U.N. SPENDING REQUESTS EXPAND

March 25, 2008

Despite long-standing efforts by successive U.S. administrations to rein in U.N. spending, the United Nations this month presented its top donors with a request for nearly $1.1 billion in additional funds over the next two years -- boosting current U.N. expenses by 25 percent and marking the global body's highest-ever administrative budget, says the Washington Post.

Much of the increased spending flows from Bush administration demands for a more ambitious U.N. role around the world.  During President Bush's tenure, the United States has signed off on billions of dollars for U.N. peacekeeping operations in Sudan and elsewhere, and authorized hundreds of millions for U.N. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, where U.N. officials helped organize elections and draft a new constitution, says the Post.

Some highlights from the U.N.\'s latest funding request:

  • $7 billion for 20 oversees peacekeeping missions in 2008.
  • $100 million for an attack-resistant U.N. headquarters building in Baghdad.
  • $7 million for a 2009 anti-racism conference in South Africa.

Furthermore, the United States is one of the U.N.\'s major sources of funding:

  • 22 percent of the U.N. administrative budget is funded by the United States.
  • 27 percent of the share of peacekeeping expenses is borne by the United States.

During the 1990s, congressionally required budget caps severely restricted the growth of U.N. expenses, and lawmakers enforced fiscal discipline by withholding more than $1 billion in U.S. dues.  But administration officials now concede that they have limited leverage, because the bulk of the money in the latest U.N. supplemental request would fund missions and initiatives that Washington either approved or helped create.

Source: Washington Post, "U.N. Spending Requests Expand," Dallas Morning News, March 24, 2008.

 

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