Agenda 21? What is Agenda 21?

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April 15, 2014

Most peo­ple have nev­er heard of Agen­da 21. If they have heard of it, they like­ly believe it to be a vague Unit­ed Nations pro­gram that will nev­er see the light of day, or they believe it is imag­ined by con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists. Yet, the prin­ci­ples con­tained in Agen­da 21 are at the heart of many of our fed­er­al pro­grams since the late 1990s. They reach every cor­ner of the Unit­ed States and impact mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who don’t even real­ize the doc­u­ment exists.

Although Agen­da 21 was decades in the mak­ing, it was show­cased to the world at the 1992 UN “Earth Sum­mit” in Rio de Janeiro. It was there that Pres­i­dent George H. Bush, along with lead­ers from 177 oth­er nations, signed onto this “non-bind­ing” UN action plan that was pur­port­ed­ly designed to assist gov­ern­ments at the local, nation­al and inter­na­tion­al lev­el imple­ment the prin­ci­ples of so-called “sus­tain­able devel­op­ment.” The “21” in the name refers to the 21st Cen­tu­ry.

Agen­da 21 made its way into the U.S. the fol­low­ing year when Pres­i­dent Clin­ton qui­et­ly estab­lished the President’s Coun­cil on Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment (PCSD). The PCSD cod­i­fied Agen­da 21 into U.S. pol­i­cy through a pro­gram called Sus­tain­able Amer­i­ca. Today, near­ly all fed­er­al pro­grams deal­ing with land man­age­ment, edu­ca­tion, envi­ron­ment and much more are linked to Agen­da 21 through Sus­tain­able Amer­i­ca.

Because of grass­roots push­back, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment today rarely uses the term Agen­da 21 or Sus­tain­able Amer­i­ca any­more – espe­cial­ly with any pro­gram it is pro­mot­ing. Instead, pro­grams which admin­is­ter Agen­da 21’s sus­tain­able devel­op­ment prin­ci­ples are giv­en warm and fuzzy titles like the America’s Great Out­doors Ini­tia­tive, Part­ner­ship for Sus­tain­able Com­mu­ni­ties, Obama’s Cli­mate Action Plan and many more. Even the newest edu­ca­tion fad, Com­mon Core, is linked to Agen­da 21, as are the new Next Gen­er­a­tion Sci­ence Stan­dards.

Google has over 300 mil­lion ref­er­e­nUN build­ingces to Agen­da 21, yet it’s hard for most peo­ple to get the truth about Agen­da 21 because of the truck­loads of smoke and mis­in­for­ma­tion gen­er­at­ed by gov­ern­ment bureau­crats and the pro­gres­sive media. This UN pro­gram is indeed real and it is an affront to our per­son­al liberties.\Agenda 21 is sup­pos­ed­ly designed to make the world “sus­tain­able” by lim­it­ing human activ­i­ties that envi­ron­men­tal extrem­ists believe are harm­ing the plan­et. That may sound fine to many peo­ple – until they under­stand what it means in prac­tice. In order to pro­tect the envi­ron­ment, Agen­da 21 instructs gov­ern­ments to micro­man­age vir­tu­al­ly all human activ­i­ty – which the gov­ern­ments either severe­ly restrict, or reg­u­late to the point that such activ­i­ty can be min­i­mal­ized.

A good case in point took place in Cal­i­for­nia recent­ly, which as has been wide­ly report­ed, expe­ri­enced a major three-year drought. In mid-March 2014, the Ninth U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Appeals upheld fed­er­al guide­lines that guar­an­teed min­i­mal flow of the Sacra­men­to Riv­er to ben­e­fit “endan­gered” Delta Smelt – total­ly neglect­ing the needs of local farm­ers. Most farm­ers are get­ting no water even though most of them have long-term con­tracts guar­an­tee­ing it to them.

Delta smeltIron­i­cal­ly, the Delta Smelt have sur­vived many severe droughts in the past when farm­ers got vir­tu­al­ly all the avail­able water from the Sacra­men­to Riv­er. Yet today the smelt get the water and the farm­ers don’t – even though many of the farm­ers will not sur­vive the cut­backs. See­ing the needs of nature as being in con­flict with the needs of peo­ple is a prin­ci­ple that is at the very heart of Agen­da 21.

This is no small mat­ter. Thou­sands of work­ers are being put out of work in Cal­i­for­nia, and up to 700,000 acres of prime farm­land will be removed from pro­duc­tion. Since one-third of America’s fruit and veg­eta­bles orig­i­nate in California’s Cen­tral Val­ley, this means that food prices could jump as much as 3.5%. While that may not seem like much to the more afflu­ent in our soci­ety, it could be dev­as­tat­ing to seniors and the poor who may no longer be able buy essen­tial fruits and veg­eta­bles.

Sim­ply stat­ed, the only way Agen­da 21 can work is to deny pri­vate cit­i­zens their pri­vate prop­er­ty rights. This should sur­prise no one since the UN has main­tained that “pub­lic con­trol of land use is…indispensable” since the 1976 Habi­tat I Con­fer­ence in Van­cou­ver, British Colum­bia. Yet, recent research spon­sored by the World Bank has shown that legal­ly pro­tect­ed pri­vate prop­er­ty rights dras­ti­cal­ly reduce cor­rup­tion, while estab­lish­ing the foun­da­tion for wealth cre­ation. This in turn also helps the envi­ron­ment as weath­i­er nations spend more on envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion than poor­er ones. The research stressed that “since these peo­ple do not have access to a com­pre­hen­sive legal prop­er­ty sys­tem, they can­not lever­age their assets to pro­duce addi­tion­al wealth.” The bot­tom line? “Near­ly five bil­lion peo­ple are legal­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly dis­en­fran­chised by their own governments,” reports the Bank.

The vast bulk of this is occur­ring, of course, in the devel­op­ing world – but not all. The same thing is hap­pen­ing in the U.S. as Agen­da 21 prin­ci­ples are adopt­ed into pol­i­cy. It has already had dev­as­tat­ing effects. Accord­ing to the Fras­er Eco­nom­ic free­dom wordsIn­sti­tute and CATO’s Eco­nom­ic Free­dom of the World, the legal-sys­tem and-pri­vate-prop­er­ty-rights rank­ing for the U.S. plum­met­ed from num­ber one in 1980 to 38th in 2011; which not unsur­pris­ing­ly has occurred since Agen­da 21 prin­ci­ples began to be imple­ment­ed in the 1990s. The U.S. com­bined eco­nom­ic rank­ing in the world from 1980 to 2000 was sec­ond or third place behind Hong Kong and Sin­ga­pore. It plum­met­ed to 19th between 2000 and 2011—mostly due to fed­er­al spend­ing, debt, sky­rock­et­ing reg­u­la­tions (espe­cial­ly from EPA) and, most impor­tant­ly, loss of a sta­ble legal sys­tem and prop­er­ty rights.

Is it any won­der the cur­rent “eco­nom­ic recov­ery” is so ane­mic. Cer­tain­ly not all of the eco­nom­ic woes we have expe­ri­enced since Pres­i­dent Obama’s elec­tion can be blamed on Agen­da 21 pol­i­cy. But Agen­da 21 is no doubt a big fac­tor in rav­aging the U.S. econ­o­my. Cit­i­zens can begin to restore America’s health by sup­port­ing ratio­nal can­di­dates at every lev­el of gov­ern­ment that are com­mit­ted to rid­ding this nation of Agen­da 21’s “sus­tain­able devel­op­ment” pol­i­cy plague.