On March 12, 2020, Better World Campaign Executive Director Jordie Hannum testified on Capitol Hill before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs in support of a robust foreign affairs budget in Fiscal Year 2021, including paying our funding obligations to the United Nations and UN Peacekeeping on time and in full.
As the world faces unprecedented challenges, and the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2020, the international body remains the only forum where countries all gather to tackle the globe’s greatest challenges.
In 2020, Hannum made clear the UN’s efforts will be more vital than ever.
For example, he noted that World Health Organization (WHO) personnel are responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19), where they are collecting data, sharing information and diagnostic tests, and trying to prevent infections from taking root in countries with weak health systems – which 82% of Americans say is critical in a new poll.
But Hannum also stressed that the UN’s important work overseas is being undermined by funding shortfalls. Since FY’17, Congress and the Administration have enforced a 25% cap on U.S. contributions to UN peacekeeping, resulting in $1 billion in arrears. In addition, there have been unprecedented Administration delays in funding already appropriated by Congress.
Hannum explained that while the United States is withdrawing and withholding funding, China is aggressively expanding its role. If the U.S. continues to downgrade its engagement with the UN, we can expect to see a corresponding drop in our level of influence, creating a void that countries like China are only too eager to fill. Preventing such a scenario requires more U.S. engagement, not less, and fully funding the UN.
To learn more, watch his full testimony below.