Both Tuesday’s workshop, titled “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of the Cities,” and a Wednesday symposium on “Prosperity, People, and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities,” will be hosted by the Vatican’s Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences and underwritten by an Italian donor.
The meetings are cosponsored by the United Nations.
Francis told the mayors at a Vatican summit on climate change and human trafficking that he placed great trust in the United Nations to bring about a good agreement.
Pope Francis said he has “a lot of hope” that negotiators at Paris climate talks will reach an ambitious agreement to reduce global warming.
But he also wants U.N. nations to prioritize fighting both human trafficking and the exploitation of the world’s most vulnerable people.
The Vatican is angling to make sure the U.N.’s new Sustainable Development Goals, to be finalized in September, address the problems of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio did express his discontentment concerning the European Union leaving Italy in the cold. That country can impossibly deal on its own with waves of immigrants coming from North Africa. The EU must come up with a Europe-wide immigration policy.
De Blasio, whose grandparents emigrated from Italy to New York, said he was
“deeply troubled by the lack of action by the European Union and the way that Italy has been left to fend for itself very unfairly.”
The African-American Birmingham Mayor William Bell had a very personal reason for being at the Vatican’s conference on climate change and human slavery.
Today, he told his fellow mayors from around the world:
“At the time of my birth, I was born into a society in Birmingham, Alabama, that existed as a close cousin of slavery called segregation.”
“Segregation was designed to exploit individuals and groups based on race and race alone. It was for the economic purpose of cheap labour. It was to control society. It was to control human beings.”