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Sustainable Development

Back to listMay 11, 2007

SGI Participates in UN Commission on Sustainable Development

The 15th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-15) [http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/aboutCsd.htm] was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from April 30 to May 11, 2007. CSD brings together civil society as well as governments to encourage progress and cooperation in meeting sustainable development policy commitments. From SGI, Hiro Sakurai, Esther Castain and Mitsuko Matsumoto participated.

Ms. Castain took part in the activities of the CSD Education Caucus, which represents a broad array of efforts at the local through international levels to engage the learning individual, the learning organization and the learning society in sustainable development. In networking with other NGOs and introducing SGI's support of grassroots education for sustainable development, Ms. Castain received positive feedback on SGI-produced education tools such as the "Seeds of Change" exhibition. Her article "Education: Key to a Climate of Genuine Cooperation and Solidarity" appeared in the May 10 issue of Outreach Issues, a daily briefing newsletter circulated to CSD participants. [http://sdissues.net/SDIN/documents/OI-CSD15-9.pdf]

As a related event, a roundtable discussion was held on May 7 with the theme "Advancing and Implementing Global Diversity Policies: Engaging Civil Society," sponsored jointly by the UN CSD Education Caucus, the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN and the Values Caucus at the UN. The event was chaired by Hiro Sakurai of the SGI UN Liaison Office in New York and then president of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN.

Speakers included Pamela Puntenney, Co-Chair of the UN CSD Education Caucus, Bernard Combes, Information Officer, Education for Sustainable Development, UNESCO, and James Sniffen, Information Officer, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Their presentations and the interactions that followed highlighted various programmatic approaches to reflect the diversity and wisdom of social and cultural networks, including religions, on environmental concerns.

Some 30 educators and representatives from UN agencies and religious NGOs participated in the discussion. As chair, Mr. Sakurai stressed the importance of dialogue among civilizations in taking up humanity's challenge to create a sustainable future for all.

[Adapted from a report from SGI representatives Esther Castain and Hiro Sakurai. Also reported in the July 3, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan.]