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Climate and Nuclear Weapons Are the Focus of Buddhist Leader's Peace Proposals

By Taro Ichikawa

Photo: A view of participants in the UN Youth Climate Summit on 21 September 2019. Credit: UN.

TOKYO (IDN) – Climate action and nuclear weapons abolition, with a focus on the individual lives and suffering often hidden behind macroeconomic indices, is the main theme of the 38th annual peace proposal by Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist network. [2020-01-27]

Titled 'Toward Our Shared Future: Constructing an Era of Human Solidarity', the proposals were released on January 26 marking the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the Soka Gakkai and the 45th anniversary of the founding of SGI.

Climate change, says Dr Ikeda, is “a fundamental challenge, on which the fate of humankind hinges”. It threatens to render meaningless global efforts toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Praising the energy of youth climate activists, he states, “When young people’s will to transform reality merges with an indomitable optimism, the possibilities are limitless.”

With this in view, the SGI president proposes that UN Youth Climate Summits be held every year on the way to 2030 and calls for a Security Council Resolution mainstreaming youth participation in climate-related decision-making.

In tune with his decades of action aimed at the abolition of nuclear weapons, Dr Ikeda calls for efforts to ensure that the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) – adopted by the UN General Assembly in July 2017 – obtains 50 ratifications and thus enters into force this year. 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The SGI president proposes holding a People’s Forum for a World Without Nuclear Weapons cantered on hibakusha and civil society in Hiroshima or Nagasaki to follow the treaty’s entry into force. He also calls for a five-year extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction (New START) Treaty between the U.S. and Russia as the first step toward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. The treaty expires on February 5, 2021.

Concerned about risks that cyberattacks or Artificial Intelligence (AI) could destabilize nuclear weapons systems, he urges that deliberations on a prohibition regime related to cyberattacks on nuclear systems, AI and other new technologies should begin at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference to be held from April 27 to May 22 at UN Headquarters in New York.

Dr Ikeda also highlights the plight of children and youth deprived of educational opportunities due to armed conflict or natural disasters, and calls for strengthening of the financial foundation of the UNICEF-hosted Education Cannot Wait global fund.

The SGI president concludes his pioneering proposals with a commitment to continued grassroots action, saying, “The SGI will further promote empowerment of, by and for the people, as we address the climate crisis and other challenges with an expanding movement of global solidarity.”

The Soka Gakkai International is a community-based Buddhist network promoting peace, culture and education with 12 million membersin 192 countries and territories. Every year since 1983, the SGI President has issued a peace proposal offering a Buddhist perspective and solutions to global problems on January 26, to commemorate the founding of the SGI. [IDN-InDepthNews – 27 January 2020]

Photo: A view of participants in the UN Youth Climate Summit on 21 September 2019. Credit: UN.

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