Agenda 21 (Agenda for the 21st century) is non-binding UN resolution adopted by 178 countries at the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. It's an action plan, or series of recommendations and goals aimed at promoting sustainable development, reducing poverty, world hunger, pollution, and climate change.
While it is non-binding, many governments (both national and local) and institutions use agenda 21 as a useful set of goals and guidelines. At the local level, it's sometime referred to as Local Agenda 21, or LA21.
In reality the actual effects of Agenda 21 in the US over the last 22 years seem to have been almost zero. Searching for mentions of it on the internet almost entirely results in mentions from conspiracy and conservative organizations.
The largest "impact" seems to be that a variety of local governments have joined the ICLEI (International Council for Local and Environmental Initiatives) - an organization that includes Agenda 21 in it's goals, but really aimed at development in 3rd world countries. Any US municipality that joins ICLEI is really just affirming their environnemental credentials, and so is largely going to be those of a less conservative leaning. For example, in California, the liberal-leaning Los Angeles County is a member, but the more conservative Orange County immediately to the south is not.
Concerns regarding Agenda 21 and the ICLEI range from extreme conspiracy theories:
Through the less extreme conspiracy theories of the Tea Party:Agenda 21 is a big action plan by the world elite to usher in the technological grid. It is the implementation of “the beast” system. It is an artificial intelligence platform where all of our actions are being tracked in real-time by super computers in Belgium and in the U.S. These super computers are controlled by the National Security Agency (NSA).
They want to track all of our movements through “the chip.” The chip is real.
And has made it all the way up to mainstream political discourse:Agenda 21 usurps sovereignty, property rights, economic liberty, and basically hands over power, resources and land to unelected elitists… to control the populations of every country in the world. Agenda 21 purports to address environmental issues, but calls for wealth redistribution, resource redistribution, food redistribution, energy restrictions, supposed social justice, and more. It is NOT about the environment, though it pretends to be. The phrase Sustainable Development became the popular term in America to define Agenda 21. It is a political ideology being infused into every level of government in America. In short, it’s a Marxist plan for global control of everything.. with the United Nations at the head of central planning.
(Newt said the above as an example of things that crop up when he gets more involved with grass-roots discussions. He was tailoring it as an example for his audience. When he mentioned it, a murmur rose in the room, and when he said he would cut funding, then he got a round of applause).In a town hall meeting sponsored by East Orlando Tea Party earlier this month in Orlando, former House Speaker Gingrich described his efforts to fight Agenda 21 if he were elected president.
“One of the things that is popping up, for example, is Agenda 21,” he told the tea party audience, “which is not something I even knew about until we did a couple of conference calls. It’s probably going to be one of the very first executive orders — is to seize all federal funding of any kind of activity that relates to the United Nations’ Agenda 21.”
The problem is that Agenda 21 and the ICLEI have NOT ACTUALLY DONE ANYTHING. Newt is going to cut funding for something that really has no funding. Yes, there are programs that have goals that are similar to goals outlines in agenda 21, but those are programs that would exist anyway. Things like preventing pollution, suppling clean drinking water, and education in 3rd world countries.
Here's one of the biggest offenses that Newt would be addressing:
Missoula, Montana is simply paying membership dues to the ICLEI. That's all.MISSOULA, MT – In a move that would have made Joseph Stalin jealous, the City Council of Missoula, Montana on Monday approved the use of local tax dollars to an organization out of state known as ICLEI (International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives).
Regardless of the majority of people’s testimony against the ICLEI proposal, the sum of $1,200 will be taken directly out of the business and other tax funds and put in the hands of bureacrats. Money will go to “paying dues” to stop man-made Climate Change. Expect more city zoning, less property rights, and the gradual implementation of smart grid technology that can give a bureacrat the power to spy on how much energy you use in your house, and even turn off your power grid altogether.
Of course Newt was talking about the federal funding. What would that be exactly? It's hard to find any examples. But let's start with some numbers for comparison. Currently the US pays 22% of the UN's budget. The US is already paying $1.2 billion per year to the United Nations. Another approximately $14 billion goes to the USAID, many of the goals of which are similar to Agenda 21.
So what is the Federal Agenda 21 funding? There isn't any federal funding for Agenda 21. Everything I've been able to find so far has been federal programs that simply have some similar aspects to Agenda 21. For example - anything to do with energy conservation (like energy efficient light-bulbs, or solar power) will get lumped in with Agenda 21. Since there's no explicit funding, the conservatives are simply using it as an excuse to cut funding to programs they don't like.
Alternet: How Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories May Pose a Genuine Threat to Humanity - excellent article on the dangers of the "paranoid style" type fear of Agenda 21.
Debunked: Executive Order #13575 - —Establishment of the White House Rural Council - a related sub-conspiracy-theory, where an toothless council for facilitating communication is raised to be an evil tool of the New World Order.
[To be continued]