Sustainable Development

Back to listJun 1, 2012

New Environment Proposal, Film on Amazon Center Released for Rio +20 Conference

SGI President Daisaku IkedaSGI President Daisaku Ikeda

In advance of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development opening in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 20, a new environment proposal by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, "For a Sustainable Global Society: Learning for Empowerment and Leadership," was issued on June 5, stressing that empowerment of individuals and communities is vital to achieving a sustainable global society.

A 10-minute film, "Nurturing Seeds of Hope in the Amazon: Environmental Education in Action," has also been created, illustrating the importance of education as a means of empowerment. Highlighting the work of the Amazon Ecological Conservation Center near Manaus, Brazil, founded by Mr. Ikeda in 1992, the film features school visits where children are directly introduced to the Amazon River and its ecology, Agenda 21 activities with local communities in Manaus City, and work with a local Kambeba indigenous community.

In the proposal, Mr. Ikeda states: "Sustainability must be understood as a challenge and undertaking requiring the commitment of all individuals …constructing a society that accords highest priority to the dignity of life."

He was a strong advocate of establishing the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) which ends in 2014, and now calls for a successor framework, an educational program for a sustainable global society to start in 2015, focused on fostering agents of positive change.

SGI President Daisaku IkedaCover of "Nurturing Seeds of Hope in the Amazon" DVD

Mr. Ikeda also puts forward ideas for far-reaching institutional reform of the United Nations agencies responsible for development and environmental protection. He suggests the consolidation of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and related agencies to create one integrated "global organization for sustainable development."

He proposes a more substantial collaborative relationship with civil society and a "committee of the future generations" as a forum through which youth representatives could advise the new organization on its annual plans and policies.

Mr. Ikeda also stresses the need for a set of sustainable development goals, with a focus on the local community as a site of both lifelong learning and action.

At the Rio+20 Conference, an interdisciplinary roundtable discussion on the role of education and learning toward a sustainable future will be held in Room T-10 at Riocentro from 19:00 on June 20. The event, cosponsored by SGI, the Centre for Environment Education, the CSD Education Caucus, Human Rights Education Associates and Inter Press Service, will bring together specialists on education in the fields of sustainability, peace and disarmament and human rights.

The exhibition "Seeds of Hope: Visions of sustainability, steps toward change," co-organized by SGI, the Earth Charter International and the City of Rio de Janeiro, will also be shown in English and Portuguese at the Planetarium of Rio de Janeiro from June 16 to July 15.

[Report and photo courtesy SGI Office of Public Information]