The Better World Campaign delivered today to the U.S. Congress a letter signed by 80 organizations calling for payment of U.S. debt to the United Nations, which at the beginning of this year amounted to more than $2.8 billion to the UN’s regular budget and peacekeeping accounts. The debt makes up 25 percent of the UN’s annual budget, and is ten times the amount owed by any other nation.
“This letter clearly shows that the American public wants the U.S. to keep its word at the UN and stop going it alone,” said Better World Campaign Executive Director Deborah Derrick. “This Congress can begin the process of repairing U.S. financial standing at the UN when it takes up the President’s FY 2008 Supplemental Funding Request in the coming days,” she added.
The President’s FY 2008 supplemental request, expected to be taken up by the Congress the week of April 21st, includes $334 million for the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan, and $53 million for the UN’s political missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. has called on the UN to take a greater role in these missions, but has not fully funded them.
For 80 organizations to sign on to a letter to Congress, the “ask” must have pretty universal appeal. Paying U.S. dues to the UN enjoys this kind of traction for very legitimate reasons: paying these dues makes sense, improves U.S. standing in the world, and is firmly in the U.S.’s interest. To emphasize these points, Better World Campaign — the sister organization of the UN Foundation, Dispatch’s sponsor — has launched its “Don’t Go It Alone” campaign, highlighting the effectiveness of working through the UN and the pressing need for the U.S. to follow up on its funding commitments.