The World Economic Forum isn’t planning the ‘end of national sovereignty’

30 June 2023
What was claimed

The Great Reset, the WEF, the UN and Agenda 21/2030 advocate for the end of national sovereignty, universal basic income, a world social credit system, ending of privately owned property and confining people to 15 minute cities, amongst other things.

Our verdict

Although the WEF has published articles on some of these topics, it is not planning for them and although influential, it has no authority to enact any of these policies. There’s no evidence the UN advocates for these policies either and they aren’t mentioned in Agendas 21 or 2030.

What was claimed

Universal credit is already being trialled in the UK.

Our verdict

Universal credit is the name of the means-tested benefits and tax credit system for working-age people in the UK. If the post is referring to “universal basic income”, as mentioned earlier in the post, a small trial is planned in England and another trial for some care leavers is underway in Wales.

A post on Facebook appears to make a number of claims about plans from the World Economic Forum, its co-founder Klaus Schwab and the United Nations.

The post says “The Great Reset; New World Order” and “Agenda 21/2030; Political Correctness” and then lists a number of events, including “The end of national sovereignty”, “Implementation of a world Social Credit System for behaviour modification” and “Human beings restricted and monitored in 15 minute cities”.

The graphic also features the logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and its co-founder, Klaus Schwab, implying they also have something to do with these policies.

But none of the initiatives listed are planned by any of these organisations.

Agenda 21 is the UN’s “comprehensive plan of action” published in 1992 to tackle environmental issues and Agenda 2030 was devised in 2015 to help the organisation achieve its sustainable development goals by 2030. We have written many times before about similar false claims about these agendas including that one is a depopulation plan, that another will make people eat insects and planned the pandemic in order to enslave humanity

We’ve also written about false claims about the introduction of social credit schemes in Canada and Ukraine, and misinformation about the 15 minute cities urban planning concept. 

Although this post doesn’t explicitly mention the WEF’s Great Reset initiative (which is essentially about revamping capitalism to help avoid another depression following the economic downturn due to Covid-19), we’ve previously checked lots of misinformation about that too

Claims like these can spread quickly online and be difficult to contain. They can cause unnecessary fear about the future and distrust towards international organisations. Misleading claims about what plans like 15 minute cities involve can cause needless distress and could harm public debate. 

Honesty in public debate matters

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What are the WEF and UN?

The WEF is an international non-governmental organisation known for its annual conference in Davos attended by politicians and business people. The WEF says it “engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas”. The UK is not a ‘member’ of the WEF though is involved in some of its initiatives. It doesn’t have the authority to change the laws in countries, though it’s no doubt influential.

The UN does have member states, of which the UK is one. It can uphold international law using its courts and tribunals, approving peacekeeping missions and imposing sanctions amongst other actions.

No evidence to ‘end national sovereignty’

There is no evidence that either Agenda 21 or Agenda 2030 include plans to “end national sovereignty”, and in fact both mention countries having sovereign rights over things like their own biological resources and economic activity

There is no evidence the WEF plans to end national sovereignty either.

None of the agendas or organisations mentioned advocate for a “One World Central Bank”, as the post claims, though it’s not quite clear what this refers to. 

There is an organisation called the World Bank which was created as part of a United Nations monetary and financial conference held towards the end of World War Two. It provides financial services and grants to developing countries to increase living standards and reduce poverty. Investopedia says it is “not necessarily a bank in the traditional, chartered meanings of the word”. 

The post mentions a “One World cashless currency”. While it’s not totally clear what this means, it could refer to the concept of ‘central bank digital currencies’. The WEF website has published an explainer on such currencies (generally understood to refer to digital currencies issued by a country’s central bank, but not necessarily replacing cash) covering the potential benefits and problems.

It has also published several articles that mention a “cashless society”. One such article from 2020 entitled “The benefits of a cashless society”, claims it will “close the financial inclusion gap” and fight corruption and organised crime, while another highlights potential problems—it could punish the poorest who are less likely to have bank accounts and increase costs for small businesses.

Universal Basic Income

According to the House of Commons Library, “Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a term used to describe a number of different proposals where the state would provide income for all citizens, without any conditions attached, and regardless of their other resources”.

As we’ve written before, there is no mention of “universal basic income” in the full documents of either Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030. The WEF has published articles on the idea, including one by an Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, titled, “Universal basic income is the answer to the inequalities exposed by COVID-19”.

Later in the Facebook graphic, it says “Universal credit is already being trialled in the UK this week. They don’t want you to work. It’s all about control.”

Universal Credit is the name of the means-tested benefits and tax credit system for working-age people in the UK, and has been payable across the UK for several years.

If the post actually means “universal basic income”, it’s true that a small trial of basic income has been proposed for the UK. The BBC reported on 6 June 2023 that a think tank is seeking financial backing to pay 30 people £1,600 a month without obligation. 

A pilot in Wales for care leavers beginning last year will pay about 500 young people £1,600 before tax for up to two years. 

Social credit system

There is no evidence that “the implementation of a world Social Credit System for behaviour modification” is supported by the agendas or groups mentioned in the post. 

Misinformation shared online often discusses the introduction of a social credit system similar to the one in China, which works like a credit score, whereby actions of citizens, businesses and government entities are monitored and assessed. The exact scoring system planned for use in China is not known, and there are no publicly available reports of how exactly it works. There’s no evidence that any such system is being planned globally.

A credit system is not mentioned in the documents for Agendas 21 or 2030. There is no evidence the UN or WEF endorse such a policy either. The only mentions of it on the WEF’s website describe the policy in China. 

Property, transport, business and land use

There’s no evidence the organisations concerned advocate for “the end of ALL privately owned property and transportation” as the post claims.

This may stem from a common false claim that the WEF’s goal for 2030 is for people to “own nothing and be happy”, which likely comes from a social media video the WEF put out in 2016, which predicted that by 2030 people would rent what they needed and it would be delivered by drone.

We’ve written before about false claims that the WEF plans to eliminate private travel for all except “the elite”. 

The WEF article cited as the source for the claim explored alternatives to private car ownership, but it does not call for an end to private vehicle ownership. A 2016 article did appear to suggest that private car ownership could be significantly reduced and instead suggested “economically independent” autonomous vehicles could be rented out to drivers.

The post goes on to mention “All businesses owned by government/corporations: Stakeholder Capitalism”. It’s not clear exactly what this means, but there’s no evidence the UN or WEF wants to enact a policy to restrict private ownership of businesses, for example. The WEF has written positively about small businesses.  

Stakeholder capitalism commonly refers to the notion that businesses have a responsibility to serve not just their shareholders, but also their customers, employees and local communities. WEF co-founder Klaus Schwab has written a book on the idea.

The post appears to claim the UN or WEF advocate for the end of private farms or grazing livestock. The WEF has published articles on reducing beef consumption, “alternative proteins” and argued “private and public sectors must embrace net-zero, nature-positive strategies and support farmers in the transition”. But Full Fact could find no evidence that either the WEF or the UN advocate for the end of private farming or grazing livestock.

15 minute cities

We have written a lot about misunderstandings around 15 or 20 minute cities. The “15 minute city” is an urban planning concept which aims to create areas where residents can reach basic essentials within 15 minutes, either on foot or by bike. 

While some have expressed concerns about traffic filter plans in places like Oxford where the policy is set to be introduced and what it could mean for local businesses, there is also a lot of inaccurate information circulating about the concept—in particular claims that the plans would involve restricting the ability of residents to leave specific areas without permission. The WEF has published articles discussing the concept, including criticisms of it. It does not appear to be an official policy.

Image courtesy of Joe Gadd

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