Schaefer: US Needs More Say on UN Budget

The United States should oppose any increases in the 2010-‘11 United Nations budget, says the Heritage Foundation's Brett Schaefer. Moreover, the biggest U.N. financier should push for a bigger say on U.N. budget concerns.

The U.N. regular budget funds the group's core activities, including staffing costs for its offices in the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It also covers funding for U.N. missions and specialized agencies.

Schaefer argues that the U.S. government must protect the interest of its taxpayers as the country strives to recover from the effects of the economic crisis. Besides, the proposed U.N. biennial budget for 2010-'11 is, according to Schaefer, problematic.

The proposed U.N. regular budget for the next two years does not take into account the organization's actual expenditures, the international regulatory affairs expert says. It includes financing for "outdated, irrelevant, or duplicative activities that continue to be funded through the U.N. regular budget."

U.S. opposition is not enough to stop approval of the U.N. regular budget, though, says Schaefer, pointing to the 20008-'09 budget, which passed despite opposition from the U.S, the only country that voted "no" that year.

For the United States to have a real say in budgetary conditions, Schaefer urges the U.S. Congress, which now approves U.S. funding for the U.N., to - at the very least - demand that U.N. budgetary decisions be approved only upon consensus of all member countries. But ideally, Schaefer notes that the U.S. should push for a weighted system of voting where large contributors have a larger influence over final decisions.

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  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.