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

Ban Ki-moon – Speech to UN Security Council

Speech to UN Security Council
Ban Ki-moon
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
New York, US

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Members of the Security Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by echoing the words of my esteemed colleague, the Chair of The Elders, Mary Robinson, and thank you for the opportunity to address this august gathering.

As a former Secretary-General of the United Nations I have the utmost respect for the institution of the Security Council and the principles and values it is designed to uphold.

When the Council can cooperate and speak with a strong common voice, its decisions can have a decisive impact.

This strong, common voice is needed more than ever at this current time, when the deceptive allure of populism and isolationism is growing across all continents, from North and South America to Africa, Asia and Europe.

Faced with complex, multi-faceted and gravely serious challenges from nuclear proliferation to climate change and a radical transformation of our economic and social paradigms, it is perhaps understandable that many people from everyday walks of life feel overwhelmed and seek solace in simplified narratives of a bygone “golden age” when they had a sense of being in control of their individual and national destinies.

What is profoundly irresponsible, however, is for politicians – especially but not exclusively in democratic societies – to collude in or deliberately stoke these illusions for their own aims of securing and sustaining power, in full knowledge that no one country, however powerful, will be able to meet these global challenges on its own.

Mr. President,

This is why I believe it is absolutely essential for global peace and security that the member states of the United Nations, and especially those who have the honour of serving as members of the Security Council, understand and meet their responsibilities under the UN Charter and act in the service of all humanity rather than the narrow fields of national, ideological or sectarian interests.

The Council needs to be bold and assert its collective voice to meet common challenges, heeding the words of my illustrious predecessor as Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld:

“It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the ‘dark shade of courage’ alone that the spell can be broken.”

The Council has always been intended as a forum for collective engagement in the broader interests of peace and security, as well as an opportunity for member states to reflect their capital’s perspective on the issue under discussion.

In the humble view of The Elders, based on our substantial collective experience of working for and within the international system, the decision-making processes of the Council could be improved to encourage Council members agree on a joint common position to address conflicts in their early stages.

The Council should explore ways to be more efficient and effective, and to assert its collective voice through timely and strong statements. It needs to speak for and to the whole of the United Nations, rather than being constrained by the respective agendas and priorities in national capitals of its member states.

Mr. President,

Building on the remarks of President Robinson, I would like to highlight three more areas where I feel the Council can show effective leadership to support the work of the Secretary-General and improve general conditions for peace and conflict resolution:

1. The importance of prevention

The Secretary-General’s emphasis on the priority to be given to prevention is very welcome, and member states must ensure that UN prevention and peacebuilding work is properly supported and funded.

Council members should do more to support the Secretary-General in using his “good offices” to help prevent and reduce the threat of conflict. Council members should also recognise that the Council’s work on peace and security is undermined when its members undermine the UN’s own peace envoys and peace processes. The human cost of these machinations is all too painful to see, with Libya and Yemen standing out as just two grim examples.

2. Regional institutions

Strong multilateral regional institutions are essential for the maintenance of peace and security, both as forums for dialogue and as mechanisms for economic and political cooperation between states.

Positive examples include the European Union and OSCE.

By contrast, the absence of dialogue between states or of inclusive forums for dialogue in the Middle East is one of the reasons for the persistence and recurrence of conflict there.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend our host, the State of Kuwait, for its persistent commitment to and support for the values that have historically underpinned the Gulf Cooperation Council.

I would urge all other members of the GCC to act in the same spirit to restore this body to its vital role as a guarantor of regional stability, governed by mutual respect for national sovereignty and a shared understanding of common challenges.

The role of regional organisations in preventing and resolving conflict should be strengthened, not only in the Middle East but across the wider world. Greater coordination between the UN Security Council and regional organisations would also be beneficial.

3. Nuclear threat

The risks of nuclear conflict are higher than they have been in several decades.

As Mary Robinson so rightly said, nuclear weapons and climate change pose two of the most severe existential threats to life on Earth as we know it.

When it comes to nuclear non-proliferation, the international community is confronted with two serious challenges, namely the Iranian nuclear development programmes and securing the complete denuclearisation of North Korea.

Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, I am deeply concerned by the US decision to withdraw from the JCPOA because it not only weakens the regional stability of the Middle East, but also sends the wrong signal to ongoing negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear issues.

Unfortunately, the negotiations between the US and North Korea have come to a deadlock since the failure of the Hanoi summit last February.

I support the US government’s efforts to realise the complete denuclearisation of North Korea. In this context, we should maintain and faithfully comply with the sanction measures imposed by the Council on North Korea. I sincerely hope that all the Member States of the UN faithfully implement the sanction measures.

On the other hand, according to the FAO and WFP, actual food shortages in North Korea might reach around 1.5 million tons.

Considering the fact that North Korea has suffered chronic food shortages during the last two decades, the situation seems to be worsening without support from the international community.

In view of this, the government of the Republic of Korea has announced that it would contribute 8 million US dollars to the United Nations agencies to help North Korea address the current humanitarian situations.

I sincerely hope that the currently deadlocked negotiations will resume among the parties concerned as soon as possible.

But beyond these two regional issues, there is also the very real risk that the whole architecture of arms control and nuclear non-proliferation that was built up during the decades of superpower confrontation may collapse, through a combination of neglect, hubris and ill-founded threat analysis.

This issue goes to the very heart of the Security Council. Its permanent members are all nuclear-armed states, and they thus possess a uniquely heavy responsibility to develop effective processes of non-proliferation and disarmament.

Yet the failure of the P5 to make progress on their disarmament commitments under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty risks undermining the NPT, which has been a highly effective multilateral mechanism for preventing proliferation.

It is in the interests of the P5 to get serious about disarmament if they wish to maintain the near-universal international commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation, particularly in the lead up to next year’s NPT Review Conference.

The consequences of failure do not bear contemplation.

Mr. President,

I hope that in our contributions, The Elders have highlighted opportunities for progress as well as challenges to be overcome. We look forward now to a stimulating interactive discussion with the Council members, and thank you again for the privilege to take part in this debate.

Thank you.

“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.

Welcome remarks

Europe and the SDGs: Best-practices and Recommendations
Heinz Fischer

Address

As Co-Chairman of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens I want to warmly welcome you to our panel discussion on “Europe and the SDGs: Best-practices and Recommendations”, in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden in Vienna and Think Austria.

It is not a coincidence that we are discussing this topic here today at the Schwedenhaus. Sweden is the leading country when it comes to the implementation of the SDGs and is holding the impressive SDG index score of 85 out of 100, followed by Denmark and Finland.

I remember the year 2015 and the efforts and endurance of my good friend and partner Ban Ki-moon, while he was still Secretary General of the United Nations. Countless hours of drafting and negotiating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and its 169 targets with numerous different entities were necessary, in order to finally get the signatures of all UN Member States.

The Sustainable Development Summit in New York from September 25 to 27 with over 150 world leaders marked the launch of the ambitious Agenda 2030.  To me, it symbolized the determination of the international community to mobilize efforts to a more equal, sustainable and peaceful world for all.

In my speech as President of the Republic of Austria during the Summit for the Adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in New York on 27 September 2015, I said: “The Agenda 2030 presents us with the opportunity to make sustainable development a reality, but it also gives us significant responsibilities”.

3 years have passed since the Agenda 2030 has come into force and it is time to look at current implementations by governments and businesses in Europe and how they can be improved.

What I notice when looking at the 2018 SDG Index prepared by SDSN and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, is that all countries in the Top 20 are OECD countries. This should, however, not stop us from continuing our efforts towards efficient policy implementations.

Austria is ranked 9th and even though I am no expert in this field, allow me to say that we can do better.

On the one hand, it is important to highlight best-practices and make them publicly available so that everyone, from governments and businesses to civil society, can be inspired and incorporate them into their own agenda. In 2018, Concorde Europe did this by publishing good practices from across the continent and divided the examples into 4 categories, namely: Monitoring and Accountability, New Partnerships, Parliament Involvement and Participative Processes. Our panel today should also serve as a platform to exchange innovative ideas and to empower one another to do more!

On the other hand, critical assessments and accountability are crucial for new policy recommendations and the achievement of the SDGs. Yes, Austria is under the top 10, but if I look at our scores for SDG5, gender equality, and SDG17, partnerships, I see room for improvement. We have to grasp those weak spots and treat them as opportunities for transformation, transformations that will benefit the entire society.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me conclude my remarks by emphasizing that the Agenda 2030 is not a competition. In the end, we should focus less on ranks and more on supporting each other by strengthening cooperation in the implementation of the SDGs. Let’s learn from each other. Let’s inspire each other. Let’s work beyond national borders to reach our common goal of an equal, sustainable and peaceful future for all.

Thank you.

Photo: Harald_Klemm

“Human beings sometimes forgive, but nature never forgives,” says Ban Ki-moon at Stanford

“Human beings sometimes forgive, but nature never forgives,” said Ban Ki-moon

as he was giving a speech on the topic of “Multilateralism in a Turbulent World” at Stanford University on April 19th, 2019.

“The world is going through pronounced changes,” he said, regarding the current state of climate change. Ban stressed that there needs to be more action taken to prevent and/or adapt to climate change, and the necessity of the global citizen responsibility — specifically that of the youth and women — is paramount.

“The challenges we face are simply too numerous to be left in the hands of a few leaders,” said Ban, encouraging the audience to act as global citizens.

He also expressed optimism about the Paris Agreement that was implemented at the end of his term and disappointment in the current US government’s decision to withdraw from it. Ban called for further collaboration between the US and China in addressing climate change.

Read more: https://bit.ly/2UQXxx9

GEEF 2019 Opening Remarks Ban Ki-moon

OPENING REMARKS

GEEF OPENING SESSION – Ban Ki-moon
Yonsei University, Korea
14th February 2019

His Excellency Sebastian Kurz, Chancellor of Austria;

His Excellency Heinz Fischer, Former President of Austria;

Her Excellency Helen Clark, former Prime Minster of New Zealand;

Dr. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of UNESCAP;

Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President of the World Bank Group;

Honorable Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul Metropolitan Government;

Her Excellency Lee Mikyung, President of KOICA;

Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA;

Welcome to the second annual Global Engagement and Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development.

During my ten-year tenure as United Nations Secretary General, one of United Nations’ most important accomplishments was establishing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, known as the SDGs. In 2015, the UN member states showed their devotion and adopted this new vision for sustainable development based on a single principle: “leave no one behind.”

Leaders from all around the world embodied this principle with collective commitment to leave no one behind in the SDGs. These goals are people-centered development that focuses on progression against the existing challenges such as poverty, inequality, public health, gender equality, and many other. Today, the world is changing fast and the journey of achieving inclusive and sustainable development cannot be done alone. That is why leaving no one behind requires a transformation in humanity through communities coming together as one global partnership.

Today, GEEF 2019 continues its momentum from the previously successful GEEF 2018. Last year, GEEF 2018 provided a platform that displayed a global network with thousands of people in attendance. Enthusiastic and dedicated people were witnessed, assembled, and cooperated together to ensure the mutual pursuit of the SDGs.

This year’s GEEF 2019 will serve as a platform that goes beyond simply sharing and extending ideas. As the 17 SDGs emphasize the 2030 Agenda’s five key elements (planet, people, prosperity, peace, and partnership), also known as the 5P’s, GEEF 2019 will offer in-depth discussions of long-term and specific plans to integrate these elements into promoting the concept of sustainability, sustainable development, and social equity.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to conclude that achieving the SDGs by 2030 may seem as a never-ending mission. Yet, year 2030 is soon to come. Therefore, a global legacy needs to be addressed for the betterment of our world. The whole process will be a continuing challenge. Currently, challenges remain but progress are shown. Progress is visible but is still uneven. For example, the 2018 SDG Report stated that poverty gap still remains in which there are approximately 38 million more hungry people in the world, rising from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016.

Despite this reversal result, I still believe that we are ahead in the right direction. I am also confident in all of our ongoing efforts and commitments that can ultimately achieve our goals of the 2030 global agenda.

 In this regard, a collective effort is needed to promote a global collaborative partnership among all stakeholders at every level of our society. We must work together. We must all play our parts in this progression to become more effective, cohesive, and accountable. I urge you to take full responsibility, join in our efforts as Global Citizens, and contribute towards building a global community, sustainable cooperation, and a world with a better future for all.

 

 

Photo: Arno Melicharek

GEEF 2019 Welcome Remarks Heinz Fischer

WELCOME REMARKS

GEEF OPENING SESSION – HEINZ FISCHER
Yonsei University, Korea
14th February 2019 10:30 – 12:10 

Your Excellency Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz,

My Dear Friend Ban Ki-moon,

Your Excellency Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand,

Your Excellency President Kim Yong-Hak, Yonsei University,

Distinguished friends and students,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honor for me to be addressing you today on the occasion of the Second Global Engagement and Empowerment Forum at Yonsei University here in Korea.

I am happy to be back in Korea at this University and want to thank the University for hosting this landmark conference for the second time.

With more than 1,400 participants and a hundred speakers from more than 70 different countries, GEEF 2019 will deliberate the theme: “A Call to Action: Empower People, Share Prosperity.” At the Forum, we have identified pivotal dimensions towards implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.

Our Ban Ki-moon Centre team in Vienna enjoyed great cooperation with the team here in Seoul in preparing for this Forum. Thank you all for your hard work! It is well invested work to serve the Sustainable Development Goals and to do it in the global interest of peace and in the interest of empowering young people and women.

Looking into the audience in this hall, I see hundreds of young people bursting with potential and energy. This is what we need to carry the message of engagement and empowerment for global citizenship forward.

Youth, namely male and female citizens under 30, now represent over 50% of the world population; the largest percentage in history.

Despite this reality, youth globally remain disadvantaged when it comes to political participation, access to the labor markets, housing, education, and other issues.

At present, about 63 million young people are unemployed and 141 million young people are trapped in working poverty. Additionally, the competition for good education and good jobs is getting tougher and tougher.

Yet youth have better means of communication and activism at their fingertips than ever before. The future of the whole world is dependent on the active engagement and connection of youth worldwide.

Therefore, the Ban Ki-moon Centre focuses its attention on empowering and ensuring that it is YOUR TIME and that YOUR rights are upheld, and that YOU can actively shape the future. This is essential to achieving sustainable development.

Women and girls face additional barriers to their participation and overall prosperity.

The Global Risk Report 2019, published some weeks ago, tells us in addition that 1 in 3 women globally suffer from violence during their lifetime including intimate partner violence. This is not acceptable.

A Global Citizen is not defined by gender, age, race, nationality or religion, but rather by the actions that unite us as human beings.

The Sustainable Development Goals represent this common ground and the shared challenges that we face as humankind.

I am personally impressed by Korea and the speed of its economic growth and development. I am sure this success story can be attributed at least in part to the emphasis on education, the level and room for innovation, and the dedication to learn and to work.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It has now been a year since the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna was founded by the initiative of Ban Ki-moon. We have achieved a lot in this first year.

We look forward to 2019 and to continuing to scale and pursue our mission to empower youth and women worldwide to act as global citizens in a peaceful, prosperous, and fair world on the basis of human rights.

We thank all of you for your engagement, energy and inspiration as global citizens of today, tomorrow and beyond.

Thank you!

 

Photo: IGEE