Transforming our World through a Culture of Conscience
Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice President of the Association of World Citizens,
NGO in consultative status with ECOSOC and associated with the UN DPI
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, and good friends, Good afternoon!
Welcome to this significant conference. Everyone here is a key person that will help transform our world; our voices need to be heard. Today for the common good, we are gathered here to gather suggestions from all perspectives about “Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.”
As we hear many ideas about sustainable development, let’s reflect on the true objective of it. Sustainable development recognizes that while human beings pursue their development goals, natural resources and ecosystem need to be preserved; consequently, nature and humans can co-exist and flourish together, and human society can continue to prosper.
With wisdom, humans make good use of natural resources, experiencing unprecedented enjoyment and convenience. Nevertheless, the selfishness and greed in human nature leads to exploitation of natural resources and extreme imbalance, with the strong becoming even stronger and the weak becoming even weaker as well as the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer. This has posed a serious threat to humanity’s existence. Over time, tensions and conflicts between people, races, and nations have escalated, as well as unprecedented crises of global sustainability. A single thought or decision of a leader with power is a key factor determining whether the world moves toward peaceful coexistence and development or toward destruction. We must remember that all efforts in technology and economic development should eventually follow the laws of nature to advance human development while striking a balance between spirituality and technology as well as between yin and yang. That is the focus of sustainable development.
* HDI（Human Development Index）
* IHDI (Inequality adjusted HDI)
The expression “human development” can be defined as the expansion and enhancement of human capabilities, choices, freedom, as well as the implementation of human rights. From this definition, we can see clearly that economic well-being is absolutely not the only indicator of human development. In 2010, the United Nations Development Programme proposed the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), which takes into consideration disparities in wealth, education level, and life expectancy, replacing the original Human Development Index (HDI), which focused more on economic growth. The IHDI places more emphasis on social justice to reflect the reality of human development.
Culture of conscience nurtures love and peace
For the sustainable development of the Earth and humankind, we must ensure that universal values, such as peace, harmony, freedom, equality, and human rights, prevail across the planet to create a safe global village where all people enjoy equal wealth. Here, I would like to stress that “conscience” is essential to human development. Conscience is a moral judgement stemming from the depth of each person’s heart, guiding an individual’s conduct, thoughts, and feelings. Following our conscience, we seek the truth and the meaning of life and take actions for a higher cause.
Just as every piece of land is unique, irreplaceable, and mutually beneficial to others, each heart is unique, and there are aspects of a person’s heart that cannot be probed by knowledge or technology. In particular, the germination and growth of the seeds of kindness deep down inside serves as the driving force for the development of love and peace. We need more like-minded people to ignite and lead such a force. As long as we continue to inspire people to activate their conscience, kindness, intuitive ability, and good deeds, we can generate good interactions; sparking beneficial cycles among world citizens. Through sincere interactions, we can communicate heart to heart. With a culture of conscience, we can achieve peaceful and sustainable development worldwide.
Conscience is innate. Human civilization is the realization of conscience. A conscience-based culture embodies the true meaning of being human. At this critical moment, we stress that a culture of conscience is crucial for the continuation of human civilization. When people are willing to voluntarily place love, empathy, and mercy above their basic survival needs, to benefit others and coexist peacefully with others beyond for personal benefit, and to have compassion for fellow human beings, they will bring warmth and peace to the world. For leaders, implementing conscience-driven governance, taking conscientious actions, and fulfilling their responsibilities will allow humanity to complete historically significant missions of perpetuating culture from generation to generation, leaving precious cultural assets for future generations.
Mencius said, “The feeling of commiseration belongs to all men, so does that of shame and dislike.” Conscience transcends differences in gender, nationality, race, skin color, creed, and culture. Conscience unites all world citizens into one human race; like a compass, it guides us to become kind, wise, courageous, compassionate, and tolerant. It also guides us to move forward in an unknown realm to attain a world of ultimate truth, goodness, and beauty.
Global partnership: conscience-driven solidarity
Throughout history, in the process of practicing true freedom, real equality, and genuine human rights, the human race has set many inspiring paradigms. The courage and wisdom displayed by those who came before us is a precious cultural asset. Their embodiment of fairness and justice has given us the opportunity to advance our civilization. However, around the world, the imbalance between rights and duties has trapped humans in a vicious cycle of greed, power struggle, plunder, and hatred. The deteriorating environment poses even more threats to humanity’s existence. Now is the time for global citizens to unite and take actions!
Solidarity can allow us to overcome challenges together. Additionally, through sharing resources and mutually benefiting and helping one another, we can achieve and attain something that working alone cannot.
The revelation that all humanity shares a common destiny has led to the formation of global partnerships. A true partnership is a voluntary cooperative relationship, where people are willing to strive together for their collective goals, take on specific missions, and share the risks, responsibilities, resources, and benefits. Therefore, conscience-based solidarity is the key to strengthening global partnerships for the world’s sustainable development.
As a non-governmental organization dedicated to enhancing partnerships for global sustainability, FOWPAL strives to create platforms where active participants from around the world can share their concrete experiences of pursuing sustainability goals. We are all partners, learning from one another to create higher common values.
The world is no longer a zero-sum game, where there are winners and losers. Positive thinking generates positive energy that propels people forward. Embracing happiness and hope, rather than feeling trapped by worries allows people to bravely face imminent challenges and actively seek ways to solve problems. The possibilities are limitless when one employs positive thinking.
We hope the conscience in all world citizens will be awaken so that they will muster the courage to persist in doing good deeds, let go of prejudice and selfishness, work together with one another, think kind thoughts, and generate positive energy. Let conscience become deeply rooted in global partnerships. Let distrust be replaced by trust, exclusion be replaced by inclusion, the zero-sum game be replaced by win-win and multi-win plans. Let’s work together to make humanity’s collective prosperity greater than the sum of individual happiness and enable humanity and the Earth to enjoy a bright, hopeful, and sustainable future.
Thank you for your participation. Your sharing contributes greatly to the promotion of sustainable development for all humanity. Thank you all!
*Presented in the World Peace and Love Conference at the United Nations on April 5, 2018 in New York.