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Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo (left) with Jeffrey Sachs.Edward Pentin / YouTube

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ROME, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — American economist and population control proponent Jeffrey Sachs has announced that potential funding partners for Pope Francis’s May 2020 Global Education Pact to create a “new humanism” include U.S. billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, China’s wealthiest business magnate, UNESCO and other United Nations agencies, and the Islamic Development Bank.

A key means of population control for Sachs and several potential funders is education. It is also the preferred method of population control for Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican academy where the announcement was made.

Speaking at a Vatican workshop on the Global Education Pact hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, on February 6–7, Sachs said he had “spoken with some of the world’s wealthiest people” and is confident that an estimated $26-billion-a-year education fund can be secured.

“Here is where we’re going to get the funds,” he told invited guests, as he presented a slide of “Partners for the Global Pact for Education and a New Fund for Education.”

The list includes:


  • Donor governments
  • European Union
  • Major philanthropists (Bill Gates, Jack Ma, Mukesh Ambani)
  • Islamic Development Bank
  • UNESCO, UNICEF, other U.N. Agencies
  • International Monetary Fund 
  • U.N. Secretary-General’s SGD Advocates
  • Global Citizens NGO
  • Youth for the Future

Sachs, a regular participant in pontifical academy conferences and an adviser to Pope Francis on sustainable development, said he had “recently” spoken with American, Chinese, and Indian billionaire business magnates Bill Gates, Jack Ma, and Mukesh Ambani about the project and had also visited the Islamic Development Bank.

He also assured participants at the February 6–7 “Workshop on Education: the Global Compact” that the managing director of the International Monetary Fund has expressed “complete commitment” to the agenda, that Global Citizens NGO for the SDGs includes “many of the most famous rock stars in the world and some of the most famous performing artists,” and that Greta Thunberg and other young people are “ready to join.”

Education as Population Control

In his presentation, Jeffrey Sachs said $26 billion devoted to Africa would “put all African children into school up through the secondary level.”

“Pope Francis is our greatest mobilizer for decency in the world, and when Pope Francis calls for a Global Compact for Education, let us use the occasion to mobilize the basic financing so that this is real, not only a great idea,” he exhorted attendees.

Sachs, who has become a fixture at Pontifical Academy of Sciences meetings, said: “I believe that if we recommend to Pope Francis, that with his leadership which is unique in the world, we will go out to find these funds, each of us will go knock on the door of our favorite billionaire, of our next door neighbors, people who can make a difference, we will get this done, even by May.”

He said that “some of the world’s wealthiest” want to be in Rome for the May 2020 Global Education Pact event. “But I think we need clarity that part of the goal is not only the wonderful aim of the improved content, but actually making sure that children have a school room and a seat so that they can benefit from that content.”

While the goal of providing quality education for children across the world is a noble one, often there are strings attached.

Jeffrey Sachs has long advocated reducing the population, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, by educating girls about “sexual and reproductive health, and about the options for contraception.”

The “causal link” between education and population control, in fact, was raised at the two-day Pontifical Academy of Sciences workshop.

In a talk on the “interplay of education with population health and demographics,” Harvard professor of economics and demography David E. Bloom highlighted as something positive that education “reduces fertility and population growth rates.”

Educational development, Bloom suggested, “is probably best approached multi-sectorally, through a blend of health, population, and education policies — especially those that promote child health such as prenatal care, childhood vaccination, and investments in school water and sanitation infrastructure.” 

In his remarks at the Vatican, Bloom left out his long-held belief that educational development also involves providing, in his own words, “increased access to family planning services” and “addressing the considerable unmet need for contraception.”

Writing in the New York Times in 2011, Bloom wrote that the “daunting challenge” of population growth in Africa (according to his estimates, African women have 4.5 children) also involves “moderating the high rates of desired fertility” seen on much of the continent. This, the Harvard professor of economics said, “will naturally occur as the status and education of women improve and couples increasingly recognize that they will be better off with smaller families.”

“Drawing closer” to the Gates Foundation

Jeffrey Sachs’s February 6 announcement that U.S. billionaire Bill Gates is a potential funding partner for Pope Francis’s Global Education Pact coincided with the February 10 release of an annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announcing that “the climate crisis and gender equality” have emerged as priorities for their future philanthropic giving.

Melinda Gates says in the letter that she wants to focus efforts particularly on gender equality, including “reproductive rights.” “My journey as a public advocate began with family planning,” she writes. “There are over 200 million women in developing countries who do not want to get pregnant but are not using modern contraceptives.”

Since then, she said her foundation, which works closely with Jeffrey Sachs, has stepped up “our commitments to family planning” while also developing “strategies that prioritize gender equality.”

Earlier this month, Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register reported that the Vatican has been “drawing closer” to the Gates Foundation in recent months. Reliable sources told the Register that last November, Pope Francis had received Melinda Gates in an unpublicized private audience.

The danger of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for African women and children is not unknown.

In a 2018 interview, Obianuju Ekeocha, a pro-life activist and author of Target Africa, noted that Pope Francis has spoken out against the growing phenomenon of Western countries, entities, and foundations coming to Africa with “aid” and “gifts” with “strings attached.”

Ekeocha, a biomedical scientist born in Nigeria and currently residing in the UK, explained:

They are moving through their humanitarian aid projects, giving us gifts, and at the same time trying to get us to align with them ideologically on issues that are quite important for Africans: issues like abortion, contraception, population control, what happens with youth and human sexuality, sexuality identity. … They are bringing it in as part of their foreign aid projects, and that’s actually quite dangerous for us because we are … on the receiving end. Not only are we receiving the money, but we are receiving all of the things that come with it, which is now threatening to erode our own cultural views and values.

Ekeocha said the Church is “right in the heart of the storm.”

In the interview (and Target Africa) she identifies the Gates Foundation as one of the principal foundations that presents itself as a “friend” and tries to “partner with the Church, because the Church has such a great network everywhere across the continent of Africa.”

She added: “The Church then sees contraception programs, condom programs being targeted towards children, and the bishops speak out and call it what it is: cultural imperialism or ideological neo-colonialism.”

“The Church has to be the line of defense against them,” the pro-life scientist said. 

In 2012, Ekeocha wrote an open letter to Melinda Gates in response to her plan and promise to implant the seeds of her “legacy” — i.e., $5 billion in pledges — in 69 of the poorest countries in the world, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, in order to ensure that the African woman is less fertile.

“An African Woman’s Open Letter to Melinda Gates”  may be read in full on the website of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

“We don’t have the money”

During the morning session, Pontifical Academy of Sciences workshop on February 6 (before Sachs’s announcement), LifeSite spoke with Monsignor Vincenzo Zani, secretary for the Congregation for Catholic Education, whom Pope Francis has tasked with overseeing the Global Education Compact.

Asked who would be paying for the event, Msgr. Zani replied: “We are looking for foundations that will give us a hand. The Vatican hardly has anything; we are looking for outside help.”

After Sachs’s talk that afternoon, LifeSite sat down with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences’ chancellor, Argentine bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo.

Bishop Sánchez told LifeSite that the February 6–7 workshop was organized in response to a request by the Congregation for Catholic Education and was a sort of advisory meeting for the content of the Global Education Pact. 

He said the academy is “very happy” that compulsory education is becoming more widespread across the globe, but “as Jeffrey Sachs explained, the great problem is the money. We don’t have the money.”

Bishop Sánchez said the people and organizations listed by Jeffrey Sachs were potential collaborators in the educational pact but added that “this is nothing in reality for people who have real money.”

“We have 1 billion people without education, and education is the key to the development of people and of the person,” he said.

Asked if the Global Education Pact is therefore a way to mobilize money in order to direct it toward education, Bishop Sánchez replied: “This is part of it. The other question is: what kind of education?”

The Argentine prelate said Pope Francis believes that, when it comes to education, “we need the language of the mind” but also “language of the values, the language of the heart.” It is very important, Sánchez said, to have education that puts at the center the human person, the dignity of the human person,” as well as “the question of gender, the question of woman.”

He said the content of the Global Education Pact will focus particularly on women, in part with a view to combatting new forms of slavery and human-trafficking. The academy chancellor also said he hopes it will focus on the “truth that comes from the sciences” such as “climate change” and “evolution.”

Significantly, Sánchez said the relationship between the Global Education Pact and the realization of the 2030 Education SDG (sustainable development goals) is “very close” but added that “the pope wants to put more emphasis on the question of values and of ethics, and the question of woman. In this sense, there are some differences.”

Pressing the pontifical academy chancellor on those differences, LifeSite pointed out that while the SDGs have some worthy targets, the goals regarding gender equality, health, and education are at odds with the Church’s teaching.

In particular, it was pointed out to him that the United Nations would like to teach African girls how to use contraception and advise them to have an abortion if they get pregnant and don’t want to keep their babies. In view of this, and considering Scripture’s teaching about the battle between the world and the Church, LifeSite asked Bishop Sánchez how the Church can feasibly collaborate with the U.N. on this issue.

“That it is typical of the American people, especially the right wing, to exaggerate the idea that abortion is included in these [SDG] goals, and it’s not true,” Bishop Sánchez retorted.

LifeSite then put it to him that those organizations Sachs is promoting as funding partners for the pact are the very same that Ekeocha and others are battling because they promote contraception and abortion to people in Africa against their wishes.

Bishop Sánchez responded: “Yes, but this depends on the country. It doesn’t depend on the United Nations; this is the question. The United Nations is not in favor of abortion. Maybe some of the bureaucrats, but it’s not in the documents. The documents don’t speak about abortion.”

Presented with the fact that the United Nations uses the language of “reproductive rights” and “reproductive health” to signify contraception and abortion, the bishop denied it.

“This is a typical question[.] … They don’t say this,” he said.

But they do — even explicitly. The U.N.’s SDG 3 on Health targets “expanding access to modern contraceptive methods” by 2030 as “essential to ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services.”

The SDG on Gender Euality (5.6.1) seeks by 2030 to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights,” including “contraceptive use” and “health care” — a term the International Planned Parenthood Federation often uses to describe abortion.

And the SDG on Education (4.7) seeks to guarantee that “all learners acquire the knowledge and skills to promote … sustainable lifestyles [and] gender equality.” By the standards of economists like Sachs and Bloom, reducing the fertility of African women is essential to meeting this goal.

“But ‘reproductive rights’ is the family for the Church’s interpretation,” Bishop Sánchez insisted. “We can have one interpretation and not the other interpretation.”

Suggesting the importance of having one’s terms “very clear,” we asked how the Church will guarantee that an education pact funded by the people and organizations on Sachs’s list will not lead to African girls being taught about contraception and abortion.

Bishop Sánchez answered by recalling a meeting he had with a Catholic priest in 1971 at the Lateran University. Sánchez said the priest told him that “the solution to the question of reproduction is a woman’s need to study, because when a woman studies she will have a critical spirit, and when she marries she will be more intelligent and won’t marry the first one who comes along. And after she can have one or two children but not more.”

“That is the truth,” the bishop said, chuckling.

LifeSite pressed the bishop on the problem of workshop attendees such as David Bloom stressing the “causal link” between education and population control, particularly in light of Jeffrey Sachs’s writing and statements on the need to reduce fertility in Africa.

“Not here,” Bishop Sánchez shot back regarding Sachs’s statements. The academy chancellor said claims that Sachs supports contraception and abortion in Africa are “another myth.”

In 2011, Sachs told CNN that education is one of the best means to achieve “voluntary” decreased fertility. And in his 2015 work, The Age of Sustainable Development, he advocated educating girls in Sub-Saharan Africa “about sexual and reproductive health, and about the options for contraception.”

When questioned on the wisdom of entering into an educational pact with people whose SDG vision includes flooding Africans with contraception and lobbying for legal abortion, Bishop Sánchez retorted that “the Church has a completely different policy.”

Pope Francis agrees only “in part” with the SDG education goal, because “there is nothing about values,” Bishop Sánchez said, who added that he has “criticized” Jeffrey Sachs “many times” for “not putting the family at the center” of his goals.

Asked how the Vatican will guarantee in the Global Education Pact that African girls are taught about the true meaning of family and not contraception, Bishop Sánchez said the “agreement” is meant “to guarantee these things.” This, he said, is the “difference between the agreement of the Pope and the agreement of the United Nations.”

Asked if he thought Melinda Gates would agree with this, Bishop Sánchez replied “no.”

“We don’t have an agreement with Melinda Gates,” he said. “This is the reason we don’t have the money of these people.”

When it was pointed out that that Jeffrey Sachs had the Gates Foundation and other pro-contraception and pro-abortion organizations on the list of potential funders for the Global Education Pact, the academy chancellor claimed that these partners were “for [Sachs’s] goals.”

When it was pointed out that Sachs labeled his list “Partners for the Global Pact for Education and a New Fund for Education,” Bishop Sánchez replied: “I don’t know, but it’s clear that the pope is against this; the pope has said this, many times.”

“Many Americans criticize us for the same things. So why would the pope collaborate with these people?” the perplexed bishop asked.

Seeking to present the perspective of many readers, this correspondent replied:

I don’t know. We see that there is an increasing cooperation between the United Nations and the Vatican. St. Paul speaks about the enmity between the Church and the world. The values of the Catholic Church often do not align with the values of these supranational bodies, like the United Nations. We don’t want to give our children’s minds over to the United Nations to educate our children. Because what will they teach them? If I had a little girl, she would be taught that when she’s 13 or 14 that she can be on contraception. And she won’t be taught about the family. She’ll be taught that she has her “rights.”

“So, what is the solution for you, not to collaborate on anything?” Bishop Sánchez asked.

When it was put to him that the solution is clarity and that practicing Catholics see a battle raging over the family, he replied: “Sorry, what is the solution, not to speak with these people? To say that we don’t want to speak with you, that you are completely in (the hands of) the devil?”

When it was reiterated to him that the Church and the Pontifical Academy need clarity, he insisted: “It’s very clear, there is no ambiguity. Jeffrey Sachs knows perfectly our position. Perfectly.”