Has it really been 20 years? Well, 2012 minus 1992 equals 20, so I guess it has been.
In case you didn't know, twenty years ago the UN convened in Rio the Earth Summit officially known as the Conference on Environment and Development.
172 governments participated, with 108 sending their heads of state or government. Some 2,400 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attended, with 17,000 people at the parallel NGO "Global Forum" (a.k.a. Forum Global), who had Consultative Status.
One of the outcomes of the Summit was Agenda 21
Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.
The Preamble of Agenda 21 is as follows:
1.1. Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being. However, integration of environment and development concerns and greater attention to them will lead to the fulfilment of basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed ecosystems and a safer, more prosperous future. No nation can achieve this on its own; but together we can - in a global partnership for sustainable development.
1.2. This global partnership must build on the premises of General Assembly resolution 44/228 of 22 December 1989, which was adopted when the nations of the world called for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, and on the acceptance of the need to take a balanced and integrated approach to environment and development questions.
1.3. Agenda 21 addresses the pressing problems of today and also aims at preparing the world for the challenges of the next century. It reflects a global consensus and political commitment at the highest level on development and environment cooperation. Its successful implementation is first and foremost the responsibility of Governments. National strategies, plans, policies and processes are crucial in achieving this. International cooperation should support and supplement such national efforts. In this context, the United Nations system has a key role to play. Other international, regional and subregional organizations are also called upon to contribute to this effort. The broadest public participation and the active involvement of the non-governmental organizations and other groups should also be encouraged.
1.4. The developmental and environmental objectives of Agenda 21 will require a substantial flow of new and additional financial resources to developing countries, in order to cover the incremental costs for the actions they have to undertake to deal with global environmental problems and to accelerate sustainable development. Financial resources are also required for strengthening the capacity of international institutions for the implementation of Agenda 21. An indicative order-of-magnitude assessment of costs is included in each of the programme areas. This assessment will need to be examined and refined by the relevant implementing agencies and organizations.
1.5. In the implementation of the relevant programme areas identified in Agenda 21, special attention should be given to the particular circumstances facing the economies in transition. It must also be recognized that these countries are facing unprecedented challenges in transforming their economies, in some cases in the midst of considerable social and political tension.
1.6. The programme areas that constitute Agenda 21 are described in terms of the basis for action, objectives, activities and means of implementation. Agenda 21 is a dynamic programme. It will be carried out by the various actors according to the different situations, capacities and priorities of countries and regions in full respect of all the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. It could evolve over time in the light of changing needs and circumstances. This process marks the beginning of a new global partnership for sustainable development.
Looks like good stuff to me.
But,of course, there are those out there who are not thrilled with it to say the least. People like the Freedom Advocates. Not surprising, folks like Ron Paul who want to end America's participation in the UN altogether don't like it one bit.
This comment in a thread on the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA)(their tag line is the Republican Wing of the Republican Party - so I don't think they're very moderate) is a good example of the thinking driving the opposition.
When I first was exposed to Agenda 21, I thought the person describing the issue to me was a conspiracy nut. It's easy to fall into that trap... the concept is so long term, so sinister, and so complicated. I'm the kind of person that needs to weed through the crap and get to the core of things, where issues can be easily identified and either make sense or not and if not, move on to something that does make sense. This is not a simply explained issue, but when you start to unravel it, you can see where it came from and where it is going. Like many evils in the world today, it comes from the U.N. and it's unquenchable desire to take out revenge on the United States for our successes in life. Where it is going is World-wide redistribution of wealth... taking from those that have worked their butts off for what they have and giving (redistributing) that wealth to have nots of the rest of the world. Those that devise and support ideas like this should burn in hell.
Burn in hell? That's pretty harsh.
[For what's it worth - I don't know just how significant of a group they are - but Newt just won the Nevada NFRA straw poll ahead of Ron Paul. Poor, poor RINO Mitt]
Another take comes from Rachel Alexander on the site TownHall, which has such columnists as Michelle Malkin and David Limbaugh (yes, David is he-won't-be-named's brother):
Americans are so focused on Congress and Obama at the federal level of government right now that most are overlooking the socialism creeping in at the local level through Agenda 21. It is easy to overlook local government since people are saturated with too much information in the internet age. Compounding this is the fact that Agenda 21 is a dull topic, and it becomes understandable how it has been able to fly mostly under the radar since 1992, slowly working its way into our cities and counties.
Socialist Danger, Will Robinson! Socialist Danger!
She goes on later:
Agenda 21 ostensibly seeks to promote "sustainability" (the latest revisionist word for "environmentalism," since Americans have learned too many negative things about environmentalism). "Sustainability" is an amorphous concept that can be interpreted to an extreme degree that would regulate and restrict many parts of our lives.
Agenda 21 promotes European socialist goals that will erode our freedoms and liberties. Most of its vague, lofty sounding phrases cause the average person’s eyes to glaze over, making it easier to sneak into our communities. The environmentalist goals include atmospheric protection, combating pollution, protecting fragile environments, and conserving biological diversity. Agenda 21 goes well beyond environmentalism. Other broad goals include combating poverty, changing consumption patterns, promoting health, and reducing private property ownership, single-family homes, private car ownership, and privately owned farms. It seeks to cram people into small livable areas and institute population control. There is a plan for “social justice” that will redistribute wealth.
Sustainability is now a four letter word in case you didn't know that.
Combating poverty? Say it ain't so. Promoting health? How dare they!
But the worse thing is they are going after private property. I go into more detail about the ideology of the private property rights movement in my blog Get Off My Damn Lawn Capitalism.
Towards the end I write:
Through the sustaining belief in the rights inherent in the ownership private property, there is a corollary belief in the relationship of between the government (i.e. community at large) and individuals. Private property rights depend on a view of self autonomy rather than co-interdependence. The same co-interdependence that provides the foundation of understanding the complex dynamics of our environment and society.
The self-autonomy belief, in a case like Agenda 21, extends to a conservative/libertarian nationalism that breeds paranoia.
Rachel Alexander's link on the word "reducing" takes one to Mike Opelka's post "Is the Soros-Sponsored 'Agenda 21' A Hidden Plan for World Government? (Yes, Only It Isn't Hidden)." Yes, seeking global sustainability is the path to The One World Order. And of course right-wing's Koch Brothers, Mr. Soros, is behind it all. (The comments below the post are worth reading if one wants to see the thinking we are really up against.)
I could go on and on quoting those who oppose the UN's efforts to promote global sustainability.
My guess is these folks and their ilk will be getting all riled up as the UN prepares to head back to Rio.
Rio+20 will be held June 20th through the 22nd
...to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. It is envisaged as a Conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives. The Conference will result in a focused political document.
The objective of the Conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges.
I doubt in an election year, Obama will be heading down to Brazil to hang out with the other Socialists planning to take away your property and car(s). Nothing like a photo op with sustainability freaks to get the conservatives in a lather (why do that if one doesn't absolutely have to). The administration will undoubtedly send representatives. In a joint statement with Brazil's President Rouseff,
They reiterated the importance of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, in 2012, and committed to work closely together to ensure its success.
For those who think a Romney administration will be no different than Obama's administration only has to ponder how Romney would treat Rio+20.
Check out the article
So here's to you Agenda 21. May you become stronger in the next twenty years and help the people who inhabit this planet learn how to live sustainably.