The international community of Friends set up the Quaker UN offices 70 years ago to support the United Nations (UN) in its work to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
Recent proposals from the new US administration and from the US Congress to reduce the country’s engagement with the UN could damage its ability to carry out its life-saving work. These proposals include draft Executive Orders and legislation in the House and Senate proposing significant funding cuts and other forms of disengagement with the UN. Building on such legislation, in March, the White House released a proposed budget for 2017 that calls for reductions in financial support to the UN budget and peacekeeping operations, and for the end of support of UN climate change programs.
Global military spending is $1.6 trillion, dwarfing the $8 billion UN peacekeeping budget and total UN-related spending of $48 billion. While the US is the largest financial contributor to the United Nations, its annual total contribution to the UN and its agencies represents only 0.1% of the total Federal Budget. Cuts in US funding would put at risk the UN’s important work to address the most critical and pressing issues facing the world.
While it remains to be seen if or how the various draft bills, draft Executive Orders, and proposed White House budget will move forward, the existence of such measures shows the growing uncertain environment facing the UN and global efforts for peace more broadly.
QUNO has produced the below background document, which will be updated as appropriate, to provide additional information and resources to learn more about this pressing issue.