Co-chair Ban Ki-moon launched the “Year of Action” of the Global Commission on Adaptation with Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgeieva

“Action is imperative if we want all people, especially those living on the frontlines of climate change, and our children, who will inherit the impacts of climate change, to have the opportunity for a better future. During our Year of Action, we will implement climate-resilient solutions all over the world so we can save lives, reduce risk, strengthen economies, and protect our environment. We no longer have any time to waste.” – Ban Ki-moon

Built on the momentum of the UN Climate Action Summit on September 24th, the Global Commission on Adaptation was launched a Year of Action to accelerate and scale climate adaptation solutions.

The Commission is led by Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary General of the United Nations; Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank.

“Without urgent adaptation action, we risk undermining food, energy, and water security for decades to come. Continued economic growth and reductions in global poverty are possible despite these daunting challenges—but only if societies invest much more in adaptation. The costs of adapting are less than the cost of doing business as usual. And the benefits many times larger” – Ban Ki-moon

At the event that took place in the UN headquarters, the Commission leaders and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Dutch Water Management Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen launched eight Action Tracks that focus on the following areas: Finance and Investment, Food Security and Agriculture, Nature-Based Solutions, Water, Cities, Locally-Led Action, Infrastructure, and Preventing Disasters. Together, these actions form a comprehensive platform for urgent, bold and equitable adaptation.

More than 75 national governments, multilateral banks, civil society organizations and private sector actors have signed on to support and deliver on these initiatives. The Commission and its partners will mobilize political, technical, and financial support for adaptation, through both existing initiatives and new coalitions for change.

Over the next 12 months, the Commission will be working on climate solutions to regions that are vulnerable to climate change, solutions such as reinforcing coastal areas and future-proofing urban infrastructure. The “Year of Action” will run until the Dutch Climate Adaptation Summit, to be held in Amsterdam on 22 October 2020.

Sources: World Resources InstituteGovernment of the Netherlands

© DRRRF 

Ban Ki-moon Delivers a Keynote at the International Day of Peace Commemorative Roundtable

On September 19th, Co-Chair Ban Ki-moon gave a keynote speech at International Day of Peace Commemorative Roundtable. This event was held as a part of the annual Peace BAR Festival (PBF), a forum on the topic ‘The Future Unhinged: Climate Justice for All,’ and was hosted by Kyung Hee University from September 16th to 19th.

“In order for individuals and communities to escape the existential threats of climate change, we must act now.” – Ban Ki-moon

At the Roundtable, BKMC Board member Irina Bokova who is also former Director-General of UNESCO and an Honorary Rector of Humanities College at Kyung Hee University featured as a moderator. Club of Rome member Ian Dunlop, Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University and Chancellor of Kyung Hee University System Inwon Choue attended as panelists to address global climate change crisis.

In his speech, BKMC Co-chair Ban said, “We are facing a fast-changing climate phenomenon.” “Record-breaking heat waves, wildfires, and typhoons are no longer perceived as abnormal, but as ‘new-normal’. He insisted that “Individual citizens should change their lifestyle habits to curb rising temperatures.” “If we allow the global temperature to rise more than 3 degrees Celsius, then it may be the end of humanity,” he warned.

He also outlined his efforts in environmental sectors as a UN Secretary-General. “I placed climate change as a top priority,” he said. “In 2007, the first high-level talk with world leaders was held.” Moreover, in December 2015, Co-chair Ban successfully initiated and established Paris Climate Agreement. He continued, “The Kyoto Protocol of 1992 was not an obligation to the largest emitters of greenhouse gases including China and India, but this has been improved in the Paris Agreement.”

“Only 11 years are left before climate change becomes a catastrophe,” said Ban. As he closed his speech, Ban emphasized, “We do not have Planet B. There is no alternative to the Earth. Therefore, there is no Plan B in the climate change problem.” “The only way is to foster cooperation based on multilateralism and coexist with nature.”

“It is very crucial for citizens to share information and knowledge about climate change.” – Inwon Choue

During the Roundtable, Chancellor Inwon Choue said, “Countries have promised to decrease 1.5 degrees by the end of the 21st century, but there is not much of a progress. If this continues, the world’s temperature will increase 1 degree higher by 2030.”  In particular, he said, “At this time, when an environmental catastrophe is currently happening, political leaders do not seem to consider climate change seriously.”

“It is very dire to change how we think and take an initiative.” – Irina Bokova

Bokova added to Chancellor Choue, “Political leaders do not pay attention to urgent climate issues. They seem to have forgotten their responsibility to preserve the planet.”

“We are on a path of increasing the world temperature by 4 degrees Celsius, which brings an environment incompatible with an organized global community. In other words, that represents global collapse.” – Ian Dunlop

In discussing lack of political efforts, Ian Dunlop said, “As climate change issues require long-term efforts, political leaders neglect this matter but rather focus on growth.” He also mentioned that one of the main reasons people are not mobilized to act on the issue despite its expected gravity is that the effects of climate change are not immediately apparent. “Whatever we put into the atmosphere today, we don’t see the full effect for 10, 20 or 30 years to come,” he said. “By the time [the effects] becomes clear, it will be too late to act. That means we have to act now.”

“Solutions are available to us but what we lack is political will to make it happen.” – Ian Dunlop

The experts outlined some specific actions to roll back climate change included decreasing industrial disposal is mandatory. Ian Dunlop said, “The problem is, at the moment, we are not reducing emissions at all – we are actually producing more.” “We should stop all carbon consumption today… [and] need to phase out fossil fuel by no later than 2050. We should remove subsidies to fossil fuel industries, tighten controls on fugitive emissions from fossil fuel operations and redesign agricultural practices to emphasize soil carbon sequestration, ocean sequestration and reforestation.”

“Reducing fossil energy on individual level is clearly not enough. Currently 41 billion tons of greenhouse gases are emitted worldwide each year, and 20 billion of which must be eliminated.” – Peter Wadhams

In addition to political dedication, Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, highlighted the role of science and technology in climate change solutions. According to him, planting trees are less efficient. Rather, air purifiers should be implemented to absorb the greenhouse gases and the absorbed greenhouse gases can be buried in the ground.

Co-chair Ban will attend the first UN Global Summit on Climate Change on Tuesday, September 23rd to bring together political will of different countries.

Source: Korea Joongang Daily

© Korea Joongang Daily & Kyung Hee University

Co-chairs Ban and Fischer say: “The UN can not do anything without solidarity”

At the European Forum Alpbach 2019, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer were interviewed on August 25th by Der Standard, an Austrian daily newspaper published in Vienna.

Journalist Christoph Prantner asked why multilateralism is essential to meet the major global challenges. The two agreed that the international community must find new unity and that otherwise the big global challenges such as the climate crisis can not be overcome.

Ban stressed the “importance of

multilateralism in solving global challenges,” giving examples on the trade war between the USA and China and the rise of populism in Europe. He said that “regional issues were solved through solidarity and diplomacy in the past.”

Fischer added, “leadership alone is not enough, global challenges are always politicalecological
and ideological.”
He used the Paris Agreement as one of the solutions for current issues.

Giving the World War II and the subsequent creation of the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU), Fischer pointed out that “sometimes we need a shock/crisis to be able to move towards a bigger goal.”

 

Read more (GER): https://bit.ly/2k03s1O

© Eugenie Berger

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler meets with former UN Under-Secretary-General Dr. Noeleen Heyzer

On July 17th, 2019, BKMC CEO Monika Froehler met with Dr. Heyzer, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, in Vienna, Austria.

Dr. Heyzer was the first woman to serve as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations ESCAP and the first woman from the South to head the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), which is a part of UN Women. She became UNIFEM‘s longest serving Executive Director transforming it from a small entity to a powerhouse leading in women‘s empowerment and gender equality.

Dr. Heyzer also led an unprecedented dialogue with Myanmar’s leaders on development and poverty reduction, resulting in the Government of Myanmar requesting the formation of a development partnership. She was announced by BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, who was then Secretary-General of the UN in 2013, as his Special Adviser for Timor-Leste, working to support peace-buildingstate-building, and sustainable development.

Watch a short video that features Dr. Heyzer, made by the Asian Development Bank. In this video, she shares her thoughts on what goes into making successful women leaders by introducing “The Three Cs” by her definition.

 

Ban Ki-moon stresses on multilateralism at the UN Security Council

On June 12th, upon the invitation of the United Nations Security Council, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon attended the Council’s meeting with Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of the Republic of Liberia.

Robinson pointed that nuclear weapons and the climate change are the two greatest existential threats to our planet now. “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,” added Ban.

When the Security Council can cooperate and speak with a strong common voice, “its decisions can have a decisive impact,” Ban Ki-moon told the Chamber as a former Secretary-General of the UN.

“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” he stated.

Ban highlighted areas where the Security Council can show effective leadership to support the work of the Secretary-General and improve general conditions for peace and conflict resolution.

Conflict prevention and mediation are two of “the most important tools at our disposal to reduce human suffering” current SG of the UN Antonio Guterres said.

He noted some “encouraging signs,” such as successful constitutional transfers of power in Mali and Madagascar; the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea; the revitalized agreement in South Sudan; and, after decades of dispute, “the designation of the Republic of North Macedonia to be internationally recognized”.

Read more: https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/06/1040321

“Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”

BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote as well as attending the side events of the 75th session of the UN ESCAP that took place in Bangkok, Thailand from May 27th to 31st. Focusing on the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality,” the session comprised a ministerial segment and a senior officials segment.

“I firmly believe our common endeavour to achieve the SDGS can pave the path to equality, overcome expanding division. In order to meet this noble aspiration for equality, cooperation, innovation and engagement by all stakeholders is vital,” said Co-chair Ban Ki-moon as former United Nations Secretary-General

At a side event hosted with Google and the Thai government, Ban Ki-moon shared innovative solutions that promote digital inclusion as the Asia Pacific region faces a deepening digital divide with more than half of the region without access to basic internet.

Ban underscored the urgency for “all hands on deck” to harness ownership and participation from all sectors of society to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and urged stakeholders from all sectors and countries to work together, ensuring inclusiveness and equality not only in the Asia Pacific region but across the world.

Source: https://unescap.org/commission/75/
Photo: UN ESCAP

“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

The Peace Museum of the 8th United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon opens in Eumseong

“The Peace Museum of the 8th United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon” had its grand opening on December 6th, 2018. The museum has been established in Eum Seong, a small county in Korea where Ban was born.

The 2800-square-meter museum is equipped with a cultural center that exhibits donated souvenirs that Ban has received from all over the world, materials and videos related to the UN, and also a virtual-experience hall for the Model UN General Assembly. There are also lecture rooms, an outdoor performance stage, and meeting rooms.

Beginning from next year in January, the museum will provide varied experience programs through which youth can learn more about the UN and become inspired to be global citizens. The museum is also surrounded by the Ban Ki-moon Peace Land and the Ban Ki-moon Memorial Hall.

“I hope the peace museum will become a venue for education that helps our youth become global citizens,” said Ban.

At the opening ceremony of the museum, around 300 guests came to celebrate it, including the Ambassadors from the Austrian Embassy, Kuwaiti Embassy, and Tanzanian Embassy in Seoul.

Ban also delivered a special lecture on the topic of “the United Nations and 21st-Century Leadership” at Eum Seong High School, encouraging the students to understand how they can contribute to make the world a better place.

Photo: Eumseong County Office

António Guterres holds a meeting with Ban Ki-moon at the UN headquarters in New York

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ Co-founder and Co-chair Ban Ki-moon served as the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) from 2007 to 2016. Last week, he revisited the headquarters of the UN in New York, US and was greeted by current Secretary-General António Guterres and Deputy SG Amina Mohammed. Guterres invited Ban to have a bilateral meeting in his office, and the two world leaders openly discussed the status quo of the global issues.

Before his tenure as the 9th UNSG, Guterres served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees between 2005 and 2015, during most of which period Ban served as SG. Guterres was the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and was elected President of Socialist International in 1999. He held both posts until his resignation from the latter.

Chelsea Clinton and Susan Blaustein receive the ‘Ban Ki-moon Award for Women’s Empowerment’

At the 17th Annual Asia Initiatives Gala on October 18th, 2018 in New York, US, Vice President Chelsea Clinton of Clinton Foundation and Susan Blaustein, Founder and Executive Director of WomenStrong International were conferred the ‘Ban Ki-moon Award for Women’s Empowerment’ created in recognition of Ban Ki-moon’s leadership in support of women’s rights and gender equity. As the award’s first honoree, BKMC Co-chair Ban’s vision led to the creation of UN Women and its HeForShe Campaign, the first High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, and to his appointment of the first UN female force commander to head peacekeeping operations and the employment of increased number of women at the UN system.

“It is such an honor for me to be able to properly recognize these amazing women. During my tenure as Secretary-General, I always worked to make women’s empowerment a top priority, and I can see that Asia Initiatives is carrying on that legacy,” said Ban.

Asia Initiatives is an international non-profit organization that leverages social capital to promote sustainable development and has annually held the gala to recognize women for their work advocating for women and girls. Women empowerment is an important asset to achieving the SDG 5: Gender Equality.

To empower women and girls, Clinton has endeavored to provide them with more opportunities to be engaged in society. She has written a couple of books as a series titled She Persisted to share the stories of empowered women to help children cultivate new perspectives on women’s role and gender equality. Susan Blaustein works to catalyze women-led initiatives around the world, including those in Ghana, Kenya, Haiti, India, and the United States. She has also worked on solving poverty problems.

“Empowering women and girls worldwide is key to peace, to eliminating all forms of violence, and to enabling families, communities, and nations to thrive,” said Blaustein. “Asia Initiatives’ Ban Ki-moon Award is such an honor and such an important recognition of the brilliance and hard work of women and girls everywhere, who know best what they need to succeed and whose truthful, clarion voices deserve to be heard, now more than ever.”

Source: https://bit.ly/2AmRkNs
Source: http://asiainitiatives.org/