The Origin of the People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition

In his proposal for reform of the United Nations (UN) made in August 2006, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda put forward the idea of a “UN decade of action by the world’s people for nuclear abolition.”[1]  He stressed the importance of people in civil society becoming catalysts in the efforts toward a world free from nuclear weapons by collectively raising their voices to overcome the general lack of political momentum and direction.

 

In response to his call, Soka Gakkai International (SGI) launched the People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition as an international campaign on September 8, 2007. The launch of the Decade coincided with the 50th anniversary of the 1957 antinuclear declaration made by second president of the Soka Gakkai Josei Toda.

 

The aim of this campaign was, and continues to be, to increase the number of those in the world who reject these weapons, to expand the grassroots network of diverse groups and individuals around the world who share the common goal of eliminating nuclear weapons from this planet by collaborating with various international antinuclear movements, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). 

 

The collective efforts of these diverse organizations, including those of SGI, culminated in the adoption of a legally binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), by the UN, thanks to the coordinating efforts of ICAN.

 

The TPNW was adopted at the UN on July 7, 2017, and it opened for signature and ratification on September 20 that same year. The adoption of the TPNW, along with the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize 2017 to ICAN, means that the challenges facing nuclear weapons abolition has now entered a new phase.

The Second People’s Decade

In his 2018 proposal titled “Toward an Era of Human Rights: Building a People’s Movement”, Ikeda declared a “second People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition” following the first Decade launched in 2007 in order to support the current efforts to realize the early entry into force, and universalization of the TPNW.

The key now is to promote widespread awareness of the TPNW and its significance, and to build a truly solid and expansive base of support for the treaty and its objectives. It is critical therefore that ordinary citizens from around the world strengthen this grassroots momentum with united voices demanding the global abolition of nuclear weapons.

 

The second People’s Decade will have an increased focus on peace and disarmament education in order to both support efforts to universalize the TPNW as well as to effect the real-world transformations that universalization can enable. In concrete terms, this means channeling the voices of the world’s people to support the treaty and to promote processes that will advance the cause of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

 

SGI believes its global network, comprised of individuals of diverse backgrounds and talents, can help to connect people around the world toward this goal. It can also help to promote interactive forums in which people, youth in particular, can exchange views, share ideas and experiences, and inspire each another to work together.

 

 

About SGI

SGI is a community-based Buddhist organization with members in 192 countries and territories around the world. Based on the life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, SGI members aim to develop positive human potentialities for hope, courage and altruistic action.

 

SGI’s global movement to abolish nuclear weapons finds its impetus in the antinuclear declaration[2] of the second president of the Soka Gakkai, Josei Toda (1900-1958), which was made in 1957 at the height of the Cold War. Subsequently, under the leadership of current SGI President Daisaku Ikeda who has carried forward Josei Toda’s vision, SGI has promoted peace activities and grassroots educational campaigns that are underpinned by the Buddhist philosophy of respect for the dignity of life. As a civil society organization, SGI has maintained a deep interest and an active involvement in the negotiating process for the TPNW, which was adopted on July 7, 2017, and has been an international partner of ICAN since 2007.

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[1] Ikeda, D. 2006. “Fulfilling the Mission: Empowering the UN to Live Up to the World’s Expectations.” August 30, 2006. http://www.sgi.org/content/files/about-us/president-ikedas-proposals/UNproposal20060830.pdf

[2] Toda, J. 1957. “Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons”. September 8, 1957. http://www.peoplesdecade.org/about/declaration/

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