Jeff Sachs Brings the SDGs to the Vatican

Discussion on SDGs: Climate Change and New Evidence from Science, Engineering, and Policy

SDG Advocate Jeffrey Sachs, Pope Francis, finance ministers from various countries, and the President of the UN General Assembly (PGA) all came together at the Vatican this week for a discussion on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Over the years, the Academy has hosted global leaders of climate science, energy industries, and public policies to identify effective pathways to climate safety.

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“We live in a time when profits and losses seem to be more highly valued than lives and death, and when a company’s net worth is given precedence over the infinite worth of our human family.”

- His Holiness Pope Francis

The discussion included updates on global climate change risks, national low-emission strategies, decarbonization pathways, and steps forward for increasing ambition leading up to the Santiago Climate Change Conference (COP25) in December. Pope Francis has been a global leader calling for climate action, with the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, recognizing the “urgent challenge to protect our common home.” The United Nations, represented at the Vatican by PGA María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, also considers the issue of climate change a major global emergency. SDG Advocate Jeffrey Sachs was a key driver of the success of this meeting, echoing the Pope’s sentiments of increased ambition and commitment to climate change solutions and the SDGs.

Jeff Sachs (left) and Pope Francis (center) and PGA (right) at the Vatican to discuss SDGs.

Jeff Sachs (left) and Pope Francis (center) and PGA (right) at the Vatican to discuss SDGs.

Jeff is an SDG Advocate and thought leader in sustainable economics.

Jeff is an SDG Advocate and thought leader in sustainable economics.

“Today’s global interdependence obliges us to think in terms of one world with a common plan.”

- His Holiness Pope Francis

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The Pope called on the finance ministers present to commit several specific goals:

  • To value what is important, not what is superfluous;

  • To correct national accounts and business accounts, so as to stop engaging in activities that destroy the planet;

  • To put an end to global dependency on fossil fuels;

  • To open a new chapter of clean and safe energy, that utilizes renewable resources such as wind, sun, and water;

  • To act prudently and responsibly in our economies to actually meet human needs, promote human dignity, help the poor and be set free of the idolatry of money that creates so much suffering.

To conclude the meeting, Pope Francis told the finance ministers: “Time is of the essence. We await your decisive action for the sake of all humanity.”

Photo credit to Gabriella Marino and Lorenzo Rumori.