The UN plans to launch a brand new plan for managing the entire globe at the Sustainable Development Summit that it will be hosting from September 25th to September 27th. Some of the biggest names on the planet, including Pope Francis, will be speaking at this summit. This new sustainable agenda focuses on climate change of course, but it also specifically addresses topics such as economics, agriculture, education and gender equality. For those wishing to expand the scope of “global governance”, sustainable development is the perfect umbrella because just about all human activity affects the environment in some way. The phrase “for the good of the planet” can be used as an excuse to micromanage virtually every aspect of our lives. So for those that are concerned about the growing power of the United Nations, this summit in September is something to keep an eye on. Never before have I seen such an effort to promote a UN summit on the environment, and this new sustainable development agenda is literally a framework for managing the entire globe.
If you are not familiar with this new sustainable development agenda, the following is what the official United Nations website says about it…
The United Nations is now in the process of defining Sustainable Development Goals as part a new sustainable development agenda that must finish the job and leave no one behind. This agenda, to be launched at the Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, is currently being discussed at the UN General Assembly, where Member States and civil society are making contributions to the agenda.
The process of arriving at the post 2015 development agenda is Member State-led with broad participation from Major Groups and other civil society stakeholders. There have been numerous inputs to the agenda, notably a set of Sustainable Development Goals proposed by an open working group of the General Assembly, the report of an intergovernmental committee of experts on sustainable development financing, General Assembly dialogues on technology facilitation and many others.
Posted below are the 17 sustainable development goals that are being proposed so far. Some of them seem quite reasonable. After all, who wouldn’t want to “end poverty”. But as you go down this list, you soon come to realize that just about everything is involved in some way. In other words, this truly is a template for radically expanded “global governance”. Once again, this was taken directly from the official UN website…
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation
10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (taking note of agreements made by the UNFCCC forum)
14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development
As you can see, this list goes far beyond “saving the environment” or “fighting climate change”.
It truly covers just about every realm of human activity.
Another thing that makes this new sustainable development agenda different is the unprecedented support that it is getting from the Vatican and from Pope Francis himself.
In fact, Pope Francis is actually going to travel to the UN and give an address to kick off the Sustainable Development Summit on September 25th…
His Holiness Pope Francis will visit the UN on 25 September 2015, and give an address to the UN General Assembly immediately ahead of the official opening of the UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.
This Pope has been very open about his belief that climate change is one of the greatest dangers currently facing our world. Just a couple of weeks ago, he actually brought UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Vatican to speak about climate change and sustainable development. Here is a summary of what happened…
On 28 April, the Secretary-General met with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican and later addressed senior religious leaders, along with the Presidents of Italy and Ecuador, Nobel laureates and leading scientists on climate change and sustainable development.
Amidst an unusually heavy rainstorm in Rome, participants at the historic meeting gathered within the ancient Vatican compound to discuss what the Secretary-General has called the “defining challenge of our time.”
The mere fact that a meeting took place between the religious and scientific communities on climate change was itself newsworthy. That it took place at the Vatican, was hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and featured the Secretary-General as the keynote speaker was all the more striking.
In addition, Pope Francis is scheduled to release a major encyclical this summer which will be primarily focused on the environment and climate change. The following comes from the New York Times…
The much-anticipated environmental encyclical that Pope Francis plans to issue this summer is already being translated into the world’s major languages from the Latin final draft, so there’s no more tweaking to be done, several people close to the process have told me in recent weeks.
I think that we can get a good idea of the kind of language that we will see in this encyclical from another Vatican document which was recently released. It is entitled “Climate Change and The Common Good”, and it was produced by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The following is a brief excerpt…
Unsustainable consumption coupled with a record human population and the uses of inappropriate technologies are causally linked with the destruction of the world’s sustainability and resilience. Widening inequalities of wealth and income, the world-wide disruption of the physical climate system and the loss of millions of species that sustain life are the grossest manifestations of unsustainability. The continued extraction of coal, oil and gas following the “business-as-usual mode” will soon create grave existential risks for the poorest three billion, and for generations yet unborn. Climate change resulting largely from unsustainable consumption by about 15% of the world’s population has become a dominant moral and ethical issue for society. There is still time to mitigate unmanageable climate changes and repair ecosystem damages, provided we reorient our attitude toward nature and, thereby, toward ourselves. Climate change is a global problem whose solution will depend on our stepping beyond national affiliations and coming together for the common good. Such transformational changes in attitudes would help foster the necessary institutional reforms and technological innovations for providing the energy sources that have negligible effect on global climate, atmospheric pollution and eco-systems, thus protecting generations yet to be born. Religious institutions can and should take the lead in bringing about that change in attitude towards Creation.
The Catholic Church, working with the leadership of other religions, can now take a decisive role by mobilizing public opinion and public funds to meet the energy needs of the poorest 3 billion people, thus allowing them to prepare for the challenges of unavoidable climate and eco-system changes. Such a bold and humanitarian action by the world’s religions acting in unison is certain to catalyze a public debate over how we can integrate societal choices, as prioritized under UN’s sustainable development goals, into sustainable economic development pathways for the 21st century, with projected population of 10 billion or more.
Under this Pope, the Vatican has become much more political than it was before, and sustainable development has become the Vatican’s number one political issue.
And did you notice the language about “the world’s religions acting in unison”? Clearly, the Vatican believes that it has the power to mobilize religious leaders all over the planet and have them work together to achieve the “UN’s sustainable development goals”.
I can never remember a time when the United Nations and the largest religious institution on the planet, the Catholic Church, have worked together so closely.
So what will the end result of all this be?
Should we be concerned about this new sustainable development agenda?
Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…