Washington, D.C. (April 9, 2021) – Better World Campaign President Peter Yeo released the following statement on the Biden Administration’s budget proposal that includes a $300 million down payment towards paying all UN peacekeeping arrears within two years as well as the full payment of U.S. dues owed to the UN this year:

“Today, the Biden Administration took an important step toward restoring America’s strength on the world stage and protecting our country’s national security. The spending request includes $300 million to begin paying down peacekeeping cap-related arrears that the U.S. has accumulated since FY’17, which currently total more than $1.1 billion. Furthermore, by proposing that the U.S. pay its current dues in full, the Biden administration has reversed a highly problematic trend of U.S. underpayments that have accumulated over the past four years. A total of nearly $2 billion was requested for UN peacekeeping operations in FY’22, approximately $500 million more than the FY’21 enacted level.

“In a world destabilized by the global pandemic, paying the dues we owe is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.

“By paying our UN peacekeeping arrears, the U.S. will:

  • Fortify peacekeeping missions in 12 conflict-prone areas across the world, critical to U.S. national security.  As it stands, UN peacekeepers are on the front lines of the pandemic, facilitating the transfer of COVID-19 tests across conflict zones from Lebanon to South Sudan;
  • Reimburse top troop-contributing countries like Ghana, Bangladesh and Indonesia whose thousands of troops face life-threatening risks daily and who have not received full or timely reimbursements due to U.S. shortfalls;
  • Position the U.S. to better advocate for peacekeeping reforms.  As UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield recently said, ‘We need to pay our bills to have a seat at the table.’
  • Strengthen American credibility at the UN, including in the Security Council, which will boost the U.S. Government’s ability to achieve its foreign policy and national security objectives.

“Two decades of evidence has shown that UN peacekeeping works, acting as a force multiplier for the U.S. at a fraction of the cost of putting U.S. troops on the ground.

“Overall, by increasing the International Affairs budget, President Biden has met this unique moment of global need with clear and decisive action.

“In total, the Biden Administration requests $63.5 billion for international affairs programs, an increase of $6.8 billion, or roughly 12 percent, over the level enacted by the FY’21 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The Administration’s new proposal is a powerful first step that gets us closer to meet today’s growing global threats.

“This budget recognizes that we simply cannot confront the complex transnational challenges we face – whether around COVID-19 or climate change or food insecurity or gender equity – without investing in the State Department, USAID, and the United Nations.

“We encourage leaders in Congress to move forward with this International Affairs funding level as the floor in all Fiscal Year 2022 negotiations, address arrears, and make a safer and more secure world for all.”

About the Better World Campaign

The Better World Campaign, an initiative of the Better World Fund, works to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the United Nations. It encourages U.S. leadership to enhance the UN’s ability to carry out its invaluable international work on behalf of peace, progress, freedom, and justice. For more information, visit www.betterworldcampaign.org.

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Media Contact: Kathryn Kross | kkross@unfoundation.org