I Support the United Nations
-- You Should Too

The United Nations is not a remote, far-away, impenetrable organization. It's a loose coalition of nations, and has no power at all that does not come from the member states. Its strength -- and weaknesses -- come directly from its member countries.

The U.S., being, by far, the richest country on the planet, is the biggest financial contributor to the United Nations, paying about 22 percent of the annual $2 billion general budget. That does NOT, however, include money for peacekeeping, most international tribunals, or programs like the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) and UNICEF, which are funded separately. Also, the United States pays one of the lowest contributions, per capita, of the rich nations on earth (in contrast to Germany, Japan, and Scandinavian countries, for instance).

Do you think the UN should be more effective? Do you want to be more involved directly in the UN and its issues? Do you want to learn more about what the UN really is and how, together, the people of the world can work together to solve our peoples' and planet's most pressing issues? Here are some web sites that can help:

(New York, May 19 2005 3:00PM) Reminding a United States House of Representatives committee that the United Nations has undergone more reform under Secretary-General Kofi Annan than under any of his predecessors, his Chief of Staff today said the UN is under-funded and over-managed.

Mark Malloch Brown told the House Committee on International Relations, chaired by Rep. Henry Hyde, that the UN was operating 18 peacekeeping missions, with 67,000 uniformed personnel, on a budget of $4.5 billion that is less than 0.5 per cent of the world's military spending "and means a unit cost for peacekeeping that is a fraction of that spent by the US and UK in comparable operations."

"It's a bargain - but perhaps too much of one," he said.

Instead of threatening to cut contributions in response to failure, a long-term, sustainable solution would come about when the United States and fellow UN Member States "agree what they want to the UN to do, then fund it properly to allow the UN to do the task well."

Meanwhile, the UN's inter-governmental constraints on the Secretariat "often amount to micromanagement," Mr. Malloch Brown said.

As head of the UN Development Programme (<"http://www.undp.org/">UNDP) reporting to an Executive Board of Member States, Mr. Malloch Brown said, he had more autonomy and more accountability for results than had Mr. Annan, "who is mired in a web of Government committees and outdated rules that impede his freedom to manage."

At the heart of the UN reform agenda, he added, "is the organizing idea of how a Secretary-General can be given back the power to manage, while at the same time Governments recover the strategic tools to ensure accountability for results."


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This information posted by J. Cravens. The personal opinions expressed on this page are solely the opinion of Ms. Cravens, unless otherwise noted.

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