Tuesday, January 2, 2018

UN Bloated Bureaucracy Gets Its Wings Clipped

The following article appeared in Frontpage Magazine on December 28th

Trump administration cuts $285 million from UN budget.

The United States currently pays a mandated assessment of 22% of the United Nations’ "regular" budget and about 28.5% of its peacekeeping budget. Together, the mandated assessments the U.S. pays add up to over $3 billion annually. Moreover, the U.S. has contributed billions of dollars in voluntary donations to various UN agencies and programs, such as the UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). There are also multiple flash humanitarian appeals to which the U.S. has regularly donated. In total, during 2016, the last full year of the Obama presidency, the U.S. contributed more than $10 billion to the UN system. President Trump has pledged to impose more stringent controls over what the U.S. spends on the UN, demanding value for the many dollars American taxpayers pour down the UN money pit. He is starting to achieve some tangible results.
When United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivered her remarks ahead of the shameful UN General Assembly vote last week condemning President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, she issued a stark warning. “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” Ambassador Haley said. “We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations.”

It took just a few days for the Trump administration to use its financial leverage at the UN to push through a reduction of over $285 million off the UN’s 2016-2017 final regular budget, which funds the UN system’s day-to-day administrative costs and some programs. This is on top of the more than $500 million reduction negotiated by the United States last June in the separate peacekeeping budget of $6.8 billion for the 2017-2018 peacekeeping budget cycle.

The latest reduction in the UN’s regular budget is moving the ball in the right direction, with cuts to low-hanging fruit such as travel expenses, consultant fees and costly leases. However, considering that the 2018-2019 regular budget agreed to on Christmas Eve still comes to $5.4 billion, and that the UN’s staff (not counting peacekeepers) has doubled in size from the year 2000 through 2016 while the regular budget (not adjusted for inflation) has risen approximately 119 percent during that same period, there is obviously much more work to be done. 

(Article continues HERE)

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