Last year, Congressional support for the United Nations seemed untenable.
The Administration proposed a dramatic reduction in funding for UN Peacekeeping Operations and the general budget- this included cutting all funding to IO&P accounts, targeting agencies like UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The proposed FY ’20 budget recommended an additional 24% reduction in State Department and USAID funding as well.
Your steadfast efforts stopped this proposal in its tracks; Congress instead opted to fully rebuke the Administration’s proposed budget. On December 20, 2019, the President signed a bill into law featuring a number of victories for our advocates, including:
Full Funding for the Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) account;
Providing $1.5 Billion to pay US assessments for the UN Regular Budget.
This is $460 million above the President’s request, and $113 million above FY’19 enacted levels.
Increases funding for the International Organizations and Programs (IO&P) accounts;
Provides $390.5 million, an increase of $26.5 million over FY ’19.
Provides $1.56 billion for the Global Fund, a $216 million increase from FY’19;
This is the first funding increase for the Global Fun in six years.
Presents a $460 million increase from the President’s requested budget.
Includes $770 million for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI);
$15 million above FY’19 levels and $81 million higher than the President’s Budget Request for FY’20.
These successes are a testament to our ability to effectively communicate to Congress the value of a strong partnership with the United Nations. While encouraging, these victories were not secured without tradeoffs. Contributions to the UN Peacekeeping Operations fund will remain capped at 25%*. As such, the FY’20 spending bill all but ensures that the US will owe over $1 Billion in peacekeeping arrears by the end of 2020. A lack of funding, and thus assurance of stability and security, leaves international allies- including hundreds of peacekeepers on the ground- at great risk.
As we approach the 75th anniversary of the United Nations in October, we must persist in communicating the vitality of sustained partnership with the UN through the provision of full funding for both the General Budget and Peacekeeping Operations. Take action now.
* In the early 1990s, the U.S. peacekeeping assessment was over 30%, which many Members of Congress found too high. In 1994, Congress set a 25% cap on funding for all fiscal years after 1995. Over the years, the gap between the actual U.S. assessment and the cap led to funding shortfalls. The State Department and Congress often covered these shortfalls by raising the cap for limited periods and allowing for the application of U.N. peacekeeping credits (excess U.N. funds from previous peacekeeping missions) to fund outstanding U.S. balances. For several years, these actions allowed the United States to pay its assessments to U.N. peacekeeping missions in full. However, since FY2017 Congress has declined to raise the cap, and in mid-2017, the Trump Administration allowed for the application of peacekeeping credits up to, but not beyond, the 25% cap—leading to the accumulation of additional U.S. arrears. (Luisa Blanchfield, Congressional Research Service 2019).
January 22, 2020