January 27, 2014
SGI President Calls for Regional Cooperation in Response to Natural Disasters, Youth Summit on Nuclear Weapons Abolition
In his annual peace proposal, "Value Creation for Global Change: Building Resilient and Sustainable Societies," released on January 26, 2014, Daisaku Ikeda calls for increased regional cooperation in response to extreme weather events and natural disasters. He also proposes a comprehensive program of global citizenship education and the holding of a youth summit on nuclear abolition in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2015.
Mr. Ikeda stresses the need to increase resilience so that societies and individuals are better equipped to withstand natural and climate change-related disasters. He proposes a focus on creating positive value and strengthening human solidarity as means of helping communities better withstand sudden shocks and dislocations.
He also proposes viewing disaster preparedness, disaster relief and post-disaster recovery as integrated processes. Further, he stresses that strengthening regional cooperation to address disasters can both enhance mutual understanding and redefine regional and national security from the present "zero-sum" approach. As a start, he suggests building on the existing ASEAN Regional Forum, which at present comprises the ASEAN nations plus Japan, China, South Korea and other countries, developing an Asia Recovery Resilience Agreement, expanding sister city agreements and holding a summit between Japan, China and South Korea toward cooperation on disaster response and environmental issues.
Mr. Ikeda believes education should be included in the proposed international framework of goals to follow the Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015. He suggests a focus on education for global citizenship with three broad aims: deepening understanding of the challenges facing humanity, exploring their causes and instilling confidence that they can be solved; monitoring signs of global phenomena at the local level and empowering people to respond to them; and fostering a spirit of coexistence with neighboring countries.
He urges focused action to rid the world of nuclear weapons and applauds the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons submitted to the UN General Assembly First Committee in October 2013. The Joint Statement, which warns of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any detonation of nuclear weapons, was endorsed by 125 countries, including Japan. Mr. Ikeda calls for a non-use agreement among the nuclear-weapon states as a key step toward abolition.
Mr. Ikeda reiterates his belief that 2015, the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, offers a vital opportunity for the holding of a nuclear abolition summit. Specifically, he proposes a youth summit to amplify the voices of young people determined to rid the world of these outdated and destabilizing weapons. He introduces results of a survey carried out in 2013 by youth members of the SGI in nine countries that showed 90% of young people consider nuclear weapons inhumane, while 80% want a treaty outlawing them.
A Forum for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda's Proposals to the UN, a book containing highlights of 30 years of Mr. Ikeda's peace proposals, was published by I.B. Tauris in January 2014, with a foreword by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN.
[Adapted from a press release of the Soka Gakkai International Office of Public Information dated January 27, 2014]