But in October 2019, Sachs again spoke publicly of a goal to "reduce fertility rates."
"Educate girls, fertility rates come down, women enter the labor force. That's true across every country, every religion," Sachs told Reuters.
Nor has the economist distanced himself from his 2006 article in the Scientific American, "Lower Fertility: a Wise Investment," where he wrote: "Reducing fertility rates in the poorest countries would also be among the smartest investments that the rich countries could make today for their own future well-being."
CNA asked Sachs in February how his advocacy for reducing fertility rates and contraception squared with Pope Francis' sense of "integral human ecology," and whether he believed it was right for people in the developed world to advocate lifestyle choices to those in the developing world.
Sachs said that he strongly agreed with "Pope Francis's support for 'responsible parenthood' as also enunciated by Pope St. Paul VI. This idea means that families, that is mothers and fathers together, should take a rational decision on having children based on their circumstances with focus of securing their flourishing," he said.
"Access to abortion is a choice left to each nation. The Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 [a list of 17 global goals to be completed by 2030] do not mention abortion or promote abortion," Sachs told CNA.
In fact, Sustainable Development Goal 5.6 is: "Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences."
The UN describes its indicator for progress towards this goal as the "number of countries with laws and regulations that guarantee women aged 15-49 years access to sexual and reproductive health care, information and education."
Sachs serves as director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He told CNA that he "did not take notice" of the Holy See's decision not to participate in the Nairobi Summit sponsored by the UN Population Fund in November 2019.
Pope Francis' international economic summit, "The Economy of Francesco" -- named for the pope's patron, St. Francis of Assisi -- was originally planned to take place in Assisi in March. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the summit was postponed to Nov. 19-21 and then made into a virtual event.
The summit seeks to equip "change-makers" to explore alternatives to the current global economic system that would be more beneficial for the poor and the environment.
Sachs wrote a book in 2017, "Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable." U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wrote the foreword.
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Sachs told CNA earlier this year that he would use role as a mentor to "emphasize the great beauty and wisdom of the Church's social teachings, and of St. Francis' teachings and actions, in guiding us to the integral development we seek."
In a promotional video for the "Economy of Francesco," he said that the "work in Assisi will be world-changing" and would help to "create a new world economy that is fair, prosperous, and environmentally sustainable."
"We need change. Young people are striking for climate safety," Sachs said.
"It is a thrill to be a part of the change that is underway that is going to produce happiness throughout the world," he said.
The livestream of the Economy of Francesco event began with a live guitar performance by Nyado, billed as an "international impact entertainment collective," in which the young artists sang lines from a song by Danish singer-songwriter Tina Dico: "You've got no one to follow, and no one will follow you. Ain't that a relief?"
The Economy of Francesco is organized by the Diocese of Assisi, the Serafico Institute, the Municipality of Assisi and "Economia di Comunione," with the support, on behalf of the Holy See, of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, which is sponsoring the initiative.
Pope Francis is due to address the summit via video message on Nov. 21.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.