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CLAIM: Governments can “forcibly remove” people living on polluted land or water and require them to live in “smart cities” under a plan from the World Economic Forum and United Nations called Agenda 2030.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which the World Economic Forum is helping to implement through a partnership, outlines broad goals related to issues such as economic growth, equality and the environment. It does not discuss removing people from their homes, nor does it refer to the term “smart cities.” Regardless, the U.N. does not have the power to allow, or prohibit, countries to take such an action.

THE FACTS: Social media users are falsely claiming that the U.N. plan will give governments the power to uproot people and force them to live in specific cities, with some baselessly tying this supposed scheme to the recent burning of toxic chemicals at the site of a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

“The sickos at the UN/WEF plan to confiscate all polluted land and force the people into smart cities,” one recent tweet reads. “Resist. Make people aware. Wake up!! #Agenda2030.”

Other posts blamed only the World Economic Forum — a Geneva-based organization known for its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland that brings together public and private leaders to address global, regional and industry issues — but appeared to be referencing the same document.

“The 2030 World Economic Forum agenda states that the government is forcibly allowed to remove residents if the land and the water are too polluted to live on,” a woman states in an Instagram video. “The government will force these residents to live in smart cities. The residents do not have a choice to opt out of living in a smart city or they do not get to stay on the polluted land. Is this starting to make more sense now?”

But Agenda 2030 does nothing of the sort, and neither the U.N. nor the World Economic Forum has the ability to grant governments such power.

The plan was adopted in 2015 by the U.N. General Assembly, the main policy-making arm of the intergovernmental organization which includes all member states. In 2019, the U.N. and the WEF signed an agreement that outlines ways the organizations can work together in order to more quickly implement Agenda 2030’s goals.

The agenda strives for universal peace and prosperity over a 15-year period, with 17 broad goals such as “End poverty in all its forms everywhere” and “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

Multiple goals, including the latter, cite reducing pollution as an aim. But the agenda does not direct nor give governments any new ability to dictate where people live.

“It does mention that one of the goals is to reduce the adverse impact of cities on the environment with measures like improving waste management and air quality, but at no point does it talk about removing people from their land even if this is polluted,” Florencia Soto Niño, a U.N. spokesperson, wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

Soto Niño also pointed out that the document does not even mention the term “smart cities.” Other U.N. initiatives have used the phrase, but the term is generally just used to refer to cities that utilize technology to improve operations. The term “smart cities” has proliferated recently alongside misinformation about so-called “15-minute cities,” which people have falsely claimed are designed to confine residents to their neighborhoods.

Yann Zopf, a World Economic Forum spokesperson, also said in a statement that the aforementioned claims about Agenda 2030 are false and that the organization “has never made such a statement.”

Regardless of Agenda 2030’s contents, neither the U.N. nor the forum can force sovereign governments to take a specific action.

“The premise that the UN can ‘allow’ or ‘prohibit’ countries from doing something is false,” Soto Niño wrote.

She continued: “The UN does not have an enforcing mechanism. The UN’s Member States did adopt the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. What this means is that countries pledged to work to achieve the goals and targets in the agenda, but it’s up to each country to decide how to go about this. The UN cannot force countries to implement the goals.”

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Melissa Goldin

Quelle/Source: AP News, 23.02.2023

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