Each year, Congress must pass legislation to fund the activities and obligations of the U.S. government, including our nation’s assessed and voluntary contributions to the UN.
Provided below is a summary of funding for several UN-related appropriations accounts in recent years, and recommended funding levels for Fiscal Year 2017.
Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA)
$2.44 billion estimated for CIPA
UN peacekeeping constitutes the largest deployed multinational military force in the world, with nearly 125,000 personnel serving on 16 peacekeeping missions in hotspots around the world. These operations help promote our nation’s security goals and core values without requiring the commitment of U.S. troops. They are also extremely cost-effective, as UN missions overall are eight times cheaper than U.S. forces acting alone.
UN peacekeeping missions face an array of critical and weighty demands, and are increasingly deployed to more dangerous operating environments, with more than two-thirds deployed to active conflict zones. In spite of these challenges, however, UN peacekeepers have been able to claim some noteworthy achievements in recent years. For example, UN missions in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire played a central role in ensuring stability and facilitating free and fair elections in these countries. As a result, both missions are currently in the process of drawing down.
Nevertheless, UN peacekeepers will likely continue to face unprecedented challenges in other theaters of operation over the coming year. In South Sudan, for example, UN forces are currently working to protect nearly 200,000 civilians who have fled a devastating two-year civil war and sought refuge at UN bases. Meanwhile, in the West African nation of Mali, peacekeepers working to secure the country’s vast northern region have increasingly come under threat from extremist groups, including a regional affiliate of al-Qaeda, with 51 UN personnel killed in militant attacks since July 2013. In light of these ongoing challenges and risks, it is crucial that Congress continue to honor our nation’s financial obligations to the UN. In light of these ongoing challenges and risks, it is crucial that Congress continue to honor our nation’s financial obligations to the UN in FY’17 by fully funding our peacekeeping dues through the State Department’s CIPA account.
In his FY’17 budget submission, President Obama requested $2.394 billion for CIPA. BWC’s recommendation for CIPA is slightly higher than the President’s, because we include additional funding to cover estimated U.S. costs associated with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), while the Administration requests no funding for this mission. While the Security Council has decided to consider closing UNMIL, it is not scheduled to review the mission’s mandate until December 2016, well into the next fiscal year. In the meantime, there are still more than 3,500 UN troops serving in Liberia, providing civilian protection, facilitating humanitarian assistance, and promoting human rights. As a result, the U.S. will incur a Liberia-related assessment from the UN in Fiscal Year 2017.
BWC also requests that Congress include language in Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations legislation allowing the U.S. to pay its dues at the full assessed rate of 28.57%. Similar language lifting the arbitrary 25% cap on U.S. contributions to UN peacekeeping operations enacted in the 1990s has been included with bipartisan support in appropriations bills for 15 of the last 22 years. Failing to do so could potentially risk putting the U.S. into arrears on its peacekeeping dues; deny full reimbursement to countries like Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, and Nepal, who contribute the bulk of troops to UN peacekeeping operations; and deny critical resources to missions that are squarely in our nation’s interests.
Peacekeeping Operations (PKO)
$475.4 million estimated for PKO to fund UN Peacekeeping.
The State Department’s PKO account supports a number of crucial non-UN peacekeeping initiatives, including voluntary funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). AMISOM continues to work to stabilize Somalia and help Somali security forces defeat the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab organization, which has carried out a number of attacks against civilians in Kenya in recent years. The President’s request for PKO this year also includes funding for the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (APRRP). This partnership will build the rapid peacekeeping response capacities of six African countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda) to help them more quickly deploy in crisis situations.
Contributions to International Organizations (CIO)
The State Department’s CIO account funds U.S. dues payments to the UN Regular Budget and 40 other UN and non-UN international organizations, including NATO. The UN Regular Budget supports a number of the body’s core functions, and serves as a particularly effective example of the strategic and financial value of U.S. engagement with the UN, as other member states pay nearly 80% of the cost.
The Regular Budget finances, among other things, UN political missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya that are directly in our national interests and working to promote stability in key regions of the world. CIO also includes funding allowing the U.S. to pay its dues to the World Health Organization (WHO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and other critical UN specialized agencies.
In terms of FY’17, BWC is recommends $1.387 billion for Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) and $593.2 million for the UN regular budget.
Mechanism for Peace Operations Response (MPOR)
The MPOR account—originally proposed by the President in his FY’15 and FY’16 budget requests, but as yet not acted upon by Congress—would fund urgent peacekeeping needs, including new and expanded operations by UN or non-UN forces. Crises can arise at any time, without regard to the U.S. budget cycle. For example, growing political violence in Burundi is currently leading the U.S. and other members of the international community to contemplate deployment of a multilateral peace operation to the country. However, because an operation has not yet been authorized by the Security Council, the President’s 2017 budget does not request any funding for it. Given the tragic and rapidly deteriorating security situation in country, there is a possibility the Security Council could act soon, potentially necessitating FY’17 funding. Examples from prior years in Mali and CAR also demonstrate the need for this type of mechanism. The MPOR could be an effective way to deal with the potential funding challenges created by these types of situations, providing the U.S. with budgetary flexibility to respond quickly when new or expanded peacekeeping operations are needed even if they were not solidified at the time of the President’s budget.