing conflict, peace-making, improving human welfare and fostering sustainable development and said he would be “long remembered throughout the international community.”

Ban Ki-moon speaks at the BFA Conference hosted in Ulaanbaatar

As Chair of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a remark at the Opening and Plenary Session of the Boao Forum for Asia hosted in Ulaanbaatar on August 20th.

He highlighted the urgent need to work together across national borders to tackle the climate challenges the world is facing.

The session was moderated by Director-General Vorshilov Enkhbold of the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia under the theme of “Concerted Action for Common Development in the New Era.”

The other speakers included:

  • Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana of the United Nations ESCAP
  • Secretary-General Li Baodong of the BFA
  • Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh of Mongolia
  • Foreign Minister Damdin Tsogtbaatar of Mongolia
  • Chairman Bayanjargal Byambasaikhan of the Business Council of Mongolia
  • Entrepreneur Vice-President Xiaosu Meng of the China International Council for the Promotion of Multinational Corporations (CICPMC)
  • Chairman Tongzhou Wang of the China Nonferrous Metal Mining

The participants of the conference agreed that cooperation of culture and education plays a significant role in regional development. Discussing the wide ranges of issues concerning the economic growth of the Asian countries, the conference also touched upon investment environment and economic prospects of Mongolia and corresponding government ministries of Mongolia delivered presentations at the parallel sessions.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbCbg3LEkoE
Read more: https://montsame.mn/en/read/198352
Read more: https://news.mn/en/788667/
Learn more about the Boao Forumenglish.boaoforum.org

Ⓒ BOAO Forum for Asia & NewsMN

Ban Ki-moon’s Speech at the BFA Ulaanbaatar Conference

BFA Chairman Ban Ki-moon’s Speech
BOAO Forum for Asia
Ulaanbaatar Conference
August 19-20th, 2019

 

Your Excellency Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

 

It’s a privilege to address you here as the Chairman of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA).

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Your Excellency, Mr. Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, Prime Minister of Mongolia, for the warm reception and tremendous support.

I also appreciate our local partners making the effort to assist us to hold the BFA Ulaanbaatar Conference.

 

As one of landlocked developing countries, Mongolia’s economic momentum revved up in the first quarter of 2019, with growth exceeding

6 percent, following an already-strong performance last year. It came primarily on the back of continuous investment in Mongolia, having the effect of spurring its export and import to faster growth. Domestic demand also strengthened as government spending rebounded while private consumption gained steam.

In addition, the government’s commitment to discipline on public spending has resulted in large outperformance on its fiscal targets.

 

It also should be stressed that Mongolia is strengthening its engagement with Asian partners to address critical regional and global challenges nowadays. Mongolia has made good progress with building closer intraregional trade integration and escalating its eco-industrial supply chains with various regional countries.

 

The cooperation between Mongolia and other Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Japan is stepping to a higher level.

The greater cooperation in natural resource development, electricity, renewable energy, and infrastructure sectors has benefited those countries and given a positive impetus to the Asian economy.

 

Moreover, the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor (CMREC) has been playing a pivotal role in strengthening connectivity partnerships between participating countries, thereby boosting the Mongolian economy and promoting common development in the region. As the premier forum for international economic cooperation, the BFA applauds for what Mongolia has accomplished, and stands ready to make contributions to Mongolia sustainable and inclusive development.

 

The BFA, based in Asia and with a global outlook, always strives to enhance the economic exchange and cooperation among Asia, emerging economies, and other parts of the world, and to promote free trade and multilateralism.

 

Since 2018, under the leadership of the new Board of Directors, the BFA recalibrates its strategy as one running theme and five focal areas.

 

In particular, the BFA would continue to devote itself to taking the economy as its mainline, while actively expanding into five areas such as scientific and technological innovation, health, education, culture as well as media. Undoubtedly, the BFA seeks to offer a high-end international platform for governments and business, helping countries in Asia and the rest of the world keep up with latest global advances, seize development opportunities, and unleash their growth potential.

 

In today’s world, all countries’ interests are inextricably intertwined. It would be erroneous that some governments in the world allow themselves to become prisoners of short-term interests and make irrevocable mistakes of historic consequences. We must bear in mind that there is only one Earth in the universe and we mankind have only one homeland. The theme of Annual Conference 2019 of the Boao Forum constituted of three phrases in terms of Shared Future, Concerted Action, and Common Development. Our shard future guides our actions. We should respond to the people’s call and jointly make the effort to achieve shared and win-win development.

 

Ladies and Gentleman,

 

In this hall, we come from many places, but we share a common future. No longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together. The time has come for the world to move in a new direction, so we must tap into the prevailing trend of development, as well as embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We know the future will be forged by deeds and not simply words. Speeches alone will not solve our problems — it will take persistent action. It is what I would like to speak about today – cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation. We are all gathering here for discussing how to take concerted action for common development and a shared future.

 

The world economy is now once again at a crossroad ten years after the global financial crisis broke out. With the world witnessing a growing backlash against globalization and surging populism and protectionism, global governance faces greater difficulties. The spreading unilateralism has increased downward pressure on global economic growth, while trade protectionism is damaging the multilateral free trade system. In addition, nuclear security, geopolitical conflicts, terrorist attacks and influx of refugees have not yet been effectively resolved and controlled.

 

Emerging markets and developing countries are vulnerable to internal imbalances and external shocks. Growth in emerging and developing Asia will dip from 6.5 percent in 2018 to 6.3 percent in 2019 and 6.4 percent in 2020. Non-traditional challenges, such as climate change, aging population, and digital divide may strongly change the future of Asian and global economy.

 

Under the circumstances, tremendous efforts must be made to uphold multilateralism, promote globalization and sustain open world economy. We should open up to embrace opportunities of development and seek win-win outcomes through further cooperation. The challenges facing the world today are related in one way or another to the development gap and deficit. The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development still remains a daunting task for many countries. It is against such a backdrop that China announced the Belt and Road initiative in 2013.

The initiative has been playing a great role in mobilizing more resources, boosting connectivity links, and leveraging potential growth momentums. The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation recently has demonstrated the broad welcome and support for this Initiative from the global community, representing that more countries and regions are willing to achieve shared prosperity by mutually beneficial collaboration.

I am impressed that Mongolia’s Steppe Road program is aligned with the Belt and Road Initiative, and the two countries actively support their border areas in order to expand exchanges and cooperation.

 

Meanwhile, we must keep in mind green growth and sustainable development.

The world economy is in a transition from old to new momentums of growth.

If we continue a conventional approach to meeting the rising global demand for food, energy, and infrastructure, the world will exceed its ecological carrying capacity.

Uncontrollable pollution, severe damage to human health, and irreversible loss of biodiversity systems will be the consequence of those investment decisions.

The environment should be recognized as a strong engine helping drive the region’s economic development.

 

Hence, a green development approach is the chance for emerging and developing economies to leapfrog unsustainable and wasteful production and consumption patterns. They can still factor environmental issues into their infrastructure investment decisions and can further develop agriculture and other natural resources in a way that improves livelihoods, creates jobs, and reduces poverty.

 

It is paramount for all countries to commit to supporting UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and improve energy, environmental and digital governance. We must work together to find the best way to develop a future-oriented industry structure, and switch the development paradigm from resource-consuming to environmentally friendly, thus delivering a better life to all our people.

 

In a world full of challenges and opportunities, the Boao Forum for Asia calls on Asian economies to actively contributes to open world economy.

At the same time, the Boao Forum for Asia will continue to promote connectivity within and beyond the region, through better synergies among the Belt and Road Initiative and other regional cooperation programs, to effectively mobilize regional savings and capitalize on comparative advantages of each economy. The BFA will also keep advocating on the importance of green development, to lay down a solid foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth.

 

We have reached a pivotal moment. We stand ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation — one that recognizes the common development of all Asian countries. And so, with confidence in our cause, and with a commitment to our values,

we call on all of you to join us in building the future that our people so richly deserved.

 

At the very end, I wish the conference a great success.

Thank you!

 

Ⓒ BOAO Forum for Asia

Keynote Speech at the Global Programming Conference

 KEYNOTE SPEECH
by Ban Ki-moon
Global Programming Conference
August 19, 2019 (Mon); 11:30-11:45
Main Plenary Hall, Convensia Center, Songdo

Mr. Vice President Teuea Toatu, /
Mr. Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown, /
Mr. Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled, /
Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund Mr. Yannick Glémarec, /
ministers and vice ministers, / distinguished experts and guests, / ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting me to address this distinguished group of leaders and experts / from so many governments and institutions, / and from so many countries and regions of the world.

Most of all, / thank you for allowing me to be a part of the all-important dialogue / concerning the future direction and replenishment of the Green Climate Fund.

I was the United Nations Secretary-General during the time of the creation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Green Climate Fund, / and I still have a keen interest in the successes of both / because I still believe / without doubt / that our future livelihoods depend on it.

The report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is very clear. We have 10 years to cut carbon emission by half / in order to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius / and to prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change.

Today, / we can already see the sad consequences of 1 degree of global warming—not only on the news channels and front pages—but in our beaches, mountains, farmlands and cities / in the form of extreme weather patterns, / rising sea levels / and changing landscapes.

Even if we were to do everything right starting today, / these climate-related impacts, / which are already prevalent and on its way to becoming the new norm, / will still increase because it takes time to reverse the damages that we, / the inhabitants of planet Earth, / have already put in motion. Just as a huge pot of boiling water takes time to cool, / our planet will require time to cool.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

That is why we cannot procrastinate / or defer to the next generation any longer. We must act now, / and we must act together.

On this backdrop, / I would like to highlight three points today.

First, / the Green Climate Fund, / as the largest multilateral fund dedicated to climate change, / has a key role to play. But for it to do so, / it must be resourced ambitiously, / so it can deliver effectively and urgently.

It is not a mere coincidence / that the Global Green Growth Institute and the Green Climate Fund have been partnering together closely since 2017, / the year in which the two organizations signed a bilateral MOU of cooperation, / as well as the Readiness and Preparatory Support Agreement.

As a result, / more than 20 GGGI Member Countries have nominated GGGI to be their delivery partner for GCF’s Readiness Program, / resulting in $7.5 million secured / and with more than twice that amount on the way.

Second, / mitigation and adaptation need to move together, / and adaptation should also move into the mainstream of policy making and development planning.

The negative effects of climate change will not disappear overnight, / and investing in adaptation is the wise choice to make.

It should not be mistaken / as a sign of giving up hope on mitigation. It is a two-pronged maneuver: / one to simultaneously lessen and reverse the threats to communities, businesses and economies in the longer-term, / and another to protect from climate shocks in the near-term.

This is why the Global Commission on Adaptation—a commission I am currently chairing to accelerate adaptation action—is looking to work more closely with the Green Climate Fund / and to increase adaptation finance, / which has lagged behind mitigation finance.

Lastly, / I have emphasized again and again to leaders of developed countries / to not overlook the most vulnerable countries / and the marginalized groups of the world, / and I would like to do so again.

In a twist of cruel irony, / the poorest and most vulnerable countries—the ones that often have the least capacity to access climate funds / and often tend to be the most exposed or susceptible to climate change—the Small Island Developing States and the natural resource-dependent countries, / they face some of the greatest challenges from climate change, / whether it be loss of land from rising sea levels, / land degradation / or loss of biodiversity.

GCF should be applauded for its pioneering efforts to set ambitious benchmarks for climate finance / and to improve direct access to funds, / including through the Simplified Approvals Process / and a fast-tracking accreditation process for entities already accredited with the Adaptation Fund.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope you will remember these three points I have just made.

In order to have GCF continue to play a key role, / in order to foster a successful two-pronged strategy with mitigation and adaptation, / and in order to justly help the poorest and most vulnerable countries, / the ongoing and new collaboration between institutions will be of utmost importance, / and the scaling up of resources and support will be absolutely critical.

More institutions such as the Global Green Growth Institute and the Global Commission on Adaptation / will need to collaborate with GCF, / and governments need to follow in the footsteps of Germany and Norway / and provide scaled-up resources.

Because climate change is not a problem bound to only one country, region or sector, / and green growth and adaptation solutions cannot be implemented by one country, region or sector.

We need to transcend and cross political aisles, national boundaries and sectors / to work together to discover innovative solutions / and pull together to combine all the resources and support.
Either we will all benefit together, / or we will all suffer together. And, in order for all of us to benefit together, / we need to do start now.

If we do this, / I believe this could be perhaps the greatest contribution of our generation / to our future generations.
Thank you for your attention.

 

/END

 

Opening Address of Ban Ki-moon at the 24th World Scout Jamboree

Opening Address
24th World Scout Jamboree

Glen Jean, West Virginia, USA
Ban Ki-moon
August 1, 2019

Mr. Craig Turpie, Chairperson of the World Scout Committee,
Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary-General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement,
Scouts and 24th World Scout Jamboree participants,
Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen,

It is my great honor to be here with you today at the 24th World Scout Jamboree in the beautiful city of Glen Jean, West Virginia!
I take this opportunity to offer my sincere congratulations to the Boy Scout of America, Scouts Canada, and Asociacion de Scouts de Mexico for their hard work in realizing such an important and transformational event.

Scouts, you have discovered the key to live in peaceful coexistence over these last ten days. If you can do this for ten days, you can certainly do this for one hundred days, and then a thousand days.
Choosing this path is yours.

However, the secret of peace and harmony that you have unlocked here is not meant for you to retain simply as a memory.
Rather, it is a mission beckoning you to do your part in unlocking the possibility of peace for our entire world moving forward.

In this regard, I am confident that you Scouts are now well-equipped to tackle the challenges of both today and tomorrow as engaged global citizens.
More than ever before the world needs a new generation of thinkers and doers that are globally engaged and sustainability-minded.

You are now true global ambassadors who will return to your own countries to unlock a new world; one anchored in coexistence, tolerance, and sustainability for our planet.
Baden Powell, Scouting’s founder, had a driving goal throughout his life: to ensure that Scouting became a World Brotherhood of Peace.

The mission of the United Nations is very similar: to promote international peace, tolerance, and co-existence between all peoples and nations.
In the last 112 years, a Scouting program has been adopted in nearly every nation on earth. Tomorrow’s leaders are built through Scouting and the values it instills. Its central mission is to prepare young people to be ethical citizens.

Today, I would like to humbly ask you 3 important ways you can contribute.

First, try to be a global citizen as you continue in your own lives, studies, and careers. Global citizenship is a unique tool that can help solve some of our most pressing challenges and assist us in building peace and reaching sustainability.

Global citizens are those who identify themselves not as a member of a nation, but instead as a member of humanity. They are understanding and tolerant of other people and cultures. They fight for the protection of our planet. They are committed to service and helping others.

Second, be a Scout championing to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are the most ambitious and far-reaching visions for us, humanity and nature the UN has ever presented to the world. SDGs cover all spectrums of human life and our planet earth.

Third, be an agent to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement. We need your active participation. Climate change is approaching much faster than we think.
– We cannot negotiate with nature.
– Nature does not wait for us.
– Nature is sending strong warnings for us to act.
– We do not have Plan B because we do not have a Planet B.

Scouts and 24th World Scout Jamboree participants,
Over the next four years, when the World Organization of the Scout Movement reassembles in Sae Man Geum, Chollabukdo, Republic of Korea, I challenge you to broaden the values of Scouting throughout our world.
President Ham Jong-Han of the Korea Scout Association and Governor Song Ha-Jin and all the citizens of Korea will welcome all of you in 2023.

Particularly, I greatly hope that you can help widen respect for all people, expand care for our earth and its resources, and enhance the development of other young people through both education and guiding moral values.
I have no doubt that through your vision and actions to this end, we can construct a more peaceful and sustainable future for all.

Dear Scouts, ladies and gentlemen,
Let us work together to make this world better for all.
The future of our world is in your hands.
Thank you.

Photo by World Scouting

Ban Ki-moon delivers a keynote on the topic of education and peace at the One Asia Convention 2019

At the One Asia Convention 2019 took place in Seoul, South Korea on August 5-6th, 2019, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote on the topic of education and peace.

Ban expressed his concern that “it is inevitable that the conflicts between nations exist when I look at a number of countries in the world” and stressed that “such issues to be solved in a constructive way.”

He stressed the crucial role and necessity of education that fosters future experts who would contribute to solving conflicts on top of the issues we are facing and make drastic changes in order to promote sustainability, capacity, and peace.

Following the keynote speech, a round table was hosted under the theme of “Education and Peace” on the first day. On the second day, the convention also had breakout sessions divided into the following four fields;
・Reports of the course on Asian Community
・Politics, Economics, Environment and Social Matters
・History, Education, Thought, Philosophy and Religion
・Culture, Media, Arts and Others

In total, 650 scholars and students from 325 universities in 32 countries and regions attended the convention.

Learn more about the One Asia Convention Seoul 2019: http://www.oneasia.or.jp/en/activity/activities.html
Photos: Konkuk University

Ban Ki-moon urges Scout members to be global citizens at the Jamboree!

As the former United Nations Secretary-General and current Honorary President for the Korea Scout Association, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered an opening address at the 24th World Scout Jamboree held in West Virginia, USA.

“We don’t have a Plan B because we don’t have a Planet B. That is the most important message for us,” said Ban.

He stressed that climate change is the number one priority and that we should urge national leaders to act as global leaders to abide by the Paris Agreement.

The Scout Jamboree had high visibility of the UN’s SDGs, advocating for the rights of refugees and gender equality through UN Women’s HeForShe Baton campaign. Ban visited global development village and sites to meet and encourage young leaders to act with a global citizenship mindset. He also delivered a talk to the gathered young participants who sat around him about “young people and the future of the planet.”

At the Jamboree, BKMC Board member Ahmad Alhendawi who serves as the Secretary-General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) said that

“if we don’t change all the time, trying to improve the program, we wouldn’t last this long.”

He added that the Scout Movement is built on unity and understanding and that the young members of it “truly set the example of how the world out there should be.”

Photo © Jean-Pierre POUTEAU 2019, World Scouting

Our Present – Our Future: Forum on Global Citizenship and Youth Inclusion

Young people under the age of 30 accounts for over half of the world’s population. Connected to each other like never before, young people have the capacity to learn from one another’s contributions to the resilience of their communities, proposing innovative solutions, driving social progress and inspiring political change. They are also agents of change, mobilizing to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to improve the lives of people and the health of the planet.

The Youth Forum on Global Citizenship and Youth Inclusion for the SDGs Peace and Security held at the CTBT Science & Technology Conference on June 24 emphasized yet again that multilateralism must include the younger generations to foster sustainable solutions to complex global challenges.

The Forum formed an integral part of the landmark conference. After welcome remarks by CTBTO’s Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, Dr Heinz Fischer was asked to deliver a special address, encouraging the young audience to be changemakers:

Dear friends,

Dear next generation,

Unless we raise our eyes above the horizon and take action now, we are facing a climate catastrophe.

Unless we reduce inequalities between and within countries, and reduce nationalism and xenophobia, we will risk war.

So please challenge your leaders, your friends, your colleagues – and even yourselves.

Inspire those around you to care about the world we share.

We should not forget that you are not only the future, you are the present!

Monika Froehler, CEO of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, moderated an interactive panel discussion of young leaders who addressed the challenges they had faced to promote change and shared their insights about youth platforms that work to include young voices in the discussions.

The Forum encouraged active participation by the audience through an interactive online presentation. Through several surveys, the audience was able to share their opinion, make statements, ask questions, and tell a bit about themselves.

Find the results from the online presentation-survey here:

  

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