What Is Agenda 21 About?


Quick Answer

Agenda 21 is a United Nations action plan for worldwide sustainable development. It is a statement of intent that many countries have signed, but it is not a law, nor is it enforceable in any way.

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Full Answer

Agenda 21 was first introduced at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. At that event, 178 countries voluntarily signed to indicate their intent to adopt the program, including the United States.

The plan is 300 pages long and is divided into four main sections. The first section covers methods of combating poverty, especially in developing countries. The second section covers environmental topics such as forest preservation and pollution control. The third section makes suggestions for strengthening the roles of diverse and typically underrepresented groups. The fourth section discusses various means of implementation of the plan.

The plan makes suggestions that all levels of government can implement, but it was never intended to be a treaty or otherwise enforceable in any way. Nevertheless, it has become the subject of conspiracy theory, gaining particular attention when it was used as a basis for a fictional dystopian novel by Glenn Beck. In the United States, the plan does not appear to be well known to the public; a 2012 poll found that 85 percent of respondents did not know enough about it to have an opinion on it.

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