Index of "Bureau of International Organizations Press Releases and Statements"
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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
TESTIMONY ON INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
BUREAU FOR INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
FEBRUARY 8, 1995
STATEMENT BY DOUGLAS J. BENNET ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE
FOR INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION AFFAIRS
BEFORE THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS
AND HUMAN RIGHTS
FEBRUARY 8, 1995
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
I am delighted to be here and I appreciate the opportunity
to present the Administration's budget request for assessed
and voluntary contributions to international organizations.
United Nations organizations serve Americans' interests in
all sorts of ways -- from making it possible to send letters
abroad, assuring international standards of airline safety,
sharing weather data that we could only collect ourselves at
enormous costs, protecting intellectual property rights,
fighting AIDS and other communicable diseases that respect
no boundaries, controlling the spread of atomic weapons,
raising international standards of food safety that favor
our high-quality American producers, and helping to keep the
peace. All of it is done on a shared basis so that
Americans share costs, risks and benefits with others around
The United Nations enjoys broad public support from the
American people. According to a CBS News/ New York Times
poll last year, seventy-seven percent believe the United
Nations is contributing to world peace. Eighty-nine percent
say the U.S. should cooperate with other countries through
the UN. And fifty-nine percent think we have "a
responsibility to contribute troops to enforce peace plans
in trouble spots around the world when asked by the United
Americans understand well by the evidence of our own lives
that the line between "at-home" concerns and "out there"
events has become thoroughly blurred. The plagues of the
modern age -- drugs, terrorism, pollution and epidemic
disease -- respect no borders. Our workers, farmers and
business people understand this reality because they compete
in a global market every day.
Americans understand that working with others through the
United Nations can advance our interests, promote our
values, and leverage our resources. Participating in the UN
is a sensible bargain that the American people support.
The U.S. has been a leader among member states in a movement
to reform the United Nations, and we are seeing results.
Following U.S. lead, the Security Council adopted guidelines
for making UN peacekeeping more disciplined and more
effective. We are establishing goals, refining and
prioritizing objectives, holding managers accountable, and
constantly evaluating performance--governing rather than
micro-managing. An important achievement of reform last
year was the creation of the Office of Internal Oversight
Services at UN Headquarters.
On top of our reform agenda this year is the UN peacekeeping
assessment rate. We have made clear that come October 1st,
we will pay no more than 25%. We will continue our effort
to gain agreement from other contributors on a formula that
reduces our share to 25%.
Also on the reform agenda are our proposals to:
-- extend the inspector general concept to the UN
specialized agencies where this function is lacking;
-- introduce cost saving measures to improve peacekeeping;
-- reform procurement procedures;
-- support Under-Secretary General Connor's efforts to
reform the UN personnel system;
-- expand the security council and support permanent seats
for Japan and Germany;
-- strengthen the capabilities of the Department of
Humanitarian Affairs; and
-- improve the coordination and responsiveness of the UN's
human rights machinery.
Contributions to International Organizations (CIO)
The United States makes both assessed contributions,
including for peacekeeping, and voluntary contributions to
international organizations. The latter are presented in
the foreign assistance budget rather than in the State
To pay non-peacekeeping assessed contributions, the
President's budget requests $934 million ($934,057,000) for
50 international organizations in which we are a member by
treaty, convention or specific act of Congress. I am
pleased to say that virtually all of the budgets of the
international organizations meet our longstanding policy of
zero real growth and maximum absorption of mandatory cost
increases. Therefore the increases in the U.S. assessment
are due to nondiscretionary factors that have been assessed
on all member states.
The FY 1996 request appears as an increase of $61 million
($61,396,000) over FY 1995 appropriations. Half of this
increase is due to a bookkeeping transaction affecting the
"United Nations" line item and explained in the budget.
Because of exchange rate fluctuations in the overall
account, the UN requirement for FY '95 was larger than shown
in the budget. At the same time, we had an exchange rate
surplus in FY '94. With agreement from the appropriate
Congressional committees, we pre-paid a portion of the
United Nations assessment in FY '94, reducing the "1995
estimate" shown in this year's budget. Taking the actual
'95 assessment as the base, the request for FY '96 is an
increase of only $15 million ($15,312,000.)
Given the austerity of this Budget, the Administration has
not requested funds for United States arrears payments.
However, the Administration is committed to paying these
treaty obligations in future years.
Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities
In accord with the President's commitment to maintain
financial stability of international organizations and
peacekeeping, the FY 1996 request of $445 million provides
funding for anticipated U.S. assessed contributions to ten
international peacekeeping operations. Because of the
uncertainty in the former Yugoslavia, the FY 1996 request
includes approximately six months of requirements at the
level of activity under the current mandate level. As
events clarify, should additional resources become
necessary, the Administration will consider funding
alternatives in consultation with the Congress.
The budget also proposes a modified version of shared
responsibility for funding and managing U.S. assessed
peacekeeping contributions between the Departments of State
and Defense. The Department of Defense will fund those
peacekeeping operations where U.S. combat units directly
participate, including Haiti (UNMIH) and the Macedonia
portion of UNPROFOR. No funds are included in the State
Department budget for these purposes.
Mr. Chairman, budgeting for peacekeeping is elusive because
it is hard to predict a year to eighteen months in advance
what our actual assessments will be. In 1994 Congress
passed a peacekeeping supplemental which allowed the U.S. to
be virtually paid up on peacekeeping assessments at the end
of December. Receptivity among other contributors to
important U.S. initiatives, especially capping our
peacekeeping assessment at twenty-five percent, will be
greatly enhanced if we can continue our paid-up status.
The President's budget includes an FY 1995 supplemental
appropriation request of $672 million to pay unfunded FY
1995 requirements for UNPROFOR ($506 million), Iraq/Kuwait
(UNIKOM) ($6 million), Somalia (UNOSOM) ($150 million), and
Western Sahara (MINURSO) ($10 million). These requirements
are unfunded primarily because Congress decided not to cover
peacekeeping assessments in the 050 account as contemplated
under the administration's proposal for "shared
responsibility." The additional amount requested for
MINURSO in the Western Sahara reflects the added costs
associated with conducting a referendum that will allow for
the conclusion of this peacekeeping operation.
International Organizations and Programs (IO&P)
Mr. Chairman, the IO&P account funds United States voluntary
contributions to international organizations and programs.
Our FY 1996 request totals $425 million and includes $4.6
million for programs Building Democracy, $355.4 million for
programs promoting Sustainable Development and $65 million
for programs Promoting Peace.
These multilateral investments reinforce and advance U.S.
interests by strengthening democratic institutions,
fostering economic prosperity, and creating stronger civil
societies that genuinely empower people. Our contributions
help make the difference in preventing famine, containing
ethnic conflict, slowing and reversing environmental
degradation, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, and
caring for refugees. The benefits are enormous:
-- UNICEF, through its Universal Child Immunization
program, helped countries increase immunization of the
world's children from 20% in the early 1980s to 80% in 1995.
Using this same model, UNICEF is now promoting well-children
and healthy babies initiatives that focus on low-cost
strategies to improve the health and nutrition of infants
and children. The result has been dramatic decreases in
infant mortality in every country that has aggressively
adopted UNICEF's child survival strategies.
-- In the peace-promoting activities, IAEA's nuclear
safeguards and other technical cooperation programs help
ensure that both new and old signatories of the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty (NPT) receive support and sound advice
on compliance. Now 170 countries have signed the NPT and
agreed to forego weapons development programs.
-- IAEA programs also constrain the proliferation of
nuclear weapons in strategic areas, including Iraq, North
Korea, and the Newly Independent States. The IAEA
discovered and reported to the UN Security Council that
North Korea was not in compliance with its safeguards
agreement. This enabled the United States to negotiate a
framework agreement whereby North Korea agreed to halt
clandestine activities and allow IAEA inspections to resume.
-- Through skillful management of resources and logistics,
the World Food Program provided food relief for some 47
million people in 1994.
-- WFP is now at the forefront in providing critical
assistance in times of emergency. It met the unprecedented
challenge to feed millions of displaced Rwandans. In
consequence, famine was not added to the list of horrors
-- The $58.2 million for global environment activities
reflects the U.S. commitment to the Rio initiatives, which
are making a difference: in reducing ozone depleting
substances, in preventing trade in endangered species, in
promoting activities that will increasingly lead to
sustainable forest management and conservation of plant and
UNDP funds and coordinates UN development assistance
worldwide, emphasizing assistance to emerging nations,
nations being rebuilt after crisis, and nations working to
avoid social, political and economic disintegration. These
programs target economic and market reform, privatization,
job creation, democracy and peacebuilding.
-- UNDP helped the postwar government in Rwanda to develop
a reconciliation and rehabilitation plan and then convened a
"round table" meeting in January which raised $587 million
in pledges from donors. UNDP also provided funding to
assist in placing human rights monitors in Rwanda.
-- In the West Bank and Gaza, UNDP channelled more than $30
million in 1994 into improving living conditions of the
Palestinian population, promoting municipal works
developing the private sector and creating opportunities for
-- In the Newly Independent States, UNDP programs focus on
developing democratic institutions, such as providing legal
experts to set up new systems and establish ground rules for
free and fair elections.
International Conferences and Contingencies (ICC)
Mr. Chairman, our request for participation in international
conferences and full funding for assessed contributions to
new or provisional international organizations totals
$6,000,000 in FY 1996, the same level as appropriated in FY
1995. The basic objective of the ICC appropriation is to
provide funding to allow the effective, yet economical,
representation of the United States through delegations
which promote and represent U.S. policy objectives.
I will conclude my statement, Mr. Chairman, with the fact
that we pay an average of seven dollars apiece annually for
our share of the cost for the entire UN system, for
everything from blue helmets for peacekeeping to polio
vaccines for babies. We will continue to see that every
dollar we contribute is well spent. We welcome your help in
Today, we have an historic opportunity, in the words of
Secretary of State Christopher, to "build and renew the
lasting relationships, structures and institutions that
advance America's enduring interests." Among these are
international organizations such as the UN that are no
longer paralyzed by Cold War rivalry or held back by
artificial divisions between north and south. These
institutions can be whatever their members choose to make
them. This is especially welcome news for us, because the
international political climate is more favorable to our
interests and values, more inclined towards democracy, open
markets and human rights, than it has ever been.
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I will be pleased to
answer any questions you or the Committee may have.
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