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[IGEE] GEEF 2019 Recap
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World leaders and experts came together with a call for sustainable development to solve global problems such as climate change, inequality and poverty.

About 2,000 people participated in the Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development (GEEF) led by former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  It took place at Yonsei University on February 14 and 15.

The forum kicked off with speeches from international dignitaries, including Sebastian Kurz, Chancellor of Austria; Heinz Fischer, former President of Austria; and Won-soon Park, mayor of Seoul.

“We need stronger foundation for development for all, including women and youth,” said Kurz who delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. “We need to protect our environment and respect it. To do it all, we need a holistic approach, and the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) can be our compass.”

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action that came into force in 2016 under Ban’s tenure to end poverty, to protect the planet and to ensure no one is left behind.

GEEF intends to raise public awareness of sustainable development and promote the SDGs. The forum is getting a major support from numerous organizations. 

Distinguished guests of the forum included Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand; Armida Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of UNESCAP; Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President of the World Bank; Irina Bokova, former Director-General of UNESCO; Sheik Mohammed bin Abdul Khalifa, President of Bahrain Supreme Council of Health; and Mi-kyung Lee, President of Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

A Call to Action: Empower People, Share Prosperity as its main theme, GEEF 2019 offered more than a dozen sessions on various sustainable development issues. On February 14, two plenary sessions were held on women’s empowerment and equality in healthcare. The forum continued on February 15 with two plenary sessions on sustainable cities and inter-Korean economic cooperation. 12 parallel sessions also took place on the 15th covering other topics including desertification, development financing, children, youth, peace, access to medicine and university’s role in sustainable development. 

GEEF 2019 was co-hosted by Yonsei University, Institute for Global Engagement & Empowerment (IGEE), Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, KOICA, and the Seoul Institute.     

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