Movement distracting Iowans from serious issues

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: March 6 2013 | 11:01 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 12:12 pm in
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By Yashar Vasef

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State Rep. Ralph Watts would have you believe that the United Nations aspires to take away our private property rights through a global conspiracy known as Agenda 21.

Watts has introduced HR66, a bill calling for the abolition of any sustainable development initiatives that could be construed as a secret facet of the Agenda 21 plot.

The Iowa United Nations Association would like to set the record straight on this ridiculous premise.

At the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, President George H.W. Bush and leaders of 178 countries worldwide signed Agenda 21, aiming to point the way to a more sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. Agenda 21 is a non-binding, non-enforceable document and is essentially a list of policy proposals and suggestions for more efficient city planning.

The United States has no obligation to Agenda 21 whatsoever under international law.

Iowa UNA sent a delegation of 30 Iowans to the Earth Summit in 1992 where Agenda 21 was written. Upon their return, we hosted summits in eight Iowa communities to discuss how Iowans might engage our communities in more efficient and environmentally sound planning. In 1994, Iowa UNA released “An Earth Charter and Agenda 21 for Iowa.” On the first page of this document is a letter of support from Gov. Terry Branstad. The report states that continued discussion is necessary for each Iowa community to find their own sustainable solutions. This document is available for reading on the Iowa UNA website (www.iowauna.org).

Anti-Agenda 21 advocates such as Rep. Watts have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the UN is and how it operates. The UN is a multilateral organization where security disputes and the global concerns of the 193 member states are discussed and debated. It was the United States that helped organize the UN and has an ongoing influential role within this global institution.

Rather than focusing on improving issues of concern such as the economy, this conspiracy movement by the Tea Party of Iowa is bent on distracting Iowans from serious issues. I urge Watts and co-signers to withdraw their bill. Iowa voters certainly deserve better leadership.

Yashar Vasef currently serves as the Executive Director of the Iowa United Nations Association, which uses educational UN programming and humanitarian campaigning to engage Iowans globally. Comments: yashar@unaiowa.org

 

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