UN Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth Issues Statement
Washington, DC — February 5, 2007
United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation) President Timothy E. Wirth issued the following statement on the U.S. budget proposal delivered to Congress today:
Clearly, the budgetary pressures facing the United States are significant, as today’s budget documents reflect. Unfortunately, the budget presented today envisions a significant escalation in the U.S. debt to the UN – at a time when the United States is asking the UN to play an expanded role in areas such as peacekeeping, the war on terror, and stemming the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
The UN Foundation hopes that the Administration and Congress will work together to remedy the estimated $500 million shortfall in U.S. support for UN peacekeeping operations – missions that we authorized and have agreed to help pay for. It is essential that policymakers understand that paying our dues to the UN is not an option, it is a commitment. Paying these bills is part of acting in good faith with the international community, is a wise investment (so that the U.S. doesn’t have to pay all the bills or take all the risks), and should be seen as part of the effort to bolster understanding and support for the United States around the world.
In the coming weeks and months, the UN Foundation and its advocacy arm, the Better World Campaign, will be doing all that it can to encourage Congress and the Administration to close the gap in support of UN funding. We will be pointing out what a great deal UN peacekeeping is. Last year, the Government Accountability Office found it was eight times cheaper for U.S. taxpayers to field UN versus U.S. peacekeepers in Haiti, and a 2005 RAND study found UN peacekeeping to be almost twice as effective.
The UN Foundation and the Better World Campaign will also be reminding policymakers that United States has encouraged and authorized the 18 peacekeeping operations the UN is undertaking. For example, within the last year, the U.S. has voted in New York for:
A seven-fold expansion of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Lebanon,
The expansion of Sudan’s peacekeeping mission into Darfur,
Reauthorization of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Haiti,
A renewed peacekeeping mission for East Timor; and
New missions in Chad, the Central African Republic, and Nepal.
Finally, the U.S. has asked the UN to look into creating a new peacekeeping mission in Somalia.