A viral Facebook post claims that the Duke of Cambridge said there are “too many people on earth” and is part of a powerful group pushing a “global depopulation” agenda.
While Prince William has made comments in the past about the pressure of growing populations on wildlife, he didn’t say this exactly and claims that he is part of “the committee of 300” building a “new world order” evoke baseless long-running conspiracy theories.
Did the duke say there are “too many people in the world”?
Not directly. The post claims that on 3 November 2017, the duke said there are “too many people in the world”, presented as a quote.
It appears that Prince William did not actually say this, though he did say: “Africa’s rapidly growing human population is predicted to more than double by 2050 – a staggering increase of three and a half million people per month.
“There is no question that this increase puts wildlife and habitat under enormous pressure.”
The comments were made on 2 November 2017, during a speech at a gala dinner for the wildlife conservation charity Tusk Trust, of which he is royal patron. They were reported that night by the Telegraph with the headline “Prince William warns that there are too many people in the world”.
This was widely picked up the following day, with the MailOnline starting its headline with “Duke of Cambridge insists there are too many people in the world” and the Express writing “Prince William says there are too many people on Earth”. It appears that these headlines have been interpreted as a direct quote by the creator of the post on Facebook.
What is Agenda 21?
The post refers to what it describes as the “UN Agenda 21 global depopulation plan for mankind”. The United Nations’ Agenda 21 was published in 1992, and is a 351-page document setting out sustainable development objectives.
The document does outline the stress a growing population places on earth’s resources, but Full Fact could find no reference to reducing the world’s population.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the UN’s sustainable development reports appear alongside conspiracy theories. In March we fact checked similar claims, this time on Whatsapp, in which it was claimed that Covid-19 was being used to usher in Agenda 2030 and begin the “enslavement of humanity”.
Again, Agenda 30 is a sustainable development plan agreed to by member states of the United Nations in 2015, which includes 17 global objectives covering things like reducing inequality and ending world hunger.
Prince William does not “preside over” the UN, as the post suggests, in any official capacity. In October 2020 it was announced that the duke had launched an award designed to tackle environmental challenges, in collaboration with the UN, but this doesn’t mean he has a leadership role within the organisation.
The rest of the post contains a number of phrases that commonly refer to, or mirror, conspiracy theories, including the “new world order” and the “committee of 300”.
The term “new world order” describes an anti-government conspiracy theory that became popular in the 1990s and has persisted to the present day. Those who subscribe to the theory believe that a secretive totalitarian government already controls most of the planet and is moving towards the enslavement of humanity.
The “committee of 300”, sometimes referred to as the “Olympians” is another decades-old conspiracy theory, which claims that a “secret upper-level parallel government... runs Britain and the US”.