Population controllers, pro-life activists go head-to-head at U.N. Food Summit

Author: Tom McFeely

Population controllers, pro-life activists go head-to-head at U.N. Food Summit

by Tom McFeely

ROME-The strategy and tactics by which U.N. agencies and their activist NGO allies intend to implement their destructive social agenda were unmasked in Rome at the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) World Food Summit held 13-17 November. By a combination of misrepresentation, procedural manipulation and anti-democratic subversion, the U.N. tried to force a host of feminist and radical environmentalist initiatives introduced by Western governments into every final document at recent U.N. conferences.

Population control was a prime objective of Western delegates and radical feminist NGOs at the FAO summit, just as it was at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the 1995 World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen, the 1995 Fourth U.N. Conference on Women, and the Habitat II conference in Istanbul last June. At all four conferences, the U.S., Canada and the European Union used a combination of procedural abuses and covert and overt threats to force unwilling Muslim and developing-world countries to accept the inclusion of pro-abortion euphemisms like "reproductive health" and "family planning."

U.N. bureaucrats blatantly assisted in the anti-life campaign by manipulating conference procedures to ensure that radical feminist and radical environmentalist NGOs received a favorable hearing for their arguments. Pro-life and pro-family voices, by contrast, were consistently ignored or suppressed by U.N. conference procedures.

But a growing backlash against the destructive Western social agenda was clearly evident in Istanbul. There, a broad international coalition of developing nations and predominantly Muslim countries combined to reject the pro-abortion initiatives that Western delegates and feminist NGOs tried to introduce into a document that was supposed to be concerned solely with human- settlement problems. The resolve of the world community to resist the liberals' social agenda was stiffened immeasurably by the determined efforts of the Holy See delegation and a large number of conservative lobbyists.

Heartened by the events in Istanbul, the entire G-77, which represents more than 130 nations, united to exclude every pro- abortion euphemism from the World Food Summit's draft document at the final preparatory meeting held last September in Rome. With the U.S., the E.U. and Canada using the full weight of their massive and well-financed delegations to push for the adoption of population control and reproductive health references, "it was an incredible battle to keep them out," Guatemalan delegate Mercedes Wilson recounted.

But, she added, the G-77 eventually prevailed by refusing to budge: "We told them we would not allow this language in the document-period!" However, that victory merely triggered the implementation of the U.N.'s detailed plan to usurp the sovereign powers of the world's national governments. In late October, the FAO convened a hastily scheduled special "intercessionary session" to re-negotiate the Food Summit's final document. With many G-77 nations caught off guard by the unexpected session, and with few pro-life and pro-life lobbyists able to attend on such short notice, delegates from the U.S., Canada and the European Union were able to intrude three key anti-life passages into the document.

Only the determined efforts of the few pro-life, pro-family representatives in attendance were able to prevent even more pro- abortion, pro-population control references from creeping into the document. "That was the best we could do," Peter Smith, a lobbyist representing the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), commented.

A liberal grab bag

Along with the population control language, the World Food Summit's final document contains a grab bag of references to the radical environmentalist and radical feminist initiatives that were embraced at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the four succeeding U.N. conferences. This was no accident, U.N. Development Program (UNDP) senior administrator Gustave Speth confirmed at a World Food Summit press conference on 13 November. From the entire conference cycle, he said, "the U.N. has forged an integrated plan" to implement the collective goals of the conferences.

Overall, he claimed, a "working consensus" had been crafted in support of five broad themes: (1) basic social services, (2) livelihoods and full employment for the poor, (3) sustainable resource base, (4) the advancement of women, and (5) a broad "enabling environment."

As is so often the case with U.N. pronouncements, Mr. Speth's announcement was riddled with deliberately inaccurate language. The allegation that a "working consensus" exists internationally with respect to the recent conferences flagrantly misrepresents the reality that scores of nations entered reservations to contentious passages in the earlier U.N. conference documents.

Furthermore, dozens of countries entered reservations against the population control language in the World Food Summit final document, meaning it too lacks the consensus status which is the only thing that grants such documents any international legitimacy. Major U.N. agencies, however, consistently refuse to acknowledge the absence of unanimous support by employing meaningless phrases like Mr. Speth's "working consensus" claim.

Abortion: a "basic social service"

More intentional ambiguity is involved with the first of the U.N.'s five "major" themes: "basic social services." Under hostile grilling at the press conference, Mr. Speth was vague about the depth of the U.N.'s commitment to pro-abortion "population control" initiatives. But away from unfriendly ears afterward in a Food Summit hallway, he was considerably more forthright.

Asked if his earlier comments in any way signaled a softening of U.N. support for population control, he replied "not at all." The failure to specify the central significance of "reproductive rights" was merely a tactical ploy, Mr. Speth said. He admitted that the term "social services" includes "basically the entire Cairo agenda" and is merely "a label that we put in because reproductive health services are part of basic social services." The fact that anti-natalist population control policies-including access to abortions-remain atop the U.N. agenda is further confirmed by the selection of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) as the lead agency to pursue the implementation of "basic social services" at the country level.

Still more explicit confirmation of the U.N.'s unswerving dedication to coercive population control was delivered at a small briefing by two other key UNDP officials on 15 November. UNDP assistant administrator Anders Wijkman declared that he "totally concurred" with UNFPA director general Dr. Nafis Sadik's comments the previous day about the importance of controlling population growth. "It's ridiculous to say that the population factor is not a problem," Mr. Wijkman said. "It is a colossal factor."

Asked how the UNDP could get around the obvious hostility of many national governments to the implementation of the U.N.'s pro- abortion, procontraceptive population-control programs, Mr. Wijkman claimed that this resistance was mostly "rhetorical" in nature.

"I believe that very few governments do not recognize that reproductive health services to women are a basic element of social services," he said.

A handful of countries "close to the Vatican" were refusing to allow the UNFPA to introduce its deadly package of population programs, Mr. Wijkman admitted. But even in those cases, he maintained, the U.N.'s agenda can still be aggressively promoted. "Most often, then, there are strong NGOs that try to cooperate with us."

An anti-life agenda

The leaders of the U.S. delegation also signaled their continuing support for the U.N.'s feminist-inspired anti-life agenda. After citing the dangers of "rapid population growth" in his official World Food Summit statement, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman hinted ominously that the Clinton Administration may withhold support from developing countries who refuse to embrace the proabortion agenda the U.S. has promoted at every major U.N. conference since Bill Clinton was elected in 1992.

In a section of his remarks entitled "Developing World Must Change National Policies," Mr. Glickman warned that "in a time of limited resources, the United States stands ready to help those nations that demonstrate the political will necessary to achieve food security."

That warning seemed a clear indication that the U.S. is prepared to punish the ever-larger contingent of developing-world nations who have angrily rejected the West's anti-life agenda by withholding foreign aid. Indeed, similar thinly veiled threats have forced many conservative Christian and Muslim developing nations to accede to Western pressures at previous gatherings, reports Guatemala's Mrs. Wilson, a veteran of all the U.N. summits since Cairo.

Altogether, the events in Rome unmistakably indicate the continuing commitment of the U.N.'s bloated international bureaucracy, the undemocratic and unrepresentative radical NGO community, and of leading Western nations to the imposition of a destructive and interventionist social agenda. Moreover, not only are these three groups refusing to heed the increasingly vocal protests of the developing world-and of the broad segments of western society who are also opposed to this agenda-U.N. bureaucrats are already engaged in a concerted campaign to muzzle their opponents at future international gatherings.

Lessons for the pro-life movement

It is now obvious that the U.N. has not the slightest intention of backing away from any element of the radical agenda promoted in the recent conference cycle. It is equally clear that even though no formal full-dress conferences are planned for the remainder of this century, the U.N. and its NGO allies intend to use follow-up "implementation" sessions to increase the scope of their interference in the affairs of sovereign national governments.

Given those alarming facts, veteran participants in the U.N. process stressed during the Food Summit that conservative organizations and individuals should work to counter the radical campaign in a variety of ways. First, they warn, the collection of pro-life and profamily forces who assembled at recent conferences and preparatory meetings must be prepared to continue their efforts. While no formal conferences are planned, the U.N.'s implementation efforts will clearly involve a number of stage- managed "follow-up" gatherings at which the U.N. intends to deliberately suppress conservative viewpoints.

Second, pro-life and profamily groups should also encourage continuity on national delegations sympathetic to their cause. "The biggest problem is that every conference I'm meeting new faces on the delegations of Muslim countries," reports Dr. Majid Katme, Muslim co-ordinator for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. "This puts it back to zero. You have to educate them on the U.N. agenda and what population control really means."

Similarly, pro-life and profamily lobbyists agree, the interaction between various groups opposed to the U.N.'s social agenda should be maintained and strengthened.

At the tactical level, prolife and pro-family forces should be prepared to vigorously contest the false claim by U.N. proponents that recent conference documents are "consensus" agreements that must be embraced by sovereign national governments. The reality- that literally scores of nations have entered reservations against passages advocating population control and other radical social initiatives programs-must be explained to government leaders, media outlets and the general public.

The claim of radical NGOs to represent "civil society" must be debunked as well, conservatives working at the Food Summit said, by stressing the fact that such NGOs actually represent only a minute segment of national and international opinion. Democratic governments, in particular, should be warned of the threat being mounted by the NGOs to national sovereignty and encouraged to choke off NGO funding.

Many pro-life, pro-family participants in Rome also applauded the continuing refusal of the U.S. Congress, under the leadership of Sen. Jesse Helms, to forward American dues to the U.N. As with radical NGOs, the U.N.'s ability to wreak social havoc is directly proportional to the amount of taxpayer money at its disposal, according to the international behemoth's critics.

But heartening lessons have also been gleaned from the Rio-to-Rome conference cycle. Prominent NGO leaders, including International Planned Parenthood Federation Secretary General Ingar Brueggemann, have openly acknowledged that they badly underestimated the ability of pro-life and pro-family groups to recruit support among U.N. delegations.

The extensive preparations now being undertaken by U.N. agencies to thwart further inroads is additional testimony to the grudging respect being paid by the U.N. establishment to the influence of conservative forces.

Tom McFeely was in Rome at the World Food Summit on assignment for HLI. Readers may learn more about the U.N. Food Summit by visiting HLI's website at http:/iwww.hli.org.

Taken from the January 1997 issue of "HLI Reports." To subscribe contact: HLI Reports, 4 Family Life, Front Royal, VA 22630, 540-635-7884, e-mail: hli@hli.org, Web address: http://www.hli.org.