Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 03:55:02 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

UN facing famines, conflicts and now US funding cuts

By
21st-Mar-2017       Readers ( 98 )   0 Comments
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all (0) »

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).

0 Comments. Share your thoughts also.
Write a comment
Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

EU`s threat to scrap duty free export


THE European Union (EU) has asked Bangladesh to further improve the country's labour standard least to avoid suspension of duty free trade privileges. But it appears quite unjustified at a time when Bangladesh has significantly allowed Trade Union to workers  at factory level to represent their problems.  It appears that ...

Sports »

Bangladesh bag titles in Asian Zonal Chess


Bangladeshi emerged champions in both open and women's section in the Asian Zonal 3.2 Chess Championships Open and Women qualifying events of World Cup Chess and World Women Chess Championship that concluded on Monday in Kathmandu, Nepal. GM Mollah Abdullah Al Rakib became unbeaten champion in the open section. He ...

City »

Chairman of Northern University Bangladesh Trust Prof. Dr. A.Y.M. Abdullah confers a honourary crest to the Prime Minister's Economic Affairs Adviser Dr. Mashiur Rahman at a discussion and prize giving ceremony on its Banani campus on the occasion of 47th Independence Day on Saturday.


International »

61 bodies found in Mosul 10 days after air strike


Reuters, Mosul :Iraq's military said on Sunday that 61 bodies were recovered from a collapsed building that the militant Islamic State group had booby-trapped in west Mosul, but there was no sign the building had been hit by a coalition air strike.The military statement differed from reports by witnesses and ...

Entertainment »

Moushumi celebrates two eras of her film career


Entertainment Report :Popular film actress Moushumi celebrated two eras of her acting career on March 25.On this day in 1993, she started her acting career through Sohanur Rahman Sohan directed movie Keyamat Thekey Keyamat. To celebrate the day, Moushumi at her residence in the city’s Uttara area arranged a get-together ...

Entertainment »

Karan Johar to make his debut as a singer?


Karan Johar recoreded a song for Shekhar Ravijani who is a composer and singer. Karan Johar has rapped as well as sung a song. Badshah was present for the rap portions but the rap is done by Karan himself. He has no time before he entered the recording studio. Karan ...

Football »

Paraguay`s Paulo Da Silva (center) and teammates celebrates their first goal scored by Bruno Valdez against Ecuador during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer game in Asuncion, Paraguay on Thursday.


Editorial »

We must prove worthy of people`s supreme sacrifice


THE nation celebrates the 47th Independence and National Day today although we achieved our real independence on the Victory Day on December 16 when the country was freed from Pakistani occupation forces in 1971. March 26th is observed as the day of Declaration of Independence that led the nation to ...

Football »

Mexico`s Jurgen Damm controls the ball during a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying soccer match between Mexico and Costa Rica at Azteca stadium in Mexico City on Friday. Mexico won the match 2-0.


City »

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, among others, stands in a solemn silence marking the Genocide Day at Shikha Chirantan (Eternal Flame) in the city's Suhrawardy Udyan on Saturday.


Entertainment »

Aupee Karim returns as host


Entertainment Desk :Famous actress, model and dancer, Aupee Karim is all set to host a show again after a long time. Titled Surjodoyer Gaan, the program she will be hosting will feature five special songs, paying tribute to the martyrs of the Liberation War. The program has been made under ...

International »

Modi befriends Trump as Putin and Xi move closer together


Newsweek :Are we witnessing seismic shifts in the Russia-India-China triangle? It would seem so-but the shifts are long in the making.Historically, Indo-Russian relations have been far stronger than Sin-Russian relations. In recent years, however, and especially since the onset of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014, the dynamics of this ...

International »

Troubled EU seeks unity in Rome on 60th birthday


AFP, Rome : European Union leaders celebrated the 60th anniversary of the bloc's founding treaties at a special summit in Rome on Saturday in a symbolic show of unity despite Britain's looming departure.Meeting without Britain, the other 27 member countries will endorse a declaration of intent for the next decade, on ...

Cricket »

Happy birthday to Shakib Al Hasan


Hadn't he born, Bangladesh cricket team would have deprived of many outstanding victories.Number one all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who demonstrated his magical batting and bowling displays many times to ensure victories for the Tigers, stepped into 31st year on Friday.However, he was celebrating his birthday with his teammates in Sri ...

Editorial »

Fire at BB head office raises many questions


THE fire incident at Bangladesh Bank has come as a renewed shock to the nation prompting questions from many quarters how the central bank is falling is so insecure as a highly sensitive establishment from national security perspective. The incident just within one year of the sensational money heist of ...

 
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