Wishing all a Peaceful New Year 2023 from Peace Boat
Wishing you all the best for a peaceful 2023 - a year which will mark the 40th anniversary of Peace Boat! We would like to thank you all for your support, which has made it possible for us to continue our voyages for peace for such a long time. This encouragement from friends and partners around the world during the global pandemic has especially meant so much to us.
Last year, we were shocked and saddened by the military invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Peace Boat has a long history of friendship with the people of Ukraine, chartering Olivia in the 1990s and sailing for three years under the care of Captain Viktor Alymov and other Ukrainian crew members, visiting the port city of Odessa on our voyages and hosting dialogue events for local peacebuilders and mediators from the region onboard our ship. With these deep ties to Ukraine, we have been fundraising since the beginning of the invasion and working with the Peace Boat Disaster Relief Centre (PBV) to provide assistance to people displaced by the war through our connections with the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). We thank you again for your donations and support for these activities. The war in Ukraine continues to claim the lives of many and at the same time, we have seen a very dangerous increase in military spending and militarisation in Japan creating further instability.
Peace Boat has been sharing the concerns of Hibakusha from Hiroshima and Nagasaki who speak out against threats to use nuclear weapons and warn of the potential catastrophic consequences. Against the backdrop of this increased nuclear threat, the first Meeting of States Parties (MSP) to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) took place in Vienna, Austria in June 2022. Peace Boat joined with other Japanese civil society organizations to submit recommendations to the MSP and spoke about the importance of assistance for victims and survivors of nuclear weapons. As an International Steering Group member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Peace Boat took an active role in the Nuclear Ban Forum held just prior to the MSP, in particular sharing the voices of survivors of nuclear weapons, as well as a series of events in Japan and online. Our work for nuclear abolition continued throughout the year with activities to commemorate the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August and the ICAN Academy in collaboration with Hiroshima Prefecture in October.
In 2022, we were honoured to announce Peace Boat’s Founder and Director, Yoshioka Tatsuya’s position as Chair of the Board of GPPAC. In September, Peace Boat, in its capacity as Northeast Asia Secretariat of GPPAC, co-convened the eighth meeting of the Ulaanbaatar Process in Mongolia. The meeting brought together 25 participants with diverse civil society backgrounds to exchange information, opinions, and experience to shape a peaceful future for Northeast Asia. It was the first in-person meeting to take place since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and reconfirmed the vital importance of safe and inclusive spaces to meet face-to-face.
We continued our work for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the second UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon and the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt with various side events focusing on youth engagement with partners including young leaders from Small Island Developing States on the frontline of the climate crisis. We formed a partnership to hold a programme onboard our ship in 2023 during the Egyptian COP Presidency for youth from across Africa.
We look forward to 2023 as an opportunity to reflect on the last 40 years and renew our commitment to working for a peaceful and sustainable future. As our global voyages resume in April with the 114th Global Voyage, we look forward to meeting our dear friends and partners around the world in person again. We wish you all a peaceful 2023!