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A Time to Talk

The problems confronting humankind are daunting in their depth and complexity. While it may be hard to see where to begin--or how--we must never give in to cynicism or paralysis. We must refuse the temptation to passively accommodate ourselves to present realities, but must embark upon the challenge of creating a new reality.

The human spirit is endowed with the ability to transform even the most difficult circumstances, creating value and ever richer meaning. When each person brings this limitless spiritual capacity to full flower, and when ordinary citizens unite in a commitment to positive change, a culture of peace--a century of life--will come into being.

Humanity is charged with the task of not merely achieving a "passive peace"--the absence of war--but of transforming on a fundamental level those social structures that threaten human dignity. Efforts to enhance international cooperation and the fabric of international law are, of course, necessary, but even more vital are the creative efforts of individuals to develop a multilayered and richly patterned culture of peace, for it is on this foundation that a new global society can be built.

How, then, are we to go about the task of creating an enduring culture of peace?What is really meant by a culture of peace?

Culture manifests two contrasting aspects. One resonates with the original sense of the word "culture" and involves the cultivation of the inner life of human beings and their spiritual elevation. The other is the aggressive, invasive imposition of one people's manners and mores on another.

When we look at how specific cultural values have been diffused and how different cultures have encountered one another, it is clear that the process has not always been peaceful. One example is the cultural imperialism that accompanied the European colonization of much of the world in the modern era. Some of the negative aspects of such an approach can be counteracted through a stance of cultural relativism. But if this remains a merely passive tolerance of other cultures, it cannot equip us to deal with globalization. A culture of peace must provide a basis on which a plurality of cultural traditions can creatively interact, learning from each other toward the dream of a genuinely inclusive global civilization.

Peace is a vital and energetic arena of life-activity, won through our own volitional, proactive efforts. Our success in generating a culture of peace hinges on several factors. We must transcend the excessive attachment to difference that is deeply rooted in the psychology of individuals; and we must conduct dialogue on the basis of our common humanity.

To be maximally effective, legal and structural reforms must be supported by a corresponding revolution in consciousness--the development of the kind of universal humanity that transcends differences from within.

We must resist the temptation to assign good exclusively to one side, and evil to the other. In fact, we need to reexamine the very meaning of good and evil. The external manifestations of good and evil are relative and transmutable. They only appear absolute and immutable when the human heart is in thrall to the spell of language and abstract concepts.

From the Buddhist perspective, the true aspect of life is found in its incessant flux, the way that experiences are generated by the interaction between inner tendencies and external circumstances. In other words, what we experience as good and evil are not fixed, but depend on our attitude and response. Good and evil are not unchanging entities: indeed, good contains within it evil, and evil contains within it good.

The Buddhist understanding of life can help us translate the ideal of an inner transcendence of difference into the actualities of daily life. Overcoming negative forms of attachment to difference--discrimination--and bringing about a true flowering of human diversity is the key to generating a lasting culture of peace. And dialogue is the means.

Especially important is the role that women play. Throughout the long history of humanity, women have suffered the most whenever society has been wracked by war, violence, oppression, abuse of human rights, disease and famine. But it has been women, in spite of this, who have persevered in turning society in the direction of good, in the direction of hope and in the direction of peace.

What, then, are the specific steps we can take toward building a new century of peace and creative coexistence?

Within the framework of the sovereign state system, crises have long been defined as territorial issues, and many states have concentrated their efforts on military buildup. But the global issues now confronting us cannot be addressed using conventional approaches. The most crucial challenge is therefore to strengthen the UN, so it may serve as the rallying point of humankind's joint struggle.

Peace and security must be considered, as Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged in his annual report last year, from a standpoint of the transition from a "culture of reaction" to a "culture of prevention." A culture of prevention is an approach that accords utmost importance to preventing problems before they happen and thereby minimizing consequent damage, rather than reacting to them after they have taken place.

It is therefore essential to reexamine the role that the UN can and should play in the prevention of conflict. One key proposal is to establish a conflict prevention committee as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly with a mandate to continuously monitor regions threatened with conflict or war, provide preventive recommendations and afford protection to noncombatants.

We also need a global people's council that will function as a consultative body to the General Assembly, mandated to advise the General Assembly on themes for deliberation and call its attention to potential threats. Taking full advantage of NGOs' expertise in information gathering and firsthand experience in their fields of activity, such a council could contribute to the General Assembly's deliberations by promoting advance discussion of key issues. This is crucial from the perspective of democratization, that is, how to ensure that the views and concerns of ordinary citizens are heard at the UN.

In this connection, the "New Diplomacy," collaborative efforts between civil society and governments committed to fundamental reform, has emerged as an important new force in the world. One of the key challenges to be addressed under the framework of the New Diplomacy is the promotion of nuclear disarmament, particularly in the form of a campaign to accelerate the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

From a Buddhist perspective, there is a deeper significance to nuclear weapons and the need for their elimination. It is more than a matter of disarmament. It is a question of fundamentally overcoming the worst negative legacy of the twentieth century--distrust, hatred and the debasement of humanity. We need to face head-on the limitless capacity of the human heart to generate both good and evil, creation and destruction.

Furthermore, the eradication of poverty is a humanitarian challenge of great urgency. We need ever more bold thinking in this regard, a total commitment to enabling societies to raise themselves out of poverty--a program to be implemented with determination and consistency, equivalent, perhaps, to a "Global Marshall Plan."

Finally, we need to work for the realization of peace in Northeast Asia. Relations between the two Koreas are improving after many twists and turns. Unfortunately, however, these countries still technically remain in a state of war today. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, and all sides should seize this opportunity to put an end to the state of cold war, and make the transition to genuine peace. A Northeast Asia Peace University, established in cooperation with the UN University, could contribute to peace and stability in the region on a long-term basis by fostering capable individuals committed to grassroots exchange and peace-building.

The SGI is committed to advancing all of these causes. The SGI has always been committed to empowerment--of the people, by the people, for the people--a process we describe as human revolution. The essence of empowerment is to fully unleash the boundless potential inherent in every human being, based on that the Buddhist understanding that our own happiness is inextricably linked to that of others.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Creating and Sustaining a Century of Life: Challenges for A New Era

At the start of a new century, it is natural that humankind question what we achieved in the last century and what we can expect of the next.

The twentieth century has seen commendable progress in the fields of science and technology, improvements in health, and advances in human rights. On balance, however, it has been a time of unprecedented tragedy and human suffering, marked by appalling and ceaseless war and conflict, an era of wanton disregard for human life. The advances and progress made in the twentieth century were virtually all material and physical. With regard to the inner realm of the human spirit, it seems undeniable that the era was marked by regression rather than advance. Moreover, the progress of modern science has been premised on a mechanistic view of nature as the object of manipulation and control, essentially separate from humanity. The ties among people and between people and the cosmos are being severed, trapping humanity in a state of spiritual isolation.

To overcome this spiritual crisis, we need a worldview that recognizes the interconnectedness of all beings: that the subjective and objective realms are inseparable and that humanity is an integral part of nature. A renewal of reverence for life is necessary if humanity is to find a clear direction in the new century.

One of the trends especially apparent in contemporary Japan is a profound transformation in the orientation of people's interests: a search for identity, for a sense of reality at a time when all values, structures, and systems are being questioned at the most elemental level. This change is perhaps being spurred by globalization and the information technology revolution, developments that, despite their great promise, also entail serious problems that we must address: issues about identity, our relationship with each other and with the world around us in the face of ever-expanding virtual reality.

The key indices to characterize the spirit that must animate the twenty-first century if it is to be a century of life are creative coexistence and the autonomous functioning of the inner will. The former parallels the Buddhist emphasis on interrelatedness and interdependence. The latter reflects the Buddhist understanding that everything is contained in the present moment and that the way we approach this moment is crucial and will determine the entire course of our lives. If these values can be made into the driving spirit of the age, we will be able to put behind us the nightmares of the twentieth century and realize a century of life and of peace, a peace that is much more than a mere interlude between wars.

Women will play a crucial role in realizing this kind of world in the twenty-first century. The values, principles, and ideologies that are presently being called into question are all the products of male-dominated societies. The emergence of women in the twenty-first century has a significance that goes to the very core of human civilization.

Turning to the issue of revising the Japanese Constitution, which is currently the focus of much debate in Japan, we must embrace the spirit that underlies war-renouncing Article 9. In any debate on constitutional reform, we must never forget that the ideals of pacifism and international cooperation expressed in the Preamble and Article 9 are the very heart and soul of Japan's constitution---that which qualifies it to be called a "peace constitution. We must breathe new life into and universalize the article's spirit and principles. Rather than confining itself to what has been dubbed "one-country pacifism," which ignores movements in international society and the concerns of other countries, Japan should take the initiative in creating an effective United Nations-based global security and conflict prevention system in line with the original spirit of the constitution, whose preamble declares the right of humankind to coexist in peace.

To realize peace in the coming century, it is absolutely essential that we replace the traditional ascendancy of competing for national interests with an international community dedicated to the welfare of the whole of humankind and Earth. The UN can and must play a pivotal role in this transformation. While the UN Charter clearly accepts the possibility of the exercise of "hard power," including military action, we must bear in mind above all that the UN's essential nature is to be found in the "soft power" of dialogue and cooperation.

New means must be found to establish avenues for expanded cooperation with NGOs and civil society in general in order to ensure greater participation by the people in the affairs of the UN. By bringing together the wide-ranging talents and capacities of ordinary citizens, the UN will be able to enrich and strengthen the humanistic quality that should be its essence. In this regard, the proposals for the creation of a Global Civil Society Forum made at the We the Peoples Millennium Forum in May 2000 should be realized promptly. Similarly, with regard to resolving the UN's long-standing challenge to securing stable sources of financing, consideration should be given to the creation of a people's fund for the UN, a body which would actively engage in fund-raising, accepting donations from individuals, organizations, and corporations to supplement existing sources of revenue.

The UN must actively address issues of poverty and the environment. This too requires greater participation by the people: It is crucial to find out from the people themselves what is needed and reflect it in assistance and development programs. To this end, what might be called an "Earth Forum" could be established to act as a bridge between the people of the developing countries and the world's wealthy, bringing their concerns and demands to such venues as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) summits and the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This could facilitate dialogue and discussion toward a global society that is truly just and equitable.

With regard to the environment, the principles of the Earth Charter, the crystallization of a process of global dialogue, can serve as the foundation for a century of life. It is crucial that the Earth Charter principles take root in each person's life as fundamental ethical guidelines. The SGI will continue to promote the Earth Charter, working toward its official adoption and encouraging individuals everywhere to make the Charter a personal pledge and commitment.

With the aim of fostering the key concepts of creative coexistence and the autonomous functioning of the inner will mentioned above, it is worth considering the traditions and potentials of China and India, which each in their own way embody spiritual values that have the potential to help bring about an era of soft power. To this end, the current G8 summit should be permanently expanded to include China and India. On the subject of the Asian region, the recent meeting of the leaders of the two halves of the Korean Peninsula is a truly welcome development. The current process of confidence building is a worthy example of the role of dialogue in addressing the world's problems, and further progress is keenly anticipated.

Another region of key importance to the world in the twenty-first century in Africa. Peaceful solidarity in the continent is of crucial importance, as represented by moves ever since the end of the colonial era toward an African Union. The destiny of Africa and indeed of all humankind in the twenty-first century hinges on the degree to which ordinary people awaken their inner capacities for strength, for wisdom, and for solidarity. It is an open dialogue that plays the central part in bringing forth these qualities.

Dialogue has the power to restore and revitalize our shared humanity by setting free our innate capacity for good. It was the failure to make dialogue the foundation of human society that unleashed the bitter tragedies of the twentieth century. We must spread the spirit of dialogue to make it the current and flow of the twenty-first century. In this way, we can together create an era in which all people enjoy the fruits of peace and happiness and celebrate their limitless dignity and potential.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
The Humanism of the Middle Way: Dawn of a Global Civilization

It was particularly bitter that 2001, the first year of the new century, was marred by the tragic September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. This incident was diametrically opposed to the spirit of dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence that so many people have been seeking.

Yet to permit this incident to impact us in a lasting and negative way would be to play into the perpetrators'' hands. The goal of terrorism is to thrust people into chaos and confusion, to fan fear and mistrust; it is vital that we never succumb to these emotions. We must rather bring forth the power of the human spirit in an even greater measure, surpassing and exceeding the magnitude of the threat that faces us.

Many people have been pondering the question of whether any form of dialogue or engagement is possible with those who remain hidden behind the veil of anonymity. What can people of good will do, how are they to respond to ruthless, cold-blooded acts of evil?

One thing is certain: reprisal invites reprisal. Any act of vengeance will inevitably provoke a response, and the cycle will continue without end. This is the lesson, rooted in the depths of human nature, which has been learned at the cost of untold suffering and bloodshed.

I repeat my absolute opposition to all forms of violence, terror, and retaliation. All violence is an affront to human dignity. But transforming the course of human history will require of each individual a truly profound inner resolution, an existential determination to seek one's fundamental, inherent humanity and to transform one's entire being---an endeavor that we in the SGI call a human revolution.

Crucial to this process is an awareness of the existence of others---to have what might be called an internalized other. It is only through intense spiritual interaction that humans grow and mature. An inner, spiritual dialogue is a necessary prerequisite for any attempt at external dialogue.

In the light of what I call the humanism of the Middle Way before us suddenly opens the great way of dialogue, the capacity to transcend differences and share innermost sentiments with any and all people. This conviction has been the guiding principle for my own actions.

Without dialogue, humans are fated to walk in the darkness of their own dogmatic self-righteousness. Dialogue is the lamp by which we dispel that darkness, lighting for each other our steps and the path ahead.

Strengthening International Law
It is crucial that we aim for the creation of a universal system that will prevent, suppress, and, where necessary, punish any act of terror. By strengthening the structures and systems of international law, international police work, and the international judiciary, it should be possible to build a comprehensive and coordinated response to terror. In this effort, the UN must be accorded a central role. In this regard, I would specifically like to propose the following measures:

The adoption of a comprehensive treaty for the prevention of terrorism, complementing existing conventions.

The establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a means of replacing solutions based on a force with solutions rooted in law.

Long-term Preventive Measures
It is vital that steps be taken from a long-term perspective to eliminate the root causes of terrorism. In this regard, I would like to suggest measures centered on three themes: human rights, poverty alleviation, and disarmament.

Human rights education can play a particularly crucial role in preventing acts of violence and terror, which have their origin in the workings of the human heart. My proposal is for the establishment of a Decade of Human Rights Education for Peace to follow up on the work of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education.

With regard to poverty, I repeat my call for implementing the equivalent of a global Marshall Plan in which monies freed by debt relief to the most heavily indebted poor countries would be applied to poverty alleviation, education, health care, and medical treatment, as well as to enhancing social infrastructure.

Encouraging disarmament is a crucial step in establishing institutional measures to prevent the worsening of conflicts. I strongly urge consideration of reform of the consensus rules by which the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament operates, so that veto by one country is no longer possible.

The adoption of a treaty for a comprehensive ban on all nuclear weapons continues to be a goal of SGI members around the world.

All countries should ratify the landmines treaty, and a full ban on the export of landmines should be implemented immediately. Systems of cooperative action to promote demining and provide support to the victims of landmines are also crucial.

Protecting the Global Environment
In August 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa. We must make a strong, fresh determination to arrive at bold, original and thoroughgoing initiatives, and to make the conference the point of departure for new action for the sake of the human future. Here I would like to propose several ideas that I feel could help strengthen the framework of international cooperation to protect the environment.

The appointment of a UN High Commissioner for the Environment who would coordinate the activities of various agencies and lead efforts toward resolving global environmental issues.

The phased consolidation of the secretariats overseeing the implementation of various environmental treaties, with monies saved pooled into a "Global Green Fund."

Intensified efforts to develop renewable energy sources and the adoption of an international treaty for the promotion of renewable energy.

I would also like to add my renewed support for the Earth Charter, as a comprehensive statement of the norms and values essential to effective global governance and a guideline for humanity in the twenty-first century.

Children's Summit

With regard to the upcoming UN Special Session on Children, I strongly urge the ratification by all countries of the two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These protocols are designed to protect children from those actions that most grievously abuse their rights---the use of children as soldiers and their sale or use in prostitution.

In addition, consideration should be given to the drafting and adoption of a world charter on education, which would set forth a vision for education in the twenty-first century based on prioritizing the lifelong happiness of the learner as the true goal of education. It would also express a moral commitment to implementing peace education and education for global citizenship on a worldwide scale.

Building the Foundations of Peace in Asia
Realizing lasting peace in Asia is not a matter of any one country taking the lead. Rather, it is a matter of building multilayered networks of friendship and trust between and among the peoples of each country. Among the activities slated for this year is the Japan-China-Republic of Korea Young Leaders Exchange Program.

I believe we should encourage this kind of exchange throughout Asia in order to provide wider opportunities for members of the rising generation, in particular for young women, to establish bonds of friendship that transcend national boundaries.

I would like to see a joint research project that will build the foundations for a shared understanding of the recent history of Asia. The cumulative impact of a dialogue-centered effort to create a common understanding of our shared history is indispensable to future prospects for peace in Asia.

Dialogue, trust, and collaboration---these are the foundations on which the global civilization of the twenty-first century is to be built. This year, under the theme of expanding dialogue, the members of the SGI are determined to work to further spread the solidarity of humanism in order to build a world of peace and coexistence.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
A Global Ethic of Coexistence:Toward a "Life-Sized" Paradigm for Our Age A Shared Pledge for More Humane Future: To Eliminate Misery from the Earth

The high hopes with which we greeted the start of the twenty-first century seem to have been replaced with a sense of frustration and hopelessness. Although the two key themes of the new century need to be the culture of peace and dialogue among civilizations, it appears we have yet to free ourselves from the negative legacy of the war- and violence-ridden twentieth century. The gap between the power of technology and the ethical standards needed to control this power seems to be widening irrevocably. Most disturbing is the sense that the world is turning its back on dialogue--the willingness to engage and talk that affirms the vitality of the human spirit.

I have consistently asserted that the mission of the SGI is a spiritual battle against those forces in the world--violence, authority, materialism--that violate human dignity. Specifically, the essence of this battle lies in never losing faith in the power of words, in remaining committed to dialogue under any circumstance. Our resolve is most severely tested when we are confronted with the type of adversary that prefers violence to a discussion. Nevertheless, we must not be silent: We must exert all our strength of the spirit to press forward with dialogue.

The "War on Terrorism"

Recent disquieting developments involving Iraq and North Korea are evidently linked to the "war on terrorism." Naturally, the atrocities of indiscriminate terrorism must not be tolerated. Yet we have the choice between a "hard" and "soft" power response, and a single-minded reliance on hard power demonstrates a sad failure of imagination. To become trapped in cycles of hatred and retaliation is to allow ourselves to be dragged down to the level of the terrorists.

Have we escaped the nightmares of violence and war committed in the name of ideology throughout the twentieth century just to find ourselves in the grasp of another nightmare today?

I feel I must express my concern about the hard-line stance of the United States, which has advocated preemptive strikes against potential terrorist threats. Needless to say, terrorism is absolutely unacceptable: Emergency response with armed force may even be necessary to combat it in certain cases. Even in such cases, those who possess hard power must exercise moderation and self-control--the very fount of soft power.

A strong impetus toward hard power is provided by economic globalization. In its present form, globalization gives rise to societies characterized by a grotesque disparity of income where scant attention is paid to the needs of "losers." This deterioration of care for others signals a loss of self-control and moral leadership.

A "Life-Sized" Paradigm

The way forward, I believe, lies in developing a "life-sized paradigm" by which to understand our world and where we stand in it. By "life-sized" I am referring to a way of thinking that never deviates from the human scale--a humane sensitivity to life as a whole and also to the details of everyday human existence.

When we examine modern civilization from the perspective of our true human proportion, what we see is that our intellectual capacities have become grossly distended, and our sensual and affective capacities atrophied. This imbalance takes the form of a dulling of our natural responsiveness to life and the realities of daily living. We must view contemporary, high-tech warfare from a life-sized perspective to appreciate the horror of such truly bizarre forms of war as million-dollar missiles flying over the heads of people subsisting on one or perhaps two dollars per day.

This can but spur us to a deepened awareness, inspire in us a process of constantly reconfirming our recognition of who we are and what we are doing. We need to restore our sensitivity to life itself, our palpable awareness of the realities of daily living; and here, I believe, women have an especially important role to play. I have for some time expressed my view that the twenty-first century must be a century of women.

Human Security in the 21st Century

In addressing these challenges, I would like to stress the centrality of the concept of human security, focusing on three major themes: disarmament, development, and education.

Regarding the problems of disarmament and weapons of mass destruction, I would like to make the following specific proposals:

For India, Israel and Pakistan to follow Cuba in acceding to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and for North Korea to renew its participation; For North Korea to declare nuclear-weapon-free status, reciprocated by security assurances from the nuclear-weapon states;

For the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia;

For the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to enter into force provisionally, and for the launch of a system of international monitoring of nuclear tests;For a special session of the UN General Assembly to be dedicated to the cause of nuclear abolition, and the establishment at the UN of a new specialized agency dedicated to ensuring nuclear disarmament;

For the negotiation of a nuclear disarmament treaty as a step toward a treaty for the comprehensive ban of all nuclear weapons, whereby the nuclear-weapon states fulfill their "unequivocal undertaking" to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

The second aspect of promoting human security is to confront the obscene threat to human dignity posed by poverty and starvation.

In this regard, I would like especially to stress the Millennium Development Goals. I propose that world summits be held every other year until 2015 to ensure that the world's heads of state and government are thoroughly informed of progress toward these goals. The SGI welcomes the decision by the World Summit on Sustainable Development last year to create a World Solidarity Fund, and thoroughly endorses the goals of the Millennium Campaign. Regarding the pressing issues of water resources, I call on Japan to play a more active role, taking full account of its experience in this field.

The third challenge for human security is that of creating a global society in which all people have access to education.

This year marks the start of the UN Literacy Decade (2003-2012) as part of ongoing efforts to promote the campaign of "Education for All." In December 2002, meanwhile, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution formally proclaiming a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, originally proposed by the SGI, to promote efforts to build a sustainable global society.

We are committed to provide maximum support toward assuring the success of these decades for literacy and sustainability education. Environmental education, like peace education and human rights education, must be at the heart of a new vision of humanistic education, education that empowers people in their active quest for happiness and a better future. By promoting this kind of education, we can establish the foundations for a new era of hope in the twenty-first century.

The Power of Each Individual

In finding solutions to environmental problems and the myriad other issues facing our world, what is most essential is that each individual embrace a sense of responsibility and proactive commitment. It is always individuals of conviction, courage and passion who have overcome the seemingly impossible to set in motion the forces of historical change. Pervasive feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness are the fundamental evils confronting contemporary society. To combat them, we need to find a new theorem for peace: We must awaken to the fact that the inner determination within each individual's life contains the power to change the world.

We cannot remain passive in the face of the severity of the reality that confronts us. Rather, we should open ourselves to the limitless power that is created when awakened people unite and act together. It is in proving this truth that humanity in the twenty-first century can fulfill its mission.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Inner Transformation: Creating a Global Groundswell for Peace

In recent years, international society has been convulsed by new threats and divisive debate over how best to respond to them. We cannot turn a blind eye; at the same time, however, it is clear that an exclusive reliance on military force will not bring about a fundamental solution. There is also the impact on people's hearts and minds: the failure of military action to produce a clear prospect for peace has left many with feelings of powerlessness and dread.

At best, attempts to break an impasse through military force or other forms of hard power respond to the symptoms of conflict; to the degree they plant further seeds of hatred they can in fact deepen and entrench antagonisms. I believe that no actions will gain the wholehearted support of people or bring about lasting stability and peace without an acute awareness of the humanity of others. What is needed is the spirit and practice of self-mastery--which I consider to be the very essence of civilization.

There appears to be a progressive erosion of people's understanding of what it means to be human--how we define ourselves and how we relate to those different from us. Self requires the existence of other. It is by recognizing that which is different from and external to ourselves that we are inspired to exercise the self-mastery that brings our humanity to fruition. To lose sight of the other is thus to undermine our full experience of self.

A Call for Inner Transformation

In September 1957, my mentor Josei Toda issued a declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In it he condemned them as an "absolute evil," a threat to the collective right of humankind to exist. He stressed the importance of confronting and eliminating the fundamental evil that lies hidden in the depths of people's lives--the urge to manipulate and exploit others for our own benefit. It is this deep-rooted impulse that allows people to use weapons that instantly reduce so many lives to smoking ashes.

Toda's appeal demonstrates a remarkable insight; it signifies the transformation of our inner lives, the revival of a concrete and vivid awareness of the existence of others. The historic challenge of abolishing nuclear weapons begins with the actions we initiate within our own lives.

Ultimately, the key lies in reestablishing a raw sense of reality, which can breathe new life into this stifling virtual world. If we could but learn to feel the wound and shock of others' pain as our own . . . I believe that such awareness and sensitivity represents the single greatest deterrent to war.

This concern is central to Buddhism; indeed, Shakyamuni's decision to dedicate himself to seeking truth was motivated by his confrontation with the four human sufferings--birth, aging, sickness and death. For Shakyamuni this meant not only the direct impact of suffering on people's lives but the deep-rooted indifference, arrogance and discriminatory consciousness that prevent us from feeling others' pain as our own.

Contemporary civilization has averted its eyes from death, seeking to make it "someone else's problem." This collective turning away from personal confrontation with death has fundamentally weakened restraints against violence. This is the deeper meaning of my mentor's call for the abolition of nuclear weapons--the most horrific manifestation of a civilization that treats death as someone else's problem.

Just as there is no unhappiness strictly limited to others, happiness cannot be hoarded or kept to ourselves. We are faced with the challenge and opportunity to overcome our narrow egotism, to recognize ourselves in others as we sense others within us, and to experience the highest fulfillment as we mutually illuminate each other with the inner brilliance of our lives.

Strengthening the UN

Despite persistent questions about the effectiveness of--or even the need for--the UN, it remains the only body that can truly serve as a foundation for and give legitimacy to international cooperation. It should be strengthened and made more effective.

The Iraq crisis highlighted its inability to function adequately when there is serious division in the Security Council. To remedy this, the General Assembly should be strengthened and empowered; the practice of holding emergency special sessions should be encouraged. This will provide a broader basis for making the difficult decisions needed to meet emerging threats to peace.

We also need to coordinate and integrate the strategies and activities of the UN agencies that provide support--from humanitarian relief to post-conflict peace-building--for people and societies caught up in violent conflict. To this end, I advocate the creation of a "peace rehabilitation council."

I would also like to call for a "UN people's forum," a gathering of the representatives of NGOs and civil society, perhaps to mark the UN's sixtieth anniversary in 2005.

It is crucial to foster a global environment in which conflict is resolved through the rule of law rather than resort to force. The recently established International Criminal Court (ICC), in helping sever the cycles of hatred and violence that drive conflict and terror, must be central to this process. We should not underestimate the deterrent potential of trying crimes of terrorism in an international judicial venue such as the ICC.

Nuclear Abolition

It is time to shift emphasis from nuclear nonproliferation to actual reduction and abolition. I have repeatedly called for the earliest entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Global public opinion must be mobilized to encourage the remaining states whose ratification is required for it to enter into force. Nothing would do more to create a stable system for nonproliferation than for the five declared nuclear-weapon states to make good on their long-standing commitment to disarm. I urge them to take the lead in drawing up a concrete timetable for nuclear abolition.

Regarding fears about North Korea's weapons programs, it is important that each country take a positive approach to developing the framework for multilateral dialogue that has finally emerged out of the six-party talks. These talks should be given permanent standing; one goal should be establishing a Northeast Asian nuclear-free zone.

Expanding and Enhancing Human Security

I am encouraged by the stress recently given to empowerment as a key to human security. This resonates with my own conviction that the struggle to contribute to society by taking action for the sake of others is the indestructible foundation for peace.

Education must be the focus of human security. Literacy opens the door to knowledge, empowering people to develop their abilities and fulfill their potential. Raising literacy rates among women and increasing girls' access to primary education improves the lives not only of women themselves but also of their families and communities. To help achieve universal primary education, I believe there is a role for a "global primary education fund."

Human rights education, which can help transform the feelings of hostility and prejudice that simmer below the surface in many societies, is essential to building a world without war. I wholeheartedly welcome the second Decade for Human Rights Education to begin on January 1, 2005, and urge a particular focus on children. Efforts to educate and empower people at the grassroots level can set in motion limitless waves of transformation.

Eliminating the word "misery" from the human lexicon was Josei Toda's fervent wish. Embracing that proud mission, the SGI will continue to forge solidarity among the world's citizens as the basis for a robust and enduring culture of peace. Peace is not something far removed from our everyday lives. It is a matter of each of us planting and cultivating the seeds of peace within the reality of daily life. I am certain that herein lies the most reliable path to lasting peace.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Toward a New Era of Dialogue: Humanism Explored

There has been an extraordinary heightening of tensions around the world since September 11, 2001. In many countries the priority accorded to national security has been used to justify curtailment of rights and freedoms, while energy and attention have been distracted from efforts to address such global issues as poverty and ecological degradation. How can we overcome the crises that face us?­

There is, of course, no simple solution, but there is no need to fall into meaningless and unproductive pessimism. These problems are all caused by human beings, which means that they must have a human solution. I am convinced that so long as we do not give up we can be certain of finding a way out of the impasse.

The core of our efforts must be to bring forth the full potential of dialogue, to embrace dialogue as the sure and certain path to peace. Heartfelt, one-to-one dialogue is the essence of humanism. As ripples of dialogue multiply and spread, they have the potential to generate a sea change that will redirect the energies of dogmatism and fanaticism toward a more humanistic outlook.

Fanaticism and dogmatism come in many forms. Although often associated with religion, they can be found across the full spectrum of human activity, as seen in the way the political ideologies of the twentieth century were caught in their snares.

To some extent any ideology embodies an orthodoxy or set way of understanding the world. While this can sometimes be a positive thing, at the same time orthodoxies can bind people’s thinking and judgment to a single, exclusive point of reference. There is an intrinsic danger that this tendency can get out of control and that abstract “isms” will come to hold thrall over real people. This can give rise to fanaticism, resulting in a situation in which human life is grotesquely devalued and death is glorified.

In contrast to such orthodoxies, the most prominent feature of humanism is that it does not seek to impose norms of behavior. Rather, it places central stress on the free and spontaneous workings of the human spirit and on autonomous judgment and decision-making.

The following can be seen as a guideline for a Buddhist-inspired humanism in action: Recognizing that all is change within a framework of interdependence, we see harmony and oneness as expressions of our interconnectedness. But we can even look at contradiction and conflict in the same way. Refusing to discriminate on the basis of stereotypes or imposed limitations, we can engage with the full force of our lives in the kind of dialogue that will transform even conflict into positive connection. It is in this challenge that the true contribution of a Buddhist-based humanism is to be found.

Education for Global Citizenship

Here education holds the key. Education for global citizenship can help transform humankind’s long-standing culture of war into a culture of peace.

The United Nations can serve as a powerful coordinating focus for such efforts. The World Programme for Human Rights Education, initiated in January 2005, provides a vital opportunity in this regard. The year 2005 also marks the start of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, something which the SGI has consistently called for and worked toward. Human rights education and education for sustainable development reflect intertwined concerns and objectives.

There is a pressing need to embrace a vision of dialogue between humanity and nature, a humanism that is not limited to the human. If we lack the humility to heed the messages of the natural world--the evidence of climate change and environmental destruction--arrogantly and recklessly asserting only the concerns and needs of the human world, the natural systems that sustain us will collapse. Indeed, no effort to make the new century an era of universal respect for human rights will be fruitful unless we can expand our understanding of rights to embrace the natural world. It is for this reason that I have for some time urged that a global commitment to harmonious coexistence with nature be reflected in the Japanese Constitution.

Reforming and Strengthening the UN

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stated that the UN’s aim should be “to create a world that both has fewer threats and greater ability to meet those threats which nevertheless arise.” While the capacity to respond to threats is crucial, preventive engagement with global problems. The soft power of dialogue and cooperation lies at the heart of the UN, and soft power functions most effectively at the preventive end of the spectrum, namely, defining paradigms for addressing global problems, creating collaborative frameworks and so forth.

To strengthen the soft power role of the UN, there is a need for what might be termed a “global governance coordinating panel,” whose work could be supported by a working group of NGOs. Restructuring of the UN requires a strengthening of the partnership between the UN and civil society. The rights of NGOs to participate in and initiate debate should be extended to their relations with the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.

Confidence and Peacebuilding in the Asia-Pacific Region

The establishment of a UN Asia-Pacific office would mark the start of a new effort to advance human security in the region. Further, I would like to see the foundations in East Asia for the kind of regional integration we see in other regions. As a step toward this, issues such as ecological integrity, human development and disaster strategies are amenable to intra-regional cooperation.

Educational exchanges are also crucial. The connections forged by people of different countries in their youth can form the basis for lasting peace. China, Japan and South Korea should develop a program for student mobility that could eventually be expanded to embrace all the countries of Asia.

As well as building trusting relationships with one another through such programs and initiatives, China, Japan and South Korea should work closely together in a concerted quest for a breakthrough in the standoff over the North Korean nuclear arms development issue. A nuclear weapon-free zone should be created in Northeast Asia. The prerequisite for this must be the success of the six-party talks, whose working group set up to discuss specific procedures for the dismantlement of the North Korean nuclear program should be converted into a standing body.

Nuclear Disarmament

The nuclear powers should initiate prompt moves to reduce and dismantle their arsenals and to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime. I strongly urge the declared nuclear-weapon states to begin building the framework for disarmament. We need an international nuclear disarmament agency, a specialized agency to oversee fulfillment of the “unequivocal undertaking” by the nuclear-weapon states to totally eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

We also need to revive negotiations of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), urging India and Pakistan as well as Israel to join, thus engaging them in international regimes for the control of weapons-grade nuclear materials.

I would also like to stress the importance of disarmament and nonproliferation education, which can play a vital role in setting our world securely on a path toward peace. We need to actively incorporate disarmament and nonproliferation into school education. Complementing this are efforts to raise awareness in every part of society. For our part, the SGI will persevere in activities to promote disarmament and nonproliferation education.

This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the SGI, and I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our fundamental spirit. Rooted in an unwavering commitment to peace, culture, and education, SGI members everywhere engage in earnest dialogue, seeking to generate a global tide of peace and creative coexistence. Engraving in our hearts the profound spirit of our mentors--that this is the sure and certain path to humanity’s eternal victory--we reaffirm our determination to swell the currents of solidarity among awakened citizens, sharing and spreading a dynamic commitment to peace and humanism.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
A New Era of the People: Forging a Global Network of Robust Individuals

The year 2005 was marked by a series of devastating natural disasters, continuing terror attacks and conflict, and the threat of virulent new diseases. These issues affect every one of us, with no respect for political or geographical borders; they are an integral aspect of globalization. But the most effective search for solutions to these global problems starts with a focus on our immediate, individual realities.­

The process of modernization has changed the way the individual interacts with the social and natural environment, as ties of relation with family, neighborhood and other communities unravel. While in one sense a pursuit of ever-greater freedom for the individual, this can lead toward the kind of unbridled individualism where untrammeled desire takes control. Certainly this can be seen as a root cause of some of the horrendous crimes that Japanese society has witnessed over recent years.

To avoid a slide into unbridled individualism, what is needed is to develop a robust character that can confront the changes in our society without becoming ensnared in greed and selfishness. This kind of robust individual is rooted in society, in relationships with others and in shared and mutual concerns. Religion can provide the framework for developing robust individuals--indeed, this is the primary mission of religion, as it strengthens the inner life while bringing people together in dynamic social interaction.

Montaigne and Humanism

We can find many guidelines to the practice and norms of humanism in the writings of the sixteenth-century French writer Michel de Montaigne. In his Essays, he developed a universalist outlook by enquiring deeply into the nature of his own person. This enabled him to see past the violent divisions of his age--based on religious doctrine, social status, ethnicity--and instead uncover the characteristics that are common to all people, whatever their position in life.

His writings contain important parallels to the kind of Buddhist-based humanism that can be instrumental in the solution of the global problems we face.

First, he was a strong advocate of a gradualist approach, especially in his critique of revolutionary change. He understood how firmly people are embedded in the customs and traditions of everyday life, and how futile it is to try to enforce radical change without paying attention to this everyday reality. Second, he was a firm believer in the power of dialogue. Unfettered by the constraints of the rigid social order of his day, he would engage in and appreciate dialogue with people from all walks of life. Finally, he stressed the importance of the development of personal integrity or character. His relentless questioning of himself led him to see the fundamental elements of a universal human character.

All three of these themes are crucial to the development of a form of humanism that can help us find solutions to contemporary issues. It is by exploring these avenues that religion can most effectively serve the interests of humanity.

UN Reform

The United Nations must serve as the key venue and focus for our efforts to address global issues. To strengthen and reform the UN, it is necessary to pay ever-greater attention to the voices of civil society and to build a solidarity of concerned citizens.

Last year, the UN resolved to establish a new Human Rights Council and to create a Peacebuilding Commission. These initiatives deserve full support, and special attention should be given to developing the means whereby these new structures receive input from civil society and nongovernmental organizations.

In addition to spotlighting specific abuses and seeking redress for victims, the Human Rights Council must embrace sustained efforts to change the social paradigms and political culture that allow human rights violations to continue. To this end, human rights education and public information should be made a standing agenda item for the council. Avenues for participation by civil society and NGOs need to be extended, and a consultative body of human rights experts should assist the council in its work.

The Peacebuilding Commission is designed to aid an integrated approach to international assistance for all stages of recovery from conflict, but it needs also to look to bolder goals, embracing the rebuilding of people's daily lives, the reconstruction of their happiness. With this in mind, it must engage the men and women living in areas suffering in the aftermath of conflict and focus on removing the threats and fears they face. It should also coordinate with civil society to secure sustained assistance from the international community for the full length of time required for the peacebuilding process, and enable people from countries with experience of post-conflict recovery and peacebuilding to make their unique contributions.

Climate Change

Resolving the global environmental crisis is an integral part of meeting the challenge of building a peaceful world. Discussion of successor frameworks to the Kyoto Protocol for the period after 2012 has already begun, and Japan has a special role to play in this process, for example by using the Kyoto Mechanism to assist other countries in preserving and restoring forests and the introduction of renewable energy sources. It is crucial to encourage developing countries to participate in the framework of emission reduction programs by offering constructive means that respond to their specific needs and demands.

The way forward for Japan in the twenty-first century is to make environmental and humanitarian commitments its very raison d'être. For this reason, Japan should focus on promoting the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development, providing a model for implementation at home and abroad.

Peace and Integration in Asia

Asia is one of the regions where international relations are still very much colored by the conflicts and tensions of the Cold War. Recent moves to enhance the structure of dialogue among heads of government in the region are to be welcomed, especially if this leads to the formation of an East Asian Community along the lines of the process of European integration. The institutional frameworks to support this should be created.

The effort to promote mutual understanding, common values and a shared philosophical grounding must center around person-to-person dialogue and exchange on the basis of a common "ethos of coexistence."

Improvement in relations between China and Japan is of particular importance. This requires continuous efforts to build cultural and educational ties at the citizen level, but this must be accompanied by a determination on the part of Japan to reassess the importance of this bilateral diplomatic relationship. It is important to recall the forward-looking attitudes that prevailed when relations where first normalized in the 1970s.

One area that requires regional cooperation is in solving the problem of North Korean nuclear development. In this, the six-party talks process is key, and it is essential to build on these talks, hopefully in the form of a summit of the heads of government of the six parties.

In this crucial area of nonproliferation and disarmament, it is important to stress again the role of disarmament education as a means of transforming the paradigms of society to move from a culture of war characterized by conflict and confrontation to a culture of peace based on cooperation and creative coexistence. Given the current stalemate in talks on nonproliferation, public opinion must rally to the cause of disarmament, and this requires greater efforts in peace and disarmament education.

Peace is not simply the absence of war. A truly peaceful society is one in which all people can maximize their potential and build fulfilling lives free from threats to their dignity. When ordinary citizens around the globe join hands to call for peace, a solidarity of awakened and empowered individuals can propel humankind toward the twin goals of genuine disarmament and a flourishing culture of peace. This is what drives the SGI's movement of Buddhist humanism as we look with hope to the future.­


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Restoring the Human Connection: The First Step to Global Peace

The year 2007 marks fifty years since the second president of the Soka Gakkai, Josei Toda, made an historic declaration condemning nuclear weapons as "an absolute evil' and calling for their prohibition, stating he wished to rip out the claws that are hidden in their very depths.

His insight was rooted in the universal plane of human life, transcending differences of ideology and social system. It laid bare the essence of these apocalyptic weapons whose destructiveness could put an end to human civilization and even to humankind's continued existence as a species.

Today, when the threat of nuclear proliferation continues to preoccupy the international community amid revelations about the black market in nuclear weapons technology and concerns surrounding the ultimate objectives of the nuclear development programs of North Korea and Iran, the significance, farsightedness and gravity of Toda's declaration are strikingly apparent.

Much of the responsibility for the current situation must be laid at the feet of the states already possessing nuclear weapons. Any effective movement toward nuclear disarmament must be predicated on the sincere efforts of the existing nuclear-weapon states to disarm.

We need a fundamental reconfiguration of our worldview if we are to move away from nuclear proliferation and toward disarmament. The crucial element is to ensure that we are rooted firmly in a consciousness of the unity of the human family. When our thinking is reconfigured around a sense of human solidarity, even the most implacable difficulties will not cause us to condone the use of force. Without this kind of shift, it will be difficult to extract ourselves from the quagmire logic of deterrence, which is rooted in mistrust, suspicion and fear.

At the heart of the nuclear issue is a potential for destructiveness inherent in human life. It is a function of this destructiveness to shred our sense of human solidarity, sowing the seeds of mistrust and suspicion, conflict and hatred. Buddhism characterizes this as the life-state or "world" of anger, which, when it becomes undirected and unrestrained, is a rogue and renegade force, disrupting and destroying all in its path.

The inner distortions twisting the heart of someone in this state prevent them from seeing things in their true aspect or making correct judgments. Everything appears as a means to the fulfillment of egotistical desires and impulses. It is this state of mind that would countenance the use of nuclear weapons.

When Toda made his declaration against nuclear weapons, he had in mind the struggle to prevent the inner forces of anger from going on an unrestrained rampage. He was calling for the steady and painstaking work of correctly repositioning and reconfiguring the function of anger in an inner world where wisdom and harmony prevail.

This same world of anger is at the heart of many of the issues confronting contemporary civilization, with its high degree of capitalist and technological development. It is necessary to reposition economic values within the various hierarchies of values integral to the processes of life, to train and tame the capitalist system. The key to this is a human awakening, a process of individuals and humanity reclaiming their rightful place.

Nonproliferation and Disarmament

New structures are needed for members of the international community to identify a shared sense of purpose and work in concert to fulfill their responsibilities toward nonproliferation and disarmament. There needs to be a recasting--on the basis of a new conceptual outlook--of the obligations set out under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

All nations, regardless of whether or not they possess nuclear weapons, must work as equals to achieve the NPT's stated aim, "the security of peoples,' without a reliance on nuclear weapons. The ultimate goal must be to ban nuclear weapons through a treaty similar to those outlawing chemical and biological weapons.

This shared sense of purpose clarifies the respective responsibilities for the achievement of nuclear-free security: for the nuclear-weapon states to actively pursue nuclear disarmament, and for the non-nuclear-weapon states to work together to prevent nuclear proliferation. To facilitate this, I advocate the early convening of a world summit or a Special Session of the UN General Assembly to initiate debate and seek consensus toward the goal of global nuclear-free security.

I appeal to the U.S. and Russia to reduce their strategic missile stockpiles to a few hundred warheads, and conclude a new bilateral treaty in which they commit to the complete elimination of these stockpiles, thus positioning themselves as leaders of the global effort toward nuclear disarmament. I propose the formation within the UN of an international nuclear disarmament agency to coordinate negotiations for a nuclear disarmament treaty.

We must work to ensure that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) enter into force at the earliest possible stage, or at least to find ways to move it toward full operation such as bringing it into force provisionally. We also need a stronger institutional framework to prevent the diversion of programs for the peaceful use of atomic energy into the development of nuclear weapons.

I also call for debate on "no first use' pledges and further formalization of negative security assurances. Ultimately, the only way to resolve the problem surrounding the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran is for Northeast Asia and the Middle East to become Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones.

I urge that a broad-based panel be formed to discuss the demilitarization of space, and I repeat my call for the strengthening of international frameworks regulating the arms trade toward the larger goal of the deinstitutionalization of war.

Cooperation in Asia

I propose that the decade starting from 2008 be designated as a decade for building Sino-Japanese friendship for the twenty-first century, with different areas of cooperation given particular focus on an annual basis. The Japan-China Year of Culture and Sports, for example, could be followed by a year for energy cooperation, a year for environmental protection, etc.

Additionally, as part of this decade, I would like to suggest an exchange program between the diplomats of the two countries. Establishing such programs with countries such as China and Korea would surely strengthen the foundations for a future East Asian Union.

Toward the goal of the formation of an East Asian Union, I believe pilot programs focused on specific concerns can build the structures of cooperation in a way that enhances enthusiasm and interest in each country. One such area would be the establishment of an East Asian environment and development organization, bringing together the regional initiatives developed to date. I would also like to propose the establishment of an East Asian equivalent of the College of Europe, to develop a pool of talent essential to any future regional community.

When we consider the prospects for global peace, nothing is more crucial than the awakened solidarity of the world's people, for only this can give rise to an irresistible current toward the renunciation of war. My own efforts over the decades, meeting people of all stations and walks of life, engaging in dialogue and promoting the ideals of humanistic education and exchange, have all been predicated on this belief in the solidarity of the human family.

The goal of the SGI's movement is to empower the world's citizens to rid this Earth of needless suffering while realizing lives of peace and happiness. We will continue to work alongside people of like mind in building a global culture of peace in the twenty-first century. We are committed to the vision of a "dialogical civilization"--fostering mutual understanding through dialogue and enabling the human dignity of all to shine.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Humanizing Religion, Creating Peace

The optimism that greeted the end of the Cold War and the prospect of the creation of a new world order quickly dissolved, to be replaced by an overriding impression of global disorder. While initiatives continue in the quest for new and more inclusive ways of ordering global affairs, these must be backed up by a constant and unrelenting effort to maintain and enhance freedom and democracy. But this is impeded by what might be termed a "slide toward fundamentalism," which takes the forms of ethnocentrism, chauvinism, racism and a dogmatic adherence to various ideologies, including those of the market, as well as religious fundamentalism.

Restoring people and humanity to the role of central protagonist is the key to confronting and halting this slide toward fundamentalism. This requires a ceaseless spiritual effort and is the essence of the kind of humanism our times require. Buddhist humanism is inspired by the bedrock determination to respect all people--understanding that not only sectarian differences but also differences of ideology, culture and ethnicity are never absolute. These differences, like the order and organization of human society itself, are only relative and should be treated as flexible, fluid concepts to be constantly renegotiated.

What is required is that people--and not abstract principles--be accorded centrality. In the realm of religion this calls on us to tackle the challenge of the "humanization of religion." We cannot permit this challenge to remain unanswered: to do so would be to allow religion to be a factor in conflict and war, to undermine its potential as a force for the construction of peace.

Does religion make people stronger, or does it weaken them? Does it encourage what is good or what is evil in them? Are they made better and more wise--or less so--by religion? These are the questions we need to ask of all religions if we are to succeed in fully "humanizing" them. By rising to this challenge, we must ensure that religion always functions to elevate and enhance our humanity, contributing to the realization of human happiness and peace.

The twentieth century--in which ideology attained the status of an absolute value, and fanaticism of all kinds stirred storms of war and violence--offers painful testimony to the fact that the smallness and frailty of individuals make them act against that which is human, thwarting our attempts to be the protagonists in the creation of history.

With regard to religion, with its tragic legacy of fanaticism and intolerance, nothing is more vital than dialogue--dialogue that transcends dogmatism and is predicated on the exercise of reason and self-mastery. For any religion to relinquish dialogue is to relinquish its reason for being. To manifest our true worth as Homo loquens requires that we bring forth our highest virtues as human beings: our goodness, strength and wisdom. Religions must offer us the means for unleashing these qualities: they must promote positive change in human beings.

Human rights education

This year will mark the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which gave voice to a universal vision of human rights and established the goal of bringing into being a world free from fear and free from want. To make this anniversary substantive, it is vital that governments and civil society work together to actively promote concrete programs that bring human rights education to all.

To that end, an international conference--organized by civil society and specifically dedicated to the theme of human rights education?should be held with a focus on civil society and its contributions.

Ecological integrity

Ecological integrity is the shared interest and concern of all humankind, an issue that transcends national borders and priorities. Any solution to the problems we face will require a strong sense of individual responsibility and commitment by each of us as inhabitants sharing the same planet.

The United Nations is the global institution that can serve as the focus for such efforts: global environmental issues will constitute one of the UNfs principal missions in the twenty-first century. To this end, the United Nations Environmental Programme should be strengthened and upgraded to the status of a specialized agency, enabling it to exercise strong leadership toward the resolution of global environmental issues.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one area where global participation is vital, particularly in creating a new framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol, a framework that includes countries not presently participating. Combating climate change is a challenge that requires governments to break away from the negative approach of minimizing national obligations and burdens and instead adopt a positive focus on the achievement of larger, global objectives. Specifically, the major emitters need to actively support the efforts of other countries.

We need to focus on the transformation toward a low-carbon no-waste society. The first step toward this must be the promotion of renewable energy and energy conservation measures. The proactive setting of goals and commitments will unleash the kinds of positive thinking that take, for example, the form of technological innovation. Japan has a wealth of experience and achievement in this field and needs to play an active role.

It is crucial to broaden grassroots engagement and empower people toward collective action. Empowerment through learning brings out the unlimited potentials of individuals and creates currents that can fundamentally transform the world. The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development exemplifies this belief in the power of learning. To make the Decade meaningful, it is vital that individuals perceive the irreplaceable value of the ecosystem of which they are part, and make a commitment to its protection. This awareness is best developed through hands-on experience, such as tree-planting projects like the Billion Tree Campaign. We need to think about what we--on the individual, family, community and workplace level--can do in our immediate environment to build a sustainable future, and work together to this end.

The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is committed to playing an ever more active role in building an action network for a sustainable future, which need not be limited to environmental issues but can embrace such areas as poverty alleviation, human rights and peace, to build the foundations of a common struggle to resolve the shared problems facing humanity.

Infrastructures of peace

We need to establish consensus regarding the fundamental illegality of nuclear weapons. The proposed establishment of an Arctic Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) is one element of this. There is an urgent need to prohibit military activity in the Arctic region and build a legal regime to conserve it as a common heritage of humankind.

NWFZs serve as a powerful curb against nuclear proliferation and also help strengthen momentum toward the outlawing of nuclear weapons. More than half the governments on Earth have become signatories to these agreements, thus expressing their view that the development and use of nuclear weapons is or should be illegal under international law.

A similar approach would be effective in terms of nuclear nonproliferation in Northeast Asia. Japan should reaffirm its uncompromising commitment to its own nonnuclear policies and deploy its full diplomatic resources toward the more encompassing goal of establishing a NWFZ covering the whole of Northeast Asia.

A treaty banning cluster bombs would greatly enhance the infrastructures of peace. Such a treaty, as called for in the Oslo Process, should be signed and in place by the end of this year. The success of such efforts, with strong civil society support, will have a definite and positive impact on momentum toward disarmament in other fields.

The century of Africa

The future of Africa is critical in building a global society that upholds human dignity. An African Renaissance will herald a renaissance of the world and of humanity. African nations, which have refused to succumb under the historical burdens of the slave trade and colonialism, are striving to forge solidarity as they unleash their potential and confront their common challenges.

The Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) is an opportunity to center on concrete measures to ensure the empowerment of youth. A program for African youth partnership should be established as one of the pillars of TICAD, helping foster the talents of the young people who will play a critical role in creating a brighter future for Africa.

This year, designated the Japan-Africa Exchange Year, provides the opportunity for the creation of a network of and for youth, facilitating ties of exchange between the young people of Africa and the youth of Japan and countries throughout the world, as a platform for confronting the challenges faced by Africa and the world.

Ultimately, young people hold the keys to the future: humanity is in their hands. All the members of the SGI are determined to maintain a focus on youth and young people, fostering their limitless potential as we strive to build grassroots solidarity to resolve the complex issues facing our planet.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Toward Humanitarian Competition: A New Current in History

The impact of the "once-in-a-century" financial meltdown has now spread to engulf the whole world. There are growing signs that the current financial turmoil is undermining the real economy, bringing about a global recession and driving up unemployment.

The main cause of the crisis can be traced to the dominance of speculative financial assets, whose scale has been variously estimated at four times the cumulative value of world GDP. But the deepest root of the crisis is an unhealthy fixation on the abstract and ultimately insubstantial signifier of wealth-currency.

Currency itself has virtually no use value; it has only exchange value. The financial markets divest it of any meaningful connection to concrete goods and services; thus, as an object of human desire, it has no real or inherent limits.

We have to ask if we as a society have not been caught up in what the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel described as the "spirit of abstraction," the essentially destructive process by which our conceptions of things are alienated from concrete realities.

The worship of money goes beyond desire for the merely material. It entraps and mesmerizes us, drawing us into modes of action we would otherwise avoid. The predominance of monetary interests has accentuated the negative aspects of capitalism such as global income disparity, unstable labor markets and environmental destruction. It is now apparent that the faith in free competition and markets to resolve all problems was misplaced; nothing in the world is so neatly preordained.

 

Humanitarian Competition

To ensure that any legal or institutional measures to rein in the excesses of capitalism are part of a long-term vision, it is imperative that we seek out a new way of thinking, a paradigm shift that will reach to the very foundation of human civilization.

The idea of "humanitarian competition" set out by the founding president of the Soka Gakkai, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944), can serve as such a paradigm. Makiguchi surveyed the grand flow of human history and identified the forms of competition-military, political and economic-that have prevailed in different periods. He concluded with a call for us to set our sights on the goal of humanitarian competition.

As a concept, humanitarian competition compels us to confront the reality of competition while ensuring that it is conducted firmly on the basis of humane values. In this way, it brings forth a synergistic reaction between humanitarian concerns and competitive energies.

In contrast to the universality claimed by ideology and currency stands "inner universality"-perspectives and principles that are rooted in the world of concrete realities and can only be developed from within. The truly important questions are always close at hand, in our tangible and immediate circumstances.

Makiguchi's approach is rooted in the kind of inner universality in which we plant our feet firmly in the actualities of the local community and seek to develop larger perspectives from that starting point. It is only by paying relentless attention to those realities that we can freely direct our thoughts and associations to the larger dimension. If we develop such fresh and vital imagination, we will be able to experience not only close friends but even the inhabitants of distant lands as neighbors.

This is the most effective antidote to the pathologies of our age. It is our most certain guarantee against the kinds of inversion in which people are sacrificed to ideology, all means being justified in the achievement of ends and the tangible present forgotten in the quest for a utopian future.

 

Sharing the Future

Three pillars can serve as the mainstays for transforming the unfolding global crisis into a catalyst for opening a new future for humanity: the sharing of action through tackling environmental problems, the sharing of responsibility through international cooperation on global public goods and the sharing of efforts for peace toward the abolition of nuclear arms.

Energy policy is clearly an area around which international cooperation can be built. Not only is securing adequate sources of energy a critical issue for developing and emerging countries; energy issues are also key to any effort by developed countries to effect the transition to a low-carbon no-waste society.

Recent developments toward this goal include the establishment of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC). To further the work of these two organizations, an international sustainable energy agency should be created under the aegis of the United Nations so that international cooperation on energy policy can take firm root throughout the global community.

A key element of the second pillar-the sharing of responsibility through international cooperation on global public goods-would be the creation of a world food bank. Securing stable food supplies is essential to sustaining human life and human dignity; it must be the starting point for all our efforts to combat poverty.

To ensure secure access to food for all the world's people, we need to hold a certain amount of grain in reserve at all times as a global public good. These reserves could be distributed as emergency relief during a food crisis or released onto the market to stabilize prices.

Meanwhile, expanded use of innovative financing mechanisms such as international solidarity levies can raise funds for overcoming poverty and improving health care and sanitation in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The effort to develop innovative funding mechanisms can be thought of as a type of humanitarian competition, as various states constructively vie with one another to develop the most effective ideas and proposals.

The third pillar is the creation of international frameworks that facilitate the sharing of efforts for peace and the abolition of nuclear arms.

It is crucial that the U.S. and Russia, which between them account for 95 percent of the world's nuclear arsenal, immediately resume bilateral talks on nuclear disarmament. If the two nations could reach a basic agreement on bold new nuclear arms reductions, this would clearly demonstrate to the world their commitment to disarmament ahead of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

Only when the nuclear-weapon states firmly set into motion good faith efforts toward disarmament will it be possible to obtain commitments from countries outside of the NPT framework on freezing nuclear weapon development programs and embarking on disarmament.

A parallel challenge that needs to be pursued is that of a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC), which would comprehensively prohibit the development, testing, manufacture, possession, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. An NWC could function as an international norm exerting substantial influence on the behavior of the nuclear-weapon states, in the way the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has led even states not party to the treaty to announce a moratorium on nuclear testing.

Drawing on the experience of the initiatives taken by civil society in the campaigns for the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the calls for an NWC provide the opportunity for the people of the world to join in solidarity to lay siege to the very concept of nuclear weapons.

It was a surge in international public opinion against cluster munitions that led to the adoption of the convention banning them within an exceptionally short period of time last year. Nuclear arms are the most inhumane of all weapons; once again, the humanitarian imperative must prevail over the militarist principle.

 

Envisioning the Future

As a means of strengthening the UN, a key proposal would be the creation of a post of under-secretary-general for civil society relations. This should be a permanent post specifically dedicated to enhancing the standing of NGOs within the UN system and promoting partnership with them.

It is crucial that NGOs not be confined to the role of observers, but be recognized as indispensable partners in the work of the UN. The importance of their contributions is likely only to grow as the twenty-first century progresses.

Another key reform would be the creation of an office of global visioning in order to enable the UN to project and anticipate future trends and developments. It is essential that the UN be equipped with functions capable of offering future-oriented vision and action strategies based on what the world will look like fifty or a hundred years from now.

The SGI has consistently promoted initiatives to support the UN and has engaged in steadfast efforts to build a culture of peace through grassroots dialogue. Dialogue presents infinite possibilities; it is a challenge that can be taken up by anyone-any time-in order to realize the transformation from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.

Bound by a shared commitment to humanism and the greater good, the SGI's citizens' network has now expanded to 192 countries and territories around the world. We are determined to continue working in solidarity with people of good will everywhere toward the goal of a new era of peace and human flourishing.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Toward a New Era of Value Creation

We are living in an era marked by an absence of values, in which no measure of worth other than the monetary is recognized. Discussions of poverty and income disparity, for example, are cast solely in terms of monetary values, making them needlessly sterile and soulless.

Growing income disparities are an undeniable fact, and legal and systemic measures to create and maintain a social safety net are of course essential. However, these respond only to the symptoms, when more fundamental, curative measures are required. To ensure the genuine and lasting effectiveness of our response, a spiritual undergirding--a fundamental reevaluation of our priorities--is necessary.

We need to develop the awareness that the standard of values that judges human worth solely on the basis of economic capacity represents the effective absence of values. We need to ask ourselves why there is such pervasive pessimism and nihilism in advanced industrial societies.

When science and technology are divorced from the question of value, they are subject to no real control and potentially pose a deadly peril to human society. If this tendency is left unchecked, the consequences for humanity could be truly dire. The nightmare unleashed through the development of nuclear weapons technologies demonstrates all too clearly the immensity of the danger.

We need to replace this nihilism and pessimism with a new sense of value that will open the door to a new era; religion can be a source of energy to achieve this. There is a need for the kind of religion that is compatible with and embraces the insights of science, but can serve to guide and restrain those technologies which, if misused, have the potential to wreak devastation on humankind.

A key function of religion is to help people replant their feet firmly in the here and now, enabling an out-of-control civilization to realize its needed course correction. The here and now is the foundation and pivot of all aspects of human activity. If we lose sight of this and base ourselves in a virtual world, we end up the slaves of the very technologies that we ourselves created.

Toward a world without nuclear weapons

The year 2010 will be critical in terms of finding a path toward the resolution of global issues, with a number of important international meetings scheduled, including the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in May.

U.S. President Barack Obama has signaled a potentially fundamental transformation in the status of nuclear weapons. In his speech in Prague, the Czech Republic, in April 2009, he provided an important new impetus to long-deadlocked efforts for nuclear disarmament by calling for a world without nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons embody the deepest negative impulses of the human heart. The work of abolishing them is laden with profound difficulties, and it is unrealistic to expect rapid or simple progress. It is vital to maintain an approach that is both flexible and persistent.

The time has come for the nuclear-weapon states to develop a shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons and to break free from the spell of deterrence. A new kind of thinking is needed, one based on working together to reduce threats and creating ever-expanding circles of physical and psychological security until these embrace the entire world.

The nuclear-weapon states should evince their resolve to move beyond deterrence by undertaking the following three commitments at the 2010 NPT Review Conference and working to fully implement them by 2015.

To reach a legally binding agreement to extend negative security assurances--the undertaking not to use nuclear weapons against any of the non-nuclear-weapon states fulfilling their obligations under the NPT. 

To initiate negotiation on a treaty codifying the promise not to use nuclear weapons against each other. 

Where nuclear-weapon-free zones have yet to be established, and as a bridging measure toward their establishment, to take steps to declare them nuclear non-use regions.

In addition to expanding the frameworks defining the legal obligation not to use nuclear weapons in this way, it is also necessary to further clarify the norm that nuclear weapons are indeed weapons that must never be used. To achieve this, the threat or use of nuclear weapons should be included among the war crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The establishment of this norm will clear the way toward the abolition of nuclear weapons--the fervent desire of people the world over.

In addition, we need to create a system, based on the United Nations Charter, for the General Assembly and the Security Council to work together for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

Article 26 of the UN Charter states that the Security Council has responsibility for formulating plans for regulating armaments in order to promote the maintenance of international peace and security, minimizing the diversion of the world's human and economic resources for armaments. However, to date the Security Council has failed to fulfill this role. It is time that new efforts be made to fully implement Article 26 so that the Security Council fulfills its disarmament obligations, strengthening impetus toward nuclear abolition and the demilitarization of our planet.

None of these proposals will be easy to implement, but all of them build on existing institutional foundations. They are by no means unreachable goals. The NPT Review Conference should initiate movement toward these goals, and such efforts should culminate in a nuclear abolition summit in 2015--held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki--which would effectively signal the end of the era of nuclear weapons.

Human Security

The impact of the current economic crisis on the more vulnerable members of society has been particularly severe. There are growing concerns that new humanitarian crises may arise in different parts of the world unless targeted assistance addressing the needs of these populations is provided. Three concrete areas where measures should be taken concern employment, children and the empowerment of women.

Human dignity is gravely threatened when individuals are unemployed or work under inhumane or degrading conditions, or if lack of job security makes it impossible to plan for the future. The G20 should take responsibility to be the driving force for global employment recovery. One means to achieve this would be the establishment of a task force dedicated to promoting decent work and the Global Jobs Pact under the G20 umbrella.

It is children who are forced to pay the highest price when their societies face a crisis. There are concerns over the increasing numbers of children who are denied access to adequate nutrition and health care or are forced to quit school in order to work. UNICEF has advocated child-friendly schools and the building of classrooms that can withstand earthquakes and storms. Schools should function as a refuge to protect children from various threats--as strongholds of human security--and become a venue for fostering children as protagonists of a new culture of peace.

Finally, girls' education has a crucial impact on all aspects of human development. Empowering a girl through education will lead to a brighter future for herself, her family and her children, eventually permeating society as a whole with the light of hope. We need to establish an internationally administered fund dedicated to realizing a better future for women, in which a portion of developing countries' debts is forgiven and the equivalent amount allocated to girls' education.

In all these efforts, the key is the power of dialogue and engagement to awaken that which is best in each individual. Just as there is no easy path to learning, there is no easy path to the realization of good. We must root ourselves firmly in reality, deliberately taking on difficult challenges, ceaselessly training and forging ourselves in the "smelting furnace" of spiritual struggle and earnest engagement with others.

There is always a way, a path to the peak of even the most towering and forbidding mountain. What is most strongly required of us is the imagination that can appreciate the present crises as an opportunity to fundamentally transform the direction of history.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Toward a World of Dignity for All: The Triumph of the Creative Life

Our contemporary society is becoming increasingly fragmented as traditional family and community bonds break down. This is closely linked to a failure of communication, a breakdown of language as words become devalued and degraded.

Few have analyzed the vulnerability of language to abuse as incisively as the French philosopher Henri Bergson, who, guided by the axiom primum vivere (first, live!), warned consistently of Western philosophy's tendency to view everything through the lens of abstracted language and logic. Bergson's optimism can supply a catalyzing vision of a hopeful future, helping to redirect the course of modern civilization. This is the aim shared by all those who uphold the ideals of humanism.

The essence of the Buddhist humanism practiced by the members of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) lies in the insistence that human beings strive to exercise their spiritual capacities to the limit, coupled with an unshakable belief in their ability to do this. It is on the basis of this faith in the unlimited creative capacities of human beings that we must address the concrete issues that face our world today. In this, it is vital to ensure that our responses are not overshadowed by the clash of national interests, and the United Nations must play a pivotal role in ensuring this.

To this end, the UN needs to strengthen and solidify its collaborative endeavors with civil society, and in particular with nongovernmental organizations. Where there is an absence of international political leadership, civil society can step in to fill the gap, providing the energy and vision needed to move the world in a new and better direction.

A world free of nuclear weapons

Together, the people of the world should undertake three challenges toward the creation of a world free of nuclear weapons: We should establish the structures through which states possessing nuclear weapons can advance disarmament toward the goal of complete elimination; we should establish the means to prevent all development or modernization of nuclear weapons; and we should establish a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) comprehensively prohibiting them.

We need a fundamental revision of the framework for nuclear disarmament, such that the goal of multilateral negotiations is not confined to arms control but aims toward a clear vision of nuclear weapons abolition.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for the regular convening of a UN Security Council Summit on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. These summits should not be limited to the members of the Security Council: participation should also be opened to states that have chosen to relinquish their nuclear weapons or programs, as well as specialists in the field and NGO representatives.

This process should aim toward holding the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Bringing together national leaders as well as representatives of global civil society, this would be a nuclear abolition summit which could mark the effective end of the nuclear era.

Regarding the prohibition and prevention of nuclear weapons development, the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is key. Non-nuclear-weapon states and civil society organizations should work together to encourage those countries that have yet to do so to ratify this treaty. In addition, there could be interlocking agreements on bi- or multi-lateral levels by which groups of states, such as Egypt, Israel and Iran, would mutually commit to ratify the treaty. A similar arrangement based on the Six-Party Talks could be used to move toward the denuclearization of Northeast Asia.

Finally, we must build on recent developments to promote a Nuclear Weapons Convention that will outlaw nuclear weapons. We stand at a watershed moment: we have before us the potential to bring the era of nuclear weapons to an end through a treaty that comprehensively bans them. We must not allow this historic opportunity to pass.

The crucial thing is to arouse the awareness that, as a matter of human conscience, we can never permit the people of any country to fall victim to nuclear weapons. We must each make a personal decision and determination to build a new world free of nuclear weapons.

The accumulated weight of such choices made by individual citizens can be the basis for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. Such a convention could then represent a qualitative transformation from traditional international law--negotiated solely among governments--to a form of law that derives its ultimate authority from the expressed will of the world's peoples.

A culture of human rights

The term "a culture of human rights" was popularized in part through the UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), and it refers to an ethos that encourages people to take the initiative to respect and protect the full spectrum of human rights and the dignity of life. This UN framework was realized largely through the work of NGOs. At its foundation lies the awareness that, alongside legal guarantees of human rights--and remedies in the event they are violated--it is necessary to foster a culture that prevents violations from occurring in the first place.

It is not because they have been codified into law that human rights have value. The spiritual wellspring that supports the law is found in the struggle to gain and realize our rights, the succession of courageous individuals who take up the challenge of extending and expanding them.

Drafting work continues on a UN declaration on human rights education and training. In order to gain the support of as many states as possible in the UN General Assembly, and to ensure that the declaration is implemented worldwide, the consistent backing of civil society is indispensable. To this end, the development of collaborative relations between the UN and civil society would be assisted by the formation of an international coalition of NGOs for human rights education, and by the creation of a standing specialized UN agency to promote human rights education.

There is also a need to focus on the role of youth in human rights education. The importance of youth in challenging seemingly intractable social realities and creating a new era cannot be overstated. One possibility would be to explore youth initiatives for human rights education on a regional basis, including opportunities for direct exchange. Such exchanges can promote the spirit of recognizing human commonalities and respecting diversity as a source of creativity and vitality.

Finally, dialogue among different faiths can greatly promote the construction of a culture of human rights. It is through real-life daily struggles and challenges that a genuine sensitivity to human rights is inculcated. The foundation for this must be the workings of conscience, a determination to behave at all times and in all situations in a manner that one can proudly affirm. And it is the original mission of religion to encourage the growth and development of such an ethos.

It is only when the norms of human rights are elevated to a personal vow that they become a source of inexhaustible energy for social transformation. The world's religions should conduct dialogue toward the shared goal of constructing a culture of human rights and strive together to foster in people the capacity to take the lead in this endeavor.

When each of us makes our irreplaceable contribution and we develop multiple overlapping networks of solidarity, we can construct a new era founded on respect for the inherent value and dignity of life. Each of the world's seemingly ordinary individuals can be a protagonist in the creation of this new era. Members of the SGI are determined to continue working in solidarity and partnership with those who share our aspirations toward this goal of a new global society of peace and coexistence.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Human Security and Sustainability: Sharing Reverence for the Dignity of Life

The economist Amartya Sen, a renowned advocate of the methods and approaches of human security, has emphasized "the dangers of sudden deprivation." Such unanticipated threats can take the form of natural disaster and conflict, and can also arise from economic crises and rapid environmental degradation brought about by climate change. It is crucial that we respond vigorously to such threats, which can grievously undermine people's lives, livelihoods and dignity.

It is the nature of disasters that they destroy those things that are most precious, necessary and irreplaceable to human life. They inflict the suffering of the loss of friends and family members, the destruction of homes and the shredding of the bonds of community. When disasters strike, society as a whole must be prepared to offer long-term support, sharing the responsibility to assist people in rebuilding their lives.

The treatise "On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land," authored by Nichiren (1222-82), whose teachings are the foundation of the belief of members of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), provides a useful framework for thinking about our contemporary world. Three aspects of this text are especially relevant in light of present-day conditions and the imperatives of human security: the philosophical stance that the highest priority of the state must be the well-being and security of ordinary people; a call for the establishment of a worldview rooted in a vital sense of our interconnectedness; and the insight that the greatest empowerment is realized when, through dialogue, we advance from a shared concern to a shared action-oriented pledge or vow.

Such empowerment is of particular relevance to the restoration of people's sense of mental equilibrium and health in post-disaster situations, "the recovery of the heart." Buddhism teaches that whatever our individual circumstances, we can always discover the capacity to help others; it also assures us that those who have suffered the most have the right to the greatest happiness.

 

Humanitarianism, human rights and sustainability

Turning to specific proposals, three major challenges--natural disasters, environmental degradation and poverty, and nuclear weapons--present future generations with threats and burdens that will only become greater the more we delay. Humanitarianism, human rights and sustainability need to be the core elements of a future vision of:

1. A world that, refusing to overlook human tragedy wherever it occurs, unites in solidarity to overcome threats;
2. A world that, based on the empowerment of individuals, gives priority to securing the dignity and right of all people to live in peace;
3. A world that, remembering the lessons of the past, does not allow unborn generations to inherit the negative legacies of human history and directs all its energies to transforming those legacies.
 

Disaster risk reduction

Regarding disaster risk reduction, international frameworks to support disaster-affected populations need to be strengthened, specifically by applying a rights-based approach and including such responses in the mandate of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Human rights need to be given a central stress in all relief efforts, focusing on the right of those affected by disasters to live with dignity. We need to create a culture of human rights that champions the dignity of those afflicted by disasters, threats and social injustice. At the same time, it is absolutely vital that people be empowered to transform their own circumstances, and here a focus on women will prove indispensable.

Women bear a disproportionate burden of the deprivations resulting from disasters, and they are often exposed to grievous threats. At the same time, there is a need to afford greater recognition to women's special capacities to contribute. Women must be empowered as effective change agents in the fields of disaster risk reduction, recovery and reconstruction, in line with similar recognition of their potential roles in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding. Specifically, disaster risk reduction and recovery could be included in the scope of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, or a new resolution could be adopted with a focus on the roles women play in these areas.

Sustainable development

Ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) slated to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this June, there have been many calls for the establishment of Sustainable Development Goals.

A set of common goals for a sustainable future should inherit the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals of alleviating the distortions in our global society generated by poverty and income disparities, and should also address the full range of human security issues.

Sustainable energy is also a key issue we need to face. As made painfully clear by the accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant that accompanied the devastating earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan last March, a rapid transition to an energy policy that is not dependent on nuclear power is urgently required. At the same time, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) needs to play a central role in responding to nuclear power plant accidents, in the decommissioning of obsolescent nuclear reactors and in handling the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Nuclear abolition

For years, the SGI has promoted a movement to manifest the will of the world's people for the outlawing of nuclear weapons through the adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC). There are numerous signs that we are now positioned at a tipping point where a "cascade" of governments start supporting adoption of an NWC.

The leading role played by civil society in developing a draft NWC and in actively seeking the start of negotiations demonstrates that the spiritual wellspring and normative source for such a treaty exist as a vital presence in the hearts and minds of the world's ordinary citizens. What is required now is to take this living, breathing awareness and give it concrete form as a binding legal agreement expressing the shared conscience of humankind.

We must initiate concrete negotiations that will culminate in the realization of an NWC. One way to do this would be to present it as a basic treaty establishing the legal framework of a world without nuclear weapons with a set of associated protocols. The basic treaty would allow signatory states to clearly commit to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons and undertake a process of mutual threat reduction. Separate protocols could enumerate prohibited activities such as development and production, use or threat of use, and establish procedures for decommissioning and verification. NGOs and forward-looking governments should establish an action group to embark on this venture.

We should set a target of 2015 for the release--or better yet, the signing--of an agreed-upon draft of the basic framework treaty. Hiroshima and Nagasaki would provide a suitable venue for this, at a nuclear abolition summit to mark the effective end of the nuclear era. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, scheduled for 2015, provides a good opportunity for such a summit.

The struggle for peace, like the struggle for human rights and humanity, should be thought of as the work of generating an uninterrupted and unstoppable flow of commitment connecting and passed on from one generation to the next. This is the conviction that has supported the SGI's efforts to help build a better future for all, to promote a movement of empowerment that is of, for and by the people, laying the foundations for a global society of peace and harmonious coexistence.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Compassion, Wisdom and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence

Efforts are currently underway to define a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a target date of 2030. As we debate these goals, we must face head-on the underlying ailments of human civilization in order to ensure that efforts to improve the human condition are more than mere stopgap measures--that they enable people struggling in the face of dire threats to recover the hope and strength needed to lead lives of dignity.

For this, we need a spiritual framework that will bring into greater clarity those things we cannot afford to ignore while ensuring that all that we do contributes to the larger objective of a global society of peace and creative coexistence.

If we picture such a society as an edifice, the ideals of human rights and human security are key pillars that hold it up, while the foundation on which these rest is respect for the dignity of life. For this to be a meaningful and robust support for other endeavors, it must be felt and experienced palpably as a way of life.

To this end, I would like to propose the following three commitments as guidelines for action:

1. The determination to share the joys and sufferings of others

2. Faith in the limitless possibilities of life

3. The vow to defend and celebrate diversity

I believe that the social mission of religion in the twenty-first century must be to bring people together in an ethos of reverence for life's inherent dignity and worth.

One pressing threat to the dignity of far too many people in our world today is poverty. The pervasive stress of economic deprivation is compounded when people feel that their very existence is disregarded, becoming alienated and being deprived of a meaningful role and place within society. This underlies the need for a socially inclusive approach focused on the restoration of a sense of connection with others and of purpose in life.

Regardless of circumstance, all people inherently possess a life-state of ultimate dignity and are in this sense fundamentally equal and endowed with limitless possibilities. When we awaken to our original worth and determine to change present realities, we become a source of hope for others. Such a perspective is, I believe, valuable not only for the challenges of constructing a culture of human rights but also for realizing a sustainable society.

To forestall the further fissuring of society and enable a culture of peace to take root in the world, dialogue based on the celebration of our diversity is indispensable.

Outlawing nuclear weapons as inhumane

There has been a growing movement to outlaw nuclear weapons based on the premise that they are inhumane. It is my strong hope that an expanding core of NGOs and governments supporting this position will initiate the process of drafting a treaty to outlaw these weapons in light of their inhumane nature.

Japan, as a country that has experienced a nuclear attack, should play a leading role in the realization of a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC). Further, it should undertake the kind of confidence-building measures that are a necessary predicate to the establishment of a Northeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and to creating the conditions for the global abolition of nuclear weapons.

The SGI's efforts to grapple with the nuclear weapons issue are based on the recognition that the very existence of these weapons represents the ultimate negation of the dignity of life. At the same time, nuclear weapons serve as a prism through which to perceive new perspectives on ecological integrity, economic development, and human rights. This, in turn, helps us identify the elements that will shape the contours of a new, sustainable society, one in which all people can live in dignity.

Toward this end, I would like to make three concrete proposals:

1. Making disarmament a key theme of the Sustainable Development Goals. Halving world military expenditures relative to 2010 levels and abolishing nuclear weapons and all other weapons judged inhumane under international law should be included as targets for achievement by the year 2030.

2. Initiating the negotiation process of a Nuclear Weapons Convention. The international community should engage in active debate to broadly shape international public opinion, with the goal of agreement on an initial draft by 2015.

3. Holding an expanded summit for a nuclear-weapon-free world. The G8 Summit in 2015, the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, would be an appropriate opportunity for such a summit. 

Fostering a culture of human rights

To enhance United Nations efforts to promote a culture of human rights, I propose that the promotion of human rights be a central element of the SDGs for the year 2030, including the following two specific targets.

Every country should set up a Social Protection Floor (SPF) to ensure that those who are suffering from extreme poverty are able to regain a sense of dignity. Some thirty developing countries have in fact already started implementing plans for minimum income and livelihood guarantees. Such guarantees are a necessary condition for sustainability and a culture of human rights.

Every society should promote human rights education and training. Alongside the legal system of guarantees and remedies, efforts to raise awareness of human rights through education and training could serve as a catalyst for the social interaction and support that provides a sense of connection and helps people regain hope and dignity. Regional centers for human rights education and training could be established within the framework of the United Nations University, along the lines of the centers currently promoting education for sustainable development.

Today's children will inevitably play a crucial role in the work of constructing a culture of human rights. To protect them and improve the conditions under which they live, it is crucial that all countries ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, and pass the domestic legislation needed to fulfill the treaty obligations.

Strengthening Sino-Japanese relations

Improving relations between China and Japan--currently said to be at their worst since World War II--is an essential element in building a global society of peace and coexistence.

Political and economic relations between these two countries are constantly impacted by the ebb and flow of the times. This is why, faced with a crisis, it is important to adamantly uphold the two central pledges in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People's Republic of China (1978): To refrain from the use or threat of force, and not to seek regional hegemony.

I urge Japan and China to set up a high-level forum for dialogue aimed at preventing any worsening of the situation. Its first order of business should be to institute a moratorium on all actions that could be construed as provocative. This should be followed by an analysis of the steps by which the confrontation evolved in order to facilitate the development of guidelines for more effective responses to future crises.

I suggest that Japan and China institute the practice of holding regular summit meetings, similar to those established through the Élysée Treaty that regularly brought together French and German Heads of State and Government. I further propose that Japan and China together launch an organization for environmental cooperation in East Asia. This would help lay the foundations of a new partnership focused on peace and creative coexistence and joint action for the sake of humanity.

The key to realizing all these goals ultimately lies in the solidarity of ordinary citizens. The year 2030 serves as a major goal in the effort to promote cooperation in the international community, and will also mark the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Soka Gakkai. Working with all those committed to a global society of peace and creative coexistence, we will continue to foster solidarity among the world's people as we look ahead to that significant milestone.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
Value Creation for Global Change: Building Resilient and Sustainable Societies

To commemorate January 26, the anniversary of the founding of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), I would like to offer thoughts on how we can redirect the currents of the twenty-first century toward greater hope, solidarity, and peace in order to construct a sustainable global society, one in which the dignity of each individual shines with its inherent brilliance.

In light of the increasing incidence of natural disasters and extreme weather events in recent years, as well as severe humanitarian crises caused by international and domestic conflicts, there has been growing stress on the importance of enhancing the resilience of human societies. In the broadest sense, resilience can be thought of in terms of realizing a hopeful future, rooted in people's natural desire to work together toward common goals.

Reforming and opening up the inner capacities of our lives can enable effective reform and empowerment on a global scale. This is what we in the SGI call human revolution. Its focus is empowerment that brings forth the limitless possibilities of each individual. The steady accumulation of changes on the individual and community level paves the path for humanity to surmount the common issues we face.

The challenge of value creation is that of linking the micro and the macro in ways that reinforce positive transformation on both planes.

The Buddhist philosophy embraced by members of the SGI urges people to live with a sense of purposefulness that can be expressed as a commitment to fulfilling a profound pledge or vow. It encourages people to regard their immediate surroundings as the arena for fulfilling their mission in life, even when beset by great difficulties, and to aspire to create personal narratives that will be a source of enduring hope.

Education for global citizenship

I would like to offer specific proposals focusing on three key areas critical to the effort to create a sustainable global society. The first relates to education with a particular focus on young people.

A summit slated to take place in September 2015 will adopt a new set of global development goals, widely referred to as sustainable development goals (SDGs). I urge that targets related to education be included among these: specifically, to achieve universal access to primary and secondary education, to eliminate gender disparity at all levels and to promote education for global citizenship.

An educational program for global citizenship should deepen understanding of the challenges facing humankind; it should identify the early signs of impending global problems in local phenomena, empowering people to take action; and it should foster the spirit of empathy and coexistence with an awareness that actions that profit one's own country might have a negative impact or be perceived as a threat by other countries.

Another area that should be a focus of the SDGs along with education is empowering youth. Specifically, I suggest the following guidelines be included in establishing the SDGs:

1. For all states to strive to secure decent work for all;

2. For young people to be able to actively participate in solving the problems facing society and the world; and

3. For the expansion of youth exchanges to foster friendship and solidarity transcending national borders.

Youth exchanges, in particular, help nurture friendship and ties that serve as a bulwark against the collective psychologies of hatred and prejudice. As such, their inclusion in the SDGs would be of great significance.

Strengthening resilience

Second, I would like to propose the establishment of regional cooperative mechanisms to reduce damage from extreme weather and disasters, strengthening resilience in regions such as Asia and Africa.

Disaster preparedness, disaster relief, and post-disaster recovery should be treated as an integrated process. To this end, I would like to suggest that neighboring countries establish a system of cooperation for responding to disasters. Through such sustained efforts to cooperate in strengthening resilience and recovery assistance, the spirit of mutual help and support can become the shared culture of the region.

I urge that the pioneering initiative for such regional cooperation be taken in Asia, a region that has been severely impacted by disasters. A successful model here will inspire collaboration in other regions. A foundation for this already exists in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which has a framework for discussing better cooperation. I call on countries in the region to establish an Asia recovery resilience agreement, a framework drawing from the experience of the ARF.

Further, efforts to strengthen resilience through sister-city exchanges and cooperation provide an important basis for creating spaces of peaceful coexistence throughout the region. I strongly urge that a Japan-China-South Korea summit be held at the earliest opportunity to initiate dialogue toward this kind of cooperation, including cooperation on environmental problems.

Abolition of nuclear weapons

The third area I would like to discuss regards proposals for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons.

The Final Document of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference and the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons held in Oslo, Norway, last year have helped encourage efforts by a growing number of governments to place the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons at the center of all discussions of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.

Since May 2012, these governments have repeatedly issued Joint Statements on this topic, and the fourth such statement, issued in October 2013, was signed by the governments of 125 states, including Japan and several other states under the nuclear umbrella of nuclear-weapon states.

The shared recognition that nuclear weapons fundamentally differ from other weapons, that they exist on the far side of a line which must not be crossed, and that it is unacceptable to inflict their catastrophic humanitarian consequences on any human being--this recognition holds the key to transcending the very idea that nuclear weapons can be used to realize national security objectives.

I have repeatedly called for a nuclear abolition summit to be held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki next year in 2015, the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombings of those cities. Specifically, I hope that representatives of the countries that signed the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons, as well as representatives of global civil society and, above all, youthful citizens from throughout the world, will gather in a world youth summit for nuclear abolition to adopt a declaration affirming their commitment to bringing the era of nuclear weapons to an end.

Concurrent with this, I would like to make two concrete proposals. The first is for a nuclear weapons non-use agreement. This would be a natural outcome of placing the catastrophic humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons use at the center of the deliberations for the 2015 NPT Review Conference, and it would be a means of advancing the implementation of Article VI of the NPT under which the nuclear-weapon states have committed to pursuing nuclear disarmament in good faith.

The establishment of a non-use agreement, in which the nuclear-weapon states pledge, as an obligation rooted in the core spirit of the NPT, not to use nuclear weapons against states parties to the treaty, would bring an enhanced sense of physical and psychological security to states that have relied on the nuclear umbrella of their allies, opening the way to security arrangements that are not dependent on nuclear weapons.

The 2016 G8 Summit is scheduled to be held in Japan. An expanded summit dedicated to realizing a world without nuclear weapons could be held in conjunction with this and would provide an opportune venue for making a public pledge to early signing.

My second specific proposal is to utilize the process that is developing around the Joint Statements on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons use to broadly enlist international public opinion and catalyze negotiations for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons.

It is important that we remember that even a non-use agreement is only a beachhead toward our ultimate goal--the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. That goal will only be realized through accelerated efforts propelled by the united voices of global civil society.

The members of the SGI are determined to continue our efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons and all other causes of misery on Earth, to further our efforts for value creation, working with the world's youth and all those who are committed to a hopeful vision for the future.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
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Unduh Proposal (Indonesia)
A Shared Pledge for a More Humane Future: To Eliminate Misery from the Earth

On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), I would like to offer some thoughts on ways to generate greater solidarity among the people of the world for peace and humane values and for the elimination of needless suffering from the Earth.

The United Nations is working toward a new set of goals to follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and, last July, the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) released a proposal that expresses a commitment to inclusiveness, the determination to protect the dignity of all people without exception.

I would like to discuss three priority themes for promoting the achievement of these goals and, on a broader scale, accelerating efforts to eliminate misery from the face of the planet. This was the repeated desire of my mentor, Josei Toda, and remains the inspiration behind the activities of SGI members around the world.

The first is the "rehumanization of politics and economics" making their prime motivation for the alleviation of the suffering of individuals. The most important driving force for this is the solidarity of ordinary citizens who have raised their voices based on an unyielding commitment to our collective future.

The second is what I call "a chain reaction of empowerment," encapsulated in the idea that a great revolution of character in just a single individual can help achieve a change in the destiny of an entire society and make possible a change in the destiny of all humankind.

The third theme is the expansion of friendship across differences in order to build a world of coexistence. Expanding human solidarity based on a shared concern for the threats faced by all of us holds the key to the alleviation of human suffering. The one thing any of us can do at any time to contribute to building that solidarity is to generate a broader network of friendship through dialogue.


Frameworks for shared action

I believe there should be two prerequisites for the resolution of global problems at the heart of the creative evolution of the UN as it marks its seventieth anniversary this year: the participation of all states and the promotion of collaboration between the UN and civil society.

I would like to make specific proposals in the following three fields in which I think there is an urgent need for shared action in order to eliminate the word misery from the human lexicon.

1. The first field for shared action is to protect the human rights of refugees, displaced persons and international migrants.


The source of the suffering of displaced persons is being cut off from a world in which they can fully experience and express their identity, and all the human rights associated with it. 

Positioning the alleviation of the suffering of such people as a key objective of the creative evolution of the UN is necessary if the inclusiveness sought for the new SDGs is to be realized. 

Likewise, the human rights situation of the world's 232 million international migrants demands urgent attention. I would like to propose that the goal of protecting the dignity and basic human rights of migrant workers and their families be explicitly included in the SDGs. 

I further propose the development of mechanisms by which neighboring countries can work together for the empowerment of displaced persons. Specifically, I would like to propose regional joint empowerment programs by which educational and employment assistance projects include both the refugee population and the youth and women of the host country. 


2. The second field for shared action I would like to consider is toward the realization of a world without nuclear weapons.


By signing the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons in October 2014, more than 80 percent of the member states of the United Nations have clearly expressed their shared desire that nuclear weapons never be used under any circumstances. 

The inhumane nature of nuclear weapons is evidenced from a variety of perspectives above and beyond their sheer destructive potential. First, their capacity for annihilation instantly negates all the achievements of civilization and strips all existence of meaning. Second, continued nuclear weapons development and modernization generates dire socioeconomic distortions. Third, the maintenance of a nuclear posture locks countries into continuous military tension. 

Here, I would like to propose the following two initiatives. 

A new institutional framework for nuclear disarmament, based on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).


I urge the participants at the 2015 NPT Review Conference to debate options for the elaboration of the "effective measures" for nuclear disarmament required by Article VI of the NPT. Given this context, I hope that as many heads of government as possible will attend the Review Conference. 

I further urge that the Review Conference establish a new institutional framework to promote the fulfillment of Article VI obligations. Building upon "the unequivocal undertaking of the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament," reaffirmed at the 2000 Review Conference, I propose the establishment of an NPT disarmament commission as a subsidiary organ to the NPT to ensure the prompt and concrete fulfillment of this commitment. 

The adoption of a nuclear weapons convention.


Based on a careful evaluation of the outcome of this year's NPT Review Conference, I suggest that the high-level international conference on nuclear disarmament that the UN has called for be held in 2016 and begin the process of drafting a nuclear weapons convention. 

The process I envisage for the establishment of a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons is one in which each country commits itself to a self-imposed veto. Together, these acts of self-restraint will form an overlapping fabric that brings into being a new era, one in which the people of all countries can enjoy the certainty that they will never suffer the horrors wrought by the use of nuclear weapons. 

I hope that the planned World Youth Summit for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons--to be held in Hiroshima in September as a joint initiative by the SGI and other NGOs--will adopt a youth declaration pledging to end the nuclear age and that it will help foster a greater solidarity among the world's youth in support of a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. 


3. The last field for shared action I would like to address is the construction of a sustainable global society.


In order to respond to environmental challenges such as climate change, we must share experiences and lessons learned as we work to prevent a worsening of conditions and effect the transition toward a zero-waste society. Such efforts will be crucial in the achievement of the SDGs, and I would like to stress the indispensable role of cooperation among neighboring countries to this end. 

Concretely, I call on China, South Korea, and Japan to join together to create a regional model that will embody best practices that can be shared with the world. To encourage such cooperation, it is important that trilateral China-Korea-Japan summits be restarted. Further, I hope the leaders of the three countries will mark the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II by embodying the lessons of that conflict in a pledge never to go to war again. 

Toward expanding grassroots exchanges, I would like to see the establishment of a China-Korea-Japan youth partnership through which young people can actively collaborate on efforts to realize the SDGs or other trilateral initiatives. Along similar lines, I propose that the number of sister-city exchanges between the three countries be greatly increased.

I wish to emphasize that it is the solidarity of ordinary people that, more than any other force, will propel humankind in our efforts to meet the challenges that face us.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
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Unduh Proposal (Indonesia)
Universal Respect for Human Dignity: The Great Path to Peace

All people have the right to live in happiness. The prime objective of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) movement is to forge an expanding solidarity of ordinary citizens committed to protecting that right and, in this way, to rid the world of needless suffering.

Our activities in support of the United Nations are a natural and necessary expression of this. In carrying out these activities we have taken a learning-centered approach, one that emphasizes the practice of dialogue and fostering an ethos of global citizenship.

One important function of learning is to enable people to accurately assess the impact of their actions and to empower them to effect positive change. Another is to bring forth the courage to persevere in the face of adversity. Educator and founding Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi termed this "the courage of application." Such courage keeps us from being overwhelmed by our circumstances and enables us instead to create the kind of future we desire.

In addition to this learning-based approach, we have stressed the importance of dialogue as the foundation for all our activities.

Our awareness of people belonging to different religions or ethnicities can be transformed through direct contact and conversation with even one member of that group. When we engage in open and frank dialogue, the world begins to appear in a warmer, more human light.

It is my conviction that dialogue is absolutely essential if we are to build a world in which no one is left behind.


Three areas of action

I would like to offer ideas on three areas that require prompt and coordinated action by governments and civil society: 

1. Humanitarian aid and human rights protection;

2. Ecological integrity and disaster risk reduction; and

3. Disarmament and the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

 

These proposals are oriented to the ideal of a world in which no one is left behind, as articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in September 2015 as a successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The SDGs represent a significant advance on the MDGs through their commitment that no one should be abandoned to their fate, as epitomized by the very first goal, "End poverty in all its forms everywhere."

With regard to humanitarian aid and human rights protection, I would like to offer two concrete proposals for the World Humanitarian Summit set to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, this May.

First, that all participants reaffirm the principle that our response to the worsening refugee crisis must be based on international human rights law; and I urge them to express a clear commitment to the primacy of protecting the lives and human rights of refugee children.

Second is to strengthen UN programs in support of host countries taking in refugees in the Middle East and to prioritize a similar approach in other regions of Asia and Africa.

The UN's Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) currently links refugee relief operations to support for recipient communities in the Middle East. I propose that the World Humanitarian Summit express a commitment by all countries to work in solidarity to facilitate activities under the 3RP, such as improvements in the supply of food and safe drinking water and provision of health care.


Ecological integrity and disaster risk reduction

I would like to call for cooperation among China, Japan and Korea--which together account for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions--in sharing of knowledge and best practices in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy and efforts to minimize their resource footprint.

I welcome the renewal of the summit meetings between the leaders of the three countries. The Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting has continued to contribute to cooperation on environmental issues even at times of heightened political tensions, based on the understanding that Northeast Asia is "one environmental community." I urge the leaders of the three countries to adopt a China-Japan-Korea environmental pledge focused on regional cooperation to counter global warming.

In addition to cooperation among national governments, I would like to propose that the world's cities work together to promote the goals set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. If cities change, the world will change.

In recent years, the role of ecosystems in disaster risk reduction has attracted growing attention. As a follow-up to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), the UN has launched the Global Action Programme for ESD. The engagement of young people is listed as one of the program's priorities, and in this context I would like to wholeheartedly encourage young people and children everywhere to become engaged as active participants in Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR), such as tree-planting campaigns.


Disarmament and the prohibition of nuclear weapons

I would like to offer two proposals regarding disarmament and the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

The first relates to strengthening the institutional framework to prevent the proliferation of conventional weapons, which exacerbate humanitarian crises and contribute to incidents of terrorism around the world.

International activities to prevent terrorism can be strengthened significantly through the synergies between the Arms Trade Treaty, which seeks to regulate the trade in conventional weapons, and the numerous antiterrorism conventions that have been established.

Each year, an unconscionable number of lives are lost due to the influx of small arms into conflict areas. I urge states to promptly ratify the Arms Trade Treaty as proof of their pledge to make steady efforts toward the achievement of the SDG target of reducing violence, insecurity and injustice.

The second area of disarmament I would like to address concerns the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons, the use of which could render meaningless in an instant all of humankind's effort to resolve global problems.

I call on the remaining eight states that have not yet ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to do so as soon as possible so that the Treaty can enter into force and help ensure that nuclear weapons are never again tested on our planet. The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution setting up an Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to address effective measures to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.

I would like to propose that the following three items be included in the OEWG's deliberations: 

1. Removal of nuclear retaliatory forces from high-alert status;

2. Withdrawal from the nuclear umbrella; and

3. A halt to the modernization of nuclear weapons.

 

I strongly hope the work of the OEWG will lead to the start of negotiations for a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

In Hiroshima, last August, the International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition, jointly organized by six groups including the SGI, issued a pledge that declared:

 

Nuclear weapons are a symbol of a bygone age; a symbol that poses eminent threat to our present reality and has no place in the future we are creating.

 

The participants undertook to convey to the world and the future the experiences of the hibakusha, raise awareness among their peers and take other forms of action to protect the shared future of humankind.

It is the firm pledge of the SGI to offer our unflinching support for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by fostering the solidarity of youth, the generation of change. In this way we will continue to work for a world, a global society, in which no one is left behind.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
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Unduh Proposal (Indonesia)
The Global Solidarity of Youth: Ushering In a New Era of Hope

Sixty years have passed since my mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda (1900–58), issued his declaration calling for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons.

At the core of his thinking was a vision of global citizenship rooted in the philosophy of respect for life’s inherent dignity as taught in Buddhism.

This is the conviction that no one should be subjected to discrimination, be exploited or have their interests sacrificed for the benefit of others. This resonates strongly with the United Nations’ appeal to the international community to create a world in which “no one will be left behind.”

Our world today is confronted by numerous grave challenges including a seemingly unending succession of armed conflicts and the sufferings of the rapidly growing refugee population. I am not, however, pessimistic about humanity’s future. My reason is the faith I place in our world’s young people, each of whom embodies hope and the possibility of a better future.

I would like to offer thoughts on how to build the kind of peaceful, just and inclusive societies envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were launched last year, putting special focus on the role of youth.

Creating solidarity centered on young people toward the goal of coexistence

With the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2016, the countries of the world came together to confront a common threat in a way that had previously appeared impossible. This was the result of a shared awareness that climate change is an urgent issue for all countries.

If we are to make progress toward the achievement of the SDGs, we will need to share a similar awareness and solidarity across all fields.

The key to dealing with even the most seemingly intractable challenges is to be found when people come together and continue to do all in their power for the sake of others.

In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, the term bodhisattva is used to describe a person dedicated to the realization of happiness for oneself and others. This spirit of the bodhisattva is the foundation that has sustained the SGI’s efforts as a faith-based organization that supports the UN and works for the resolution of global challenges. Our consistent focus has been on promoting empowerment of, by and for the people.

The inner capacities of people unleashed by empowerment serve as an enduring source of energy for transformation, a wellspring of inextinguishable hope.

Education gives rise to the actions and activities that shape the direction of society over time. Education for global citizenship, in particular, can foster action and solidarity, enabling young people to bring forth their full potential and increasing momentum for global change.

Laying the foundations for societies in which division and inequality are overcome

With the continuing stagnation of the global economy, xenophobic impulses have strengthened. Xenophobic thinking is propelled by a stark division of the world into good and evil. It leaves no room for hesitation or scruple. In the same way, when the pursuit of market-based economic rationality has no counterbalancing consideration of the human element, a psychology is unleashed that is ready to extract even the most extreme sacrifices from others.

What kind of social anchoring is available to resist the forces of xenophobia that deepen the divisions within society and the pursuit of economic rationality that is indifferent to the sacrifices of the vulnerable? I believe the answer is to be found in strong connections between people. It is my confident expectation that friendship among youth will powerfully turn back the sullied currents of divisiveness and give birth to a vibrant culture of peace based on profound respect for diversity.

Enhancing the capacity of communities to meet and respond positively to challenges

The ability to solve problems is not something reserved for special people: It is a path that opens before any of us when we face reality head-on, taking up some aspect of its weighty burden and acting with persistence. The energy of young people, in particular, can catalyze chain reactions of positive change as they forge bonds of trust among people.

Three Priority Areas:

I would like to offer concrete proposals regarding three priority areas crucial to the realization of the peaceful, just and inclusive societies that are the aim of the SDGs:

1. Prohibiting and abolishing nuclear weapons

The threat posed by nuclear weapons is, if anything, growing. In this regard, I would like to make the following proposals.

i. The earliest possible holding of a US-Russia summit in order to reinvigorate the nuclear disarmament process. I urge the leaders of these two countries to engage in dialogue toward taking their weapons off high alert and to make significant new progress in nuclear arms reduction. 
 

ii. Japan should work to achieve the broadest possible participation in the upcoming negotiations on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, including that of states that possess or rely on nuclear weapons. 

In recent years, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have contributed to keeping the nuclear weapons issue in the public eye by hosting a series of diplomatic meetings and welcoming the visits of foreign dignitaries. As the only country to have experienced a nuclear attack, Japan should encourage the states that participated in these discussions and as many others as possible to take part in the upcoming multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. 

The work of establishing a treaty prohibiting the production, transfer, threat of use or use of these weapons should be viewed as a global enterprise with the goal of preventing the horrors of nuclear war from ever being experienced by any country. 

The first Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference is scheduled to meet in Vienna in May. There should be an effort to mutually acknowledge the security concerns of all states to help make the negotiations truly constructive. 
 

iii. The full spectrum of civil society actors should generate statements directed toward the upcoming negotiations. Together, these would constitute a people’s declaration for a world without nuclear weapons. 

Now is the time for civil society to build momentum to establish the treaty as a form of people-driven international law.

2. Restoring hope in the hearts of refugees

The second priority area that I would like to focus on is the need to implement relief programs designed to enable refugees to live with hope.

I would like to propose that the United Nations take the initiative in developing a new aid architecture that would be a partnership for resolving humanitarian challenges and protecting human dignity. This would enable forcibly displaced persons to work in fields that contribute to enhancing resilience and promoting the achievement of the SDGs in host communities.

One form of this could bring together humanitarian and development initiatives, with the UN and member states actively cooperating to provide vocational training and skill acquisition programs related to the SDGs to refugees and asylum-seekers.

Building a culture of human rights

Next year is the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I would like to propose that the occasion be marked by the holding of a UN and civil society forum on human rights education that would review achievements to date and deepen deliberations toward the adoption of a convention on human rights education and training.

If the world’s young people can come to uphold and protect the core values of human rights, I am positive that a path toward a pluralist and inclusive society can be brought into being. Human rights education can be the main driving force for achieving this. In collaboration with other NGOs, the SGI hopes to move global public opinion toward the adoption of a legally binding convention on human rights education and training.

Gender equality is also deeply relevant to constructing a culture of human rights. The goal of gender equality is to open the path for all people, irrespective of gender, to bring forth the light of their inner dignity and humanity in a way that is true to their own unique self.

The SGI, with youth at the center of our movement, will further strive to expand the solidarity of people united in the cause of building a culture of human rights, working toward creating a society where no one is left behind.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
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Unduh Proposal (Indonesia)
Toward an Era of Human Rights: Building a People’s Movement

The adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in July 2017 was a breakthrough in a field that has been marked by seemingly unbreakable impasse. So long as nuclear weapons exist the quest for a world of peace and human rights for all will remain elusive.

This year, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights commemorates its seventieth anniversary, and in this proposal, I would like to offer perspectives on a human rights-focused approach to resolving global issues. I believe that such an approach, rooted in concern for the life and dignity of each individual, can bring about the fusion of ethics and policy that is required for an effective response.

In this context, the first theme I would like to stress is that at the heart of human rights is the vow never to allow anyone else to suffer what one has endured. This is the spirit embodied by the world’s hibakusha—victims of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and of the production and testing of nuclear weapons worldwide—who provided the impetus that led to the Treaty’s adoption.

The second theme relates to the vital role of human rights education in surmounting social divides. Human rights education calls attention to the unconscious predispositions that fuel discrimination, offering people the opportunity to reflect on their everyday behavior.

I would like to propose that young people be the focus of the fourth phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, slated to begin in 2020. Youth have a special aptitude for sharing what they have learned about human rights with others in their lives, making them a powerful force for expanding the circle of those committed to overcoming discrimination and prejudice and shifting the global current from one of division and conflict to one of coexistence.

The third theme is that the bonds that form a culture of human rights are woven through the experience of joy shared with others. I believe that the wellspring for creating a society of mutually enriching coexistence can be found in a way of life where we experience joy in seeing one another’s dignity radiate its full potential. It is my firm belief that the solidarity of ordinary people will be the driving force for the realization of a global society where all may live in peace and dignity.

Nuclear Disarmament

I would like to make a number of specific proposals regarding the resolution of global issues from the perspective of protecting the life and dignity of each individual.

The nuclear weapons issue is the first thematic area about which I would like to make concrete proposals.

The ideal of international human rights law is the quest to protect the life and dignity of each individual in all national settings, a quest in which the continued pursuit of nuclear arms has no place.

The history of international law can be seen as the repeated effort to clarify the lines that sovereign states must not cross and to establish these limits as shared norms. Once an international norm has been clearly established, it carries a weight that shapes not only the behaviors of individual states but the course of the world as a whole.

Through the TPNW, nuclear weapons have been clearly defined as weapons whose use is impermissible under any circumstances. It is now time to earnestly interrogate the assumptions underlying nuclear deterrence policy.

In May, the UN will host a High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament. This will be one of the first venues for debate and deliberation that will include both the nuclear-weapon and nuclear-dependent states to be organized since the adoption of the TPNW. I strongly urge all participants to engage in constructive debate toward the goal of a world free from nuclear weapons. I hope that world leaders will take the opportunity to commit to steps that their governments can take in the field of nuclear disarmament in advance of the 2020 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This would also be a prime opportunity to make public which among the seven acts prohibited by the TPNW they could consider committing to. Additionally, it would be useful to generate a body of voluntary commitments by nonparties to the Treaty to abide by specific prohibitions under the Treaty, setting these forth in declarations of national policy.

We must remember that the TPNW did not arise in isolation from the NPT. Against the backdrop of a lack of progress in nuclear arms reduction, ongoing modernization of nuclear arsenals and critical proliferation challenges, now is the time to seek synergies between strengthening the foundations of the NPT and the prohibition norm clearly enunciated by the TPNW.

In this regard, I earnestly hope that Japan will take the lead in enhancing conditions for progress in nuclear disarmament toward the 2020 NPT Review Conference. Japan should use the opportunity of May’s High-Level Conference to stand at the forefront of nuclear-dependent states in declaring its readiness to consider becoming a party to the TPNW. Having experienced the full horror of nuclear weapons, Japan cannot turn away from its moral responsibility.

Another proposal I would like to make with regard to the TPNW is to mobilize the growing solidarity of civil society toward the universalization of the Treaty.

The SGI will, this year, launch the second People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition, featuring an increased focus on peace and disarmament education in support of the Treaty and promoting the concrete processes that will advance the cause of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

I think it is important that the global scale of support for the Treaty be made continuously visible. Efforts should be made to build an ever-broader constituency in favor of the Treaty and to encourage states not yet parties to the Treaty to attend the meetings of the states parties and review conferences in an observer capacity.

Human Rights

The second thematic area I would like to address is human rights. First, I would like to call for the improvement of conditions for refugee and migrant children. Currently, work is underway at the UN toward the adoption of two agreements—a global compact for migration and one for refugees. I would like to urge that human rights be identified as the thread that connects each of the individual elements in these compacts, and that the international community make the securing of educational opportunities for refugee and migrant children a priority objective and shared commitment.

I would also like to address the human rights of the elderly. It has been acknowledged that the enjoyment of all human rights diminishes with age, owing to negative images of the elderly as a burden to the economy and to younger generations. Such structural discrimination and prejudice can lead to the social exclusion of older persons and must be combated.

I strongly hope there will be an early start to negotiations on a convention on the rights of older persons. I would also like to propose that a third World Assembly on Ageing be held in Japan, where the aging of the population is more advanced than anywhere else in the world.

The Sustainable Development Goals

The third area I would like to address is how to catalyze momentum toward meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Combating climate change is a thorny challenge; however, I take hope in the ambitious initiatives being undertaken by and among local governments. Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry has taken the lead in establishing partnerships on climate action among municipalities within the European Union, an example of efforts to share best practices and lessons learned.

There is an urgent need to devise similar cooperative frameworks within the Northeast Asia region. To that end, I propose the establishment of a local government network for climate action between Japan and China, and I encourage municipalities in both countries to participate in the UN-led Climate Neutral Now initiative launched in 2015. The further fostering of cooperative action among local authorities in the two countries could create the foundation on which a broader regional framework can be built.

Finally, I would like to take up the question of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as it relates to the SDGs. This should not be regarded as just one of the seventeen SDGs, but rather should be recognized as key to accelerating progress toward the achievement of the entire spectrum of goals.

I would like to propose that the UN proclaim an international decade for women’s empowerment from 2020 to 2030. Women’s empowerment cannot be an optional agenda: It is an urgent priority for many people in dire situations.

It is the pledge of the SGI to continue striving to create a groundswell of people’s solidarity with which to surmount the challenges facing humanity, grounded in efforts to safeguard the life and dignity of each individual.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)
TOWARD A NEW ERA OF PEACE AND DISARMAMENT : A PEOPLE-CENTERED APPROACH

The synopsis of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2019 peace proposal, “Toward a New Era of Peace and Disarmament: A People-Centered Approach.”

[© Getty Images]

Last May, UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched the UN Disarmament Agenda in which he noted that total military spending was around eighty times the amount required to meet the humanitarian aid needs of the whole world. Now is the time to accelerate momentum toward disarmament. To this end, I propose three key themes that could support the effort to advance disarmament as a cornerstone of the twenty-first century.

The first is the need for a shared vision of what constitutes a peaceful society. I believe the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is a forerunner of the kind of international disarmament law that can help frame such a vision, as it is a form of international law that goes beyond the traditional confines of disarmament treaties to attend to a wide range of essential human concerns. The next theme is the need to work together to foster “people-centered multilateralism.” This is an approach focused on protecting those who face the most serious threats and challenges.

Compared to questions of national security, the response to threats to the lives and livelihoods of individuals often lack urgency. Lack of basic security impacts not only those suffering from poverty or inequality but also the many people driven from their homes and forced to seek refuge from armed conflict or disaster. In this sense, the foundation for people-centered multilateralism must be the effort to build a world in which all people can enjoy a feeling of meaningful security and can together foster hope for the future.

The third theme is the mainstreaming of youth participation. As we survey the tasks that lie ahead, it is clear that nothing is more indispensable to arousing and sustaining global public interest and support than the powerful engagement of youth.

Friends of the TPNW

I would also like to offer five proposals comprising concrete steps to help resolve urgent problems concerning peace and disarmament and boost efforts to achieve the SDGs.

The first pertains to the early entry into force and expansion of the number of countries participating in the TPNW. I would like to propose the creation of a group of like-minded states to deepen and extend the debate that has developed during the process leading up to the adoption of the TPNW, with an eye toward promoting ratification. It could be called Friends of the TPNW, modeled after Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), a group that has worked for the entry into force of the CTBT, and could serve as a forum for sustained dialogue across differences of stance on the TPNW.

The TPNW requires that the first meeting of states parties be convened within one year of its entry into force. Friends of the TPNW should be launched prior to this meeting because establishing a place of dialogue open to all states in advance would make a significant contribution to resolving differences over the Treaty. Since Japan has declared its desire to serve as a bridge between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states, it makes sense that it should take the initiative in creating a venue for such dialogue.

A Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly

My second proposal relates to measures to advance nuclear disarmament. The year 2020 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). I would like to suggest that the final document of the 2020 NPT Review Conference include a recommendation to establish a UN open working group to discuss concrete steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines, making clear the directional shift toward nuclear disarmament. I urge all nuclear-weapon states to prioritize steps to lessen the role of nuclear weapons in their security arrangements.

One measure would be the removal of nuclear warheads from high-alert status, which could be implemented almost immediately.

I would like to propose that a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament be held in 2021 as a follow-up to the 2020 NPT Review Conference. It should reconfirm the significance of multilateral disarmament negotiations and set the basic goals of major reductions in nuclear arsenals and a freeze on their modernization.

A Ban on Lethal Autonomous Weapons

My third proposal is to establish a legally binding instrument that prohibits all lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS).

There is growing international concern that deployment of LAWS would radically transform the global security environment. One of the threats they pose is that they make it possible to wage combat without direct human intervention. This lowers the threshold for military action, risking a dramatic undermining of international humanitarian law.

I strongly urge all parties—those states already calling for a ban on LAWS, countries such as Japan that have declared their intention not to develop such weapons and NGOs committed to the Stop Killer Robots campaign—to come together to work for the early adoption of a legally binding instrument comprehensively prohibiting the development and use of these systems.

Strengthening UN Initiatives on Water Resources Management

As my fourth proposal, I would like to offer some thoughts regarding the UN’s water-related SDGs, which call for achieving “universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.” It is estimated that around 2.1 billion people lack access to clean and safe water, and roughly 40 percent of people worldwide are affected by water scarcity.

In response, the UN General Assembly has launched the Water Action Decade. I would like to suggest the creation of the post of special representative for water resources within the UN to coordinate global efforts to ensure access to safe water—a key goal of the SDGs and the basis for protecting the life, livelihood and dignity of all. The representative would work together with the agencies coordinated by UN-Water to encourage member states to build partnerships for technology transfer through, for example, the sharing of best practices.

In addition, I urge Japan and other nations with abundant know-how and advanced technologies regarding water reuse and desalination to proactively contribute solutions. I would like to see Japan apply its experience to the resolution of water-related problems in Northeast Asia. Also, I hope that China, Japan and South Korea will work together to offer support to countries in the Middle East and Africa where there is growing demand for water reuse and desalination.

Universities: Central Hubs for Promoting the SDGs

My fifth proposal is to strengthen momentum toward making the world’s universities hubs for the realization of the SDGs. Launched nine years ago, the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) initiative currently links more than 1,300 institutions in approximately 140 countries. In October last year, UNAI announced that it had selected seventeen universities and designated them as SDG Hubs modeling innovative engagement related to each of the global goals. I would like to call for the expansion of the network of universities committed to supporting the SDGs.

One vehicle for realizing this might be for universities around the world, starting with the members of UNAI, to select the SDGs that are the particular focus of their efforts and actively work for their achievement. Aiming to promote cooperation among institutions that are working on the same goals and to broaden solidarity among students across the globe, I propose the holding of a world conference of universities in support of the SDGs sometime next year, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of the UN.

Based on unwavering confidence in the limitless power of education and through our passionate commitment to the empowerment of youth, the SGI will strive to build a sustainable and peaceful global society where all can manifest their inherent dignity.


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Unduh Proposal (Inggris)