Soka Gakkai International

Hague Launch of Earth Charter Initiative

Hague, Netherlands (ots-PRNewswire) - June 29 saw the official launch of the "Earth Charter Initiative" at the Hague Peace Palace with the presentation of the Earth Charter to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, Co-Chair of the Earth Charter Commission, was also present, and commented that he sees the Earth Charter as being more significant than any of the documents he signed as president of the USSR. He called for "new approaches, new leadership and change which starts with all of us." Maurice Strong, Co-Chair and president of the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica, and Frederico Mayor, former Director- General of UNESCO and Earth Charter Commissioner, also welcomed the start of this new education and implementation phase of the Earth Charter campaign. The Earth Charter is a document that outlines the ethical values needed to guide humankind towards a sustainable future. Its principles cover environmental protection, human rights, poverty alleviation, gender equality and building a culture of peace. They call on people to respect Earth and all life, to care for the community of life in all its diversity, to strive to build free, just, participatory and peaceful societies and to secure Earth's abundance and beauty for future generations. The Charter grew out of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and has since been reviewed and debated by thousands of people all over the world. Its supporters hope that it will be adopted at the UN in 2002 on the 10th anniversary of the Earth Summit. Virginia Straus, speaking at the launch on behalf of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century, outlined the extensive consultations held on the Earth Charter within both organizations, which alone have involved over 5,000 people in 11 countries. She stressed that if the Earth Charter is to be a genuine "people's charter" there is a need for grassroots organizations such as SGI to promote it, as while its members are not environmental experts, they are "experts in living." SGI President Daisaku Ikeda echoed these words in a message sent to the meeting: "The path to a sustainable future will only be realized by pooling the creativity and wisdom of ordinary citizens throughout the world." He expressed his wish that, fifty years from now, every child in the world will be consciously bringing the Charter to life through their actions and attitudes. SGI Netherlands provided musicians who performed several songs, and a local indigenous people's group closed the day's events with a plea for the Earth's protection. Soka Gakkai International is a lay Buddhist movement with 12 million members living in over 163 countries and territories. Its activities to promote peace, culture and education are based on the longstanding traditions of Buddhist humanism. ots Original Text Service: Soka Gakkai International Internet: Contact: Joan Anderson of Soka Gakkai International +81-03-5360-9830, or fax, +81-03-5360-9885 Web site: Original-Content von: Soka Gakkai International, übermittelt durch news aktuell

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