The Most Venerable Yukei Matsunaga
Honorary President, G8 Religious Leaders Summit 2008
President, Japanese Buddhist Federation Patriarch, Koyasan Shingon-shu

Religious leaders from around the world will gather in Japan for the G8 Religious Leaders Summit. The relationship between humanity and the earth will be discussed, as will measures for implementing solutions for the benefit of people in the 21st century.

As we harm our environment, as distrust and hate develops into war, caused often merely by ethnic or religious differences, people look to their religious leaders for effective solutions to the issues they face in their everyday lives.

From ancient times the Japanese people have believed in the existence of life in the mountains and rivers, trees and flowers, and have revered that life in their traditional culture, as a divine presence. Buddhism, which holds that the life of all creatures is of equal value and advocates coexistence with all life-forms, took root and spread throughout Japan many, many centuries ago.

I feel that in turning our minds to our religious traditions once again, we should be able to develop plans which surmount ethnic and religious differences and create an harmonious coexistence with all religious persuasions on earth. It is my fervent wish that the fruits of our discussions, that the decisions taken at our conference, are submitted to the G8 Summit and communicated worldwide.

The Most Venerable Juntoku Deguchi
President, G8 Religious Leaders Summit 2008
110th Chief Abbot, Washu Sohonzan Shitennoji Temple

@I would first like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of the leaders from throughout the world as well as Japan who have come to participate in this, the G8 Religious Leaders Summit 2008, as representatives of their respective faiths.

@The issues faced by humanity in the 21st century ? not only global warming, but also ethnic strife, the suppression of human rights, seemingly never-ending terror exchanges, poverty that robs people even of the minimum opportunities for making a living, rampant disease, the depletion of natural resources, widening economic disparities ? are all so serious that failure to take appropriate measures to resolve them will put our survival, and also that all other forms of life in peril.

@Our erstwhile political and economic institutions are no longer capable on their own of resolving these global issues. We are at a stage that calls for the pooling of all of the wisdom that humanity can muster. As such, it is the turn of religious faith, held dear in its many different guises throughout the world since ancient times, to come to the fore as the essence of wisdom.

@The political leaders of the world will gather in early July for the G8 Summit to be held at Toyako, Hokkaido. I sincerely hope that the fruits of the discussions conducted at this G8 Religious Leaders Summit conference, with its theme gLiving with the Earth: A Message from Religious Leadersh, will help those leaders to agree on a course of action that will benefit all humanity and Planet Earth.

HRH Samdech Norodom Sirivudh,
Supreme Privy Counselor to HM King of Cambodia
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia

Leaders of the G8 Summit,
First of all, I wish to cordially congratulate the Government and People of Japan for hosting this yearfs G8 Summit in Japan at the time when the world is confronting with a wide range of global challenges: global warming, climate change, environmental degradation, natural disasters, poverty, pandemic diseases, and food and energy security, among others.
However, what is crucially important is the fact that the G8 Summit Leaders should kindly listen to the spiritual voices and consider the messages and recommendations of the G8 Religious Summit Leaders, as they meet this month in Japan. Given their moral strengths and spiritual influences in their respective countries and regions as well as in the international society, the spiritual and moral views of the G8 Religious Summit Leaders are an important part of the global public opinion, which needs to be reflected upon in the context of addressing the increasingly complex and interdependent global issues and challenges. I believe that the G8 Religious Summit Leaders have a vital role to play and contribute to the betterment of the world. We are today living in a shared and inseparable world of humanity.
Therefore, I hope that the G8 Summit Leaders will pay close attention to some of the following issues that the G8 Religious Summit Leaders will deliberate on and recommend to the G8 Summit Leaders:

E How to effectively tackle global warming, climate change and environmental degradation?
E What can the G8 countries and the world do to cope with the rising prices of food and energy that affecting negatively many hundred of millions of peoples from around the world?
E How to continue addressing the issue of poverty and realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the pandemic diseases, within the timeframe?
E What measures that we can undertake to make the world a better planet for all?greater peace, security, development and more tolerance and greater respect for diversity and inter-faiths dialogue?
E What can we do?both collectively and individually?to address the deadly natural disasters?

In this regard, the whole world, especially the G8 Religious Summit has called upon the G8 Summit Leaders to use their knowledge, technology and resources to help address those serious and daunting challenges that have global and national repercussions.
The convening of the G8 Summit in Japan early next month provides an excellent opportunity for the Leaders of those industrialized countries to play a leadership role in the world during this time of turbulences by seeking to address those challenging issues at present and in the future.

Lord George Carey
Former Archbishop of Canterbury

My dear friends and colleagues,

@I am so sorry that I am unable to be with you but your hugely important gathering clashes with a fixed date in my diary that I was unable to cancel. However, I send you my warmest greetings through my very good friend, Mr. Handa.

@As I've traveled throughout the world as Archbishop of Canterbury and beyond, I've been struck by the commonness of our humanity and by all that brings us together as people. In a world of too many divisions, boundaries, and borders, we are united by love of our families and communities and earnest desire to leave our world better for our children.

@As the world's leaders gather in Japan for their annual summit, I hope and pray they will divine better ways of promoting peace, justice, and equity in a world torn by war, and challenged by plagues of violence, virulence, disease, and poverty. The world's religious leaders gathering before and during the G8 meeting stand in support of governments even as they work together to learn better ways of promoting inter-faith dialogue and of working together towards common goals of a world free of poverty and suffering.
In a world where environmental and security threats are omnipresent, let us take these moments to commit to working together to overcome fear and to work together to make the world a better and more just place for all.
With my warmest greetings and sincere good wishes

His Eminence Dr. Ali Gomaa
The Grand Mufti of Egypt

@The environmental crisis is a global problem that demands our attention. Leaders of faith-based communities have a special responsibility to educate their followers about the moral imperative to protect the environment of which we have been made stewards.

@The Almighty has bestowed upon us trust. The Islamic tradition teaches that God presented this responsibility to the earth and the skies, to the mountains and the seas, and it was only humanity that agreed to take it upon itself. It is our duty now to live up to this responsibility, a responsibility which is also an honor and a manifestation of the dignity of humankind. Only by working to make the world a safer, cleaner, and more prosperous habitat will be succeed in fulfilling this Divine mandate, From the Islamic perspective, one of the five goals of religion is to protect life in every form. The road ahead of us is long and hard and we must do everything in our capacity to carry out this work. Let us hope that this gathering and others like it will be a step towards achieving this goal.

@It is time that the leaders of the world religious traditions come together, not just to a dialogue to develop an international constitution of coexistence through which we can learn to live together peacefully in the world as practitioners and believers of different faiths. Not only by doing this can we curb extremist talk and actions. We must take a collective and unequivocal stance against terrorism and killing innocent civilians. We must speak out loud and clear against racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or any other form of discrimination.

@By starting here we will send a clear message to those who harbor evil tendencies that they must fight the demons inside themselves and use the moral strength of religion to help come out from the darkness and into the light, It will be a call for the world to come to peace, and a first step towards rights being returned to their proper owners, and for all human beings to respect each other as fellow human beings.
@Thank you.

Mary Robinson
President, Realizing Rights
President of the Republic of Ireland

@Human Rights Belongs at the Very Heart of your Deliberations.

@World religious leaders and G8 nation leaders meet in Japan at a momentous moment, marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These gatherings thus offer a unique chance to realize these rights and, by that means, our shared goals of peace and social justice.
@Our ideals for human rights, so often affirmed by world leaders, are noble. Sadly, however, they are far from reality for billions of the worldfs citizens. These face the insecurity and indignity of war, violence, and poverty, and even, in this prosperous 21st century, hunger, death from preventable disease, and threats to the natural world that nourishes us and affords us beauty and inspiration.

@Of all issues before you, I hope you will keep women constantly at the forefront, looking to each proposed measure through a lens that asks how it will improve the lives of the poorest women, far distant from the centers of power. You can act to make rights for young girls everywhere as natural as the rising and setting of the sun and truly improve their lives.

@And as you deliberate on the challenges of looming climate change, the rights of the poor to fairness, equity, and a chance at a life with dignity belong at the very center.

@ I believe deeply that the best times for human kind lie before us. You can advance this shared dream by realizing rights.