Source: Screenshot of official YouTube channel of the 2030 Busan World Expo
On December 22nd 2020, Chairman Ban Ki-moon shared a speech on the occasion of the 7th international conference to Host the 2030 Busan World Expo.
Chairman Ban Ki-moon shared a speech regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how following these goals will lead to a success is hosting the 2030 world expo in Busan.
Chairman Ban started with his view on the 2030 international expo. “I think the 2030 World Expo is not just an international event. Through this event, I think it is an important that it presents a vision of how mankind can contribute to the future society after 2030 and shows it to the world.” He stated.
In addition, Chairman Ban Ki-moon spoke on the climate crisis, and explained why everyone must act now on this issue. “The climate crisis is happening in front of us, not in the future, and the pandemics of the coronavirus may be Earth’s last warning to mankind to immediately take action against climate change.” He stated, worryingly.
In conclusion, Chairman Ban shared his suggestions on future plans for the Busan 2030 expo. “The Busan World Expo is not just an exhibition but an important reason to present a better blueprint for the future. Human beings should be in harmony with nature, and the lifestyle of living by recognizing nature as an equal sovereign entity like humans should be established. Otherwise, we won’t be able to achieve sustainable development, and climate change will accelerate. He stated.
“We hope that the Busan World Expo will give us hope and give us directions to explore the future correctly.” Chairman Ban concluded with hope.
If you would like to view the full conference, please visit the official YouTube channel of the 2030 Busan World Expo.
Below is the full translated script of Chairman Ban Ki-moon’s speech at the conference.
Nice to meet you, everyone. Congratulations on hosting the 7th International 2030 Busan World Expo Conference.
I would like to thank the Ministry of Trade, and the Busan Metropolitan City for hosting the event in a difficult time today. I would like to say hello to Yu Myung-hee, the Minister of Trade, and I would like to thank Byun Sung-wan, the acting mayor of Busan, for giving a welcoming speech on behalf of the Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yun-mo.
Also, I would like to say hello to Choi Jae-chul, chairman of the General Assembly of the International Exhibition Organization (BIE), Shin Sang-hae, Chairman of the Busan Metropolitan Council, and Kim Seok-joon, superintendent of the Busan Metropolitan Office of Education.
We pay tribute to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Busan Metropolitan City’s efforts to attract the 2030 World Expo and hope that it will be hosted.
I think the 2030 World Expo is not just an international event. Through this event, I think it is an important that it presents a vision of how mankind can contribute to the future society after 2030 and shows it to the world.
In this sense, I’d like to talk to you today about the future of mankind and the World Expo. The biggest challenge for us living in this era will be COVID-19, among other things. This is not only a challenge today, but also a challenge for the future.
As you all remember, since the 2000s, we have faced various kinds of infectious diseases. SARS (2003), H1N1 (2009), Bird flu (2013), MERS (2013), Ebola (2014). On top of that, the coronavirus occurred earlier this year.
The coronavirus has already killed more than 1.6 million people and infected more than 73 million in 210 countries worldwide. That’s one percent of the world’s 7.5 billion people. Some scholars say that viruses also evolve for their own survival and prosperity. The coronavirus has also evolved, dramatically increasing the number of infections while lowering the fatality rate, unlike other infectious diseases.
The proliferation of COVID-19 has been controlled, but spread again and again. China has also declared in September that President Xi Jinping had overcome COVID-19, but recently, another outbreak has blocked the city, and it is a serious situation as it is spreading significantly in Korea as well. Global pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines in response to COVID-19, and soon treatments will be produced. But if you think we beat COVID-19 with this, you’re wrong.
It may be a pessimistic outlook, but if we continue to destroy the global environment as we did in the past, I think there will definitely be more evolved viruses than COVID-19 in the future. We humans are part of nature. I was born in nature, and I am supposed to go back to nature. Coexistence with nature is our natural behavior.
But as the industrial age opened, we destroyed the natural ecosystem and changed the climate seriously under the guise of development. The spread of the virus and climate change may be an exaggeration to say that angry nature punishes humans. But Pope Francis once said the coronavirus was “a natural response, I don’t know if it’s nature’s revenge.”
Over the past few hundred years, as humans have fallen into industrialism, economic omnipotence, destroying ecosystems, greenhouse gases such as methane gas, carbon dioxide, and plastic have accumulated in the atmosphere, layers, oceans and glaciers.
There’s a geological change happening that’s not what it was before. And it’s getting faster and faster. It is also speeding up the extinction of species. Over 400 species of vertebrates have died out in the last 100 years, and more than 70% of all life species, including humans, are expected to disappear in the next 100 years.
Weather variations are occurring all over the globe. Since the 1970s, the number of days of heat wave on the Korean Peninsula, or the maximum daily temperature of 33 degrees or more, has increased by 0.89 days every 10 years, and the number of tropical nights has increased by 0.96 days. At the end of this century, the temperature in Korea is expected to rise by 2.9 degrees Celsius and 4.7 degrees Celsius depending on the degree of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The climate crisis is happening in front of us, not in the future, and the pandemics of the coronavirus may be Earth’s last warning to mankind to immediately take action against climate change.
Now I’d like to talk to you about the Climate Change Convention and Carbon.
When I was the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I thought climate change would be the most serious problem for mankind. Of course, the United Nations has three important challenges: peace and security, human rights and development.
Therefore, during my tenure, I set sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030 and passed it unanimously through 193 UN member states in September 2015. 2030 is the year when the Expo will be held, but it is also the year when we must achieve our sustainable development goals.
The Sustainable Development Goals provide 17 goals and 169 detailed goals in five areas: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. This is commonly referred to as “5P”. People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, Partnership. As I mentioned earlier, I paid particular attention to climate change response, among the 17 goals.
Climate change response is just one of 17 goals, but if this is not realized, the remaining 16 goals will be meaningless and the survival of the entire human race will be threatened. So during my tenure, I went to almost every corner of the world, including the Arctic, Antarctica, and the Amazon River basin, and met with world leaders and called for immediate action against climate change.
As a result of these efforts, the Paris Climate Change Agreement was finally adopted on December 12, 2015. After 23 years of negotiations since the 1992 Kyoto accord, the Paris climate change agreement was concluded. The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals are not compulsory because they require voluntary implementation by U.N. member states. But the Paris Convention on Climate Change is an international treaty that everyone has to abide by. That’s why I was so absorbed in adopting this agreement. As such, climate crisis response is important for the future of mankind.
Under the agreement, the international community has pledged to curb global temperature rises by 2 degrees Celsius, but to limit them to 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible, as a pre-industrial period. However, since industrialization, it has already increased by 0.8 degrees over the past 150 years, and now mankind has only 0.7 degrees of freedom. So, without carbon neutrality, you can’t achieve your goal of 1.5 degrees, which is usually not hard work.
Currently, the U.S. and China account for 42% of the world’s carbon emissions, and by 2050, if the U.S. is carbon neutral, it will contribute 0.1 degrees and China 0.2 degrees. So all the rest of the world needs to be carbon neutral.
If humans don’t do anything, it goes up 3-4.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. This will lead to an unimaginable catastrophe. For this reason, European countries have long declared carbon neutral and made concrete preparations.
Korea participated in the Paris Convention on Climate Change, but frankly speaking, it was not active in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Aside from active efforts, greenhouse gas emissions are currently the world’s seventh-largest, and have long been stigmatized as a “climate villain.”
So since I returned to Korea in 2017, especially since April last year, I have been chairman of the National Climate and Environment Council, and I have argued that Korea should set bolder reduction goals whenever there is an opportunity.
Moon Jae-in president has finally last National Assembly declared a carbon neutral in the speech on October 28. Chinese President Xi Jinping announced 2060 carbon neutrality in his speech at the UN General Assembly in late September, and Japan also announced 2050 carbon neutrality on October 26, two days earlier than Korea.
Moon Jae-in, the president last November 27, leads a country to work together and operated with a mindset “I won’t leave the next government a GHG reduction action plan”. He decided to install a ‘2050 carbon neutral committee’. If we put carbon neutral 2050, we will become a climate leader. Carbon neutrality, however, is never an easy task. The current carbon-centric energy mix needs to be quickly converted into an eco-friendly energy mix.
It is possible only when the industry and lifestyle itself are reversed. Even if you continue to make internal combustion engines, you can’t sell them by 2030. The EU will introduce carbon border taxes in 2023, and the United States will also introduce them in 2025. There will be an international spread of carbon borders. This is a matter of corporate survival and is related to the success or failure of our economy.
4. Let’s talk about what global leadership is needed to address all these challenges, and the recovery of multilateralism.
Global leadership and international multilateral cooperation are absolutely necessary to respond to global crises such as climate change and the coronavirus. Global leadership has virtually disappeared due to the Trump administration’s unilateral actions and multilateralist belittling policies. This is a far cry from responding to the Ebola outbreak that swept through western Africa in 2014.
At the time, as U.N. Secretary-General, I worked closely with the U.S. to draw up a Security Council resolution in a single day that “Ebola is a major threat to world peace and security,” and sent the Ebola Rapid Response Mission to the three African countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea).
Although the United Nations has been sending many UN peacekeepers to resolve the conflict, it was the first time in history that a UN mission was sent to control the disease.
However, during the Corona crisis, it took more than three months to reach a U.N. Security Council resolution due to friction between the U.S. and China.
We cannot overcome the global crisis without global cooperation. Without cooperation between the United States and China, which account for 42% of the world’s carbon emissions, and without cooperation from all other countries, the Paris Convention on Climate Change is impossible. While multilateralism has been undermined a lot, it is expected that the U.S. presidential election of candidate Joe Biden will significantly recover from multilateralism. Although the confrontation between the U.S. and China is expected to continue, we expect to work together on global issues such as sustainable development and climate change.
Finally, I will tell you how my remarks are related to the World Expo.
Our country hosted Daejeon Expo in 1993 and Yeosu Expo in 2012. But these were the compassionate expos. If Busan succeeds in hosting the 2030 World Expo, it will be the first registered expo in Korea, and Korea will be the 12th country in the world to host the registered expo.
The World Expo is one of the world’s largest festivals visited by tens of millions of people in six months and is called the Olympic Games of Economy and Culture. With more than 100 years of history, the World Expo has been an exhibition hall of human civilization, showcasing numerous inventions and new technologies.
The expo is a non-commercial event, but companies cannot help but participate. Companies such as General Motors, IBM, and Louis Vuitton have grown into global companies with participation in the expo. Korean companies are also participating in the expo and are using it as an opportunity to introduce innovative technologies and corporate brands to the world. These companies are also actively engaging in the expo. We look forward to the activities of our companies. Along with this, the Expo has been organized to reflect the topic of the times.
For example, the 2010 Shanghai Expo “Better City, Better Life” and the 2015 Milan Expo “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” The 2020 Dubai Expo is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”
The vision of sustainable development goals that I’ve talked about so far is human beings and the Earth, climate change, peace and prosperity, and partnership. These visions are linked to the World Expo’s vision of education, innovation, and cooperation.
These visions should also be internalized at the Busan World Expo. The Busan World Expo is not just an exhibition but an important reason to present a better blueprint for the future.
Human beings should be in harmony with nature, and the lifestyle of living by recognizing nature as an equal sovereign entity like humans should be established. Otherwise, we won’t be able to achieve sustainable development, and climate change will accelerate.
Human beings will also be fighting the virus endlessly and facing disaster in the midst of massive natural disasters.
We hope that the Busan World Expo will give us hope and give us directions to explore the future correctly.
Finally, I would like to pay my respects to the efforts of our government and the city of Busan to attract the Busan World Expo. In the future, we look forward to seeing the 2030 World Expo in Busan as well as the government, Busan Metropolitan City, Busan citizens, and the business community gathering together.