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World mayors enthused 
after meeting with pope

VATICAN (CNS): Many of the mayors who met on July 21 with Pope Francis at the Vatican stayed over for a second day of discussion, mainly focussed on developing a town-planning model that can simultaneously promote economic growth, equality and environmental protection.

Jeffrey Sachs, an economist from the United States of America (US) and head of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, told the mayors that Pope Francis’ call for integral human development is in line with the United Nations’ definition of sustainable development, which promotes “economic growth that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.”

The organiser of the gathering, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, head of the Vatican Academy for Sciences, told the Vatican Press Office, “In this fundamental moral context, cities and their mayors play a key role.”

The Vatican Information Service reported him as saying, “Currently, most of humanity is concentrated in formal and informal urban settlements and this trend is set to increase.”

He added, “Each of our cultural traditions also affirms the inherent dignity and the social responsibility of each individual in relation to the common good. They emphasise the importance of living together in the polis for the fulfilment of the social, cultural and religious identity of every human being and for the beauty, wonder and inherent goodness of the world, recognising it as a precious gift that supports life and is entrusted to our stewardship.”

He called it an urgent matter of everyday life and not a matter of preserving it as a museum piece, but of developing it according to its potential, following the very laws of nature.

He concluded that it is about respecting and developing our common home rather than devastating it. “It is a moral imperative,” he concluded.

Sachs said this approach embraces a triple bottom line, as economic, social and environmental development are on a par.

However, he added, “As Pope Francis constantly reminds us, that is not how the world works today.” 

The pope has said that financial profit seems to be the only goal and that, Sachs pointed out, it doesn’t work for human well-being.

The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, asked the mayors why people are still so committed to outdated models of economic growth when that model of development is slowly killing us.

He said he believes that creating a sustainable city means not only helping people out of poverty with jobs and affordable housing, but also reducing carbon emissions and other forms of pollution.

De Blasio pointed out that working for change will take courage and will be uncomfortable at times, but added, “By setting the high goal, we actually force ourselves day by day to take action related to it.”


All of the mayors from Europe, both north and south America, Asia and Africa, who spoke on July 22, mentioned the growing number of poor people in their cities and the increasing gap between their wealthiest and poorest residents, even in cities like Boston or Vancouver, which have thriving economies and low unemployment rates......

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