Feeding into right-wing hysteria, GOP presidential hopeful Newt Ginigrich told a tea party audience in Orlando this month that if he were elected president, one of his very first executive orders would be cutting funding to the United Nations’ Agenda 21.
Agenda 21 is a 19-year-old initiative launched by the United Nations to promote sustainable development in communities all over the world. The initiative is a non-binding program that provides local communities that seek to grow in a manner that is kind to the environment with resources such as grant and conference announcements. An organization called the International Council for Local and Environmental Initiatives (known as ICLEI) provides members with the information. Almost 600 cities all over the United States are “global members” of ICLEI, including more than 30 cities, municipalities and counties in Florida.
However, right-wing advocates and tea party members, including GOP Senate candidates, are convinced that the effort is actually a plot by the U.N. to steal the United States’ sovereignty and the individual property rights of its citizens.
Actual members of ICLEI dismiss these fears. The organization has no binding power over its members. One member, South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, told The Florida Independent that ICLEI is an “information service, not command and control from Geneva.” He called the people up in arms about ICLEI “raging loons.”
“These are the guys that wear aluminum foil hats,” he said. “They have completely lost touch with reality.”
Now there is a GOP presidential candidate that is convinced of the same right-wing fears concerning Agenda 21.
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.”
Here is a video of Gingrich talking to the East Orlando Tea Party about Agenda 21: