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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
95/03/23 TESTIMONY: D. BENNET ON FY 1996 BUDGET ESTIMATES
BUREAU FOR INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AFFAIRS

 
                                   STATEMENT OF 
                DOUGLAS J. BENNET, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE 
                                     BEFORE 
                   THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS 
                                      FOR 
                COMMERCE, JUSTICE, STATE, THE JUDICIARY AND 
                                RELATED AGENCIES 
 
                          FY 1996 BUDGET ESTIMATES 
 
                                  ----- 
 
                  CONTRIBUTIONS TO INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS 
                  INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES AND CONTINGENCIES 
                               MARCH 23, 1995 
 
 
 
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: 
 
I am very pleased to have the opportunity to discuss with you this 
morning the Administration's request for assessed contributions to 
international organizations and conferences.  The investments proposed 
advance a wide range of vital U.S. foreign policy objectives, including 
promoting peace, strengthening democratic institutions, and fostering 
economic growth and sustainable development. 
 
Our participation in the fifty agencies and programs presented here 
today contributes to maintaining our influence in a wide range of 
critical arenas; to promoting our values of democracy, human rights and 
free markets; and to helping hundreds of millions of people improve 
their condition.  Our contributions enable us to share costs and risks 
with others.  They ultimately return significant dividends to the 
American people. 
 
Whether we mail a letter overseas, fight drugs, track typhoons, sell 
American goods, or seek allies in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS, one 
or more of the United Nations and other international agencies are 
involved.  Our active leadership, together with that of the private 
sector and other agency partners in a number of international commodity 
organizations supported by this account such as the International Wheat 
Council helps protect our trading interests in the global market place.  
Every time we take an airplane outside our borders, we can be reassured 
as to aircraft reliability and to air traffic safety through our 
membership in the International Civil Aviation Organization. 
 
The fifty agencies in this account are an alphabet soup of acronyms, but 
the soup is chocked full of healthful ingredients.  Organizations such 
as the ITU (the International Telecommunications Union) and the UPU (the 
Universal Postal Union) were established in the 19th Century long before 
the UN, when the United States as an emerging economic power needed 
predictable ways to reach other nations.  These organizations have kept 
up with the times and are essential to us today in the fields of modern 
telecommunications and the rapid transfer of information across the 
borders of the world. 
 
The UN Secretariat, the Security Council and certain agencies like the 
Human Rights Commission account for our largest assessment other than 
peacekeeping.  The UN has been around for fifty years.  There is no 
conceivable scenario for the next fifty years in which U.S. interests 
will not be best served by a healthy UN--a meaningful political forum, 
an instrument that can help keep the peace, and an entity that affirms 
human rights and other standards on a global basis. 
 
Mr. Chairman, large numbers of Americans benefit directly from these 
organizations and most support cooperation through the UN.  Recent 
public opinion surveys consistently demonstrate that a sizeable majority 
of the population endorse the humanitarian, economic and security 
objectives of the UN.  According to a CBS/New York Times poll last year, 
77% believe the United Nations is contributing to world peace, and 89% 
say the U.S. should cooperate with other countries through the UN.  
Americans are pragmatic.  They see evidence in their daily lives that 
the world is increasingly interdependent.  The plagues of the modern 
age--drugs, terrorism, pollution and epidemic disease--respect no 
borders.  Our workers, farmers and business people understand this 
reality very well because they compete in the global market every day. 
 
UN REFORM 
 
The UN and many of its parts need reinvention for different times, just 
like national governments.  Some encouraging reinvention of the UN is 
now going on under the American Under Secretary General for Management, 
Joseph Conner, and with the implementation of the the U.S.-initiated 
Office of Internal Oversight Services. 
 
The management problems of the UN are partly a legacy of the Cold War 
and North-South confrontation.  They are partly a result of bureaucratic 
ineptitude and sometimes fraud.  Some arise from the fact that the UN 
agencies are complex international organizations that the world asks to 
accomplish complex tasks.  And some result from failures of stewardship 
by member governments all too often more content with patronage politics 
and getting even than with getting results. 
 
Under the Clinton Administration we are trying something different--the 
pursuit of efficient, good government.  We are clarifying U.S. 
objectives in all of the UN institutions and working with others on 
governing boards to set clear priorities so we can hold management 
accountable for results.  We are demanding transparency.  We are 
examining the structure and processes of all the major agencies, 
particularly with regard to adequate inspection and oversight.  To a 
considerable  degree, the UN reinvention buck stops on my desk, and I 
will be happy to tell the Committee in more detail how we hope to make 
real gains in effectiveness. 
 
FUNDING REQUEST 
 
As I have indicated, the CIO account comprises fifty international 
organizations engaged in predominantly technical, normative, and trade 
activities.  As you know, all of these agencies for many years have been 
held to "zero real growth" which accounts for inflation but requires 
that new activities displace old ones.  For most organizations, our 
assessment is capped at 25%.  The FY 96 request of $934,057,000 
represents full funding of our international obligations to these 
organizations consistent with statutory restrictions.  This amount 
reflects an increase of $61,936,000 over FY 95, of which $46,211,000 is 
contained in the UN line item.  $15,312,000 of this change in the UN 
estimate is due to an increase in the net U.S. assessment in FY 96 
resulting primarily from mandatory cost increases.  Most of the 
remaining $30,899,000 reflects a one-time adjustment between FY 94 and 
FY 95 payments.  This adjustment resulted in the line item for the UN in 
FY 95 understating the actual requirements for the year and, 
consequently, overstating the real increase in the UN assessment for FY 
96. 
 
Because of budget constraints, the FY 96 request does not include any 
funding for the payment of arrearages which currently total about 
$218,570,000; however, the Administration is committed to paying these 
treaty obligations in future years, for our leadership in the 
international community is obviously related to the fulfillment of our 
commitments. 
 
The agencies supported by this request can be grouped into the following 
four categories:  those in the UN system; several important Inter-
American Organizations; Regional Organizations; and other international 
organizations primarily concerned with international trade.  Being so 
diverse and covering every aspect of our life and well-being on this 
small planet, I would like to touch on a few representative 
organizations, but would welcome your questions on any and all of the 
others as well. 
 
UN SYSTEM 
 
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):  Our contributions to the UN 
system's International Atomic Energy Agency serve to protect Americans 
from the insidious danger posed by nuclear proliferation.  The IAEA 
administers a unique system of international safeguards to deter the 
diversion of material and equipment for nuclear explosive purposes, and, 
in so doing makes a major contribution to international peace and 
security.  Today, IAEA applies safeguards on nuclear materials and 
technology at some 822 locations in 61 countries around the globe. 
 
World Meteorological Organization (WMO):  One of the smaller agencies of 
the UN, the World Meteorological Organization exemplifies how 
interdependent we are on the free flow of information essential to the 
well-being of our citizens.  Through a world-wide, coordinated network 
of stations, telecommunications systems and forecasting centers, the WMO 
supplies such essential information to the U.S. Weather Service for use 
in the development of weather forecasts and warnings.  This information 
is also of direct benefit to American aviation, shipping and 
agriculture. 
 
World Health Organization (WHO):  The World Health Organization is one 
of the larger organizations of the UN responsible for technical 
assistance and the setting of standards and disease treatment protocols 
for the international health community.  WHO's progress in controlling 
diseases, such as the eradication of smallpox, protecting us from the 
spread of infectious diseases and working very closely with our Center 
for Disease Control and HHS in combating HIV/AIDs, all are important 
benefits to the health and well-being of Americans whether in the U.S. 
or traveling abroad. 
 
As part of our reinventing the UN strategy, the U.S. in cooperation with 
other members of the WHO governing board has gained agreement on 
shifting approximately $40 million in planned expenditures from low 
priority activities to those of high priority. 
 
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):  The Food and Agriculture 
Organization is also one of the oldest and largest of the UN Specialized 
Agencies.  The FAO enhances international trade in agricultural and 
fisheries products through the development of international standards 
and food safety measures.  FAO also protects U.S. agriculture from 
potential losses of billions of dollars through plant, pest, and animal 
disease control programs.  Codex Alimentarius, jointly sponsored by FAO 
and WHO, sets international food product safety and quality standards, 
protecting the health of American consumers. 
 
INTER-AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS 
 
Organization of American States (OAS):  The Organization of American 
States promotes democracy and political stability on our continent and 
in South America.  Led by a dynamic new Secretary General and coming off 
of the recent success of the Summit of the Americas, the OAS is well 
placed to help advance the democratization and development of such 
nations as Guatemala, Nicaragua, Suriname and Haiti.  The OAS also 
directly assists us in narcotics education and control, in environmental 
protection and regional trade.  Our assessed contribution contained in 
the CIO request would give OAS the means to continue this vital work.  
The end result for the U.S. will be more stable and prosperous neighbors 
that are better able to import our goods and less pressure from 
immigration. 
 
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS 
 
As I have mentioned several important commodity organizations are 
supported by our contribution such as the International Rubber 
Organization, the International Cotton Advisory Committee, and the 
International Tropical Timber Organization where our leadership and 
participation is important in establishing standards to promote rule 
based, nondiscriminatory global trade regimes in key commodities. 
 
World Trade Organization (WTO):  The World Trade Organization is the 
centerpiece of this aspect of our international relations.  Created as 
an outcome of the GATT Uruguay Round negotiations, active U.S. 
participation is critical to advancing liberalization of world trade, 
thus opening new markets for U.S. goods and services.  The WTO will 
assume the functions of the GATT as the foremost intergovernmental forum 
for examining trade issues and resolving trade disputes. 
 
Other international agencies supported under this request promote world 
tourism, the preservation of historic sites and  cancer research.  With 
regard to the latter, The International Agency for Research on Cancer 
(IARC), while comparatively small as indicated by our $1.7 million 
request (approximately 9% of the Agency's income), plays a vital role in 
bringing U.S. cancer researchers together with those counterparts from a 
wide range of countries, especially those not readily accessible to U.S. 
officials.  Such collaboration on research goals supplements in a 
critical way cancer research done by U.S. experts, particularly through 
IARC's evaluation of the environmental causes of cancer. 
 
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES AND CONTINGENCIES 
 
Mr. Chairman, the FY 96 request of $6 million for international 
conferences and contingencies is the same level as in FY 95.  This 
account provides funds to finance and control the United States' 
participation in international meetings some of which are associated 
with the CIO account.  Funds cover the travel, per diem and 
administrative costs of accredited U.S. delegates, and representation.  
This appropriation is used also to fund and manage domestic hostships 
such as the recent Columbus Ohio UNCTAD Symposium on Trade and last 
year's Seattle APEC Ministerial where American technology was 
highlighted.  Currently, we are working on a major ITU conference 
scheduled for 1998 where we expect to show case the U.S. 
Telecommunications industry to hundreds of foreign markets. 
 
In FY 96 it is expected that the U.S. will send delegations to some 600 
meetings down from over 800 meetings in the early 1980's.  The account 
provides the means to get our key experts to meetings of the IAEA, NATO, 
the OECD and the WTO as well as to a number of other important technical 
conferences, where U.S. leadership is critical. 
 
We have taken steps to reduce costs of our participation in 
international meetings by limiting the number of accredited to delegates 
to 10 in all but a few exceptional cases.  In fact about 25% of our 
official representation to international meetings consists of only 1 or 
2 accredited experts.  In Geneva one of the key international conference 
centers, the number of conference days supported by this program has 
dropped from over 1,500 in 1991 to less than 1,300 in 1994. 
 
I take great pride in the efficiency and transparency of our Office of 
International Conferences and would be happy to answer any questions 
about its programs. 
 
CONCLUSION 
 
I will conclude my statement, Mr. Chairman, with the fact that we in 
America pay an average of seven dollars apiece for our share of the 
annual cost of the UN system:  for everything from blue helmets for 
peacekeeping to polio vaccines for babies.  The sums are modest, the 
burden is shared and the benefits are real. 
 
Today, we have an historic opportunity, in the words of Secretary of 
State Warren Christopher to "build and renew the lasting relationships, 
structures and institutions that advance America's enduring interests."  
Among these are the international organizations which I have reviewed 
with you this morning and which 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 American interests and values, 
more inclined towards promoting democracy, open markets and human rights 
than it has ever been. What is needed is the sustained yet committed 
international engagement that our FY 1996 budget request will support.  
Thank you. 
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