We in ICAPP, the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, thank former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon for addressing our video conference on climate change held last Dec. 8, which was also our last meeting this year.
Our brief remarks, as ICAPP founding chairman and chairman of the standing committee, came out in this column last Sunday.
Indeed, our planet Earth is on the verge of a climate crisis and the entire ecosystem is already facing serious adverse impacts of rising temperatures.
We agree that we have no more time to lose and each of us must contribute in the common effort we must undertake to preserve our planet and protect humankind.
Ban Ki-moon now chairs the Seoul-based Global Green Growth Institute or GGGI, an inter-governmental organization “dedicated to supporting and promoting strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in developing countries and emerging economies.”
We had the privilege of addressing GGGI’s executive council in Seoul on October 2018, on Ban Ki-moon’s invitation.
Earlier, we shared the stage with him in several international fora on issues such as climate change, the Korean Peninsula, among others. He also graciously received us a few times in his office at the UN headquarters in New York when he was secretary general.
Among Ban Ki-moon’s remarkable international initiatives as UN secretary general was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, which elevated the battle against climate change to the forefront of the global agenda. He led the difficult negotiations for the historic 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which was ratified by 196 countries and organizations. The Paris Agreement was a momentous achievement in combating climate change, which is a clear and present danger that threatens our planet Earth.
As UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon also spearheaded the creation of the UN Women, devoted to gender equality and empowerment of women.
We are delighted to mention that the current foreign minister of South Korea and our co-chairman in the ICAPP standing committee, Chung Eui-yong, has been a colleague of Ban Ki-moon in the South Korean foreign ministry in their earlier days.
Chung Eui-yong also previously served as his country’s national security adviser, who helped broker the historic summits between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un; and between Kim Jong-un and then US president Donald Trump.
The South Korean capital Seoul is home to the ICAPP secretariat, which we transferred from Manila in 2008 to contribute in a modest way to the peace efforts in the Korean peninsula.
The major political parties of South Korea and North Korea’s Korean Workers Party are members of our International Conference of Asian Political Parties, now composed of more than 350 ruling and opposition parties from 52 countries in Asia.
We wish to mention that when we founded and launched ICAPP in Manila 20 years ago, in September 2000, one of those who came was former South Korean president Kim Young-sam, who led his country from 1993 to 1998 and was widely credited for strengthening South Korea’s democracy.
After some two years of online meetings and conferences due to the pandemic, we in ICAPP hope and pray that we could rekindle our old ties in person by next year.
Amid the losses, heartaches, fears, and uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 plague, we believe there are still many reasons to be thankful to God and to celebrate Christmas.
Many of us, including this columnist, lost family members, relatives, and friends to coronavirus, which also shatteredhard-won economic gains and livelihoods throughout the world. Indeed, it is a great blessing to be alive and healthy amidst the deaths and devastations.
As we relish the Christmas season, let us always be mindful that we are still under the pandemic. Let us also continue to storm heaven with prayers that this global scourge will soon come to an end.
We wish all of you a Merry and Blessed Christmas.