UN – U.S. President Donald Trump’s bid to slash funding for the United Nations would make it “impossible” for it to continue its essential work, UN spokesperson said on Wednesday, adding that the organisation was ready to discuss reform with Washington.
“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.
“The Secretary-General is totally committed to reforming the UN.
“We stand ready to discuss with the United States and any other member state how best we can create a more cost-effective organisation to pursue our shared goals and values.
The Trump proposal cuts about a third from U.S. diplomacy and aid budgets, or nearly 19 billion dollars.
This includes cutting some one billion dollars from a UN peacekeeping funding and a steep cut to funding for international organisations.
The U.S. is the biggest UN contributor, paying 22 per cent of the 5.4 billion dollars core budget and 28.5 per cent of the 7.9 billion dollars peacekeeping budget.
These assessed contributions are agreed by the 193-member UN General Assembly.
Congress sets the federal government budget, and Republicans who control both houses and Democrats have said they do not support such drastic cuts.
Trump has said the U.S. share of the UN budgets was “unfair.”
The General Assembly is currently negotiating the UN regular budget for both 2018 and 2019 and the peacekeeping budget from July 1, to June 30, 2018.
Trump wants to cap the U.S. peacekeeping contribution at 25 per cent.
The U.S. is reviewing each 16 UN peacekeeping missions as the annual mandates come up for renewal by the Security Council in a bid to cut costs.
During a lunch with UN Security Council ambassadors at the White House in April, Trump described the U.S. contributions to the UN as “peanuts compared to the important work” as he pushed the world body to reform.
Trump’s budget proposal included a 44 per cent cut to funding for international organisations, but does not specify the cuts, other than “funding for organisations that work against U.S. foreign policy interests.”
The State Department said in April it was ending funding for the UN Population Fund, an agency focused on family planning, maternal and child health in more than 150 countries.
Guterres warned the cut could have “devastating effects.”
UN agencies such as the UN Development Program (UNDP), the children’s agency UNICEF, and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), are funded by governments voluntarily.
In 2016, the U. S. was the top contributor to the UNDP’s core budget, with an 83 million dollars donation; the leading donor to UNICEF’s core budget in 2015 with 132 million dollars; and the fourth-largest donor to the UNFPA, giving 75 million dollars.