Aiming to forge global solidarity for sustainability

Aiming to forge global solidarity for sustainability

As the world moves towards a post-pandemic era, 'Bharat Soka Gakkai', the Indian arm of 'Soka Gakkai International', organised a peace and sustainability conclave on October 29 to discover a path to revive humanity.

The conclave was based on 'Soka Gakkai International' (SGI) President Daisaku Ikeda's proposals to the United Nations (UN), which emphasise the need to forge global solidarity for sustainability.

Ikeda submits a peace proposal to the UN every year, but this year's proposal has acquired greater urgency because the pandemic has set back the UN's 'Sustainable Development Goals' target for 2030.

"While it is undeniable that the pandemic represents an unprecedented threat when we consider the events and trends that mark historical periods, it's equally clear that we can't allow this story to be one only of devastating loss undergone and endured. I say this because I firmly believe that the key factor determining the direction of history will prove to be us, humans, ourselves and not a virus," he said.

In his proposals for sustainability, Ikeda shared three goals to promote sustainable development: to learn and deepen awareness of environmental issues and realities; to reflect on our modes of living and renew them towards sustainability and to empower people to face concrete issues that we face.

Two separate panel discussions were held to discuss action plans to achieve these goals. The first discussion focused on Ikeda's 'Peace Proposal' (2022) to the UN, titled 'Transforming Human History: The Light of Peace and Dignity'. The discussion revolved around two of Ikeda's proposals to the UN on sustainable development, namely, 'The Challenge of Global Empowerment: Education for a Sustainable Future' (July 2002) and 'For a Sustainable Global Society: Learning for Empowerment and Leadership' (2012).

"I have always been drawn to ideas that address our interconnectedness with the earth. I believe that every individual can contribute to building a sustainable planet and so at home, I don't use single-use plastics at all," said Dia Mirza, actor and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador.

She added, "My concern for the environment grew more urgent when, as an expectant mother, I learned that plastic particles have been detected in the placentas and bloodstream of babies. The pandemic also gave us a glimpse of what our future may become if we don't repair our relationship with nature. So, for me, sustainable development goals are not ideas that only governments can implement, though they should."

To encourage each one to work towards sustainability, the 'Bharat Soka Gakkai' launched a unique SDG mobile app - a one-stop platform on SDG - at the conclave. The app will enable people to measure their contribution towards achieving the goals.

"Peace and sustainability can only be achieved when we are all 'one with nature and one another.' 'Bharat Soka Gakkai' has been doing exactly that since its inception by promoting peace and equality. BSG's 'Peace and Sustainability Conclave' is another step in that direction," said Amit Sachdeva, philanthropist and social entrepreneur.

Vishesh Gupta, Chairperson, 'Bharat Soka Gakkai', said, "On the 75th anniversary of India's independence, it's essential that each one of us works collectively to build a peaceful and sustainable India. To this end, BSG is committed to empowering many individuals, especially the youth, to adopt sustainable human behaviour as a way of life, which will help create a new India by 2030."

Ikeda believed that the pandemic had brought home the fact that global problems are deeply and mutually connected and challenges in distant places will quickly find their way to local communities.

"The grief of suddenly losing family members or being shut out from the things that give meaning to life is the same in any country. The most crucial thing then is to forge bonds of solidarity from the realisation of connectedness that has come to us deeply and intensely during this unprecedented crisis and make these the basis for shared efforts to find a way out of the storm," he shared.

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