The annual Group of 8 Summit will be held in Japan from
July 7 to 9, 2008. As with previous G8 summits, religious
leaders will be seizing the opportunity to consolidate
their various standpoints on global problems ? climate
warming, ethno-religious conflicts, economic inequality
? and submit their concerns and proposals to these
heads of the worldfs temporal powers.
The approach of religious leaders to the G8 Summit at
St. Petersburg started from the gathering of religious
leaders called in Moscow by the Russian Orthodox Church
in 2006. At the Heiligendamm Summit in June, 2007, 60
leaders of Buddhism, Christianity, Hindu, Islam, Judaism,
and Shinto gathered from all parts of the world in Cologne,
convened by the EKD (Evangelical Church in Germany).
The statement of the Cologne Religious Leaders Summit,
titled gJust Participationh, was handed through the German
Chancellorfs Office to the assembled heads of government.
The approach from religious to political leadership
that has now started in Japan is unstoppable. A similar
movement has already begun also in Canada, which will
host the next G8 Summit, in 2009. For the G8 Religious
Leaders Summit (RLS) 2008, our planning committee received
the request to hold this yearfs assembly in Japan from
the religious leaders who participated in the 2007 G8
Religious Leaders Summit in Germany, and from Canadian
The G8 RLS 2008 planning committee in Japan aims to
transmit widely to the general world public, through
the media, the opinions and resolutions of the religious
leaders - transcending whatever walls might be perceived
to exist between participating groups - to the heads
of the major powers that gather for the G8 Summit. The
website has already been established, in Japanese, English,
Italian, German and French.
We welcome all to become involved with the G8 Religious
Leaders Summit 2008, to be held in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan
from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th June, 2008. Religious
leaders from around the world will discuss global warming,
the fight against poverty, ethno-religious conflict,
family values, and the numerous other critical areas
of concern in todayfs world.
A special urgency can be felt in the lead-up to the
gathering of G8 leaders this year, as the threat of recession
menaces rich countries, hunger encroaches upon the majority
of the global poor, and resource shortages and environmental
volatility appear on the medium-term horizon.
It is clearer now than ever before that various crises
are converging, and that there is precious little time
remaining for us to address their complex interconnectedness.
As a fast-evolving global society, we require urgent
but considered action to search a way through the labyrinth
of our dangerous current predicament.
Perhaps there is serendipity in the venue of the G8
summit this year being Japan. The dharmic, pantheistic
and ancestor traditions of Eastern societies represent
an attitude to nature, and humankindfs place in it, that
differs markedly from that of the Abrahamic stream of
faith. A new openness to their influence may suggest
new paradigms for growth and development, new ways of
conceptualizing the public good and human flourishing
that will help interrogate the present economic model,
under which people and planet are so clearly threatened
with very grave destabilization in the near future.
Religious leaderships can rightly claim some progress
in interfaith dialogue and peacemaking, but our traditions
are so diverse that such endeavors have often run on
in parallel, indefinitely, without ever converging upon
those greater moral issues of the day which in the meantime
have arisen with frightening rapidity and magnitude upon
the world stage.
Collectively, leaders of the religious organs of world
society speak directly on behalf of a very large segment
of humanity, and indirectly for many more ? the so-called
esecularizedf. This fact is increasingly widely recognized,
as popular trust in elected representativesf declines.
Our voices, if raised with sufficient strength and sincerity,
can demand a break with ebusiness as usualf, and call
forth from our constituencies the power of faith to challenge
vested interests, in the name of a higher truth.
Let us meet in mindfulness of this historical moment,
and its call upon our utmost reserves of courage and
¡Organization and Operating Policy:
The Japanese host body has formed a Steering Committee
and a Secretariat with a view to securing the optimal
outcome for the G8 RLS 2008.
To consolidate religious leadersf opinion and communicate
their proposals to the heads of each G8 country effectively,
management will be based on the following operating policies:
Democratic management and decision-making that secures
transparency and opening to the public;
@Formulation of proposals, etc. in the various fields
of engagement in a manner that ensures the decision-making
process embraces differing standpoints;
@Cooperation and co-ordination with international organizations
as well as religious bodies to grapple with global problems;
Accountability of the organizers to all participating
parties ? religious bodies, individuals, contributors
and other supporters;
@Wide dissemination of information - through the Internet,
etc. ? and targeting of key secular bodies.
Regular meetings of the Planning Committee, Steering
Committee, Expert Committee, and Secretariat;
Contact and engagement with, and appeals to, relevant
Japanese government agencies (the Cabinet Office, Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry, and Ministry
of Environment, etc.) and Diet members regarding the
respective areas of concern (environment, etc.);
Submission of proposals from religious leaders to the
heads of states through the Japanese government prior
to the G8 summit;
Feedback regarding the progress of various proposals
of the G8 RLS 2008 to participating religious organizations.
Rt. Rev. Yoshinobu Miyake
G8 Religious Leaders Summit 2008
Email: g8relnet.co.jp (put @ for point)