Forcing International Agendas Through Local Mayors

January 29, 2009

By Tom DeWeese

In June 2005, I reported on the UN’s efforts to recruit the nation’s mayors to directly impose Sustainable Development policy into our local communities. The Mayors weren’t there to simply discuss policy, they committed to an agenda with specific goals. And the results are now clearly being seen in more than 400 communities in 48 states.

First, let me define the policy I’m talking about and describe where it came from. Sustainable Development is the direct opposite of the type of locally elected   representative government our Founding Fathers organized for the United States.  Sustainable Development expert Michael Shaw explains, it “is the process by which America is being reorganized around a central principle of state collectivism using the environment as bait.”  In fact, the policy involves every aspect of our daily lives from food processing and consumption, to health care, to community development to education to labor, and much more. The blue print for sustainable development came from a United Nations soft law policy called Agenda 21, first revealed at the UN’s Earth Summit in 1992.

The best way to understand what Sustainable Development actually is, can be found by discovering what is NOT sustainable. According to the UN’s Biodiversity Assessment Report, items for our everyday lives that are NOT sustainable include: Ski runs, grazing of livestock, plowing of soil, building fences, industry, single family homes, paved and tarred roads, logging activities, dams and reservoirs, power line construction, and economic systems that fail to set proper value on the environment (capitalism, free markets). There are many more specifically listed on UN documents, but these examples should show clearly how Sustainable Development is not compatible with a free society.  

It’s interesting to note that most of the Sustainable Development agenda has not been implemented through congressional legislation, rather through the use of government grants, Executive Order and Public/Private Partnerships between government officials and global corporations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as through non-elected boards and committees. As a result, under the banner “going green,” it has become official policy for federal, state and now local governments. It literally represents a revolution in the way the United States operates; yet voters have had basically no say in its implementation.

Now to the mayors. The 2005 conference was a way for the UN and its NGO cohorts to skip around Congress and head straight to local implementation. As part of their participation, the mayors were pressed to commit to specific legislation and policy goals by signing a slate of UN accords. Two documents were presented for the mayors’ signature.

The first document was called the Green Cities Declaration, produced by the United Nations Environment Programme. This document was essentially a statement of principles which set the agenda for the mayor’s assigned tasks. It says, in part, “Believing as Mayors of cities around the globe, we have a unique opportunity to provide leadership to develop truly sustainable urban centers based on culturally and economically appropriate local actions…” The Declaration is amazingly bold in that it details exactly how the UN intends to implement a very specific agenda in every town and city in the nation. The final line of the Declaration explained the UNs’ goal very explicitly: “Signatory cities shall work to implement the following Urban Environment Accords. Each year cities shall pick three actions to adopt as policies or laws.”

That leads to the second document signed by the mayors, called the “Urban Environment Accords.” The document included exactly 21 specific actions (as in Agenda 21), for the mayors to take, controlled by a timetable for implementation.

For example, under the topic of energy, action item #1 called for the mayors to implement a policy to increase the use of “renewable” energy by 10% within seven years. Energy actions items 2 and 3 dealt with reducing energy consumption. These action items are classic examples of the UN trying to go around the U.S. Congress and federal energy policy and force a backdoor implementation of the UN’s Kyoto Accord, which the U.S. has never ratified.

Perhaps the most egregious action item offered in the Urban Environmental Accords dealt with the topic of water. Action number 19 called for adoption and implementation of a policy to reduce individual water consumption by 10% by 2020. Interestingly, the UN document begins by stating: “Cities with potable water consumption greater than 100 liters per capita per day will adopt and implement policies to reduce consumption by 10% by 2015.”

There is no scientific basis for the 100-liter figure other than to employ a very clever use of numbers to lower the bar and control the debate over water consumption. One must be aware that 100 liters is equal to about 26 GALLONS per person, per day. According to the UN, each person should have less than 26 gallons each day to drink, bathe, flush toilets, wash clothes, water lawns, wash dishes, cook, take care of pets, and more.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Americans actually need about 100 GALLONS per day to perform these basic life functions. Consider also that there this no specific water shortage in most parts of the United States. Water is not an international issue – it is a very local one. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, annual water withdrawal across the nation is about 407 billion gallons, while consumption (including evaporation and plant use is about 94 billion gallons). So, such restrictions, as outlined in the Urban Environmental Accords are really nothing more than a major campaign by the UN to control water consumption. Yet, the nation’s mayors are being pushed to impose policies to severely restrict Americans’ free use of water.

The rest of the Accords deal with a variety of subjects including waste reduction, recycling, transportation, health, and nature – as stated, issues literally dealing with every aspect of our lives. Perhaps the most outrageous promise of action by the mayors is action item #16, in which they agreed to “Every year identify three products, chemicals, or compounds that are used within your city that represents the greatest risk to human health and adopt a law or eliminate their sale and use in the city.”

There you have it. The mayors had to promise to ban something every year. Yep, that’s the UNs’ version of a free society. But here’s a question for the mayors. What if there isn’t a “chemical or compound” that poses a risk? What if the community actually needs them? What if jobs are at stake? What about private property or free enterprise? Not a consideration. The mayor’s gotta ban something anyway – he signed an agreement. That’s not to be taken lightly, with environmental protection at stake.

Consider this bit of real live insanity as an example of how serious it can get. In the 1990s, Anchorage, Alaska had some of the most pristine water in the nation. It literally had no pollution. Yet, because of government-mandated clean water standards, the federal government ordered the city to meet strict federal rules that required the city to remove a certain percentage of pollution from its water. The city simply couldn’t do it because there wasn’t that amount of pollution to be removed. But the government insisted that the law be upheld – no exceptions. Therefore, in order to meet the federal requirements (and avoid huge fines or jail terms), Anchorage city officials were forced to pollute its pristine water by dumping fish parts into it so they could then clean out the required quota. So, it is not far fetched to say that, if your mayor has to ban the ink in your fountain pen to meet his quota – ban it he will.

Again, the UNs’ meeting with the mayors took place in 2005. Today in 2008, what are the consequences? Plenty. Meet ICLEI, a non-profit, private foundation, headquartered in Canada, dedicated to helping your mayor implement all of his promises. Originally known as the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), today the group simply calls it self “ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.” In 1992, ICLEI was one of the groups instrumental in creating Agenda 21. Now it is driven to help impose it from the local level of government.

Many Americans ask how dangerous international policies can suddenly turn up in state and local government, all seemingly uniform to those in neighboring communities. The answer – groups like ICLEI. The group has made its mission to push local communities to regulate the environment – and it’s having tremendous success. According to a report published by the Capital Research Center, ICLEI is now operating in more than 400 cities in 48 states (except Hawaii and South Dakota). The group is shooting for 1,000 member cities in the next three years. ICLEI is there to help the mayors keep their promises and meet their goals.

Climate change, of course, is the ICLEI mantra. That’s the real excuse for all of the draconian controls and bannings of valuable tools of civilization. ICLEI’s programs are designed to decrease each cities “carbon footprint.” That can be costly to the taxpayers. But mayors, who sign promises on UN documents to ban at least three valuable commodities per year, love them. In fact, ICLEI is very popular with the mayors and city council members because it not only shows the community leaders how to promote climate change, but it also does the work for them. Never mind that cities have to pay dues to ICLEI in order to gain access to their impressive list of programs.

Here’s just some of the programs ICLEI provides cities and towns, in order to spread their own particular political agenda in the name of “community services.” They include: Software products and associated training to help set the goals of “greenhouse gas reductions”; Access to a network of “experts, newsletters, conferences and workshops – to assure the indoctrination of city employees is complete; Toolkits, online resources, case studies, fact sheets, policy and practice manuals, and blueprints used by other communities – you are not alone; Training workshops for staff and elected officials on how to develop and implement the programs – wanna bet they never seem to mention that thousands of scientists around the world now say man-made global warming is a myth and none of these programs are necessary? Probably doesn’t make it into the workshop; Technical assistance in designing and implementing the program; Notification of relevant grant opportunities – this is the important one – money – with severe strings attached; and finally, important for the mayors, Assistance in publicizing local climate protection successes.

As the Capital Research Center’s report details, “Local governments gratefully outsource their work to ICLEI, which even offers hiring advice. The group recommends that cities hire a ‘sustainability manager’ to coordinate an inter-departmental green team representing city administrative, public works, environment, facilities, budget, economic development, planning, social services, and parks agencies to share ideas about how to improve internal operations to make them more consistent with environmentally sound practices.”

As I’ve reported endless times, sustainable development is a top down control by government, invading every aspect of our lives. The above list of interactions, even at the local level show just how invasive it can be. A full time “sustainability manager,” even in small towns, can devote 100% of his time to assure that every nook and corner of the government is on message, including the budget managers, the welfare department, and, of course, the developers. It’s not about protecting the environment, it’s about reinventing government with a specific political agenda.

ICLEI has money- lots of it, along with a lot of high-level government contacts, and they use them. The target is your local community, your home, your place of business, your child in school, your car, your light bulbs, your drinking water, your food consumption, your tax dollars, and every other aspect of your lives.

ICLEI and others are dedicated to controlling your locally elected public officials to quietly implement an all-encompassing tyranny over every community in the nation. And your mayor is probably helping them do it – in the name of environmental protection, of course. It’s not necessarily their fault. The mayors have been targeted and are now in a vice grip between international forces like the UN and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like ICLEI.

The United States is not a global village run by elders who hand down the rules from on-high. We are a nation of governments elected by the citizens. There is supposed to be discussion, debate and disclosure so that all citizens know where, when and why an issue is being presented – and then they are to vote on it.

Today, however, global forces which do not accept the unique American form of government sneak behind the curtain, avoiding controversy and honest debate. They target unknowing local officials, wine and dine them, and blind them with power and influence. The only possible result can be the tyranny of a powerless electorate stripped of their rights, property and self-determination.

Mayors across the nation must be clued in to the fact that ICLEI and its ilk are not their friends, rather they are the purveyors of a self-made crisis hysteria using fear rather than truth and logic to impose their agenda.

Tom DeWeese is the President of the American Policy Center and the Editor of The DeWeese Report. The DeWeese Report is now available online.

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.