SEOUL - Former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki Moon has pledged to use his experience on the global stage to help South Korea contribute more to sustainable development, as a top local university named a new centre devoted to the green cause after him.
Speaking at the opening of the Ban Ki Moon Centre for Sustainable Development on Monday (Sept 25) at Yonsei University, Mr Ban emphasised the need to "act rigorously" to fight climate change and its impact on the environment, so that the future generation will not "lose their place to live".
Mr Ban, who is widely credited with promoting sustainable development during his 10-year UN tenure and uniting 195 countries in signing the landmark Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, said he would help to link his experience and global network with the university's resources so as to "achieve synergy and change that have never been seen before".
The centre is part of the newly-launched Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment (IGEE), which is dedicated to research for a sustainable future and will organise a global forum on the issue next February. Mr Ban is the institute's honorary chair.
IGEE director Sohn Myong Sei said the centre is the first in the country to bear Mr Ban's name, as recognition of his UN achievement.
Environment Minister Kim Eun Kyung, in her congratulatory remarks, said the organisation will be "the centre of domestic and international cooperation for sustainable development".
Since ending his UN term last December and returning to South Korea, Mr Ban has lent his expertise to various organisations. Earlier this month, the 73-year-old former diplomat was appointed the new ethics chair of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He was also named a fellow for the Harvard Kennedy School in April.