Opposition to old United Nations resolution moves from the fringe to the GOP platform

“UN Flag.” Photo by Philippe Teuwen, via Flickr.

All eyes are on the Republican Party’s national convention in Tampa this week, with voters and pundits gauging presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s performance. But amid the bright spotlight of the stage and the specter of Tropical Storm Isaac, the GOP also released its platform for the coming years.

The platform’s language includes reference to the “U.N. Agenda 21,” a non-binding resolution signed by the in 1992 that has become a catch-all boogeyman for conservative fears about changing development and new currents in American society. In a post published today, the New York Times’ Leslie Kaufman explains what this has to do with local planning efforts:

Although it is nonbinding and has no force of law in the United States, it has increasingly become a point of passionate concern to a circle of Republican activists who argue that the resolution is part of a United Nations plot to deny Americans their property rights…Most of those pushing the Agenda 21 theory have been largely on the margins of their own party. But the inclusion of language for Agenda 21 in the Republican Party platform could mark a turning point, said Tom Madrecki, a spokesman for Smart Growth America, an advocacy group that works to limit sprawl.

“Though the actual language of the platform does not say anything besides ‘we oppose Agenda 21,’ the fact that it’s in the platform gives credence to something that just shouldn’t get any,” he said.

He said he’s concerned that formalizing opposition to Agenda 21 will bring more disruption and will “continue halting beneficial conversations about community planning.”

Creating great, economically prosperous neighborhoods is an issue that people on both sides of the political aisle can support – and many leaders, both Republican and Democrat, already have. Ultimately, it is unfortunate that misguided politics and conspiracy might get in the way of economic development and better neighborhoods across the country.

Republican Platform Opposes Agenda 21 [New York Times’ Green blog – August 29, 2012]