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Holding Outline:

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 religious leaders.

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.


Prospectus

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 spiritual honesty.


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.


Implementation:

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
General Secretary,
G8 Religious Leaders Summit 2008

URL: www.relnet.co.jp/g8
Email: g8relnet.co.jp (put @ for point)


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