U.N. Uses 'Eradication' Programs to Fight Poverty
by Theresa Bell
The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to
The term "eradication of poverty" is heard frequently these days, especially with the
United Nations designating 1996 as the . They will soon proclaim 1997-2006 as the . At first glance this seems an honorable and worthy cause. After all, charity
and justice demand that we do all we can for the poor.
Webster's definition of poverty is "the state of one who lacks a usual or socially
acceptable amount of money or material possessions." Speaking from this material
perspective, who, then, are the poor? They are our neighbours, near or far, who are
wanting in the minimal requirements to live in this world, such as food and water,
clothing, a decent place to live, and basic health services.
Someone could be in this kind of poverty temporarily through the loss of employment
or health. Others may be in a more permanent situation of poverty perhaps due to
natural and/or man-made droughts and disasters, or because of geopolitical situations
such as unjust economic structures, totalitarian governments or war.
From a faith perspective, the abstract term "eradication of poverty" is suspect. First of
all, is it a bad thing to be poor? No, because God gave us the best example by sending
us His only Son to be born into poverty. God did not make a mistake by choosing a life
of poverty for His Son. There was no room at the inn, and Our Lord's birthplace was a
stable where he was dressed, not in fine garments, but in swaddling clothes. Our faith
is replete with examples of how the poor are very close to Our Lord.
Second, Jesus did not teach us to "eradicate poverty" but to help the needy because,
"The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to
them ..." (Mark 14:3-7). To help the poor is to practice love of God and neighbor and
increases in us a host of virtues, not the least of which is charity.
A deceptive agenda
So, does the U.N. apparatus want to do good to the poor? Could it be that they want to
help correct the economic and/or political systems and structures which perpetuate the
poverty of people and of nations? If this were the case, U.N. efforts would be laudable
and most worthy of support. But the body of evidence in print and action emanating
from the U.N. system lately suggests a global agenda to eliminate the poor themselves
through population control programs.
This deceptive agenda is confused further by the use of other innocuous and seemingly
harmless U.N. terms such as "sustainable development" or "environmental
sustainability"and here's a bold one: "environmentally sustainable economic
development." It's important to understand what "sustainability" means in the heart
and soul of the U.N. and its agencies.
The U.N. apparatus believes that there are too few resources for an increasing world
population; therefore, actions have to be taken to reduce growth so that there will be
enough resources for existing and future populations. The U.N. holds up the
"sustainability" carrots of education, food, housing, clean air, water, green forests and
employment for all. So far we've devoured the carrot whole and entire, and at whose
The "UNophiles," as one author terms them, see the poor and the weak as the main
perpetrators of our environmental and economical problems, our unresourcefulness,
our wasteful appetites. This understanding of the meaning of "sustainability" is not
exaggerated. Read carefully what Canadian Maurice Strong, secretary-general to the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 at Rio, had to
say about the poor: "Hunger and povertywhich are both a cause and an effect of
global environmental degradationare still appallingly pervasive in the developing
world, where population growth compounds the problems of alleviating them."
The catalyst for global depopulation
From this Rio conference emerged a global plan of action called "Earth Summit,
Agenda 21" adopted by 178 governments. The Agenda was masterminded to "devise
integrated strategies that would halt and reverse the negative impact of human
behavior on the physical environment and promote environmentally sustainable
economic development in all countries."
Two decades prior to this conference there was much talk about "sustainability," but
since the adoption of Agenda 21, talk has fumed to action on a global scale: "[Agenda
21] stands as a comprehensive blueprint for action to be taken globallyfrom now into
the 21st centuryby Governments, United Nations organizations, development
agencies, non-governmental organizations and independent-sector groups, in every
area in which human activity impacts on the environment."
Consequently, all the major U.N. World Conferences, the U.N.'s principle organizations
and agencies frequently speak of and refer to Agenda 21 and its actions for sustainable
For example, the U.N. World Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in
1994; the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen and the Women's
Conference in Beijing (both held in 1995), all spoke of and referred to Agenda 21's
sustainability rhetoric. Even the U.N.'s upcoming conference on Human
Settlements/Habitat II will not escape the all-encompassing credo of sustainability.
The Habitat Agenda Link
This Human Settlements conference was called because the U.N. claimed that by the
year 2005 half of the human population will live in urban settings and by 2025, two-
thirds of the world's population will live in cities.
Set on controlling world population, the U. N. has a vested interest in knowing where
the majority will be and needs to target those segments of society deemed a hindrance
to global environmental and developmental sustainability.
As I write, the final negotiations by about 150 nations are taking place at U.N.
Headquarters in New York City for the global plan of action on human settlements,
now called the Habitat Agenda. From here, The Habitat Agenda will go to Istanbul,
Turkey in June for final ratification by the United Nation's member states.
Here's just a few excerpts from the Habitat Agenda, written in the usual U.N. jargon:
"Sustainable development is essential to human settlements development ... eradication
of poverty is essential for sustainable human settlements and for preserving peace ...
sustainable human settlements ensure economic development, employment
opportunities and social progress with the least possible detrimental impact on the
environment ... [human settlements] should not exceed the carrying capacity of
ecosystems, nor should they inhibit the opportunities of future generations." Note
well the "sustainable" carrots of employment and future generation opportunities,
social progress, peace, etc.
A depopulation hierarchy
The U.N. system is involved in population control from its top echelons to the bottom
ranks via multiple agencies and organizations. Their agendas are cooked up in the U.
N. boardrooms and served to the world table by way of global conferences with action
plans to be consumed and ratified by U.N.-member national governments. The Habitat
Agenda itself was extensively shaped by no fewer than 18 U.N. agencies, their related
regional commissions and the World Bank.
Among the most notable of the U.N. agencies involved in the drafting and finalizing
stages of the Habitat Agenda are the UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, UNESCO, UNEP and
UNDP. These and other U.N. agencies and organizations will also be used to
"implement and follow up" the Agenda.
Here's what UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) has planned for the
implementation of the Habitat Agenda: "First is the area of poverty alleviation and
eradication through suitable reproductive health programmes, including family
planning and sexual health ... [and] in the area of research into linkages between
population, migration and urban growth and their implication for human
On 8 February, I attended one of the U.N.'s preparatory meetings for the Habitat
Agenda called "Health in Human Settlements." Focusing on what is termed "bulging
mega-cities," Istanbul, Turkey was on the discussion table due to its population of 12
million. (Mega-cities are U.N.-defined as cities with populations exceeding 10 million.)
Also in attendance at this meeting was Ms. Demet Gural, representative from the Asian
and Near East office of Pathfinder International (PI). Gural proudly announced that PI
had initiatedwith help from regional government and non-government organizations
(NGOs)a community based "service" aimed at poor immigrant women.
Once targeted, these poor women in Istanbul were given lessons in "hygiene" which
included instruction in "family planning." They also were given free contraceptives.
Gural said it is quite easy to implement these types of programs for the poor within
cities because groups like Pathfinder International can utilize existing community
U.N. programs target the poor
From the international arena to local levels, evidence abounds that the U. N. (especially
through its conferences in the 1990s) and its allies have targeted the poor with a
vengeance to gain "sustainability" for the planet. A U.N. pamphlet titled 1996
states that, "Throughout the 1990s,
the U.N. has been holding a series of international conferences on global development
issues.... This conference continuum, with its interlinking themes, has emphasized the
need for people-centred, sustainable development, with the eradication of poverty as a
In the same pamphlet, the U.N. states that, through national action, they will "combat
the root causes of poverty in the areas of basic education, primary and reproductive
health care, and basic social services..."my emphasis!. In other words, to improve the lot
of the poor it is necessary to provide "reproductive health care"a.k.a., sterilization,
contraception and abortion.
The U.N. has also published "school kits" which promote the poor as the cause of
poverty. In the Intermediate School Kit on the United Nations under a section on
environment and development, children are told: "The population grows because
people are poorget rid of poverty and provide every one with clean water and basic
health care and the population will not grow so fast" (p. 43).
Yes, the U. N. credo of sustainability, with its humanist outlook, has permeated every
sphere of life for well over a decade. What is the cost? It is at the expense of human
lives, especially those who are poor and uneducated in the eyes of the U.N. It began
and continues with the poorest of the poor the unborn child in the womb of its
Find out the truth
What can we do? In our day-to-day lives we can, as Our Lord wished, "do good to the
poor." Find out how much money goes to world depopulation programs and protest by
visiting and writing our government leaders. Tell them that you do not want your tax
dollars contributing to eradicate poverty when it means the elimination of the poor.
Theresa Bell is executive director of HLI Canada.
1 Both quotes are taken from , 1993, p. 3.
2 , issued for debate at Habitat II's final
Prep Com at U.N. Headquarters, 5-16 February 1996).
3 , 1 December 1995.
4 Ibid, 15 January 1996.
Taken from the March 1996 issue of "HLI Reports."
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