Wednesday, August 18, 2010

U.S. Funding of the United Nations Reaches All-Time High » Spotlight on Sovereignty » Global Governance Watch

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The source and amounts of all U.S. funding to the myriad number of organizations affiliated with the United Nations are difficult to track accurately. This difficulty prompted Congress to pass legislation requiring the Administration to report annually on U.S. contributions to the U.N. A recent report to Congress by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on all U.S. funding to the U.N. system revealed that U.S. contributions to the U.N. system reached record levels in fiscal year (FY) 2009.[1]
Considering budget trends, U.S. contributions will continue to rise. Having an accurateaccount of U.S. contributions to the U.N. is valuable, particularly considering recent revelations about institutional weaknesses in U.N. oversight. Congress should take action to make the current OMB reporting requirement permanent.

U.S. Funding of the U.N. System

The U.S. has been the largest financial supporter of the U.N. since the organization's founding in 1945. The U.S. is currently assessed 22 percent of the U.N. regular budget and more than 27 percent of the U.N. peacekeeping budget. In dollar terms, the Administration's budget for FY 2011 requested $516.3 million for the U.N. regular budget and more than $2.182 billion for the peacekeeping budget. [2]
However, the U.S. also provides assessed financial contributions to other U.N.organizations and voluntary contributions to many more U.N. organizations. According to OMB, total U.S. contributions to the U.N. system were more than $6.347 billion in FY2009.[3] This is more than $1 billion more than total contributions as compiled by OMB for FY 2005,[4] and it is indicative of the rising budgetary trends in the U.N. and the consequential demand on U.S. financial support.

The reporting requirement was instigated by the expansion of the U.N. system. The creation of new U.N.-affiliated bodies over the years that received independent financial support from the U.S. government made it increasingly difficult to calculate how much the U.S. provided to the U.N. system on an annual basis. Past estimates were based on contributions from the State Department to the U.N. system, but this was not comprehensive. Although the State Department is the largest source of U.S. funding to the U.N. system, it is not the sole source.
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