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                                                                                             Updated April 9, 2019

United Nations Issues: U.S. Funding to the U.N. System

The United States is the single largest financial contributor
to the United Nations (U.N.) system. Congress has long
debated the appropriate level of U.S. contributions to U.N.
system activities and whether U.S. funds are being used
efficiently and effectively. Since 2017, the Trump
Administration has proposed significant overall decreases
in U.S. funding to the United Nations; however, Congress
has generally funded U.N. entities at higher levels than the
Administration has requested. Compared to FY2019
funding levels, the President's FY2020 budget proposed
reducing U.N. peacekeeping funding by 27%, decreasing
U.N. regular budget and specialized agency funding by
25%,  and eliminating funding to some U.N. funds and

U.N.   System Funding
The U.N. system is made up of interconnected entities
including specialized agencies, funds and programs,
peacekeeping operations, and the U.N. organization itself.
The U.N. Charter, ratified by the United States in 1945,
requires each member state to contribute to the expenses of
the organization. The system is financed by assessed and
voluntary contributions from U.N. members. Assessed
contributions are required dues, the payment of which is a
legal obligation accepted by a country when it becomes a
member.  Such funding provides U.N. entities with a regular
source of income to pay for staff and implement core
programs. The U.N. regular budget, specialized agencies,
and peacekeeping operations and are financed mainly by
assessed contributions. Voluntary contributions fund special
funds, programs, and offices. The budgets for these entities
may  fluctuate annually depending on contribution levels.
U.N. regular budget and U.N. specialized agencies. The
U.N. regular budget funds the core administrative costs of
the organization, including the General Assembly, Security
Council, Secretariat, International Court of Justice, special
political missions, and human rights entities. The regular
budget is adopted by the U.N. General Assembly to cover a
two-year period. Since the late 1980s, most Assembly
decisions related to the budget have been adopted by
consensus. When budget votes occur (which is rare)
decisions are made by a two-thirds majority of members
present and voting, with each country having one vote. The
approved regular budget for 2018-2019 is $5.8 billion, or
$2.9 billion a year. The General Assembly negotiates a
scale of assessments for the regular budget every three
years based on a country's capacity to pay; assessments for
the 2019-2021 time period were adopted in December
2018. The U.S. assessment is currently 22%, the highest of
any U.N. member  state. The U.S. rate is set by a ceiling that
was agreed to in the General Assembly in 2000.
U.N. specialized agencies are autonomous in executive,
legislative, and budgetary powers. Some agencies follow

the scale of assessment for the U.N. regular budget, while
others use their own formulas to determine assessments.
U.N. peacekeeping  funding. There are currently 14 U.N.
peacekeeping missions worldwide with over 88,000
military, police, and civilian personnel. U.N. Security
Council resolutions establishing new operations specify
how  each mission will be funded. In most cases, the council
authorizes the General Assembly to create a separate
special account for each operation funded by assessed
contributions. The approved budget for the 2018/2019
peacekeeping fiscal year is $7.02 billion. The Assembly
adopts the peacekeeping scale of assessments every three
years based on modifications of the regular budget scale,
with the five permanent council members assessed at a
higher level than for the regular budget. The current U.S.
peacekeeping assessment (adopted in December 2018) is

U.S.   Funding
Congress has generally authorized funding to the U.N.
system as part of Foreign Relations Authorization Acts;
appropriations are provided to the Department of State and
U.S. Agency for International Development to meet
obligations. When authorization bills are not enacted,
Congress has waived the authorization requirements and
appropriated funds through accounts in annual Department
of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
(SFOPS)  appropriations bills.
The Administration's FY2020 budget proposed significant
decreases in funding to accounts supporting the United
Nations (see Table 1). The Contributions to International
Organizations (CIO) account, which funds assessed
contributions to the U.N. regular budget, specialized
agencies, and other international organizations, would be
reduced by 25%, from $1.36 billion in FY2019 to $1.01
billion in FY2020. Of the FY2020 request, $785.38 million
is designated for U.N. entities. (FY2019 funding for U.N.
entities is still being finalized.) The request prioritizes
funding for organizations whose missions substantially
advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reduces funding
for those whose results are unclear and work does not
directly affect our [U.S.] national security interests.
The Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities
(CIPA) account, which funds U.S.-assessed contributions to
most U.N. peacekeeping operations, would be reduced by
27%-from $1.55   billion in FY2019 to $1.13 billion in
FY2020.  The request states the Administration's
commitment  to seek reduced costs by reevaluating the
mandates, design, and implementation of missions, and
sharing the burden more fairly among U.N. members.
The International Organizations and Programs (IO&P)
account, which received $364 million in FY2019 (including
$319.7 million for U.N. entities), funds U.S. voluntary


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