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Posted on on February 18th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Besuch von UNO-Generalsekretär Ban Ki-moon in Österreich
Foto: Dragan Tatic/HBF
The Press Conference of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as guest of Austrian President Heinz Fischer, at the Vienna Hofburg Palace,  and under the strong symbolic presence  of Empress Maria Theresa, did not mention
Global Warming that leads to Climate Change in he World.

Indeed later on in a speech in a large hall full of Austrian dignitaries and their guests – in the Ceremonial Hall,
he did mention in passing once Rio+20, but that meeting was rather for Austrian consumption and not an indication
of primary interest to the press in general.

To us this silence provided the main noise effect of the Press Conference, as we expected in February a word or two
about what the UN calls Rio+20 in June.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

THE VERBATIM: Remarks at Joint Press Encounter with President Heinz Fischer

Vienna, 16 February 2012

Thank you your Excellency President Fischer for your kind hospitality and kind welcome.  I always feel at home whenever I come to Vienna not because I was serving as Ambassador many years ago but because this is another home of the United Nations .. the UN office in Vienna is one of the four largest missions in the world. And I’m very grateful for such strong support and commitment of the Austrian Government and people for multilateralism in working together with the United Nations in keeping peace and security and on development and human rights issues.

Ladies and gentlemen. Guten morgen und Grüss Gott. It’s a great pleasure to meet you today.

Vienna is the place where we carry out vitally important work on some of the leading global challenges of our time.

This morning I participated in the Third Ministerial Meeting on combating the illegal drug trade in Afghanistan and its neighbours.

Tomorrow morning I will help commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Austria plays a lead and vital role in the global fight against drug trafficking and organized crime.  Austria’s active participation in and support for the Paris Pact conference particularly demonstrated in today’s Third Ministerial Meeting of the Paris Pact Partners is greatly appreciated.

President Fischer and I covered many important issues, global issues and visionary issues in our wide ranging discussions.

We also discussed the protection of civilians, particularly the need to help UN peacekeeping missions to discharge their mandates in this area more effectively.

Defence Minister Darabos, President Fischer and I discussed the current situation in the Golan Heights where Austria is now sending the largest contingent to UNDOF.  I am receiving daily reports from the Force Commander of UNDOF and they are now on full alert taking all necessary preparations considering what is happening in Syria.

We also discussed the rule of law, an issue that Austria and President Fischer has been very active in promoting at the United Nations.

I know this is something to which President Fischer attaches great importance, and I look forward to seeing President Fischer in New York in September for the General Assembly’s High Level Meeting on the Rule of Law – the first such event of its kind on this subject.

I also thanked President Fischer for Austria’s strong support of human rights and also human security.  Their contribution in the Human Rights Council is very much appreciated.  And I expressed gratitude for Austria’s continued commitment to promoting peace and development in the Western Balkans, including Austria’s successful integration of 80,000 refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  I understand that President Fischer is also taking a very important initiative of visiting those countries including Croatia soon.

We also discussed Libya, Iran and the Middle East peace process.

On Syria, I continue to be gravely concerned at the level of violence and mounting loss of life.

I call again on the Syrian government to comply with international humanitarian law and immediately end the shelling and use of force against civilians.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights told the General Assembly on Monday, February 13th, that Syrian security forces have killed well over 5,400 people last year — men, women, children… military personnel who refuse to shoot civilians.

Thousands more are reported missing; 25,000 people have fled to other countries; and more than 70,000 are estimated to have been internally displaced.

Every day those numbers rise.  We see neighbourhoods shelled indiscriminately.  Hospitals used as torture centres.  Children as young as ten years old jailed and abused.  We see almost certain crimes against humanity.

The lack of agreement in the Security Council does not give the government license to continue this assault on its own people.

The longer we debate, the more people will die.

During recent days, I have been meeting and speaking with world leaders in New York and here in Vienna.

Yesterday, I had a telephone talks with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoðlu of Turkey.  I am going to have a series of bilateral meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Alain Juppé of France, also Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger of Austria and others.

As you are well aware, the General Assembly is going to adopt a draft resolution to back up the Arab League efforts.

The UN Secretariat and myself is now considering all the necessary options once either the General Assembly or the Security Council takes a decision on Syria.

I commend the continued efforts of the League of Arab States to stop the violence and to seek a peaceful resolution of the crisis that meets the democratic and legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.

Once again, I urge the international community to speak in one voice:  Stop the violence. Stop the bloodshed.

On Sudan, I have been increasingly concerned by the lack of progress in negotiations on post-independence issues.

The situation is both complex and precarious.

That is why I welcome the signing earlier this week of a Memorandum of Understanding on Non- Aggression and Cooperation between the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan.

I urge both Governments to maintain the positive spirit that led to this step.

Neither country can afford a relapse into war.

Any breakdown in trust will have profound humanitarian consequences.
I will continue to do my utmost to avoid any further escalation and help both sides to reach agreements on all outstanding issues.

Thank you very much. Danke schoen.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you have repeatedly stressed the importance of a Security Council resolution condemning the Assad regime in Syria. This afternoon, as you said, you have the possibility to talk to Mr. Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia. What are you going to tell him concerning this matter? And what can a country like Austria do to support a solution in this crisis or in this civil war, as you might call it?  Thank you.

SG: It was a regrettable thing that the Security Council was not able to take the draft resolution taking coherent, and in one voice, one action but now this is behind us. We have to look for the future. Then we will discuss and assess the current situation what is happening in Syria. Foreign Minister Lavrov was himself in Syria discussing this matter seriously with President Assad and I appreciate such personal efforts. But what is important at this time is how the international community led by the United Nations can formulate the political framework where there will be a ceasefire, there will be an end of the violence and discuss how this situation could be resolved peacefully without causing any further violence to the people. The second important issue, and that is even more important at this time, how to provide humanitarian assistance to many people who have been affected, who really need support from the international community. We have a serious access problem we will discuss together with the world leaders how we can establish the humanitarian access. The Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations, OCHA, is now discussing this matter, taking all necessary measures to have some forward logistic support framework. We need support from the whole international community and there will be another important meeting “Friends of Syria” on February 24th in Tunisia. I hope this conference will also provide a political framework as well as how we can work on humanitarian support. These are all issues which I would like to have a very close coordination and discussions with Foreign Minister Lavrov and also with Foreign Minister Alain Juppé of France.

Q: Mr Secretary-General, how do you view President Assad’s announcement of a referendum on the constitution?

SG: I read that in the report.  It’s their decision to have a referendum but what is his important at this time is that first the Syrian authorities must stop killing their own people, must stop violence. And this violence should stop from all sides whether by national security forces or by opposition forces. We are working on this political framework, this may be one of the elements which should be included, how they are going to have, what kind of  a political system in future they should have, this referendum may be one of them. But what is most urgently needed at this time is first stop the violence and then discuss in an inclusive manner their political future and at the same time in parallel with this we should be able to provide humanitarian assistance to many people who really need the medical support, who really need all this basic necessary things.


The VERBATIM of  the UNSG  presentation, “Empowering People in a Changing World” at the following invitation of the Austrian President as released by the Austrian Presidency Press Office.
The following material we did not obtain by the UN Press channels.


Address by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


Vienna, 16 February 2012

Your Excellency President Heinz Fischer,


Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for this honor. It’s wonderful to be back in Vienna.
There are many words to describe this city – historic … glorious … dazzling.

All fit – especially here in the magnificent Hofburg Palace.

But the first word that comes to mind when I think of Vienna is “home”.

I’m at home in Vienna.

I am at home here for many reasons.

Personally, because I spent a couple of unforgettable years in Vienna as an ambassador. It is good to see so many familiar faces and old friends here today.

And professionally, because Vienna is a pillar of the United Nations – and at epicenter for global action. You are are one of four UN headquarters worldwide – and you host the International Atomic Energy Agency … the UN Office on Drugs and Crime …. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization … and the Preparatory Commission For The Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization where I served as chairman.

But perhaps most of all, I am at home in Vienna because of your commitment to multilateralism … your ethic of engagement.

So it is fitting that we gather here to talk about empowering people in our changing world.

The time is right.

This is a period of global transition.

Economic shocks around the world. Shifts in power and new poles of global growth. The rising threat of climate change. And, of course, a revolution of people-powered change.

Think back at the events and images of the past year.

Tahrir Square and the fight for democracy throughout the Arab world.

Occupy Wall Street … go indignados in Puerta del Sol … protests in Greece.

What was the common thread? Look at the faces in the crowd.

They were overwhelmingly women and young people.

Women demanding equal opportunity and participation.

Young people worried about their future … fed up with corruption … and speaking out for dignity and decent jobs.

Their power and activism turned the tide of history.

Throughout these events, we called on leaders of the region to listen … to listen to their people.

Some did – others did not, as we see in Syria today.

From the very beginning, I talked with President Assad and urged him to change before it was too late. Instead, he declared war on his own people.

Lack of access has Prevented the United Nations from knowing the full toll, yet credible reports Indicate more than 5.400 people were killed last year.

Every day those numbers rise. We see neighborhoods shelled by tanks. Hospitals used as torture centers. Children as young as ten years old jailed and abused.

We see almost certain crimes against humanity.

We can not predict the future in Syria. We do know this, however: the longer we debate, the more people want to.

I commend the Efforts of the League of Arab States to find a solution. During recent days,
I have been meeting and speaking with many world leaders, among them Mr. Alain Juppe and Sergei Lavrov, the Russian and French foreign ministers, here in Vienna today.

Once again, I urge the international community to speak in one voice: Stop the violence. Stop the bloodshed.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There’s a broader lesson here, beyond Syria.

I believe that every institution and every leader … everywhere … must ask that same question:

Are we listening? Are we doing enough … fast enough?

I am convinced that we must act now.

We face a once-in-a-generation opportunity to empower people in our changing world.

Last month, I announced an action agenda for the future. I outlined five imperatives for the next five years.

Sustainable development is at the top of the list. This is critical to empowering people – to Eradicating poverty, generating decent jobs, expanding education, and protecting our fragile planet.

Today, I want to focus on providing women and young people with a greater say in their own destiny and a greater stake in their own dignity.

This is fundamental to our entire agenda – crucial to everything we do.

I want to talk about this with you – at esteemed audience at all seasons of life.

All of us – women and men … the young and what I might call the “formerly young” … – have a profound interest in getting this right.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Half the world is women – and half the world is under 25 years of age.

One out of five people are between the ages of 15 and 24

Nearly 90 percent of them live in developing countries youth – nearly one billion live in Asia and Africa.

In places like Gaza, three out of four people are under the age of 25th In Iraq, one-quarter of the population was born since the start of the in 2003, alone.

Some Demographers call this a “youth bulge”.

I am not a big fan of that term.

I do not see the largest-ever generation of young people as a “bulge.” It is a dividend.

It is not a threat, it is an opportunity.

To seize it, we must face a new generation of empowerment challenges.

Let’s start with empowering women.

Around the world, women educate the children … they are the key to healthy families … they are Increasingly the entrepreneurs.

Wherever I travel, I urge leaders to put more women in genuine decision making roles.

More women in the Cabinet. More women in Legislatures. More women leading universities. More women on corporate boards.

Studies have found that Fortune 500 companies with the highest number of women on the governing boards were far more profitable than those with the fewest number.

Today, many look to the world of social media. The Majority of those who use it are women – and the chief operating officer of Facebook is a woman.

Yet many are asking: Why are there no women on the corporate board of Facebook, Twitter or other young, dynamic companies?

I believe that’s a fair question.

In my visits around the globe, I always make the case for greater women’s representation in Parliaments – including in the Arab world.Some suggest quotas or other special steps.

There is plenty of evidence that shows how seeking temporary measures can make a permanent difference.

We must not miss this opportunity to write more deeply into women’s rights the constitutional and legal framework in the Arab region and beyond.

We are also putting women at the core of our Efforts to Strengthen equality and growth while protecting our planet. Women hold the key to sustainable development.

You will hear more about this as we approach the Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development.

I am committed to doing much more.

This includes deepening our work to combat violence against women – and

expanding women’s participation in peacebuilding efforts.

And within the United Nations, I will keep leading by example.

In my first five years as Secretary-General, I have nearly doubled the number of women in senior UN positions.

Our top official Humanitarian and our top development official … our head of our top management … doctor … top lawyer … even our top cop … all are women.

And we have the largest number of women in UN history – five and counting – leading UN peacekeeping missions and managing thousands of soldiers in the field. From Timor-Leste to South Sudan. From Central Africa to Cyprus to Burundi.

And at New York headquarters, we have the new UN Women – headed by the former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet.

I am also keenly aware that we have much more to do to empower women within the United Nations. And I am deterministic mined to keep building on our record.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We can apply the lessons we learn from women’s empowerment for youth empowerment.

Window dressing will not do it. Neither will band-aids politically expedient.

Let me tell you what I mean.

Not long ago, a Head of State called on the United Nations to Establish an International Year on Youth.

He claimed he wanted young people to make their voices heard.

The bad news is that the leader was President Ben Ali of Tunisia.

The good news is …. it worked!

A few months into the International Year of Youth, he heard the voice of his country’s young people – and so did the world.

President Ben Ali was forced to leave office because he listened too late.

But, once again, we are reminded that we all have an obligation to listen.

That is what I do.

I try to meet with young people wherever I go.

Those exchanges are some of the toughest, most candid, spirited discussions that I have.

Young people everywhere talk jobs. They want the dignity that comes from a decent work.

Economic hard times and austerity measures are making it more difficult.

The global economic crisis is a global jobs crisis. And youth are hardest hit.

Unemployment rates for young people are at record levels – two, three, sometimes even six times the rate for adults.

But joblessness is only part of the story. Many who are working are stuck in low-wage, dead-end work.

Many others are finding that their degrees are not always a ticket to jobs.

After years of study, they learn a new lesson: their schooling has not equipped them with the tools for today’s job market.

This must change.

Young people also tell me that they not only want jobs – but the opportunity to create jobs. So we must do more on entrepreneurship.

Austria has much to teach us. You are tackling youth unemployment – just as you are working to address the new requirements of an aging workforce.

The Austrian apprenticeship model is the kind of initiative that young people say they would like to see in their own countries.

Now is the time to step up our efforts.

Last year, the world’s population crossed trillion 7th In five years, it will be 7.5 billion. {?}

The world will need 600 million new jobs over the next decade.

Without urgent measures to stem the rising tide of youth unemployment, we risk creating a “lost generation” of wasted opportunities and squandered potential.

That is why I pledge that the United Nations wants to go deeper into identifying the best practices and helping countries deliver on education, skills, training, and job-rich growth for young people.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Economic empowerment and political empowerment go hand-in-hand.

Technology, education and awareness are combining to give young people a voice like never before. And they are using it.

They are standing up for rights and against discrimination based on gender, race and sexual orientation.

They are leading the way for sustainable development and green solutions.

They are putting on the global agenda inequality.

Our job is to help them build the future they want.

Above all, young people have told me they want a seat at the table. They want a real voice in shaping the policies that shape their lives.

The priorities of young people should be just as prominent in our halls as they are on the streets and squares. They should be just as present in our meeting space as they are in cyberspace.

I am deterministic mined to bring the United Nations closer to people and make it more relevant to young people.

That is one reason we want to expand the UN Volunteer Programme. Today, the average age of UN Volunteers is 37 – we will open the doors for young people and are looking for support.

But that is just the beginning.

We must put a special focus where the challenges of empowering women and empowering youth come together – and that Is In The lives of young women.

Young women are potential engines of economic advancement. They are drivers of democratic reform.

Yet far too often – a combination of obstacles including discrimination, social pressure, early marriage – hold them back.

These forces set in motion a chain of unequal opportunities that last a lifetime.

Young women must have the tools to participate fully in economic life and to have their voices heard in decision-making at all levels.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have been working to address all these areas at the United Nations.

But I am not satisfied.

Too often our work has been piecemeal, scattered. The whole is not greater than the sum of the parts. There is a coordination gap. It must be bridged.

That is why I will appoint the first-ever United Nations Special Advisor on Youth.

We need a top-to-bottom review our programs and policies are Sun working with and for young people.

We need to mobilize coalitions for action.

We need to pull the system together that Sun is pulling for youth.

I will ask my Special Advisor to do just that.

We have a choice.

Young people can be embraced as partners in shaping their societies, or they can be excluded and left to simmer in frustration and despair.

Let us recognize that addressing the needs and hopes of the world’s women and young people is not simply to act of solidarity, it is an act of necessity.

We do not have a moment to lose. We have the world to gain.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Here in this beautiful palace in the Redoutensäle, there is a painting. It covers the entire length of the ceiling – 400 square meters.

And in it, the artist included the words of the esteemed Viennese poet Karl Kraus and his work “youth” – “Youth”.
An older man Reflects on life and the rejuvenating spirit of youth.

“Since even the leaves fallow

I will not delay

inside and outside

To dream of spring. “

“Even as the leaves change, I do not want to miss, inside and outside, dreaming of spring.”

We all hold on to our youth. We remember with both sadness and sweetness the moment when the doors opened before us of the future.

This is what carries us. This is what rejuvenates us. Let us pass that women dream to all the world’s youth and.

Let us hear their voices and let us act in the spirit of spring.

We will do much more than empower people. We want to empower societies. And we will change our world for good.

Thank you.

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