Ban Ki-moon calls on students to challenge global leaders on climate change


Ban ki-moon

Former Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, has called on students to challenge global leaders on climate change at an Imperial event.

Speaking at the CNBC x Imperial Chain Reactions Speaker Series organised in collaboration with the Enterprise Lab and Imperial College Business School, Secretary General Ban gave his perspective on climate change and how to protect the planet.

Secretary General Ban, who took questions from Imperial students during the event, said: "The recent actions of young climate activists is the most powerful and impactful movement I have ever witnessed in my long career...Young people are angry with good reason, in the years just before the pandemic they took to the streets and made their voices heard. I think you can challenge current leaders and tell them to make sure our future is protected and guaranteed for sustainability."

"I'm asking students to challenge your leaders, tell them to make sure that they do all they can do while in office, otherwise we will vote you out, you should send this message strongly."

Ban ki-moon and presenter
Ban Ki-moon took questions from Imperial students during the event

He added: "We must make sure we make all the conditions sustainable and ready so our future young generation and young leaders will take charge of all these global challenges including climate change, pandemic, sustainable development.

"My honest hope is that they should not be effected by this climate change dilemma, their future should not be effected."

Islands under threat

Secretary General Ban also spoke about witnessing first-hand the effects of climate change.

Ban Ki-moon said: "I have seen with my own eyes, in the Artic and Antarctica, the icebergs breaking, melting, sea level rising, and now I have visited many small islands in the south pacific and Caribbean, where the people are afraid because their island countries will be sunken under the water."

Secretary General Ban, who was interviewed by CNBC presenter, Tania Bryer, called for greater global collaboration and partnership.

He said: "I think there should be a global partnership, we have science technology, money, but with all these necessary tools we need joint collaboration among government and business leaders, and civil society. This partnership would make it much easier and smoother to carry out and implement the Paris agreement. There is no single country in this world however powerful there is nothing they can do alone, we have to put all our hands on deck together."

Sustainable Development Goals

As the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon´s priorities were to mobilise world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water.

One of his first major initiatives was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, followed by extensive diplomatic efforts that have helped put the issue at the forefront of the global agenda. Secretary General Ban also led the efforts for the Paris Climate Agreement, which entered into force in 2016. Countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Under Secretary General Ban´s leadership in 2015, countries adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved until 2030 and to leave no one behind.

Chain Reactions

Ben Mumby-Croft, Director of Imperial Enterprise Lab: “We are absolutely delighted to launch our new Chain Reactions speaker series with a deeply compelling, relevant and inspirational talk from former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. 

"Enterprise and entrepreneurship isn’t just about startups it’s also about how we as individuals turn ideas into action, challenge the status quo and create meaningful and positive impact on the world around us for the benefit of everyone. We look forward to exploring this theme further in future talks.”

COMING SOON: Founder of the #metoo movement and gender justice campaigner

The next Chain Reactions speakers are founder of the #metoo movement, Tarana Burke, and Latanya Frett, President and CEO of Global Fund for Women, one of the world’s leading foundations for gender justice. The event will be taking place on 15 November at 17:00 (UK time) and you can register below.

Register for the next Chain Reactions event with Tarana Burke and Latanya Frett


Stephen Johns

Stephen Johns
Communications Division

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Sustainable-Development-Goals, Sustainability, East-Asia, Climate-change, Enterprise, International
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