Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: US Should Only Back UN Programs Advancing US Interests

    U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Photo by: House Foreign Affairs Commitee

    In order for reforms at the United Nations to happen, the United States has to adopt a “reform first, pay later” scheme regarding its contributions to the global body, said U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).

    She said she plans to unveil a new version of a U.N. reform legislation that she introduced in 2007, which has the aforementioned scheme as its fundamental principle.

    The lawmaker said the U.S. government should only pay for U.N. programs that advance its interests and values, arguing that U.S. funding for the U.N.’s budget and its agencies must shift from an assessed to a voluntary basis to help inform U.S. taxpayers where funding is going. 

    “We should only pay for UN programs and activities that advance our interests and our values. If other countries want different things to be funded, they can pay for it themselves,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a March 21 statement.  

    The U.N. and other member countries know that the U.S. will pay in full its assessed contributions - 22 percent of the U.N. regular budget - “so they have zero incentive to reform,” she argued.

    “The biggest problem with the UN is that those who call the shots don’t have to pay the bills. Most UN member nations pay next to nothing in assessed contributions, work together to drive the UN’s agenda, and pass the costs on to big contributors like the United States,” Ros-Lehtinen noted.

    Read more about U.S. foreign assistance reform.

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    • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

      As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.