Fostering a Sustainable World with Conscience
The Second World Sustainable Development Forum took place on March 5-7, 2020 in Durango, Mexico. The event was attended by former heads of state and government, leaders from government at all levels, experts, scholars, business leaders, activists, and environmentally concerned youth. Members of the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL) also attended the event to advocate the importance of conscience in implementing the Paris Agreement and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Forum aimed to raise people’s awareness about the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the SDGs and mobilize global climate action. The most important issues of this year’s event were “action to limit warming below 1.5°C” as well as infrastructure investment and lifestyles that are in line with the Paris Agreement.
The event included keynote addresses, panel discussions, and special sessions on topics like risks associated with 1.5°C to 2°C, sea level rise, carbon footprint reduction, renewables versus fossil fuels, values and lifestyles for sustainability, visionary leadership at national, sub-national and local government levels, and youth for climate action.
FOWPAL members emphasized the importance of conscience in the attainment of global sustainability and shared with other participants a new United Nations Day--the International Day of Conscience, as the United Nations declared April 5 the International Day of Conscience in July 2019. FOWPAL members invited people to endorse the Declaration of International Day of Conscience and encouraged them to celebrate the first-ever International Day of Conscience on April 5, 2020.
FOWPAL members also shared with distinguished guests important messages about sustainable development from Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, President of FOWPAL. Dr. Hong stressed that “We encourage everyone to take a moment of peace to self-reflect, activate the conscience within, and change the world with conscience! We sincerely urge everyone to jointly promote the International Day of Conscience from today onwards and follow his/her conscience to treat the environment and one another with kindness. By doing so, we hope the outbreak can be contained soon and natural and man-made disasters can be greatly mitigated.”
In support of the United Nations’ adoption of the International Day of Conscience, FOWPAL specially designed a compass clock of conscience, which represents time, direction, and goal. It symbolizes that conscience is the guide that leads us toward the right path of life and reminds us to seize every moment to practice kindness in order to create peace and happiness. H.E. Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, former President of Mauritius, was presented with a compass clock of conscience, and on behalf of Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, President of FOWPAL, Her Excellency presented the clock to several influential leaders, including Ms. Izarelly Rosillo Pantoja, International Environmental Consultant at ENLAW Consulting; H.E. Ms. Rosalía Arteaga, former Constitutional President of Ecuador; Dr. José Rosas Aispuro Torres, Governor of Durango, Mexico; Dr. Erik Solheim, former Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme; H.E. Mr. Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile; H.E. Dr. Danilo Türk, former President of Slovenia; Ms. Camila González Colistro, youth leader from Fridays for Future Movement; Ms. Lauren Sandberg, Co-Founder of Eco Eaters; Ms. Marisa Lopez, President of Amplify; Ms. Chloé Moingeon, leader of POP Movement in France; and Ms. Jamilla Sealy, Regional Chair of Caribbean Youth Environment Network.
When asked his thoughts about the International Day of Conscience, Dr. José Rosas Aispuro Torres, Governor of Durango, said that he was very happy to receive the invitation to participate in the event in the month of April, the objective of which is to foster peace, because it is a movement that is really for the enhancement of the sustainable development of the planet. He expressed his gratitude for the invitation and said that “I am at your service.”
Dr. Ash Pachauri, POP Senior Mentor, emphasized the importance of love, care, respect, and sharing. He said, “The universe is my family. The inhabitants of this planet are my family.” When asked his views on the International Day of Conscience, he said, “This is what we need, and if we can start to get down to the basics, it’s not that hard. We can start to get more connected with consciousness. That is when we are going to be able to make this change that we are looking to make.” He also stressed the significance of cooperation among people and organizations by saying, “We need to come together. We are one.” Eager to promote the International Day of Conscience, he said, “I’ll make sure that I spread the message.” “I invite everybody to be part of this.”
In an interview, H.E. Dr. Danilo Türk, former president of Slovenia, stated, “I see that young people have already internalized into their conscience the care for their environment.” He expressed his optimism about today’s youth: “Young people are much better prepared for changes that are necessary now, using less energy, spending more time on developing your own spiritual quality, and working with others in a peaceful manner.” He also urged people to behave responsibly toward their environment, and environmental protection can start with small things, such as handling garbage responsibly. He also encouraged young people to pressure policy-makers to make positive changes to save the environment.
Dr. Erik Solheim, former Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme, who has spent most of his time on the issues of the environment, development, and peacemaking, shared, “I think all passions for the environment come from the love of nature.” He also mentioned, “There’s such an enormous beauty in Mother Earth. Our passion to protect that and make sure the next generation can experience it the same way as we do, that’s the heart of environmental involvement.”
With regard to the International Day of Conscience, he said that “Conscience is absolutely critical to all we want to do and want to achieve.”
Beginning in August 2019, each month FOWPAL is engaged in various events to promote the International Day of Conscience. FOWPAL hopes that more people, organizations, and governments will observe this UN day on April 5, 2020 and take conscience-guided actions to make the world more sustainable.