The U.N. Plan For Global Control: Habitat II Agenda

An Interview with Eveline Herfkens

The Secretary General Appointed Executive Coordinator for the Millennium Campaign

UN Habitat, World Urban Forum 3

Vancouver, Canada, June 21, 2006

By Kathryn Price

June 21, 2006 -






For background information, see Millennium Campaign Interview 1 & Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan and UN Goals

Introduction: I interviewed Eveline Herfkens of the Millennium Campaign while in Vancouver, Canada for UN-HABITAT's World Urban Forum 3 the week of June 19-23, 2006.  I recorded the interview via voice recorder and have transcribed it verbatim.  I have added end notes to help better educate the reader on a few things that Ms. Herfkens spoke of.

Who is Eveline Herfkens?  Besides her appointment by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to Executive Coordinator of the Millennium Campaign, Ms. Herfkens has a long list of achievements making her a mover and shaker of globalization.  Her former position include, "Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation (between 1998 to 2002).  During this time, she was also a Member of the World Bank and IMF Development Committee and a Co-founder of the Utstein-Group. Presently she is a member of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization established by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in February 2002.

Ms. Herfkens served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands at the United Nations and other international organizations-including the World Trade Organization (WTO)-in Geneva (between 1996 to 1998). Ms. Herfkens was an Executive Director of the World Bank Group in Washington D.C. (between 1990 and 1996). 

Ms. Herfkens was a Member of Parliament in the Netherlands (between 1981 to 1990). She served as Member and Counselor-Treasurer of Parliamentarians for Global Action (between 1985 to 1990). She was also a Member of the Economic Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Co-organizer of the North-South Campaign. Ms. Herfkens was a Policy Officer in the field of development cooperation at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (between 1976 to 1981).

Ms. Herfkens has also served on the Council of the Labour Party.  She has been Chair of the Evert Vermeer Foundation, Chair of the Dutch Fair Trade Organization and a Member of the Development Committee of the Netherlands Council of Churches.

Ms. Herfkens studied Law and Economics at Leiden University and graduated in 1975."  Eveline Herfkens bio, The Millennium Campaign

It is apparent after visiting with Ms. Herfkens, and attending World Urban Forum 3, that the plight of the poor is the fault of "rich" nations and their over consumption of goodsClosed borders and trade policies that benefit the citizens of this nation instead of "developing" nations also help to keep the poor in their desperate condition.  It is OUR fault.  The hatred for the God given blessings this nation has enjoyed was incredible.  No matter how much we share those blessings with the world, it will never be enough until they have equaled all nations to the same level of poverty.

At the close of WUF3, they patted themselves on the back for wonderful dialog where there was none, only speeches to uphold the U.N.'s agendas.  They patted themselves on the back for wonderful debates where there was not one debate, only cheer leading for environmental policies that take away the liberties of all people.

If you, as a freedom loving person, have the opportunity to attend such an event, you should.  All the reading of U.N. policies on-line will not substitute for the full emotion expressed in their words and the response by thousands who are in attendance from around the world to these communistic ideals.  Americans need to understand how we are looked at in the eyes of the globalist.  It is a hatred.

KEY: KP= Kathryn Price    EH= Evelyn Herfkens   CW= Carol Welch

KP – Tulsa recently implemented principles of Agenda 21[1] via Vision 2025[2].  Our Mayor recently introduced the 21st Century Challenge to Eliminate Substandard Housing[3]. My question, taken from an article of yours titled Our Path to the Millennium Development Goals[4], how will globalization be a positive force for the citizens in Oklahoma who are, most of the time, in a disconnect from the issues being addressed at this World Urban Forum[5]?

EH – I think clearly the US is one of the nations who will clearly very much benefit from globalization[6].  And that’s it; it exports a lot of its produce to the rest of the world.  The US benefits a lot from trade so that is helpful.  The other side of it is indeed, the importance of citizens in Oklahoma to also understand that the world has become a global village.  That issues like infectious diseases, environmental degradation, international financial crisis, terrorism, these issues travel – we’re all interconnected, we’re all out there together.  We have to, as a team, work together to make this world a better place for all of us.

KP – In the US, especially areas in the Midwest, what is being done in these sometimes very rural areas to help become more interconnected and more interdependent with our global world in this age of globalization?

EH – Well, I think one of the most important things is to get the message out to the younger generation because even more than we, they will live in a world which is even more interconnected.  So, for them to grow up as citizens with the skills needed in a totally globalized world it is very important that in the education system they would hear about how other people live in other countries, get exposed to some other cultures so, education is a very important point. 

There are a lot of initiatives that are voluntary initiatives, which can help, uh, initiatives for high schools.  For instance there is the Model UN,[7] which the United Nations Associations very much promotes and which young people are exposed to how it works on an international conference like that.  Learn to identify themselves with being representative of another country than themselves; I think that is a very good way to do it. 

We have seen some fantastic initiatives of young people all around the world including some of the examples I can give in Germany where actually there are competitions in high schools of who can become the official Millennium Development Goal advocate on behalf of the high school.  Yah know, there’s a debating competition and it ends up with a competition of different high schools from different cities.  And then that group of young people starts thinking, ‘how can we bring the message to our parents or schools or communities, or churches’, etcetera, and they come up with the most fantastic ideas like, ‘why can’t we have street theatre’ or ‘why don’t we have theatre play around the Millennium Development Goals’ or ‘why don’t we do a contest of music, a song contest’ or whatever around these Goals.  And it’s wonderful what you can do as young people, when you put them together they’re creative and they reach out. 

Another example is Scouts.  I just addressed two weeks ago 5,000 Scouts at the National Jamboree in Spain.  All these little kids – they all pledged, they always promise – all these little kids  - they all pledged they would go home after this conference and tell their parents and their teachers about the Millennium Development Goals and how they wanted to inherit the world from their parents and teachers in a way that these goals will be achieved.

KP – Is there encouragement – the scouts are obviously a very big organization in the United States – is there encouragement being given to our national Boy Scout organization?

EH – We have, at the international level, signed a memorandum of understanding[8] with the international scout movements about their commitments for the coming few years to pick up the Millennium Development Goals as a theme and we see that starting in the United Kingdom, in Spain – it’s happening – next summer they will have their international Jamboree , I think in Scotland, ya know, this will be the big theme and what we very much hope is that indeed, scout movements, leaders that will go to that meeting and hear about it and will take this up themselves. Ya know, find out what these goals are, get in touch with Carol [Welch] and other US representatives – what can we do to promote this.

KP – Could you explain what a memorandum of understanding is?

EH – I hate that word myself. [Laughter]  It’s something that you sign – two parties sign a formalization of partnerships in which both parties make commitments and in this situation the scout movement committed themselves to use this theme in the coming years in whatever events they organize and if we commit ourselves to support them with material, with information, with speakers, with ideas how best to do this.  It’s a partnership, a moment for a photo opportunity, so here we have, ya know, the King of Sweden as the formal head – the President – so, then you have the photo opportunity between the King and me signing it and that’s how the news gets out.

KP – Have you had good follow up on the commitments?

EH – In Europe until now.  We haven’t seen yet any in the US so it would be wonderful to see.

CW – The Girl Scouts are starting to get engaged on global health issues in the US and they actually have a new badge[9], I think it is that they are working for global health issues where they are taking action within their troop.

KP – I don’t have any daughters, only sons, so this is their new thing?

CW – Yeah, it’s relatively new and global health is very imbedded in the goals.  AIDS - goal six – maternal and child mortality equals 4 and 5 so, they’re starting to get engaged in the health and I think, again, it’s a good issue.  I think infectious disease health is one of the things that we’re now seeing Americans recognize.  A really good example of how this is an interconnected world we’re not isolated , um, so it’s a first step, I think, in getting them more involved in more MDG type issues.

EH – Health is important in education.  One of the other goals is about getting every kid to school and very few kids in America do realize that there are more than 100 million kids that actually don’t even see the inside of a classroom in primary level and that’s very motivating issues for kids because very kid understands that going to school is your ticket to every opportunity in life.  Everything that’s important in life for quality of life so, that is important.  But to me this is just about not yet another generation in poor countries of kids who don’t go to school, it’s also about not yet another generation growing up in our part of the world that have no clue about how kids live in poor countries and how our own society is partly responsible for that.

KP – Oklahoma was recently rated as one of the top states with the highest amount of its citizens living in poverty.

EH – Yeah, I read about that.

KP – During Dialogue One yesterday, a gentleman representative of the World Bank, I didn’t catch his name, stated the cost of helping the world’s poor has raised and the numbers are staggering at 40-60 billion a year is needed to help ease the burden of the world’s poor.  He also stated that the World Bank would not be able to respond to those types of numbers and that it’s the responsibility of nation states to help pick up that financial burden.  Since you, as I read in your biography, are a former member of the World Bank, do you foresee in the near future anytime, a global tax to help ease that financial burden?  If so, what time frame are we looking at since apparently, this being my first UN event, is an urgent matter?

EH – I’m afraid that it will take a long time before you will actually get an international agreement, including the government of the United States, to agree to a global tax[10].  Where I do see a lot of positive news is that, actually, you said this is a staggering numbers, this 40-60 billion dollars, it’s not.

CW – It’s not.

KP – It is to me.

EH – I don’t want to mention what you spend in this country on the Iraq war.

CW – Ya know, he shouldn’t call this a staggering number either because it’s peanuts really.

EH – Yeah, it’s peanuts.  If you look at your budget ya know, it’s – One of the points I want to make is that the average American, according to polls, thinks that about 17 or 20% of your federal budget is spent on helping poor countries.  In fact, it’s less than 1%.  So, that’s how little you’re doing on this.  And, what I found even more interesting, if you then ask a second question to people, well, 15-17%, do you think that’s okay?  Yeah, that’s about, uh, [laugh] actually much less that you are doing.  Uh, now, 50-60 billion is um, is – Let me give you another figure that I always found interesting, is that actually in the United States spends more on weight loss products than on helping poor countries.  And I often say, when people say they’re not sure if aid helps I say, well, it definitely helps better than weight loss products. [Laugh]  But it’s that kind of numbers, I mean, rich country citizens spend more on pet food than on development cooperation, I mean, we’re talking about one latte a day. 

The interesting news is that since the Millennium Declaration, since the agreement about these goals, most rich countries, including the US, actually have a place in their budget to help poor countries and the US, less than others, but for instance the European Union has decided that in advance of 2015 each and every country will spend 0.7% of it’s national income to development cooperation.  That means there will be an additional 50 billion because just little old Europe by it’s self if it would do 0.7% that would be 50 billion.  So, if you would have a US share, it doesn’t have to be 0.7 but let’s take 1% more, then you would already have that money on the table; we’re not talking big money.  I mean, just compare within your federal budget what defense spending is, what domestic agriculture subsidies are; it’s always higher for helping, just your cotton farmers is larger than your budget to help Africa – the whole of Africa.  So it’s, it’s – it’s not big money.  It sounds, for you and me as an individual, you think, my check would carry that but, for an economy like the Americans – what’s the size of your economy?

CW – Our budget is about 2 1/2 trillion dollars.

EH – So, we’re talking peanuts.

CW – Yeah, yeah.

EH – Actually, a wonderful example of the creativeness of young people is when in Italy, in the south of Europe, they decided to get letters to their Congress members that they wanted them to spend the 0.7% on helping poor countries, one of the ideas was why – we’re going to send them a pizza and we cut out 0.7, ya know, making the statement that that’s all we ask – we can’t be that greedy, ya?  But when they did that they tried to figure out the normal size pizza and what 0.7 of the pizza was, it was actually just a line and was not an edible slice.  You couldn’t cut it out!  So, that is what you have to talk about.  Here you have a bottle of water, (She gives a demonstration by putting her fingers in the glass of water, getting them wet and allowing the beads of water to drop from her fingers onto the table in front of us.) – That’s it, that’s it!  0.7.   This is hard for you to write down but, you know [laugh].

KP – I will remember that.

EH – That’s why we started doing ads like that in Europe.

KP – I’m trying very hard to bring this global issue as close to heart for Oklahoman’s to understand as possible, so this is not something that’s in outer space but, that this does affect them at home.

EH – Yeah.

KP – Talking about the worlds poor, and knowing that Oklahoma has been honored with the title of poorest states,

EH – Yes, yes.

KP – Would this be something that helps Oklahomans, the Millennium Development Goals or, is this only for the poor in developing countries?

EH – Well, you know, my personal experience is that people who are benefiting for themselves always show more solidarity.  So, I mean…it’s the poorest parts of Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway where the largest amount of giving is.  So the fact that Oklahoma is relatively poor, given my experience in these issues might mean that Oklahoma has the largest number of people who would be caring about these issues if they knew about it.  So, that’s one issue but, I always want to make the point when people tell me, how is this in my interest, I will always answer that in my experience with human beings is that there is also this moral imperative, ya know, this is what my values are about, we care about others, even if we live a continent away.  We don’t want babies to die – totally unnecessary they can’t afford a twenty five cent malaria bed nets to protect themselves against malaria.  So, before I answer why it is in their interest I fully want to make the point that most people, they care, ya know, they really care.

KP – Yes, people are good at heart.

EH – Yes.

          Now, as I said earlier on, in terms of your own interest, even the largest country in this world, United States, is utterly dependent economically on the rest of the world.  So, ultimately it is in the interest of every American if poor countries become developed and we stop this – I hate to say this that there is a link between poverty and terrorism because the terrorists were not poor, they were not poor people but, what poverty does is that it snatches away hope of young kids to have a future and it creates a breading ground for terrorism.  It’s exactly in the states that are failing and falling apart – Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, where you see this, ya know, this breading ground where terrorists can control its followers.  So, it is in all of our interest that we take away this cause of creation of terrorism.  But also economically, ultimately the US depends on where they can sell their products.  Development helps create markets for your products, it’s very important.  So, from every perspective this world has become too small to say that it can’t be ever in our interest to care about what happens a continent away.

KP – The concept of interdependence is new, especially in my area. Are there other ways that has helped create interdependence in the world other than financially?

EH – Diseases.  I mean, the whole Bird Flu issue can hit you.  Because of poverty, developing countries are not able to constrain it and these birds fly in the air up here, I mean, it’s already happening in Europe.  Diseases have no passports and poverty means that countries are not able to contain diseases so, that is a scary thought but that’s why it’s clearly in our interest to help countries to develop or to contain outbreaks like this.  So, that’s a clear issue.  Terrorism I already mentioned.  Environmental degradation; I mean, poverty forces people to burn down parts of the tropical rain forest, which are needed, for all of us, for our oxygen all around the globe so, uh, Carol has another example.

CW – A couple of other things I would add is; it’s not being talked about much in the immigration debate but, part of why there is this immigration to the US is because Central American nations are poor, they are falling short on growing their economy and providing jobs and delivering effective services.  If we focus more attention on helping them get their own houses in order, develop there economies, have opportunities for jobs, services, effective governments, they wouldn’t’ be needing to leave their countries – they don’t want to leave their countries, it’s the fact that they need to earn money.  Obviously it’s not going to turn around tomorrow but investing in those countries is crucial in dealing with some of our own immigration challenges that we are dealing with in the US.  Um, another issues that I would raise is, you mentioned rural development before, um, part of why rural America is doing badly is because our agricultural investments are wrong.  We’re essentially giving really big subsidies to the large agricultural producers which then hurt small farmers, not only in the United States but also in developing countries.  One of the policy changes that need to happen to meet the goals is to, uh, is for rich countries to stop over subsidizing their big producers and dumping those products.  That would also help our own rural economy as well.  There are more and more groups…

EH – You use that same money to help finance your own rural development in a much broader sense than just giving money to large farmers who produce more and more than you and I could ever swallow and then dump that over there, I mean...

KP – Is there anything in the works to help relieve that problem?

CW – The farm bill next year can be quite politically contentious because, um, there are real budget concerns, as you know, and we’re spending billions, tens of billions of dollars on agriculture subsidies. There’s a real budget imperative that the administration would like to see our agriculture subsidies reduced and then around that there’s a lot of do-gooder groups who, both environmental groups, groups who are looking at energy security who want to see Americans, uh, use more bio fuels so we’re not so dependent on oil.  So, there’s going to be this interesting conglomeration of environmentalists, poverty activists, security – people concerned with security, who see the farm bill as a way to change what are pretty bad policies for our own rural development and for poor countries.  And then you have on the other side really well funded deep pocketed, politically connected big agricultural producers.

KP – I did notice that the state of Indiana, I believe Reynolds, Indiana[11], will be the first Bio-Town in the US trying out many new technologies to help conserve more energy.

EH – That is very promising.  That could be job creation in Oklahoma too if someone picks that up.

KP – Yes.  My next question, One of the themes of this forum is localization of the MDG’S.  In your article, "Path to the Millennium Development Goals," it is apparent that our national government doesn’t always follow through with it’s commitments, uh, have you been able to work with local communities in the US when the federal government puts up barriers have you been able to work around that and go straight to the local as one of the major themes here?

EH – Not yet that much in the US, much less than we would want to.  I mean, I make some speeches here and there and so does Carol and we work closely with the ONE Campaign[12] in order to get the message out but, um, our plans for now have been fairly successful, particularly in Europe and we see tremendous possibilities.  If you see mayors being committed to get people to reach out, uh, to reach out to their own citizens, and then those citizens start lobbying members of their parliament, it really creates a tremendous political constituency because at the end of the day – I mean, I always hope that politics is about vision and leadership but, in fact, most politicians care very much about being re-elected and initiatives at the local level can send the message to your congressman or your member of parliament that they would actually win and not lose votes if they take the right position on these types of issues.  So that, particularly in rich countries, this local engagement, these local events we’ve seen all over Europe – film festivals dedicated to rap contests, whatever, reaching out. 

A big technology fair by Bill Gates and me where hundred’s of thousands of young people came there to look at the gadgets, but also heard about the goals, it really helps reaching out to politicians and saying, ‘come on guys, you can only win not lose votes by doing the right thing.’ And then you start seeing it happening.  The problem of course is that most rich countries, people don’t know about the promises that have been made or the extent that their government is not following through with these promises but, once you get the message out people become passionate and start doing something about it immediately turns things around and politicians want to win the next election and they know this will give them direction – the extra percentages that they need to make that happen, they go for it.

KP – I think it was last summer I read something about the US Conference of Mayors; have they been trying to do their part, have they been very effective in helping?

EH – I have seen that they have taken a trip over to Africa; they are talking about AIDS.  Mayors are very close to their citizens and they reach out through local media.  I have always believed that local media[13] is very more important than media at the international level.  Mayors can give a voice to these issues; it’s very, very effective.  It depends very much on their own personal commitment how much you grab them to do so.  I was in Minnesota, St. Paul, [14]there was a U.N. flag exposed for my visit and the mayor and the local councilors are extremely committed.  The congresswoman[15] from St. Paul, she is one of the leaders in the U.S. congress on tabling resolutions supporting the Millennium Development Goals.  And, yeah, maybe Betsy would have done it anyway but, it really helps that she knows that her own constituents really want her to do that and she gets credit for that if the commitments of these citizens around these issues.

CW – I think also – I am an American, I think most politicians in Washington think most Americans don’t know about these issues, don’t care about these issues.  But when they see their counterparts back home in their districts that are the mayors, the people who will eventually, ya know, move on to possibly take on federal positions being engaged, I think it also causes them..

EH – It sends them a message.

CW – Yeah, it really makes them think, ‘Ya know, this person is completely rooted in local issues and yet their seeing these global issues as important to them’.  There’s something significant about that, I think.

EH – Well, I mean, I applaud the recognition of your local politics if they understand that indeed the future is connected.  If we don’t achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the world will be a much less safe place for all of us.  So there is a interest to do that and vision at the local level is crucial to help that happen.

KP – I have just a couple more questions.

EW – Well, let me just say something.

KP – Yes, please.

EW – Indeed, it’s the lack of awareness in the first place yes, because the moment people know they do care; the moment they hear the numbers they do care.  And I do understand coming from Oklahoma that this seems very far away.  I mean, Carol just said, she is an American.  I must apologize for the fact that I come from a country that if you drive a little bit too fast, you’re abroad and you have to speak another language; I come from the Netherlands.  I mean, it’s less that a hundred miles across so, it’s so much easier and it comes so much more natural to us to look out.  Uh, so, I fully acknowledge that there is a different situation in the United States.  I mean, you can drive a thousand miles and in the same place and same country, same language, etc., and if you’re here in the heartland the world seems very far away.  But it is also to do with media; if you start writing about it, if there would be more specials about these issues, it would be an eye opener.  There is this interesting statistic that the moment Americans travel abroad that these things already change.  They don’t even have to go to Africa.  Just traveling gives a new prospective.  So, I would love for all the Oklahoman’s, on a nice tour around the world, that would be a shortcut to it.

KP – I must say, this is my first trip to Vancouver and it is a beautiful city.  You have a quote from this same article, that “if trade continues to serve the rich and polarize nations, there will be serious and irrevocable consequences for the worlds poorest.”  The U.S. is in a battle to pass free trade agreements now in this hemisphere and I’m sure that the questions our citizens have are similar to those of the European community before it became a reality.  What would you say to Americans, especially Oklahoman’s during this time of transition of bringing the western hemispheric nations together in trade?

EH – Um…

KP – I feel it is inevitable.

EH – Of course it is inevitable; we know it’s going to happen.  The question is when and on what terms.  And what I think is really important and also an experience of me as a European becoming one big market is that the terms are fair.  That the terms are fair and in terms that poor countries can actually export where they have a comparative vantage.  Uh, and some of the fair trade agreements that the U.S. have made and, by the way of the Europeans with non European countries have not been exactly fair because we have closed our borders still for products that these countries have a comparative advantage in.  So, ya know, uh, for instance, uh, there are a lot of tomatoes being produced in Italy so it’s still hard for poor countries to export tomatoes to us.  And, strawberries only if they’re off season in northern Europe; rules like that.  That type of rules and, I remember that Chile agreement - grapes, salmon, what were the products?

CW – caps, just last year, there were caps on how much sugar could be exported to the United States from those countries. Sugar is one of their most, uh, one of the sectors where they have comparative advantage but, again, it is a few politically well connected but, small in size in how much they employ people in the United States, were able to get a cap so, it’s a good example of where the very sector the poor country  - where the trade agreement should be benefiting the poor country that’s where they are limited from exporting to us.

EH – Well, the U.S. stand achieves for the Europeans for that matter, in trade agreements with poor countries that we can export everything to them so, we destroy their domestic industry and these sort of trade agreements actually impoverish these countries and are not helpful at all.  So, it should be really free for both sides that would be fair.

KP – Question.  I just recently learned of the Organization of American States because of the recent lawsuit by Tulsa Race Riot victims taken to the human rights court of the OAS[16].  What role will the OAS play in helping to bring a trade union to reality?

EH – I have no idear.  I’m not a member of any OAS country.  I only can give you wonderful experiences in the European Union where because we have a court, a court of justice, that government positions have been over run by that and I think it was wonderful the way that European governments once and a while are being corrected by our court of justice which is above our nation state.  But, I don’t know how strong the OAS court of justice is and to what extent it can be so, I have no idear.

KP – Okay, okay.  Well, I thought I would ask.

EH – Ask another American delegation here.

KP – Last summer I read from a British website, a quote, saying “Regionalization is the vehicle for Sustainable Development”.  How is it , you think, that regional structures help promote sustainable development?

EH – Well, if Africa would create an African Union and open up their borders among each other, that would definitely would be a tremendous improvement of the present situation in Africa.  But, if regionalism is, forget about the multi-lateral system, the Americans take care of Latin America, the Europeans of Africa, and Japan of the Asian, I don’t think that will be a beneficial situation because we are one world and it’s not good to – it’s really second best.  If you can have a multilateral solution on issues where everybody is involved instead of just a regional base but, indeed, it would be helpful for poor countries to benefit the way we as a European Union did and you as a country in the first place. 

I mean, once you were also different states, weren’t you? You know, from a large and domestic markets.  It would be good if there were more economical cooperation in regions in developing countries.  But, I don’t like the world to be split apart into this, ya know, Africans with Europeans, I don’t think that is in anyone’s benefit.  And I don’t trust me, as a European, to be fair if , ya know, we are suppose to take care of that.  I don’t think I want to leave the poor in Asia to Japan or the poor in Latin America to the U.S. and so on.  It’s better to do that in a multilateral system.

KP – I have one more question,

EH – Including trade, by the way, particularly trade.  Trade agreements should be at the multilateral level if possible, so, that’s why it’s so important that the presence of multilateral trade delivers.

KP – Oklahoma is known as the Buckle of the Bible Belt.  In your bio I read that you were, I don’t know if you still are, a member of the Development Committee of the Netherlands Council of ChurchesWhat role are churches playing to achieve sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals.

EH – Well, I think first, the World Council of Churches[17]– I’m not on that anymore because I’m not in the Netherlands anymore.  The World Council of Churches is the very first international organization, after the Millennium Declaration came out, to come with a booklet stating about the Millennium Development Goals and praising ten ways in which the churches can help achieve the Millennium Development Goals and what they would then achieve by 2015 in order to be helpful. 

Churches are very powerful and very much reach out.  In the part of the world that I come from churches and faith based organizations and people that are active in churches are the core, really the spine, of the constituency for international solidarity, they really are.  To me, there is really only one reason and way you can read the Bible and that’s to care about your neighbor and your today’s neighbor is not the one down the block, ya know, in a global village everyone is your neighbor.  So, to me it is very clear what the messages are. 

Ya know, the teachings of the church are very clear about Jesus wants to care about the poor and wants us to care about the poor as much as we care about him.  So, for me, churches have to pick up this issue and most churches that I have been involved with and know of have always been involved in issues of global poverty and in their communities churches are extremely powerful in getting the message out, reaching out, uh, organizing events around this.  And one of the most wonderful moments that we had, that I had, in my present job was indeed was the fact that in the evangelical movement in this country committed itself to actually work for, talk about, reach out about the Millennium Development Goals.  That was a very – I found that a much more relevant moment than some of the Jews picking up the issue.

KP – Do you have any final words you would like to leave with me that I can give to..

EH – I think I said most of what I wanted to say – I mean, I always end my speeches with the fact that we are the first generation that can put an end to poverty and we should refuse to miss this opportunity.  And, maybe the one question you didn’t ask of me that I want to answer is that according to poll’s, American’s are not that optimistic about the feasibility of these goals and I just want to make the point that these goals are achievable; that the only thing it takes is that governments live up to their promise and that where governments do live up to their promise, even in the poorest governments in Africa , they are on track to achieve the goals.  But it does take these countries to live up to their promises and us rich countries to be a little bit more helpful with more aid as we promised with making our aid more effective to help them achieve the goals and indeed, changing our trade of course too.

KP – I appreciate your patience with my questions.

EH – Thank you for the opportunity.

[1] Agenda 21:

[2] Tulsa Vision 2025:  Vision 2025: Tulsa’s Agenda 21 for Sustainable Development:

[3] Tulsa’s 21 Century Challenge to Eliminate Substandard housing:

Habitat for Humanity:

“This year, Habitat for Humanity International joined with UN-HABITAT and the Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City to commemorate the theme of World Habitat Day 2005: Millennium Development Goals and the City.  The theme was chosen by the United Nations as a reminder of the goals set by world leaders in 2000 to address poverty, illiteracy, hunger, unsafe water, disease and urban and environmental degradation.  One of those goals, Goal 7, target 11, addresses the need to improve the lives of people living in urban slums around the world.”

[4] Our Path to the Millennium Development Goals: “The target to eradicate global poverty by 2015 cannot be met unless the worlds richest nations commit to a re-energized trade policy, insists Eveline Herfkens.” 

[5] World Urban Forum III: “The World Urban Forum, held every two years, was established by the United Nations to examine one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: rapid urbanization in a world where half of humanity lives in cities and where in the next 50 years that proportion is expected to reach two-thirds of the global population.”

[6] Definition of Globalization:  A set of processes leading to the integration of economic, cultural, political, and social systems across geographical boundaries. The August Review, The Global Elite Research Center:  “Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-founder of the global elitist Trilateral Commission in 1973 and the principal architect of modern globalization, recently wrote in 2004, "The notion of total national security is now a myth. Total security and total defense in the age of globalization are not attainable. The real issue is: with how much insecurity can America live while promoting its interests in an increasingly interactive, interdependent world?" 

[7] IB Schools in U.S. Under U.N. Law,  International Baccalaureate:  An Analysis of Jurisdiction by Lyn Rahman: Oklahoma International Inventory, A Project of OASIS:

“The Model United Nations is a simulation of the United Nations system.  Students assume thr roles of ambassadors to the United Nations and debate current global issues.  Participants seek ways, through diplomacy and negotiation, in which the world community can deal with complex global concerns wuch as the environment, economic development, refugees, IDS, conflict resolution, disarmament, and human rights.  Young people from diverse backgrounds participate in these educational exercises to experience first-hand decision-making processes and diplomatic work at the United Nations.  Model United Nations of the Southwest runs an annual conference for about 400 high school and college students, at which participants simulate the United Nations.  This is an excellent real-world experience for political science students.” 

[8] Memorandum of Understanding with UNICEF and Memorandum of Understanding  with the Millennium Development Goals:  Scouting and the United Nations Call Upon the Youth of the World:

[9] Girl Scouts of the USA a Key Player in Major National Global Health and Child Survival Campaign: In 2003, Girl Scouts of the USA was granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC): 

[10] GOP Senators Support Push Against New Global Taxes,  July 20, 2006: “While global taxes are being sold as a way to generate revenue to fight diseases and for other good purposes, the United States can more effectively deal with these problems through existing agencies and in concert with other countries. The world will not be served by creating new international bureaucracies and financing them through global taxes and other co-called "innovative sources" of funding.”

[11] BioTown, USA:

“The long term expectation of the BioTown, USA, project is to completely meet all the energy needs of Reynolds via biorenewable resources, including electricity, natural gas replacement, and transportation fuel. Meeting the energy needs of this town with renewable sources will be the first of its kind in the world, while using environmentally friendly technologies that will convert animal and human waste to biogas, which translates into energy.”


[12] ONE Campaign: “By directing an additional ONE percent of the U.S. budget toward providing the most basic needs – and fighting the corruption that wastes precious resources –we can help transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the poorest countries.”

[13] UN-HABITAT, MEDIA ADVISORY – National Film Board of Canada and UH-HABITAT sign Memorandum of Understanding to promote use of media for social change ( a hand out from World Urban Forum 3, Vancouver, Canada): “The MOU will be signed by Anna Tibaijuka, Under-Secretary-general of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and Jacques Bensimon, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the national Film board of Canada.

The MOU recognizes the collaboration between the NFB and UN-HABITAT in exploring training opportunities, creating media, and developing social and cultural initiatives.  The NFB and UN-HABITAT will share their respective technical expertise to support an ongoing campaign to raise awareness on urban issues.”

[14] Minneapolis Public Radio:  Should the U.S. Send More Money to Africa?  Minnesota Global:  Today’s Children, Tomorrows Security: How the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals Will Transform the World -

[15] “Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduces, with 31 co-sponsors, a non-binding resolution affirming the commitment and leadership of the U.S. to improve the lives of the world's people living in extreme poverty through the Millennium Development Goals, May 26, 2005.”

“Whereas on March 14, 2002, President George W. Bush stated: `[The] growing divide between wealth and poverty, between opportunity and misery, is both a challenge to our compassion and... (Introduced in House)” 109th Congress, 1st Session, H. CON. RES. 172, May 26, 2005:

[16] To The Honorable Members Of The Inter-American Commission On Human Rights, Organization Of American States; Petition Alleging Violations Of The Human Rights Of John Melvin Alexander ET AL. By The United States Of America: ABC News - Slavery Reparations Gaining Momentum, “The report came weeks after the Organization of American States requested information from the U.S. government about a 1921 race riot in Tulsa, Okla., in which 1,200 homes were burned and as many as 300 blacks killed. An OAS official said the group might pursue the issue as a violation of international human rights.”

[17] Consultation on Enhancing Cooperation in the Field of Diakonia and Development: National Council of Churches, U.S.A; Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals; Church Bulletin on this Topic:

See also Millennium Campaign Interview 1 & Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan and UN Goals

© 2006 by Kathryn Price




Kathryn Price is reporting on behalf of the Tulsa Beacon and Oklahomans For School Accountability researching politics and education and the implications of those findings.

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