Washington, D.C. (Sept. 8, 2017) — Better World Campaign President Peter Yeo issued the following statement today regarding the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs FY’18 spending bill:
“Thanks to the steadfast leadership of Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill that reinforces the United States’ longstanding strategic investment in multilateralism and the United Nations.
“Specifically, the bill provides $1.449 for the Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) account, fully funding the UN’s Regular budget dues. This account funds, among other items, the unsung work of political missions in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, and Somalia, which work in close partnership with the U.S. The Senate bill also restores essential funding to over a dozen of the UN’s most vital agencies and funds – which the House had eliminated funding to – including the UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Environment (UNEP), UN Women, UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and UN Fund for Victims of Torture.
“While the bill does not fully fund UN peacekeeping efforts at our assessed rate of 28 percent, we applaud Senator Leahy for offering an amendment, ultimately unsuccessful, that called for full peacekeeping funding and highlighting the importance of meeting our financial obligations at the UN.
“We also thank and congratulate Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NJ) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for successful passage of amendments calling for funding the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), increased bilateral family planning funding, ending the Global Gag Rule, and fighting climate change by funding the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), respectively. The bill also provides for important bilateral and multilateral investments in malaria, vaccinations, and other maternal and child health programs, including the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Gavi Alliance, the Global Fund for HIV, TB, and Malaria, and programs aimed at the elimination of polio.
“After months of uncertainty, the Senate bill signals to the international community that the U.S. aims to play a central role in responding to four looming famines, the largest refugee crisis in recorded history, and conflict across the globe.
“Moving forward, we call on the House and Senate to advance a final bill that includes robust funding for the foreign affairs budget and full funding for the UN and UN Peacekeeping.”
About the Better World Campaign
The Better World Campaign works to foster a strong relationship between the U.S. and the UN to promote core American interests and build a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. The Better World Campaign engages policymakers, the media, and the American public alike to increase awareness of the critical role played by the UN in world affairs and the importance of constructive U.S.-UN relations.