G20 Interfaith Forum 2019 Kyoto - Kyoto Declaration
We leaders of religions of the world, representatives of international faith based organizations, and religions scholars, have gathered at the World Heritage city of Kyoto from June 11th to 12th for the G20 Interfaith Forum 2019 to address crucial issues facing modern society. Although there are many differences in our religious and cultural backgrounds, we issue this joint “Kyoto Declaration”.
Just two weeks after the conclusion of this Interfaith Forum, the G20 Summit will be held in Osaka, where major countries in the world will present their different political and economic points of view. In order to enrich the policy determinations of the G20 Summit, which may otherwise be dominated by the perspective of economic theories that focus on maximizing profits, we religious leaders, beginning from the perspective of respecting all sentient beings, have discussed eight crucial themes from this latter, religious perspective and we wish to bring the substance of our deliberations to the attention of the world leaders participating in the G20 Osaka Summit.
- Global Compact. There should be a “Global Compact” applied to all policy decisions about crucial issues facing humanity which brings in the religious perspective of not only seeking profits, but seeking the welfare of all humans.
- Global Warming. It has been twenty-two years since the "Kyoto Protocol" was established, and yet global warming has been getting worse. Kyoto is an ideal place to again address this issue because the Kyoto municipality is now dedicated to helping hold the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees centigrade while the “Paris Agreement” allows for a 2 degrees centigrade rise. Speaking from Kyoto and from Kyoto City’s example, we submit that carbon pricing should be applied on a global scale.
- AI’s Threats and Human Responsibilities. Now that AI has surpassed certain human learning capacities, we religious leaders call for increased diligence in government oversight of the potential negative effects of the use of AI by centralized governments and private corporations in managing private information. We also want to call attention to the inherent dangers of developing autonomous robotic weapons.
- Resilient Society. Enhancing community resilience is important and integral to accomplishing SDGs as an ultimate goal for all humans. To achieve this goal, the increased participation of religious leaders in developing social capital as well as in the implementation of infrastructure is desirable and necessary.
- Life Science and Religion. While the rapid development of the life sciences has given great hope to many, new developments such as the genetic selection or altering of life are concerning. We want to warn against treating life as something disposable or as a mere possession.
- Living with Oppressed People. We should not forget or disregard people who are oppressed politically, ethnically or religiously. We religious leaders are committed to establishing a social structure for living together peacefully which goes beyond political, ethnic and religious differences and is based on the spirit of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
- Low Birthrate and Aging Society. To solve the common social issues of low birthrates and aging societies in developed countries, we need to create an environment in which children are safe to grow, child rearing and elders are appreciated, and where the various generations respect each other.
- Disparate Society and Poverty. Regarding problematic social structures which cause social economic inequality and poverty, we urge the importance of creating cooperation and mutual support as common social values. As religious leaders we need to promote empowerment through education, social inclusion and social solidarity for all sectors of society.
These eight areas of concern are shared among all human beings. We sincerely hope that the leaders of the major countries of the world who gather at the G20 Summit will use their influence appropriately, not only in the interest of their own country but also, taking a global perspective, to build a better world for the benefit of all its seven billion human inhabitants and for the wider prosperity of all living things.
We also want to issue a warning that the development of nuclear weapons as an “ultimate option”, as well as the deployment of ballistic missiles, is a major threat to regional security, especially in East Asia, despite nuclear disarmament efforts such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty. At the G20 Summit which will be held in Japan, the only nation in the world to be bombed with atomic weapons, we strongly urge the assembled world leaders to clearly state the ultimate goal of abolishing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Today, because of concerns about the negative effects of globalization, there is a tendency to promote “my country first”. This tendency, which can now be observed in many countries, will inevitably lead to confrontation and conflict between nations. We hope that the G20 leaders will take a stand for tolerance and mutual respect, not running toward unilateralism, but taking the path of cooperation.
Lastly, although the respect for basic human rights is a norm set out in the UN Charter, it is sad to know that human rights are still being violated in many countries. We hope that the G20 countries will take a leadership role and become models of protecting and respecting fundamental human rights.
June 12th, 2019
From all religious leaders and associated actors who gathered in Kyoto for the G20 Interfaith Forum 2019.