« Today's Thought | Main | Arlington County’s “Friday News Dump” »

Arlington County, the United Nations and Agenda 21

The Arlington County Board spends taxpayer money in large chunks (e.g., the Artisphere, Long Bridge Park, affordable housing projects, etc.) and in small ones (i.e., nickle-and-diming taxpayers, by paying dues to such organizations as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)). Such a caring county? Here's how Wikipedia defines Agenda 21:

“Agenda 21 is an action plan of the United Nations (UN) related to sustainable development and was an outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. It is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans directly affect the environment.

Although a new Backgrounder (No. 2628, December 1, 2011) from the Heritage Foundation warns that any focus on Agenda 21 “should not divert attention from homegrown anti-growth policies," the essay pretty-well sums up the 300+-page Agenda 21 publication, "which sets forth hundreds of specific goals and strategies that  local governments are encouraged to adopt."  It was written by Wendell Cox, Ronald Utt and Brett Schaeffer, Here’s their abstract:

“Agenda 21, a voluntary plan adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, unabashedly calls on governments to intervene and regulate nearly every potential impact that human activity could have on the environment. However, Agenda 21 is non-binding; it depends on governments for implementation. If opponents focus excessively on Agenda 21, it is much more likely that homegrown smart-growth policies that undermine the quality of life, personal choice, and property rights in American communities will be implemented by local, state, and federal authorities at the behest of environmental groups and other vested interests. Preventing American implementation of Agenda 21 should therefore be viewed as only one part of a broader effort to convince U.S. government officials to repeal destructive smart-growth programs and prevent the enactment of new ones.”

In closing the paper, the authors say:

“If implemented, the types of policies encouraged in Agenda 21 would be detrimental to economic growth and prosperity. Thus, preventing American implementation of Agenda 21 at the national level and membership by U.S. counties, cities, and municipalities in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), now called Local Governments for Sustainability, is worthwhile. But this effort should be viewed as only one part of a broader effort to convince U.S. government officials to repeal destructive smart-growth programs and prevent the enactment of new ones.”

If you’re wondering if there is a connection between Arlington County and the United Nations, there is. It's the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), and Arlington County taxpayers are paying for ICLEI -- $1,750 in Fiscal Year 2009 and $2,250 in FY 2010, and presumably $2,250 annually since then. Just another expense funded by the FreshAire initiative, begun in 2007 when Paul Ferguson chaired the Arlington County Board.

For additional resources about Agenda 21, see this United Nations webpage for the “core publication” Agenda 21. For ICLEI-USA, click here. For ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, and its 14 worldwide offices, click here. Arlington County’s membership in ICLEI is listed under Federal activities on the County Manager’s website. In addition, the Virginia Campaign for Liberty has published the informative The History of Sustainable Development: Connecting the Dots. Finally, the National Association of Scholars publishes essays on sustainability and periodically collects sustainability news; or use the search function at the National Association of Scholars website.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.acta.us/growls-mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1907