Meeting with President Alexander Van der Bellen of Austria

As the former United Nations Secretary-General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Ban Ki-moon had a bilateral meeting with the President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen on August 25th. CEO of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens Monika Froehler also accompanied.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre has closely worked with the Austrian government with a common goal of advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). President Van der Bellen expressed his appreciation for Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s advocacy and strong will to strengthen the relationship between Austria and South Korea. Ban says that half of his heart lies in Austria as he has served as a Korean Ambassador to Vienna in the 1990s.

Having its headquarter located in Austria, the Ban Ki-moon Centre has not only actively cooperated with the international organizations and relevant stakeholders based in the country to promote the SDGs and global citizenship mindset but has it been also a bridge between the two countries, tackling the global challenges together with both governments. Ban has given advice to the Austrian government about its strategic plans for the Agenda 2030 and has also chaired the Korean government’s National Council on Climate and Air Pollution that tackles climate issues surrounding the Korean peninsula.

Ⓒ BKMC / Eugenie Berger

Meeting with Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein of Austria

At the European Forum Alpbach (EFA) 2019, BKMC co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer had a meeting with the Federal Chancellor of Austria Brigitte Bierlein on August 25th.

Chancellor Bierlein expressed her appreciation for the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s cooperation for making Austria one of the leading countries in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing advice and expertise with the Centre’s leadership.

At the EFA 2019, the Centre and the Austrian Chancellery successfully co-hosted the breakout session “Promoting the SDGs in Europe with a Global Mindset.”

Delivering a welcome remark at the session, Chancellor Bierlein said:

“By conviction, Austria is actively engaged in multilateral matters. One could certainly emphasize that in terms of the implementation of the United Nations’  Sustainable Development Goals, Austria ranks among the top 5 countries worldwide.”

Ⓒ BKMC / Eugenie Berger

“Promoting the SDGs in Europe with a Global Mindset”

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens hosted a breakout session in cooperation with the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria (Bundeskanzleramt Österreich) at the Political and Legal Symposia at the European Forum Alpbach on August 25th, 2019.

Theme: “Promoting the SDGs in Europe with a Global Mindset”

Welcome remarks and a keynote were delivered by:

  • Brigitte Bierlein, Federal Chancellor of Austria
  • Heinz Fischer, Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre & 11th Federal President of Austria
  • Ban Ki-moon, Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre & 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations

During her welcome remarks, Chancellor Bierlein said that Austria is currently actively engaged in multilateral matters, mentioning the country’s ranking in the SDG Index for this year.

“One could certainly emphasize that in terms of the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Austria ranks among the top 5 countries worldwide,” said Bierlein.

“For the global policy for our planet,” Co-chair Heinz Fischer said that “the global governing programs are the SDGs.”

Fischer said that the Goals are interconnected and that they are based on human dignity, which is the most important matter for mankind. He said that achieving all these goals could be challenging but that “it is a necessary and important task.”

Delivering a keynote, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon encouraged all national leaders to act as global leaders with a global citizenship mindset, which he said is a truly crucial asset for every individual to have in order to achieve sustainable development in a global society.

“These 17 Goals offer us a way to confront the most critical issues of our time,” he said, “the opportunities to change the world for the better are all in our hands.”

The panel consisted of:

As a moderator of the Session, BKMC CEO Monika Froehler asked the panelists their points of view on the Session topic as well as suggestions for achieving the SDGs.

Minister Patek said that the European Union as a whole performs well on the implementation of the SDGs. She pointed out that some of the elements of the success include an effective state system beyond borders, the engagement with active NGOs, and the provision of an environment for a prosperous life.

Lamy said that the real quality of the SDGs is the supply of countable goals to civil society to foster the expectation towards political and economic leaders, agreeing to what Ban has emphasized during his keynote.

To fight the most pressing global challenge, climate crisis, Frischmann said that managing refrigeration and stopping leakage in air conditioners and fridges may serve as the most effective way that individuals can contribute to.

The audience also got actively engaged in the conversations by participating in the Mentimeter presentation that reflected their answers to questions in real-time and by raising critical questions. Some of the discussion topics included what are the local and global solutions for curbing climate change and how to engage most for the SDGs.

Watch the recorded live stream: https://www.facebook.com/BanKimoonCentre/videos/724752221309832/

© EFA / Iryna Yeroshko & BKMC / Eugenie Berger

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

“Europe and the SDGs: Best-practices and Recommendations”

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the Embassy of Sweden in Vienna co-hosted the event on “Europe and the SDGs: Best-practices and Recommendations” on May 21st, 2019 in Vienna, Austria. The event gathered representatives and experts from both public and private sectors and provided an open-discussion platform where the best practices and the recommendations on the SDG implementation were discussed.

H.E. Ambassador Mikaela Kumlin Granit of the Swedish Embassy and BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer delivered welcome remarks.

Fischer pointed out that “now it is time to look at the current implementations by governments and business in Europe and how they can be improved.”

He mentioned that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Agenda 2030 that were adopted by the United Nations when Co-chair Ban Ki-moon was serving as Secretary-General of the UN and that it is crucial to cooperate to advance the 17 Goals. Then he added the efforts to achieve the SDGs should not be done by competition but in collaboration.

“The Agenda 2030 presents not only the opportunity to make sustainable development reality, but it also gives us significant responsibilities,” said Fischer.

Following the welcome remarks, Sabine Schneeberger, Director at the Coordination DG of the Austrian Federal Chancellery delivered a keynote. She said that the Austrian government has integrated the 2030 Agenda into their programs, requiring all its ministries to incorporate the principles of the Agenda.

The event was divided into two panel discussions that were moderated by CEO Monika Froehler of the Ban Ki-moon Centre:

Panel I – Government Best-Practices

  • Inger Buxton, Deputy Head of the Global Agenda Department at the MFA, Sweden
  • H.E. Ambassador Sylvia Meier-Kajbic, Federal Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Austria
  • H.E. Ambassador Pirkko Hämäläinen, Ambassador of Finland to Austria and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna
  • Kvetoslav Kmec, Director for Strategic Planning at the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, Slovakia

Panel II – Business and CSO Best-Practices

  • Helena Lindemark, Founder and CEO of Sustainable Development Sweden AB
  • Dr. Gabriela-Maria Straka, Director of CSR & Corporate Affairs, Grüne Brauerei Göss, Austria
  • Bernhard Zlanabitnig, member of SDG Watch Austrian Steering Committee; Director of EU-Umwelt Büro
  • Markus Haas, Head of Export Finance, International Projects, and Financial Institutions at the Austrian Economic Chambers (WKO)

The audience also actively engaged themselves in the discussions, bringing different perspectives and expertise to the floor.

Emphasizing the importance of acting promptly to advance the SDGs and to facilitate the collaboration between private and public sector, Froehler said that it is also crucial that individuals contribute to the sustainable development of all, no matter how small each contribution may be.

She concluded “because I think, on an individual level, on a national level, and on the international level, there is so much to gain” and that one should try to convert “pain” into “gain.”

Watch the recorded video of the first panel: https://www.facebook.com/BanKimoonCentre/videos/2366321576931251/
and the second panel here: https://www.facebook.com/BanKimoonCentre/videos/343893992935647/

Photos: Harald Klemm

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon Speaks at Global Citizen Festival in Berlin Calling for Climate Action

On Tuesday May 21st 2019, Ban Ki-moon Centre partner Global Citizen hosted GC Live Berlin, bringing together policy makers from around the world seeking to end extreme poverty and to support African Youth. Former UN Secretary-General and Centre Co-chair Ban Ki-Moon made particular impact through his participation and speech at the event resulting in large coverage across social media and media outlets.

At the event, Nigeria and Zambia made important commitments to water, sanitation, and nutrition. Co-chair Ban, World Bank Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva, and German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller all made powerful statements on the world’s most pressing issues associated with ending extreme poverty and addressing climate change.

Along with CEO Georgieva and Bill Gates, Co-chair Ban chairs the Global Commission on Adaptation focused on climate adaptation.

During his speech at GC live Berline, Co-chair Ban emphasized:

“Now is the moment to make our lives, our homes, and our communities climate friendly and climate ready.”

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler also attended the event in support of African Youth which underlined the idea of one generation, one future.

In addition to the commitments made by African countries, the government of Germany announced support for 60 million smallholder farmers globally to adapt to climate change.

The event followed weeks of campaigning by Global Citizens around the world. Global Citizens from Germany, South Africa, Nigeria, and 143 other countries took action in the lead-up to the event which earned them tickets to the concert. The event celebrated Africa Day, which takes place on May 25 and commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union) on May 25, 1963.

Global Citizen Live Berlin was presented in partnership with Engagement Global, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Live Nation.

Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-citizen-live-berlin-global-citizens-artists-and-world-leaders-from-nigeria-zambia-germany-rwanda-and-ghana-took-unprecedented-action-on-ending-extreme-poverty-by-2030-300854704.html

Photo: Global Citizen

#GCLiveBerlin #EineGenerationEineZukunft #SDGs #GlobalCitizens

The Ban Ki-moon Centre mentors young researchers writing paper on the SDGs

Young researchers from the Regional Academy on the United Nations visited the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens on May 9th. The group of three young scholars from Austria, the Czech Republic,and Germany presented their ideas for conducting researches on the SDGs.

As their mentors, BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler encouraged the group, stressing that their inputs will also inspire others to take initiatives and further actions to make changes in society as global citizens,

The group’s research findings will bring together and reflect varied perspectives and fields of expertise with the examples of best practices. A 20-page research paper will be submitted by the end of this year and presented at the RAUN conference in early next year.

Learn more: http://www.ra-un.org/

“Leave no one behind,” says Heinz Fischer at the symposium for Global SDGs in a Mediatized World

A 2-day symposium “Global Sustainable Development Goals in a Mediatized World” took place at the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Vienna, Austria on April 4-5th, 2019.

At the opening, BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer delivered a keynote, mentioning the great success of the world having reached the consensus on the Human Rights Declaration, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and then the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations.

Expressing his appreciation of “what is done and how many institutions and universities are dealing with teaching about the SDGs,” Fischer urged that we should cooperate to advance the SDGs and “leave no one behind.”

Mediatization shapes public discourses and thus influences the way in which the Agenda 2030 is reflected, criticized, and implemented. Communication plays an important and sometimes decisive role in the awareness and individual acceptance and the political and economic legitimization of the SDGs due to digitalization, convergence, and globalization in a rapidly changing societal environment.

The symposium brought together experts, scientists, and researchers in the field to highlight these aspects, discuss the consequences across disciplines, and elaborate the implications of research related to the implementation of the Agenda 2030. Their research findings were also presented during the symposium, and it showed what Austrian scientists can make to the SDGs, deepen the interdisciplinary dialogue among scientists and beyond, and better acquaint researchers with the SDGs.

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/events/384052535730580/

Ban Ki-moon stresses the importance of “resilient and sustainable cities” at the MIPIM 2019

From March 12th to 15th, 2019, the 30th edition of MIPIM, an real estate event, takes place in Cannes, France. It is the world’s leading real estate event gathering key players of the property market. The event allows people from different sectors of the industry to meet and bring the value chain together and provides a unique exhibition and networking platform to forge deals. This year, the main theme for the conferences is “Engaging the Future.”

At the opening ceremony, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote and stressed that

“we must ensure that our future cities are resilient and sustainable, creative and innovate, and inclusive and equitable.”

He pointed out that creating resilient and sustainable cities are they key to our future, and the climate change is the “most pressing threat standing in this path.” He also addressed how the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can help in charting a thriving blueprint for the future.

“Goal 17 of the SDGs clearly highlights the prominent role that the private sector, alongside civil society, academia, and others, should play to help achieve the SDGs,” said Ban. “Global partnerships,” he stressed, “are necessary if we are to deliver on our development commitments.”

Photo by: Yann Coatsaliou

A ‘Small UN’ Ban Ki-moon Foundation to be opened in Seoul

On March 5th, the “Ban Ki-moon Foundation for a Better Future (tentative title)” was announced to be established in Korea at the meeting of promoters held in Seoul. Having BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon as the Chair of its Board, the Foundation will serve as a non-political, non-profit public organization that acts as a ‘small UN’ with below objectives:

  • To improve and promote Ban Ki-moon’s philosophy and vision as the 8th UN Secretary-General by realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and conducting academic researches and suggesting policies in order for everyone to ensured of human rights
  • To establish a perpetual peace in the Korean Peninsula as well as to promote peace in East Asia and the globe
  • To protect the future vision and the rights of women, youth, and children and to establish future-oriented values
  • To create and execute varied programs to eradicate poverty and disease in developing countries
  • To lead education on cultivating people of talents and global citizenship in cooperation with various international organizations, including the United Nations, and civil organizations, academic institutes, and  educational institutions both inside and outside Korea

Starting from May 2019, the Foundation will pursue projects with the above visions.

Ban mentioned that “I have tried to promote the agenda on climate change, sustainable development, and women’s empowerment while in the UN” and “now I would like to realize such visions both inside and outside the country in cooperation with the people from different sectors in Korea.”

The meeting of promoters had 46 participants, including:

  • Kim Hwangsik, former Prime Minister of Korea; Chairman of the Board of Directors at Ho-am Foundation (Head of the Meeting of Promoters for the BKM Foundation)
  • Gong Ro-myung, former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Chairman of East Asia Foundation
  • Lee Sang-hee, former Minister of National Defense
  • Kim Yong-hak, President of Yonsei University
  • Han Bi-ya, President of Global Citizen School of World Vision; Author of a best-selling book “Daughter of the Wind: Three and a Half Times around the Globe on Foot”
  • Kim Sook, former Korean Ambassador to the UN; former President of UN Women’s Executive Board
  • Rye Seung-min, Korean gold-medalist table tennis player; Athlete Member of the IOC
  • Son Yeon-jae, Korean retired rhythmic gymnast; 3-time Asian Championships All-around Champion
  • Yoo Dong-geun, Korean actor