“One planet, one future – engaging youths for #SDGs”

On March 26th, the Dewey Centre hosted the event “One planet, one future – engaging youths for #SDGs” from Beijing, China, in partnership with the BKMC. The event was the second session of the new Dewey Global Dialogues series engaging young people in China with renowned international experts to inspire a generation of future leaders acting and leading with passion and compassion to build a better future.

The online dialogue welcomed Ban Ki-moon Centre Co-chair and 11th President of Austria, Heinz Fischer as well as Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Kim Won-soo and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler. Selected BKMC Fellows and Scholars also joined the panelists to discuss the importance of inclusive policies and how youth can tackle the SDGs in their own communities.  

“The fight against #climatechange is a fight to change the mind & attitudes of billions of people around the globe. #Young people are taking great strides in this fight. We are on the right path but will we be fast enough?” Co-chair Heinz Fischer

The young delegates had the opportunity to present the work they do addressing the SDGs in their own communities. BKMC Fellows Fay and Daad as well as BKMC Mentee Nesrin talked about how individual action is very important in reaching the 2030 Agenda and creating inclusive policies that leave no one behind. The young women were also able to ask questions directly to BKMC Co-chair Heinz Fischer about his thoughts on the serious lack of representation of women, youth, and marginalized people in policies around the world. Check out the BKMC youth representatives SDG Micro-Projects here. 

The clear message of the event was that the great task of the next generation is to manage this progress and make it fair – leaving no one behind.

The BKMC is looking forward to its future cooperation with the Dewey Centre and to many more challenging dialogues in the coming year. Together we can inspire a future generation of leaders embracing culture, diversity, creativity, compassion, and innovation.

Watch the full event below: 

Stay tuned for more information on this initiative!

“Building Bridges”: The BKMC promotes Youth Engagement for the Sustainable Development Goals and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

As part of the Decade of Action to advance the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement, the BKMC is taking part in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization’s (CTBTO) “Building Bridges, Nurture Partnership, Embrace Dialogue” project series in partnership with the Government of Switzerland, which invites youth organizations to engage with CTBTO Youth Group (CYG)  members to share best practices, ideas for cooperation, and build partnerships to lead for sustainable development, climate action, peace, and security advocacy.

On March 18, BKMC Program Officer Julia Zimmerman participated in a panel at the CTBTO’s second webinar “Building Bridges, together with five other youth-led NGOs/community groups, and especially stressed the role of youth as key to speeding up progress for the achievement of the SDGs and the connection between sustainable development and disarmament 

“We need to take on these challenges collectively and apply a global citizen mindset. That also includes in disarmament. There is no sustainable development without disarmament. There is no equal world without disarmament.” 

Ban Ki-moon Centre  Program Officer Julia Zimmerman

Program Officer Zimmerman also highlighted the BKMC’s role in guiding its fellows, scholars, mentors, and mentees in the implementation of SDG Micro Projects for their communities. These are best practice examples of youth contributing to accelerating action for sustainable development, an essential part of which is disarmament for the insurance of peace and security. 

Spot the challenge and find the solution. Everyone can take action for the SDGs in their communities.

Ban Ki-moon Centre  Program Officer Julia Zimmerman

The BKMC is looking forward to cooperating with the CTBTO, CYG, African Young Generation in NuclearGlobal Young Academy, Nuclear and Strategy Network – New Generation, YOUNGO, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network to strengthen young people’s role in tackling challenges and leading within the global peace and security agenda. 

Click HERE to watch a recording of the Building Bridges Webinar.  

For more practical insights, check out “Youth, Peace & Security: A Programming Handbook”

Ban Ki-moon in conversation with die Furche: “We need more Global Citizens”

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens Co-chair Ban Ki-moon was interviewed by Die Furche for its January Edition about the impact the United Nations had during his upbringing in Korea, his time as United Nations Secretary-General, his expectations for President-Elect Joe Biden, and how the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Climate Agreement and Global Citizenship are the road maps to achieve a better future for all.

Read the full English version below.

Access the full German Version here:

2021.1a Ban Ki-moon ITV 

2021.1b Ban Ki-moon ITV


“We need more Global Citizens”

Die Furche, 7 January 2021

1. Former UN Secretary General, may I start with a personal question: You come from a country that has been divided by war to this day – how did that shape you for your later role as the world’s top peacemaker and peacekeeper? 

When I was born before the end of the Second World War, everybody was poor. Soon after, South Korea was attacked by North Korea. At that time, the United Nations had sent troops and humanitarian aid. As a child growing up during the Korean War my family received food ratios and I studied with either kerosene lamps or with candlelight from schoolbooks that were provided by UNESCO. These are my first memories of the UN. Later it was the United Nations’ efforts that substantially helped rebuild and recover South Korea from the Korean War. Observing the incredible impact of the UN in supporting a divided country and assisting on the road to peace and prosperity has influenced me in my various roles. On many occasions, I have emphasized the importance of multilateralism in peacekeeping and I still believe in the role of the United Nations and the other global players in steering the peace between North and South Korea.

In the first months of this year, while the number of individuals infected by the virus and death tolls rose sharply, many trivialized Covid-19 by comparing it to the annual wave of influenza. On the other hand, others over-dramatized the situation and overstated the actual number of victims. Slowly, a more realistic picture has emerged.

2. 75 years after the end of the Second World War, 75 years after the founding of the United Nations, with the aim of “saving future generations from the scourge of war”, it looks in many places as if politicians and peoples have become “tired of peace”. Do you share this impression and how can the willingness to work for peace be rekindled?

Yes – in 2020 the UN was celebrating its 75th anniversary. It has been a great privilege for me to serve as Secretary-General of the United Nations for two terms. My motto was that I will make this “most impossible job”, as the first UNSG Trygvie Lie said, into a “possible mission.” I have been trying this during my ten years tenure, devoting all my time, passion and energy.

But frankly speaking we need to have much more sense of unity and collaboration amongst states of the world, much more global solidarity and compassion. The unanimous adoption of the 2030 Agenda by the 193 UN member states and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 were steps in the right direction. This still gives me hope. The Sustainable Development Goals provide a clear path towards creating equal, prosperous, and peaceful societies around the globe. By pledging to implement the global goals by 2030, governments, businesses, civil society, and academia are showing their will to join forces in the fight against poverty, hunger, inequality, corruption, human rights abuses and climate change to achieve a peaceful world.  

This is therefore not the time to be “tired of peace”, on the contrary, it is the time to recommit to the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement for our future generations.

3. In a CNBC interview, you were unusually harshly on trial with today’s generation of politicians. You said: “I do not have much expectation on current global leaders – they are all aiming for short time political gains – this is shameful.” Why is that so? How can we as society counteract this? Or is the saying true: people get the politicians they deserve? 

Solidarity, empathy, and cooperation are the foundations on which societies can thrive. Especially in times of crisis, global leaders must portray these values and work together in the common interest of all humanity. However, today we see global leaders who have lost their focus and who do not base their policies on inclusive human rights. We see leaders who are favouring personal interest and profit over the well-being and safety of their own people.

To counteract destructive, exploitative, and unsustainable policies we need to empower a generation of politicians who are passionate and compassionate global citizens and who are living up to leaving no one behind. We can only create these leaders by fostering Global Citizenship Education and by promoting knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals. The global citizenship mindset encompasses global citizen values, knowledge about the sustainable development goals and their implementation and 21st century skills.

4. In 1962 you took a trip to Washington, D.C. for an English competition. A meeting with US President John F. Kennedy during this trip led you, according to your biography, to become a diplomat. Almost 60 years later: Do you think the incoming US President Biden could also motivate young people to stand up for diplomacy and cooperation worldwide?

I will always cherish the memory of this trip to the US as a young man, meeting JFK. It was a turning point in my life. I do believe the new President-elect of the US, Joe Biden will also be an inspiration to a lot of young people around the world. Not only will he motivate youth to stand up for inclusive policies and international cooperation but once President-elect Joe Biden renews America’s commitment to Paris Climate Agreement, he also has a unique role to turn climate ambition into global climate action for the new generation. Also, by joining forces with Kamala Harris as the first female Vice President-elect, he has set an example for inclusive policies and that anything is possible. Despite facing so many challenges at the start of their term, I believe they can inspire next generations, influence their ambition and commitment to make this a better future for all.

5. And beyond that – what do you expect from President Biden and his administration for international cooperation in general and for the United Nations in particular?

The promise of President-elect Joe Biden to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement, as he takes office on 20 January 2021, will hopefully not only restore faith in the United States as an international team player, but will also strengthen cooperation with the United Nations. Not abandoning a commitment made 5 years ago and valuing fundamental rights and freedoms in their international leadership role, will result in the revival of the importance of the US in multilateralism, striving towards global solutions for global challenges.

6. In 2021 we hope to get the health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic under control with vaccinations – what lessons should the global community learn from Corona, in particular for global solidarity and cooperation?

The Covid-19 pandemic hit the global community unexpectedly hard. The pandemic exacerbated existing challenges such as climate change, humanitarian crises, widening disparity and strengthening authoritarian regimes. The tasks we are now facing are enormous, but not impossible to achieve if we work together and act in solidarity. The key notions that matter during and after the pandemic are cooperation, solidarity, responsibility, discipline, and compassion for the most vulnerable. The global situation also requires a strong commitment by all stakeholders to the Agenda 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Covid-19 sheds light on the many profound inequalities that persist on our planet. Therefore, the verbal and theoretical commitments to solidarity must also be reflected in concrete actions supporting vulnerable groups such as refugees, migrants and racial minorities.

It is up to us to chart the right course for a better future for all. The pandemic showed us that we all have a responsibility as global citizens to stay vigilant. If the global community can show courage and empathic leadership today, we will all benefit from it by being equipped with tools to tackle equally grave challenges tomorrow.

7. I started with a personal question. May I end the conversation with another one: How was the feeling when you were no longer UN Secretary-General on the first day and the pressure was gone: Pride? Disappointment? Relief? 

Whatever successes or achievements there may be associated to my tenure, they are the outcome of joint efforts – not by me alone. The Secretary-General, however capable or willing, cannot achieve anything alone. No single country or person can do it alone without support. In that regard, I am deeply grateful to UN´s dedicated staff an all the partners around the globe, who have been working day and night – in many cases, in very dangerous circumstances. Without their hard work, we would not have achieved the Paris Agreement on climate change, we would not have had the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Both compounds serve as blueprints for humankind efforts towards the path to peace, prosperity and to building sustainable societies, a greener economy, and empowering the most vulnerable, leaving no one behind.

During my ten years serving as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I was always guided by four principals: setting priorities, never giving up, focusing on the people, and standing up for those who are left behind. No longer the Secretary-General, I am still guided by these principals. I continue my work by advocating the mindset of global citizenship and the importance of multilateralism.


Global Citizen Scholar Samuel Afadu & Global Citizen Fellow Horia Sardarzada at VEF

The VEF Virtual Series “Empowering Women and Youth to Accelerate the Clean Energy Transition”, on January 12-13, invited women and young leaders to discuss how we can ensure a clean energy transition that is just and leaves no one behind.

For this year’s first virtual VEF session, we were excited to see our Global Citizen Scholar (2019) Samuel Kofi Afadu & Global Citizen Fellow (2019) Horia Sardarzada participate in the January Edition, focused on gender, youth and equity.

After introductory remarks, the session diverged into four Breakout Sessions on different themes. The session “Enabling Environment for Youth,” featured Global Citizen Scholar Samuel Kofi Afadu Co-founder of Light my World International, an NGO that is working to promote access to clean energy solutions to off-grid communities in Ghana. The session also featured Israel FaleyeMYSOLARBID LTD, Jichen Liu Clear Plate®, Pontsho Moletsane – GCIP South Africa 2017 Youth Winner, Esther Wanza – SDG7 Youth Constituency, Tracey CroweSeforAll, Anurag MalooSeedstars Asia-Pacific , and David OutRural Electrification Agency (REA).

Global Citizen Scholar Samuel commented how including youth is a prerequisite to a successful clean energy transition. He also highlighted that there is a need for youth to take action and that their actions should be taken seriously by decision-makers. “It is time for the youth to take action. The youth of today and the world will benefit or suffer from our actions and in-actions. Let’s take action in solving problems and connecting them with our passions, creating a sustainable and equitable world for all.”  

 

Global Citizen Fellow Horia Sardarzada, who is currently serving as Director-General of Early Childhood Care and Education ECCE/Kindergartens at Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Afghanistan, participated in the Breakout Session “Enabling Environment for Women,” alongside Sheila OparaochaENERGIA/Hivos, Abir El SaadiMinistry of Trade and Industry Egypt, Kerry MaxGlobal Affairs Canada, Kavita SinhaGreen Climate Fund, Marta Luca- SNAM, Jasmin Haider – Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation & Technology, and Reuben James Barrete – Male Champions of Change.

Horia pointed to gender norms, social and cultural practices, the lack of financial funds, and limited access to networks and partnerships as the main challenges women entrepreneurs face in equally leading, contributing to and benefiting from the clean energy transition.    

“Through the platform Women’s Initiatives for Sustainable Energy (WISE) we started to provide input, access to information for female fresh graduates who want to invest in green energy or do partnerships. We provided them with access to information, training, advocacy, where they could meet with financial organizations.”

Horia Sardarzada is founder of the organization Women’s Initiatives for Sustainable Energy (WISE), which is aiming to economically empower women in Afghanistan to invest in clean energy sector. 

Credits: https://twitter.com/ForumVienna/status/1350056114260504576

 

To watch a recap of the session, visit VEF Virtual Series

For more information about the VEF, visit VIENNA ENERGY FORUM