- Discussing Sustainability and Future Cities at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea November 30, 2018
World-renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs on the aims and challenges of sustainable development
Jeffrey Sachs, world-renowned economist and Director of the Center of Sustainable Development at Columbia University, visited Yonsei University on November 28 to discuss the aims, challenges, and key transformations needed for sustainable development in his lecture titled, “Sustainability and Future Cities.”
During his lecture, Sachs explained why the current economic system and politics pose a major hurdle to our very own survival and how we must act now to overcome the challenges toward a sustainable future. He explained the six basic transformations needed to achieve sustainable development.
1. Energy transformation: We must decarbonize the energy and industrial system; technologically is it possible to do. It requires a long-term cooperative plan led by engineers and implemented by governments. Regional cooperation in interconnected energy systems is the only solution to decarbonization.
2. Sustainable land use: We have to stop destroying the rainforest, stop destroying biodiversity, and stop overfishing the oceans. Special interests and bad ideas prevail, but we know what to do.
3. Quality education for every child: Korea must act as a role model and help implement education systems in developing countries such as Africa.
4. Accessible healthcare for all: Developing countries need assistance to accomplish their universal right for health care.
5. Promote sustainability in cities: 70 percent of the world population will live in cities by the year 2050. The cities should be healthful and productive places. But a lot of cities in the world are highly polluted now. We need better planning, better design and better technologies to transform our cities.
6. Digital revolution for an economy that benefits sustainable development: We must find ways that make our economy more resource-efficient, that raises the quality of life without creating big technical unemployment or inequalities, that protects and preserves civil rights and privacy in the digital age.
“I regard Korea as one of the great leaders of this effort (for the Sustainable Development Goals) … I would like to see the Korean government playing a leadership role in the world to achieve this, starting with cooperation in this neighborhood and helping the poor places of the world break out of poverty,” he said in his final remarks.
Click here to read the excerpt from the lecture.
The panel discussion and lively Q&A discussion succeeding the lecture covered a wide range of issues including sustainable smart cities, investments for a sustainable economy, urbanization and farming in North Korea, and the development of renewable energy in Sikkim.