Trump budget cuts would make essential UN work 'impossible' – spokesman

Trump budget cuts would make essential UN work 'impossible' – spokesman
The United Nations has warned that President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut a third of US funding to the UN would “make it impossible” for the agency to carry out its peacekeeping, human rights, and humanitarian assistance functions.

The Trump administration’s 2018 budget proposal calls for $19 billion to be slashed from the International Affairs Budget – from $59.1 billion in fiscal year 2017 to $40.1 billion.

"The figures presented would simply make it impossible for the UN to continue all of its essential work advancing peace, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance," Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The United States is the biggest UN contributor, paying 22 percent, or $1.2 billion of the $5.4 billion core two-year budget. The contribution amounts are agreed upon by the 193-member UN General Assembly and are assessed by considering the size of the country’s economy and other factors.

That is just the regular UN budget though, as there are a dozen of other UN agencies and operations that are supported by US funding.

The proposed budget also calls for over $710 million to be cut from the international peacekeeping account (CIPA). The account dropped from $1.9 billion to $1.1 billion, a 37 percent cut. There are 125,000 peacekeepers spread among 16 peace missions across the world.

There is a proposed trim of over $360 million from the Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) Account which includes the UN Regular Budget and specialized agencies like the International Atomic Energy Agency and World Health Organization.

The cuts would represent a drop from $1.359 billion to $996 million – a 27 percent cut from fiscal year 2017.

Another earmarked reduction is the over $2 billion envisaged slash to the Global Health Programs Account with family planning funding frozen out. The account dropped from $8.725 billion to $6.481 billion – a 26 percent cut from fiscal year 2017 enacted levels, according to the Better World Campaign, a group begun by Ted Turner.

The US also proposes to end its funding for the UN climate change programs, including the Green Climate Fund.

It also seeks to completely withdraw funding for the International Organizations and Programs (IO&P) Account which includes voluntary contributions to UN agencies such as the UN Development and Environment Programs, UN Women, and UNFPA.

"The Secretary-General is totally committed to reforming the United Nations," Dujarric said. "We stand ready to discuss with the United States and any other member state how best we can create a more cost-effective organization to pursue our shared goals and values."

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When ambassadors to the United Nations Security Council gathered at the White House on April 24, President Donald Trump called the UN “an under-performer but has tremendous potential.”

“We must also take a close look at the UN budget. Costs have absolutely gone out of control," said Trump, according to Politico.