47 in the United States - U.N. Biosphere Reserves

by Henry Lamb

These 411 U.N. Biosphere Reserves are located in 90 nations that agree to manage the sites according to policies set forth in the Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework, both created by UNESCO. (Detailed maps by continent - List of Biosphere Reserves)

Each of these Biosphere Reserves, and new reserves yet to be designated, are to be connected by corridors of wilderness, surrounded by "buffer zones," which are surrounded by "zones of cooperation." People are to be moved into "sustainable communities."


Why the government is grabbing our land
By Henry Lamb

Most of the world's people have no concept of private property, as it has evolved in the United States. Most of the world evolved under a system of governance in which the state (king, czar, crown prince, or whatever) owned all the land and all the resources. Individuals are granted (or denied) the privilege of using the land and its resources only as it may please the state. This underlying philosophy of land use continues to permeate public policy throughout most of the world, and especially in the United Nations.

This philosophy was rejected by the people who created the government of the United States, choosing instead, the philosophy of John Locke, who championed individual ownership. This principle of private property ownership is the foundation from which America's prosperity was launched.

The principle of private property ownership was challenged in the United States during the 1930's enthusiasm for socialism, through organizations such as the Wilderness Society, whose founder, Robert Marshall, advocated "nationalization" of the nation's forests. The post-war anti-communism campaign quieted this enthusiasm in America, but did not end it.

Advocates of government ownership and control of land use saw more opportunity in a global approach than was offered by the cumbersome American legislative system. Proponents of this philosophy flocked to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a non-government organization founded by Julian Huxley, who also was the founder of UNESCO - the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

A Frenchman, Francois Bourliere, was president of the IUCN from 1963 to 1966. He personally, and the IUCN, were instrumental in the development of the first U.N. Treaty on Wetlands, adopted in Ramsar, Iran in 1971.

Bourliere was named to chair the first MAB International Coordinating Council in November, 1971. From this meeting grew the current U.N. Man and the Biosphere Program.

In 1973 in Washington, the IUCN was successful in getting the U.N. to adopt its treaty on Endangered Species. The IUCN was responsible for drafting, and bringing into force through the United Nations, a global policy on governing wetlands, endangered species, and biosphere reserves.

By 1976, the United Nations was ready to articulate a general policy on land use. This policy is stated in the final report of the first U.N. Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT I), held in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1976.

The preamble to the section on Land, says:

"Land...cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable...."
The land use philosophy of the non-American world was fully incorporated into international law and norms, with the support of the United States government.

At the direction of President Carter, the U.S. State Department entered into an agreement with UNESCO (M) in 1979 to launch a U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program. Congress was not consulted, nor was any state legislature consulted, as 47 U.N. Biosphere reserves were quietly designated in the United States.

In the late 1990s, the 48th U.N. Biosphere Reserve was proposed for the Ozarks. The U.S. MAB office, working through other federal and state agencies and The Nature Conservancy, began the initiative. It failed (M), because local citizens informed themselves about the possible implications and insisted to their elected officials that the designation be stopped.

Congressman Don Young (R-AK) introduced the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, which passed the House of Representatives in two sessions of Congress, but died in the Senate. His bill would have required that Congress approve each of the existing Biosphere Reserves, and all future designations.

Proponents of government control of land use shifted their tactics from the expansion of Biosphere reserves to other land use control measures. The Clinton administration adopted an Ecosystem Management Policy (M), and used the Antiquities Act to designate "Monuments," so expansive as to give government control of land well beyond the so-called monument. The "Roadless Initiative" had the effect of removing people from wilderness areas by denying access. This was much easier that getting a wilderness designation through Congress.

The "Clean Water Initiative" gave the federal government jurisdiction over private lands adjacent to streams, broadening the scope of the earlier "wetland" policy. Heritage designations, conservation easements, and "open space" are now favorite tools used to expand government control of land use.

"Critical Habitat," authorized under the Endangered Species Act, has become a favorite device for government control of private property. Nearly 2,000 species have been listed as endangered or threatened; government has only to declare an area to be "critical" to the species, then the government can dictate how the land may be used.

All of these measures work together to achieve the original goal of the Man and the Biosphere Program: to conserve most of the planet for wildlife, forcing people into "sustainable communities." This objective has now been codified into international law in the form of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The IUCN, author of this concept, also devised Agenda 21, adopted in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 at the U.N. conference on Environment and Development. Agenda 21 is a laundry list of recommendations designed to reorganize society around the central principle of protecting the environment.

Even though the U.S. Senate chose not to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Congress has never voted to approve Agenda 21, the federal government has been implementing both. The Forest Service is actively developing "corridors" (M) to connect wilderness areas. Bill Clinton created the President's Council on Sustainable Development to translate Agenda 21 into domestic policy.

Why is the government using every excuse it can muster to grab the land of private individuals? The government cannot implement the international agenda if individuals are allowed to do what they please with their own land.

The European socialist philosophy on land use has overwhelmed the philosophy of John Locke and America's founders. It is no longer called socialism. It is called by many names, all associated with "sustainable development."

In most communities, neither the victims, nor the proponents of sustainable development are aware that their plight is a part of a global agenda. Indeed, most would scoff at the idea. Nevertheless, the transformation of America is well underway, without public debate, or Congressional approval. From watershed, to ecosystem, to village, to city, to multi-county regions, to transboundary biospheres - the U.N. agenda is being systematically implemented - with the help of elected officials, paid for with the taxes of American citizens.


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