Few people know that back in 1970, UNESCO launched an ambitious program to establish a global network of "Biosphere Reserves." This program, called "Man and the Biosphere" (MAB), is not the result of a U.N. treaty; it is simply an agreement among participating nations to manage designated land masses according to principles and strategies dictated by a UNESCO committee.
In the United States, 47 U.N. Biosphere Reserves were designated without the approval of Congress or of any state legislature. While UNESCO continues to expand the global network of 440 reserves in 97 countries, the last three areas to be designated in the U.S. were blocked by local opposition. Proponents of this program were disappointed, but not dissuaded. Here they come, again.
Washington insiders speculate that President Bush rejoined UNESCO in hopes of appeasing his critics, who chastized him for withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, and the International Criminal Court. MAT enthusiasts are ecstatic, and are planning a new effort to reinvigorate the MAB program in the United States.
A Biosphere Reserve is a massive land area divided into three zones: core wilderness areas; buffer zones; and a transitional area. The plan is to continually enlarge each of these zones. For example, the Southern Appalachian MAB (SAMAB) was originally designated to be the Smoky Mountains National Park, an area of 517,000 acres. It has now grown to embrace an area stretching from near Birmingham, Alabama, to near Roanoke, Virginia.
Why should local residents be concerned about this program? Because it empowers another layer of non-elected government officials to dictate land use policy.
Eighty-four percent of the land in SAMAB is privately owned. This fact is an obstacle to MAB planners. Much of the SAMAB program is designed to seduce or coerce state and local governments to impose land use policies that originate with the UNESCO committee in Paris, France. The Strategic Plan - 2002 is a laundry list of "education and outreach" programs promoting sustainable communities, and Agenda 21 initiatives.
Each of the 47 Biosphere Reserves has an extensive network of government agencies and environmental groups working to advance strategic plans that conform to the vision of land use policy established by United Nations agencies.
These policies ignore two fundamental principles that distinguish the United States from most other nations. Private property rights are, or should be, sacred; and public land use policy should be enacted only by elected officials who are directly accountable to the people governed by it.
Both of these principles are anathema to the United Nations, and to the agencies, organizations, and individuals who work to advance Agenda 21, and Biosphere Reserves. They have been successful because they work quietly, behind the pretext of protecting the environment. Working people rarely know what's happening until after the new policies are in place, when they discover that something they would like to do with their property is already prohibited.
The ultimate goal of the Man and the Biosphere Program is described in the U.N.'s Global Diversity Assessment (page 993), which cites the Wildlands Project as "central" to the transformation of "at least half" of the United States into interconnected core wilderness areas so wildlife can move, uninterrupted by humans, from Mexico to Canada. Core wilderness areas are surrounded by buffer zones, which are surrounded by transitional areas where people live, in "sustainable communities."
Since the Wilderness Act originally designated nine million acres of wilderness in the U.S., the wilderness system has now grown to 106 million acres in 44 states.
The U.N. plan seeks to eventually eliminate all private property so government can manage land use and natural resources to achieve social, economic and environmental equity, which is the essence of "sustainable development." This goal, and the plans to achieve it, are published throughout U.N. literature, particularly in Agenda 21.
The people who implement these programs at the local level rarely admit, or even know, that the policies they embrace are a part of a global plan. When confronted, their response is often ridicule of the questioner, suggesting "blue-helmet conspiracy" paranoia.
But when confronted with the actual U.N. and federal documents which outline the global plans, Agencies have no explanations, and, as they did in the last three attempts to designate additional Biosphere Reserves in the United States, they abandon the plan, and withdraw to regroup and form another strategy.
Virtually every community in America is under some form of transformation scheme, aimed at imposing the principles and recommendations of Agenda 21. Organized, determined, knowledgeable local opposition is the only way to stop it.
Henry Lamb is the Executive Vice President of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and Chairman of Sovereignty International.