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The IUCN: From the UN to Your Back Yard
?1998, Sovereignty International--Michael S. Coffman, Ph.D.


Why is it that Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage Sites, Sustainable Development Programs, The Wildlands Project, and Convention on Biological Diversity all call for greenways, protected areas, wilderness reserves and natural corridors surrounded by regulated "buffer zones"? And why do federal agencies, the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, and other environmental groups strongly promote the same "sustainable" development agenda?

It is no coincidence. All of these programs, treaties, and organizations have one thing in common; the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

First accredited by the United Nations in 1946 as a scientific advisor of the General Assembly, the IUCN presently has more than 880 state, government agency and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) members in 133 countries. Its mission is "to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable." (Italics added)

Despite the IUCN's pretense of being a scientific body, the Spring 1996 issue of the IUCN's Ethics Working Group's affiliate publication, Earth Ethics, suggests otherwise. The IUCN, admits Earth Ethics, "promotes alternative models for sustainable communities and lifestyles, based in ecospiritual practices and principles... [To solve] the problems that face the world today, humanity must undergo a radical change in its attitudes, values, and behavior.... In response to this situation, a new global ethics is taking form, and it is finding expression in international law." (Italics added) Likewise, the IUCN's Commission on Environmental Strategy and Planning seems to be proud that they "change human behavior" by using a strategy "based less on facts...than on the values they hold." (Italics added)

Indeed, IUCN "science" is based not on facts, but on "ecospiritual" theories of pantheism (nature is God) expressed in the "biocentric" (earth centered) philosophy that all species have equal intrinsic value--humans are merely one strand in natures fragile web. The IUCN has advanced these ecospiritual principles into the pseudoscience of "conservation biology." Conservation biology holds that "natural" systems are best because they are the result of a millennia of fine-tuning by mother earth. Therefore, the only acceptable management practices for earth's fragile ecosystems are those that follow "natural" patterns. Likewise, biodiversity can only be fully protected by setting aside entire ecosystems in wilderness preserves.

The IUCN's strategy is brilliant. First, the IUCN helped create both the "science" of conservation biology and the Society of Conservation Biology. The leadership of the Society, along with David Foreman (co-founder of Earth First! and Director of the Sierra Club), then dreamed up the granddaddy of all earth protection schemes--The Wildlands Project, which demands that up to one-half of America be put into wilderness reserves and corridors, with the remaining land as buffer zones. Second, credibility for the pseudoscience of conservation biology was bought with foundation funding of conservation curricula within universities, and by strong acceptance by federal agencies belonging to the IUCN. Finally, the IUCN wrote or helped write Agenda 21, the Conventions on Biological Diversity, Desertification, Sustainable Development as well as the President's Council on Sustainable Development's (PCSD) report in which, surprise, surprise, supporting documents like the UN Global Biodiversity Assessment name The Wildlands Project as the template for protecting biological diversity! What seem to be totally independent programs and activities are in reality a masterpiece orchestrated by the IUCN.

Through the IUCN, government agencies such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the EPA and other federal agencies can huddle in private with the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Society of Conservation Biology, UNEP, UNDP, UNESCO and many others to develop strategies to implement their "ecospiritual" agenda on the ground by changing US policy -- without any knowledge of Congress or the people who will be affected.

Making US policy is constitutionally the exclusive right of Congress, by the consent of the people, and not federal bureaucrats. Nonetheless, an August, 1993 EPA Internal Working Document states,   "Natural resource and environmental agencies... should...develop a joint strategy to help the United States fulfill its existing international obligations (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity, Agenda 21).... The executive branch should direct federal agencies to evaluate national policies...in light of international policies and obligations, and to amend national policies to achieve international objectives." (Bold and italics added)

IUCN members also dominate the President's Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD), which has spawned a host of ecospiritually based programs like the American Heritage Rivers Initiative, the Clean Water Initiative, the Sustainable Communities Program and ecosystem management. Not only do IUCN members essentially control the PCSD, the same organizations dominate the various stakeholder and partnership councils that develop the programs locally--guaranteeing IUCN control or influence at every level, from the UN to our backyards. In the process, our IUCN-member federal agencies have forgotten that we are a government 'by the people,' not federal bureaucrats. A March 1994 Bureau of Land Management Internal Working Document for ecosystem management, proclaimed that federal bureaucrats should "consider human beings as a biological resource."

Given that UN Secretary Kofi Annan is restructuring the UN to allow environmental NGOs direct involvement in policy formulation and enforcement through the "People's Assembly" and the revamped "Trusteeship Council," things are likely to get very dicey since the IUCN is at the head of the NGO list. The crowning piece to this strategy may have come on January 18, 1996, when president Clinton signed Executive Order 12986, which states, in part: "I hereby extend to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources [IUCN] the privileges and immunities that provide or pertain to immunity from suit..." Although it is yet to be tested in court, the IUCN and its US members, now have diplomatic immunity from lawsuit by any American citizen. Since the Sierra Club, EPA and other earth saviors are IUCN members, does this mean they can freely enter private property with impunity, looking for violations of outrageous and contrived international laws that they also originally wrote?

In short, the IUCN through its US members--not Congress nor American citizens--controls or heavily influences almost all US environmental law. The only missing piece to make this a living reality is the naming of the IUCN as the NGO in charge of the UN Trusteeship Council. Something to think about.