Economist Sachs proves right

Economist Sachs proves right

A couple of days before the G-20 Summit in Antalya, I met with famous American economist Jeffrey Sachs in Istanbul. Professor Sachs, the director of the Earth Institute at the University of Columbia, has more than one hat.  

The economist who has done international studies on the reduction of poverty and income inequality and debt cancellation is special advisor to U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki Moon. At the same time, he is the head of the global initiative Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).   

Jeffrey Sachs has also been an advisor to the former U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan and directed the U.N. Millennium Goals Projects. 

He came to Istanbul for the sustainable development and climate conferences organized by Bosphorus University before the G-20 Summit. According to Sachs, with the U.N. approval of the 17 “Sustainable Development Goals,” the world now has entered a “sustainable development” era. 

Sachs went to Antalya as Ban Ki Moon’s advisor. During our conversation in Istanbul, he said sustainable development and climate topics should be discussed at the G-20 Summit but predicted “world leaders will discuss terror and political issues as always.”  Unfortunately, Professor Sachs proved right. 

Because of the horrible attack that left 129 people dead in Paris on Friday night (Nov. 13), terror was the main topic at the G-20 Summit. 

Actually, if the G-20 countries, which account for 85 percent of the world economy and 80 percent of the world trade had truly adopted the “sustainable development” goals years ago, then several motives fueling terror could have been eliminated long ago. 

In environments where the U.N.’s sustainable development goals are implemented (which include ending poverty and hunger, ensuring quality education, reducing inequality and achieving gender equality) can terrorists who blow themselves up and suicide bombers prosper? 

According to French sources, billions of dollars have been spent by governments to spread radical Islamic ideology for the past 40 years; instead of that, if quality education, which would raise healthy thinking young people was invested on, would we face today’s bloody terror incidents? 

Would the world fall into the center of a maddening “Clash of Civilizations?” 

I was at the concert of Music for Peace Orchestra. The Music for Peace Foundation was founded 10 years ago to make poor kids love music. Two years ago, they officially became a part of El Sistema, founded by economist Jose Antonio Abreu. The foundation has introduced music to 5,000 poor kids in 10 years. 

Architect Mehmet Selim Baki launched the project with his wife Dr. Yeliz Baki 10 years ago. He says, “Music is the language of peace.”

In his speech before the concert, Mehmet Selim Baki said they sought to set up Music for Peace orchestras in many regions of Turkey, “These orchestras will make a huge contribution to the peaceful environment we dream of.” He is right. 

Instead of young people who turn into live bombs due of the unhealthy environments they were raised in, it is up to us to raise young people who are nurtured by the language of peace, music.