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