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Common Challenges, Shared Responsibilities

Time: 2024-04-12 17:37:12Views: Source: BFA


BAN Ki-moon Chairman, Boao Forum for Asia

Welcome to the Annual Conference 2024 of the Boao Forum for Asia in the sunny, mild and promising springtime of the Year of the Dragon.

Welcome back to this annual gathering of the Boao Family to renew friendship, reconnect, review, adebate, plan and act. More than 2000 government, business and intellectual leaders from Asia and around the world are gathered in this tiny island for a three-day intensive brainstorming on the most pressing issues of the day. People lay high hopes on us. We must not let people down.

Looking back, there is much to take comfort from and pride in. We have beaten the worst-case scenario, and emerged from a successive barrage of shocks and crises with stronger-than-expected resilience. The world is freed from the grip and fear of the pandemic. Inflation is less threatening as we thought it would be, and falling fast in most countries. Global economy may well escape a hard landing. A modest but steady rise is in sight.

Looking ahead, however, it’s no all roses or plain sailing. Challenges abound and weigh heavy. Black swans, grey rhinos, white elephants or black jellyfish may pop up anytime on the way. Quite often, in a highly connected and globalized world, these challenges and risks are not confined to one country or region. They cross borders, spill over, and force us into one same boat in the unchartered waters.

The climate crisis, for instance. None of our economic or geopolitical headaches has disrupted the pace of global warming. It just keeps going up. The past year of 2023 was just confirmed as the hottest year on record. That record, however, may well be broken again as January 2024 was just found to be the hottest month on record.

The world is acting, but not fast and enough. Last December, the COP28 vowed to transition away from fossil fuels, triple renewables and increase climate finance for the most vulnerable. A historic agreement to keep the 1.5°C goal alive, but just the beginning, not the finish line. Global climate action must follow up and match the words with rapid, deep and sustained reductions in the global greenhouse gas emissions of 43 percent by 2030 and 60 percent by 2035 relative to the 2019 level, and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Global action must be based on trust and solidarity, which unfortunately is quickly missing in the past few years. On the rise are intensifying rivalry, confrontation and conflicts. The Ukraine conflict and the IsraelPalestinian conflict threaten to rip the world further apart. Countries are regrouping and realigning along ideological or geopolitical lines. We’re forced into one same boat, but not everyone rows in the same direction. Sustained peace and sustainable development, two lofty goals underpinning the United Nations, are still far away.

Addressing such increasing complexities and uncertainties takes vision, courage and innovativeness which, however, must build on common sense and proven wisdom. We must go back to the proven values and principles enshrined in the UN Charter. We must rekindle the proven institutions with the UN at the core. We must revitalize the multilateral approach that has helped safeguard peace and promote prosperity. In the face of common challenges, we must row in the same direction as a team.

As former Secretary General of the UN and Chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia, I have deep faith in the power of countries and people working together. I call upon you, leaders and fellow delegates of the BFA Annual Conference 2024, to rise to our common challenges, take up our shared responsibilities and work together towards our shared future of peace and development. Your stay in Boao is only four days, but enough to make a big difference in Asia and the world.

I wish the Annual Conference 2024 a shining success as always.