UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development 2019

The UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development took place on 21 and 22 March 2019 in Geneva. The Forum brought together more than 800 pan-European stakeholders to exchange experiences about the progress and challenges in the implementation of the SDGs.

The BKMC gladly accepted the invitation to this important event and formed part of the wide range of civil society representatives, who are advocating political action for the SDGs.

The conference was chaired by H.E. Ms Ogerta Manastirliu who is Albania’s Minister of Health and Social Protection. In welcoming remarks, Deputy UN Secretary-General Amina Mohammed stressed the importance of the Regional Fora to understand how we can increase ambition and accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. Ms Olga Algayerova, UNECE Executive Secretary and Under-Secretary-General, underscored the RFSD’s convening power in the process of sustainable development.

A High-Level Policy Segment served to present Voluntary National Reviews of UNECE countries and facilitate peer-learning among the government representatives.

The second day addressed SDG 4 (Quality Education), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 13 (Climate Action) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) in a variety of focus events, round tables and side events. Fruitful discussions and meaningful exchange explored the interlinkages of the SDGs.

When it comes to SDG 4 Quality Education, for example, the following challenges were identified:

  • urban-rural gaps
  • education for the elderly
  • effectively drawing on digitalization
  • disparities based on income, location, gender, immigration or minority status and disability
  • integration of Global Citizenship Education (GCED) into curricula

A report will summarize the key messages from the UNECE RFSD 2019 and provide the official input from the UNECE region to the 2019 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) which will be held between 9 July and 18 July in New York. The HLPF is the United Nations’ central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. The BKMC is pleased to have been an active part of the RFSD 2019 and have thereby contributed to the HLPF 2019.

MOU Signing between Bahrain and the Ban Ki-moon Centre

Last week, the Ban Ki-moon Centre welcomed a delegation from the Kingdom of Bahrain including H.E. Shaikh Hussam bin Essa Al Khalifa, the current President of His Royal Highness the Prime Minister’s Court.

The meeting included a briefing on the Ban Ki-moon Centre and its work as well as a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing between the Centre and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Bahrain seeks to support and collaborate with the Ban Ki-moon Centre in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2007, the Kingdom established the Khalifa Bin Salman Award for Sustainable Development. Last year, Chairman Ban was awarded with this distinction.

Since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Bahrain has been actively engaged for sustainable development. The Ban Ki-moon Centre is pleased to sign an MOU with the Kingdom and looks forward to fruitful collaboration for the SDGs!

“Everyone can change the world!” says Ban Ki-moon in the interview with the Austrian Red Cross

Ban Ki-moon Interview
Magazine “My Red Cross” by the Austrian Red Cross

How is the world going to look like in 50 years?

In 50 years sustainability has hopefully become the global norm. The world now has the largest generation of young people in history. I place great hopes in their power and positive activism to shape our future. They are part of the first generation that can end poverty and the last that can avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Hopefully, even before 50 years have passed, quality education will be provided to all, gender equality will become the standard, health and well-being will be guaranteed for each human being and all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be achieved. It has to be an effort of everybody at all leaves to leave no one behind.

 

Are you afraid your children and grandchildren will have to live on a destroyed planet one day?

Climate change is the most pressing challenge we face as human beings today. It is not slowing down, and the clock is ticking. Natural disasters are becoming more and more frequent and devastating, from historic floods, fires, storms, tsunamis and earthquakes. To protect our planet for future generations, steps must be taken to both combat and to adapt to the changing climate and with accelerated action. It is our collective responsibility as global citizens to see that our planet remains inhabitable and safe for the generations to come.

 

There are more extreme weather events in the world and climate change seems to be speeding up. Do you think mankind has realized what is at stake?

Many of us are very aware of what is at stake, especially those who are making it their life’s work to mitigate and adapt to climate change. However, despite the many who are aware and active, some are choosing to turn a blind eye. This is troubling, particularly when it comes from national leaders. When the US and President Trump pulled-out of the Paris Climate agreement, this was deeply concerning. I have been speaking out that his vision is politically short-sighted, and economically irresponsible and scientifically wrong. So, he is standing on the wrong side of history. Despite this, I am encouraged and hopeful that the whole world will be united in moving ahead with this Paris Climate Change Agreement. It is the political and moral responsibility of our political leaders to support this.

 

You traveled to the US in 1962 with students from 42 different countries to visit the American Red Cross and meet president Kennedy. How did that influence you?

Thanks to the American Red Cross, I was given the opportunity to join students from 42 countries to travel across the United States visiting Red Cross chapters. This opened my eyes to the world. During the trip, I met then President John F. Kennedy, who said to us “there are no national boundaries; there is only a question of whether we can extend a helping hand.” This strong message has been engraved in my memory ever since and I continue to try my utmost to do my share as a global citizen to help those in need. All our helping hands are needed.

 

What are your feelings when you look back from our very different time with very different presidents?

The world has changed vastly since 1962. Since then, the world has faced rising global challenges. Leaders, in recent years, have turned towards nationalism and populism, putting up walls instead of extending helping hands. This is, plainly stated, not the way forward. Leaders must have and enlist a global vision in all that they do, seeing beyond their national borders. I have not met many that have a global vision. Nelson Mandela is one of the examples that comes to mind. Many around the world were greatly influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom.  He touched our lives in deeply personal ways.  At the same time, no one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations.

 

You come from South Korea – and 80 percent of the people affected by natural disasters live in Asia. Who should start to accomplish the turnaround in climate politics?

Natural disasters are having a major impact around the world and indeed Asia is majorly affected. China has a great responsibility in the region as well as in the world in leading the turnaround in climate politics. Recently, the country has shown great leadership in cleaning up the air and has contributed greatly to the Green Climate Fund. Additionally, China reached its 2020 carbon emission target three years ahead of schedule with the help of the country’s carbon trading system. China will be key to getting other countries to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

What can individuals do to change the world?

I firmly believe that individuals have the power to change the world for the better, be it at a local, regional, or global level. Women make up half the world and half the world’s population are under the age of 25; therefore, it is vital to empower these groups to act as global citizens, showing solidarity and compassion towards the challenges the world faces. At the beginning of 2018 we founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna, Austria together with my Co-chair Former Federal President of the Republic of Austria Heinz Fischer for this exact purpose. In the world today, there are plenty of people with passion, yet not enough with compassion. This is unfortunate, so we must educate the world’s youth to understand that their actions have ripple effects on other around the world. We must teach empathy alongside math and history, for without this and a global vision, we will not succeed in creating a sustainable future for us all, leaving no one behind.

 

What is necessary to achieve a turnaround – does the planet need a new economic system to find a path towards sustainability?

To achieve the turnaround, there are many steps the world needs to take. These may be at the systemic level, but also at the social and individual levels. Businesses need to understand the economic and additional benefits that come from operating more sustainably. The system may not need to change, but the structures within it and leadership can be transformative. The Global Compact has proven that companies who adapt to more sustainable practices will have a “win-win” situation as their success requires stable economies and healthy, skilled and educated workers, among other factors. And sustainable companies experience increased brand trust and investor support.

Additionally, engaging women more in the economic system will also cause a transformation of the global economy and vastly impact sustainability. When more women work, economies prosper and grow. An increase in female labour force participation and a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation, leads to faster economic growth.

These are just a few of the ways in which the turnaround, with regards to the economy, can be achieved.

 

You say global issues need global solutions, and that it takes responsibility and global citizenship. But isn’t growing nationalism around the world – and blaming globalisation for problems – preventing just that?

Nationalism is truly the antithesis of the notion of global citizenship and it is hampering our progress towards building a sustainable planet. Indeed, global solutions are necessary. However, when world leaders and nations retreat into their own bubbles, we are not able to have the difficult discussions needed to make progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and meeting the challenges we face today. Therefore, multilateralism must continue to be fostered wherever possible. We need to keep these avenues of discourse open.

Read the magazine (German) here: http://epaper.roteskreuz.at/MRK1Wien2019/

Photo: Peter Lechner

 

 

“We are at an inflection point,” Ban Ki-moon speaks out.

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote and had a panel discussion at an event hosted by a leading French agricultural cooperative group InVivo on December 19th, 2018.

“We are at a point of historical inflection in demographic and environmental levels,” said Ban.

InVivo aims to help French agriculture and agricultural cooperation to regain their rightful place in the global food value chain. CEO Thierry Blandinières ‏of InVivo said that the company is committed to bringing solutions for the challenges that the country and the world face. In order to achieve the sustainable development of the planet and human population, InVivo focuses on four fields of expertise: Agriculture, Animal Nutrition and Health, Retail and Wine.

Learn more about the group here: https://www.invivo-group.com/en

Photo: Jeudi Photo

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

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

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

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

President Suphachai Chearavanont of GCNT says,

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

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

Ban Ki-moon Centre Participates in Event on the SDGs Featuring Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden

This week, the Ban Ki-moon Centre featured at an event entitled, “The 2030 Agenda – From Global Goals to Local Implementation” hosted by the Swedish Embassy in Vienna. BKMC CEO Monika Froehler moderated the event and led a discussion on the SDGs and local implementation in Austria as well as around the world.

The event began with welcoming remarks from H.E. Ambassador Mikaela Kumlin Granit of the Swedish Embassy followed by a powerful opening statement by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden that set the stage for the discussion that followed. Her H.R.H Princess Victoria said:

“The implementation of the 2030 Agenda is a high priority for the Swedish government, but also for me personally. As advocate of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, I am delighted to see the commitment with which Austria is working to implement the Agenda. Progress is indeed being made, but now we need to step up the pace.”

Following the opening statement, Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák of Slovakia, who is also the former President of the United Nations General Assembly, delivered a keynote in which he stressed the importance of empowering youth and women. He stated:

“Half of this planet are people under 30, and half of this planet are women,” and “our youth are not the future generation; they are here now, and we need to listen to them now.”

Minister Lajčák also thanked the Swedish government for its support of the implementation of  SDG 14, “Life Below Water.”

After the keynote, a panel discussion was moderated by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler, featuring DG Li Yong of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Director-General Désirée Schweitzer of the Department for Development Cooperation at the Austrian Foreign Ministry, VP Ulrike Rabmer-Koller of the Austrian Economic Chambers and Director Monika Langthaler of the R20 Austrian World Summit. Experts from Global ResponsibilitySustainable Energy for All, and the IKEA Foundation also shared their expert insights.

Overall, the event emphasized the need for more advocacy, finance, and innovation to achieve implementation of the SDGs and further global collaboration to reach the most marginalized communities. During the Q&A session, the “Youth SDG Advocates” provided by the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens asked questions about the role that the international community should play in advancing the SDGs and how youth can be engaged and represented.

Check out the full video of the event below!

Gepostet von Schwedische Botschaft Wien – Embassy of Sweden Vienna am Mittwoch, 28. November 2018

 

HRH Premier confers Khalifa Bin Salman Award for Sustainable Development on Ban Ki-moon

On November 18th, upon his visit to Bahrain to participate in the GCC Health Insurance Conference, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon received the “HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Award for Sustainable Development 2018” by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. The award was conferred in recognition of his efforts and contributions in serving humanity and promoting global peace, security and achieving sustainable development goals.

HRH the Premier congratulated Ban on winning the award, noting his accomplishments and contributions that enriched the collective international community’s efforts to achieve the universal goals of humanity. His Royal Highness affirmed that Ban Ki-moon has meritoriously deserved the award in consideration of his long career efforts of boosting the international cooperation vis-à-vis sustainable development goals. HRH the Premier noted Ban’s efforts focusing on the MDGs and accelerating the momentum of assisting countries and peoples in this regard and paving solid ground on which countries, including Bahrain, relied in their efforts of implementing the SDGs.

Source: http://www.newsofbahrain.com/bahrain/48780.html

Ban Ki-moon stresses the importance of adapting to climate change at the World Energy Outlook 2018

The World Energy Outlook 2018 was launched by Verbund and International Energy Agency (IEA) at the Technical University of Vienna on November 14th.

This year’s edition of the WEO found that the world population without electricity access fell below 1 billion for the first time ever in 2017, led by India; but despite recent progress, efforts in sub-Saharan Africa need to redouble to achieve the goal of universal access.

The event on Wednesday drew more than 300 participants, including ambassadors from several countries, as well as former Vice-Chancellor of Austria Mr. Reinhold Mitterlehner and high level representatives from UNIDO and OPEC.

Under Co-chair Ban’s leadership as Secretary General of the United Nations, the UN adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) including SDG 7 related specifically to energy in the year 2015. Ban acknowledged the IEA’s role in tracking progress toward SDG 7 and congratulated IEA for the continued efforts in providing analysis and data on the SDG 7 through the World Energy Outlook.

Ban also stressed the importance of adapting to the climate change as Head of Global Commission on Adaptation and Chairman of the Board of Global Center on Adaptation:

“Climate change is a global challenge requiring a global coordination.”

“Adapting to climate will require a complete transformation.”

“Adaptation is not only the right thing to do but a smart thing to do.”

Minister Elisabeth Koestinger of the Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism welcomed this year’s World Energy Outlook as a source of information and data for political leaders while Ban spoke of his childhood experiences with access to energy growing up in South Korea, and highlighted the importance of international cooperation to improve energy access while tackling climate change.

During a dialogue session with Minister Koestinger and Executive Director Fatih Birol of IEA, Ban stressed 3 key points, urging that everyone has to use energy more wisely and sustainably in order to achieve the sustainable development of the future:

1. Enhance effectiveness of energy use
2. Make energy accessible for all
3. Develop renewable energy

Source: https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2018/november/executive-director-in-vienna-for-presentation-of-world-energy-outlook.html
Photo: IEA

“Do not erect walls; build bridges!” Ban Ki-moon urges at the 4th International Growth in Transition Conference

“Sustainable development must become the hallmark of this era,”

claimed BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon at the “4th International Growth in Transition Conference” hosted by Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2018 at the Austria Center Vienna on November 14th, 2018. This year, the conference focused on topic of ‘Europe’s Transformation: Where People Matter.’

The conference was facilitated by Mr. Peter Woodward, Co-Founder and Director of Quest Associates, and featured Minister Elisabeth Koestinger of the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism of Austria and Deputy Director-General Wolfgang Burtscher of the Research and Innovation Department at the European Commission.

The participants actively participated in discussing sustainability and were given time to introduce their work to each other.

During the moderated discussion session, Co-chair Ban said that “there is no country in the world that can solve the global issues alone no matter how powerful a country may be” and stressed that global citizenship should be fostered among people.

Ban also emphasized the importance of advancing the SDGs during his keynote speech. The implementation of the SDGs, he said, should be done in the effort of finding #challenges that the world faces. Doing so, Co-chair Ban stressed that empowering youth and women should be the priority. During his tenure as the UN Secretary-General, Ban has established UN Women and UN Youth Envoy.

During the press conference with Minister Koestinger, Ban shared his deep concerns that multilateralism is now under attack. He urged world leaders to be more united to better cooperate and address global challenges together.

“So many people are with passion, and not enough with compassion,”

Ban stressed the importance of tackling global problems with compassion and moral attitude.

“Do not erect walls; build bridges!”

 

Watch the live-streamed video of the conference here:

4th International Growth in Transition Conference: ‘Europe’s Transformation: Where People Matter’- Opening- Key Conference Challenges- Keynote – Sustainable Development: The Pathway To The Future- Political Panel: "Politics, People And Transition" – Introduction to the "Call To Action" Challenge

Gepostet von Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2018 am Mittwoch, 14. November 2018

 

Watch the live-streamed press conference here:

Jetzt live: Pressekonferenz anlässlich der 4. Internationalen Wachstum im Wandel-Konferenz mit Nachhaltigkeitsministerin Elisabeth Köstinger und Ban Ki-Moon (ehemaliger Generalsekretär der Vereinten Nationen und Vorsitzender des Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens)

Gepostet von Für ein nachhaltiges Österreich am Mittwoch, 14. November 2018

Ban Ki-moon Centre signs a Tripartite MOU with Yeosijae and Tsinghua University

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens signed a tripartite MOU with Yeosijae (Future Consensus Institute) and Tsinghua University at Tsinghua University on the margins of the 2018 Future Consensus Forum in BeijingChina on November 5th, 2018.

The three institutes agreed to collaborate on research projects and academic exchanges related to future city and sustainable development, acknowledging areas of common interest in promoting research, crossing sectors and disciplines, and advancing solutions to global challenges.

After the MOU signing ceremony, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a special lecture on the SDGs to the Tsinghua University students.