Support for U.N. Funding
Posted on 04/07/2011 @ 05:30 PM
On Wednesday morning, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice testified before the House Appropriations subcommittee that appropriates the international affairs budget, to defend the Obama administration’s request for U.N. funding in the fiscal year 2012 budget. Despite some rather pointed questioning from the committee members, Ambassador Rice presented an able justification of the importance of paying U.S. dues to the U.N. on time and in full.
The Administration’s FY12 request, which FCNL supports, is $1.6 billion for the Contributions to International Organizations account, which funds the U.N. Secretariat and some core functions of the U.N., and about $1.9 billion for the Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities account (CIPA), which funds U.N. peacekeeping missions. Rice began her testimony by listing five ways that participation in the U.N. furthers America’s interests, starting with conflict prevention. She noted that “since 1948, UN peacekeeping and political missions have saved countless lives, ended wars, and helped bring democracy to dozens of countries. More than 120,000 military, police, and civilian peacekeepers are now deployed in 14 operations around the world,” including in Darfur and the South of Sudan, Liberia, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Rice also addressed criticisms from members of Congress who argue that the United States should withhold its dues to the U.N. to spur reform and accountability measures. She agreed that the U.N. is in need of reform, but pointed out that all of the reforms pushed by the Bush administration were implemented without withholding dues, and that that Administration had opposed withholding dues even while it pushed for reform. Rice emphasized that “the United States continues to lead the charge for serious and comprehensive reform. We demand a UN that is more lean, more nimble, and more cost-effective. No one pushes harder than the United States to protect whistleblowers, impose budget discipline, and promote transparency.”
As the process of negotiating a deal on the fiscal year 2011 budget grinds forward in Congress, and leaders in the House begin to roll out plans for the fiscal year 2012 budget, Ambassador Rice’s testimony lent support to the advocacy of organizations like FCNL that are educating members of Congress about the essential role of the U.N. in the global peaceful prevention of deadly conflict.