Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Saturday, February 24, 2018 05:57:30 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

UN facing famines, conflicts and now US funding cuts

By
21st-Mar-2017       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Lyndal Rowlands :
In the midst of responding to the worst humanitarian crisis since records began, the UN is now faced with potential funding cuts from its biggest donor, the United States.
On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump released "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again," the first such budget proposal of his presidency. The blueprint's biggest proposed cuts target the Department of State, which would lose 29 percent of its budget, and the Environment Protection Agency, which would lose 31 percent.
Although details of exactly how the proposed cuts - which still require approval of U.S. Congress - would be made, are yet to emerge, funding for the UN and the USAID which both fall under the State Department is at risk.
"If approved - and that's a big "if" - the Whitehouse's plans could slash several billions in UN funding," Natalie Samarasinghe Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the UK, told IPS.
These billions of dollars of potential cuts come at a time when the United Nations is occupied responding to both acute and chronic crises around the world.
"Some 20 million people are facing famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen," said Samarasinghe.
"The number of people forced to flee their homes is now the biggest since records began," she said. "These are people for whom the UN is literally the difference between life and death," she said.
"The total foreign aid of the U.S. is about one percent of the budget - not 10 or 15 percent as some people seem to think - it's one percent."-Michel Gabaudan
Michel Gabaudan, President of Refugees International, told IPS that it is important to keep the United States contribution in perspective when assessing the potential cuts.
"The U.S. contribution is critical, it is generous it is vital but it is not unduly high compared to other countries of the western bloc - who are the main funders of humanitarian aid - and we must this contribution in perspective."
"The total foreign aid of the U.S. is about one percent of the budget - not 10 or 15 percent as some people seem to think - it's one percent."
"The magnitude of the U.S. economy means that that one percent of money is critical to humanitarian relief and to development programs but if you compare this with what some European countries are doing, like Switzerland, like the Nordics, like the Dutch … they are certainly giving more in terms of dollar per capita of their citizens," he said.
Samarasinghe also noted that the proposed cuts are "still a relatively small amount compared to, say, fossil fuel subsidies."
She said that it would be "politically challenging for European countries to pick up the slack, especially with elections looming in a number of countries."
As an example, said Samarasinghe, a recent appeal from the Netherlands to fund reproductive health and safe abortions has not yet reached its $600 million target. That appeal was set up after Trump re-instated the Global Gag Rule, which removes U.S. funding from non-governmental organisations that carry out any activities related to safe abortion, regardless of the funding source.
Meanwhile, Deborah Brautigam an expert on China in Africa told IPS that it is unlikely that China will increase its funding to the United Nations as the United States steps back, because China already feels "very comfortable" in its current position at the UN. This position includes a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and UN development policies, which align with China's priorities, such as industrialisation, said Brautigam who is Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University.
Two UN agencies that receive the most funding from the United States are the World Food Program, which provides emergency food assistance, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
However Gabaudan said that both the more immediate humanitarian aid as well as long-term development assistance are needed to address the world's crises:
"The state department funds UNHCR and USAID funds development programs which tie the humanitarian aid with longer term issues," said Gabaudan.
"Most displacement crises are protracted, people don't leave and get back home after a year or two," he said, as is the case with the Syrian conflict, which just surpassed six year on March 15th.
The budget proposal also reinforces other aspects of the emerging Trump Republican administration policies, including sweeping cuts to environment programs and cuts to programs, which assist the poor in the United States.
Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations said in a statement that the cuts reflected a desire to make the United Nations more effective and efficient.
"I look forward to working with Members of Congress to craft a budget that advances U.S. interests at the UN, and I look forward to working with my UN colleagues to make the organisation more effective and efficient."
"In many areas, the UN spends more money than it should, and in many ways it places a much larger financial burden on the United States than on other countries."
However that financial relationship between the UN and the host of UN Headquarters is not unidirectional. According to the latest New York City UN Impact Report, the UN community contributed 3.69 billion dollars to the New York City economy in 2014.
In response to the budget blueprint Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that "the Secretary-General is grateful for the support the United States has given to the United Nations over the years as the organisation's largest financial contributor."
"The Secretary-General is totally committed to reforming the United Nations and ensuring that it is fit for purpose and delivers results in the most efficient and cost-effective manner."
"However, abrupt funding cuts can force the adoption of ad hoc measures that will undermine the impact of longer-term reform efforts," said Dujarric.
Dujarric's statement also addressed aspects of the proposed budget, which claim to address terrorism. The proposal, which significantly increases spending on the U.S. military appears to favour a "hard power" militaristic approach over a "soft power" diplomatic and humanitarian approach.
"The Secretary-General fully subscribes to the necessity to effectively combat terrorism but believes that it requires more than military spending," said Dujarric. "There is also a need to address the underlying drivers of terrorism through continuing investments in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, countering violent extremism, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, sustainable and inclusive development, the enhancement and respect of human rights, and timely responses to humanitarian crises."

(Lyndal Rowlands is the United Nations Bureau Chief at IPS - Inter Press Service. Before becoming a UN correspondent in 2014 she worked as a researcher, writer and evaluator in the international development sector. She lives in East Harlem via Dili, Timor-Leste and Melbourne, Australia).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Indian Army Chief`s allegation means complicity of government of Bangladesh


REMARKS by Indian Army Chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat on Thursday that a 'planned influx' of people from Bangladesh into India's north-east is underway as part of a proxy war by Pakistan with support from China, so to keep the area disturbed. Moreover, he also said migration from Bangladesh are happening ...

Sports »

Bronze medalist in the women`s Big Air snowboard Synnott Zoi Sadowski of New Zealand, poses during the medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Thursday.


.

Entertainment »

Priyanka Chopra terminates contract with Nirav Modi, not suing him yet


Priyanka Chopra has decided to cut ties with billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi's brand following the news about the alleged banking fraud carried out by him. "In the light of recent allegations, Priyanka Chopra has chosen to terminate her contract with the Nirav Modi brand," a spokesperson of Priyanka, who ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed speaking at a protest rally organised by Khaleda Zia Mukti Parishad at the Jatiya Press Club on Friday demanding release of BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia.


.

International »

Ex-Trump campaign associates face more charges


AP, Washington  :Dramatically escalating the pressure and stakes, special counsel Robert Mueller filed additional criminal charges Thursday against President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman and his business associate.The filing adds allegations of tax evasion and bank fraud and significantly increases the legal jeopardy facing Paul Manafort, who managed Trump's campaign ...

Front Page »

Amnesty accuses President Trump of HR violations


Human rights group Amnesty International has accused Donald Trump of "hateful" politics and of being a threat to human rights. "President Trump takes actions that violate human rights at home and abroad," the group said. Amnesty put Mr Trump in the same group as the leaders of Egypt, Russia, China, ...

Editorial »

Serving people not making money must be the motto


PHYSICIANS must provide treatment, President Abdul Hamid said to common people at affordable cost so that no one remained deprived of receiving treatment for lack of money. He made the call while addressing the third convocation of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in the city on Monday. He has also ...

Sports »

Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic celebrates after she beats Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.


Entertainment »

Alicia Vikander loves `big adventure films`


Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander said she loves "independent and arthouse" cinema, but is also attracted towards the big adventure films.The actress, who will be soon seen as Lara Croft in the forthcoming film 'Tomb Raider', also shared that she found training and muscle-building exercise for the role, empowering. "My mother, ...

International »

Merkel calls for Europe to step up to global challenges


Reuters, Berlin  :The European Union must develop a response to growing global political and economic pressures and this will be the spirit of an EU summit this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.Merkel pointed to the crisis in Syria and the growing importance of Asian economies as needing ...

City »

SNAPSHOTS ON AMAR EKUSHEY OBSERVANCE


Editorial »

Ekushey tells us to be free and fearless against injustice


THE Nation celebrates 'Amar Ekushey' today with due solemnity and colourful festivities to remember the Martyrs of the 1952 Language Movement. It is a landmark occasion and a day of awakening in the history of Bengali people that gave us the clear realization that we have our own language and ...

Cricket »

Captain of Bangladesh National Cricket (ODI) team Mashrafe Bin Mortaza handing over a crest of honour to Hafiz Yasin Arafat at the Bashundhara International Convention Centre in the city recently. Yasin Arafat became Hafiz-e-Quran in 86 days. He was a student of Tanjimul Ummah Hifz Madrasah of Cox's Bazar. Ahlul Huffaz Foundation Bangladesh arranged the reception programme.


Sports »

Medalists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating (from left) : Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, of France (silver), Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada (gold) and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States (bronze) pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Tuesday.


International »

Trump backs improved background checks on gun buys


US President Donald Trump signaled support Monday for improving background gun checks amid mounting pressure for reform in the wake of the Florida school shooting, as the accused gunman appeared in court.Nikolas Cruz, charged with killing 17 people, sat silently with his head bowed during a procedural hearing in Fort ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news