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UN Agenda 21 for Sustainable Development

UN Agenda 21 for Sustainable Development

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03/07/2012

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The approach encompassed by the Convention on
Biological Diversity requires either denying people a
fulfilling and healthy life or forcing a radical reduction

in human population, or both. Since there is little public
support for this approach in the United States or local
communities worldwide, those advocating it are
advancing the notion that government must have the
authority to allocate property rights. Such authority
would allow government to forcibly require individuals
to comply with the governing authorities’ own version
of the “public good,” as opposed to the “will of the
people.” This is objectionable to a citizenry well
acquainted with freedom and protected rights.
Agenda 21, the Biodiversity Treaty, and the GBA
bestow equal rights to the environment and human
beings. Since humans no longer have rights superior to
those of nature, a strong central government is needed
to confer rights equally. This concept is central to the
goals set forth during the United Nations Conference
on Human Settlements (Habitat I), held in Vancouver
on May 31 to June 11, 1976. The United Nations model
of land policy and property rights was officially
articulated in Agenda Item 10 of the Conference
Report, in which the Preamble states:

Land cannot be treated as an ordinary asset,
controlled by individuals and subject to the
pressures and inefficiencies of the market.
Private land ownership is also a principal
instrument of accumulation and concentration of
wealth and therefore contributes to social
injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major
obstacle in the planning and implementation of
development schemes. The provision of decent
dwellings and healthy conditions for the people
can only be achieved if land is used in the
interests of society as a whole. Public control of
land use is therefore indispensable....57

The United Nations report goes on to say that,
“Public ownership or effective control of land in the
public interest is the single most important means of
...achieving a more equitable distribution of the benefits
of development…. Governments must maintain full
jurisdiction and exercise complete sovereignty over
such land…. Change in the use of land ...should be
subject to public control and regulation…of the
common good.”58

This vision of property rights is
diametrically opposed to that which Hernando de Soto
(see Chapter 1) found to be required to attain national
prosperity. It is also counter to the American
experience. Government must nurture property rights
and the self-interest of citizens. In the process of
protecting these things, government should craft
incentives designed to encourage property owners to
sustain natural systems. Such resource management is
in the individual and national interest.

15

Policies designed to strike a proper balance can
often be financed by licensing and permitting on
current multiple use public lands, and by licensing and
taxes based on the principle that the user pays the
owner. One need only look to the past 100-year history
throughout the United States on both public and private
land of hunting, fishing, trapping, grazing, logging, and
other such resource use and management to see the
wisdom and successful history of such an approach.

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