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Assessed contributions determined by each agency's governing body in accordance with a cost-sharing arrangement -- which primarily support operating expenses. Member countries making these contributions are fulfilling legal obligations incurred upon accepting membership.
The United States is assessed at about 25% of most UN agency budgets, slightly less than our share would be on a capacityto-pay basis. The prohibitory language regarding technical assistance financing added by the Congress relates only to assessed contributions.
The most up-to-date data available (1977) for the UN system overall, show that the major portion 81% of the funds spent on technical assistance by the agencies of the UN system comes from voluntary contributions. Of this, 49% comes from contributions to the UN Development Program (UNDP), which funds activities by the UN and the specialized agencies acting as "executing agencies," and an additional 32% comes from voluntary contributions to programs such as the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and various trust funds established by the agencies to receive special purpose contributions from individual donor countries.
Assessed contributions amount to less than 19% of the total expenditures for UN system technical assistance activities and less than 5% if WHO's assessed health assistance programs, which serve global common interests, are excluded. Placed in larger perspective, assessed contributions for technical assistance amount to only about 5% of the total funds available within the UN system, and little more than 1% excluding the assessed WHO programs.
• WHAT IS THE AUTHORITY FOR FUNDING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE OUT
OF ASSESSED BUDGETS OF UN AGENCIES?
The first session of the UN General Assembly in 1946 voted to include funding for technical assistance activities in the UN assessed budget. This action, based on provisions in the Charter, was supported by the United States.
The organic statutes establishing WHO, FAO, ICAO, and WIPO contain provisions which specifically provide for assessed budget funding of technical assistance. The United States supported inclusion of these provisions in the organic statutes when they were negotiated.
In UNESCO, ITU, WMO and UPU, assessed budget funding of technical assistance has evolved as an accepted practice in response to initiatives from member countries, including the United States.
WHAT IS THE AMOUNT OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE IN THE ASSESSED BUDGETS OF THE UN AGENCIES?
Technical assistance reported in the assessed budgets of each of the UN agencies, in millions of dollars and percentages, is as follows:
The figures for WIPO reflect only those constituent organizations in which the United States participates.
WHAT ACTION DID THE CONGRESS TAKE IN 1978 ?
In passing the State Department's appropriation bill for FY 1979 (P.L. 95-431), Congress approved an amendment initially proposed by Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) to reduce the President's budget request for "Contributions to International Organizations" by $27.7 million an estimate of the U.S. share of UN technical assistance financed by assessed contributions. 17 The amendment, more importantly, also specified that of the total funds appropriated "no part may be made available for the furnishing of technical assistance by the United Nations or any of its specialized agencies."
WHY ARE THE UN AGENCIES NOW UNABLE TO ACCEPT U.S. ASSESSED
The above prohibitory language in the FY 1979 Department of State appropriation bill now precludes any payment of U.S. assessed contributions to the UN agencies because we are unable to ensure that no part of such a payment would be used for technical assistance. The organic statute of each agency refers to the budget as a whole and makes no provision for earmarking within, or attaching conditions to, assessed contributions to the regular budget. Further, the agency heads do not have the right to earmark assessed contributions in such a manner as to prevent their being used to finance any specific activity or program.
These points were made in a statement issued after a November 1978 meeting of the UN Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), composed of the heads of the UN agencies.2/
The ACC statement also noted the following:
The assessed contributions of Member States "are financial obligations which are legally binding on the Members";
Within the "Contributions to International Organizations" appropriation request for $ 355.4 million, an amount of $ 247.5 million was requested for the "United Nations and Affiliated Agencies," the balance being requested for other organizations. Of the $327.7 million appropriated, $219.8 million was for the "United Nations and Affiliated Agencies."
2/ See complete text of ACC statement in the Appendix, p. ii.
"The withholding of assessed contributions, or parts thereof, thus clearly violates the international legal obligations which every Member State contracted when it joined an organization in the United Nations system and formally accepted its charter or constitution";
"... the attachment of conditions to the payment of assessed contributions purporting to restrict their use by an organization cannot be recognized as valid under the Charter of the United Nations and the constitutions of the other organizations";
"... this situation..., if allowed to persist, will inevitably weaken the legal foundations of the international organizations and jeopardize the very existence of international co-operation within the United Nations system"; and
"It also constitutes an immediate threat to the financial viability of the United Nations system."
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS IF THE CONGRESS FAILS TO ACT?
Failure by the Congress to take the legislative action recommended would preclude the United States from meeting its legal financial obligations to the UN agencies and thus would:
Cast doubt on the U.S. commitment to the UN, and to the use of multilateral diplomacy in general.
- Weaken U.S. influence in the UN just at a time when we
have begun to reassert our traditional leadership role, and when the UN is engaged in matters of critical importance for this country (e.g., Middle East peacekeeping, southern Africa, North/South dialogue).
Damage the U.S. posture in the eyes of our allies, who look to us for leadership, and of the developing countries who place such importance on the UN system. Undermine U.S. efforts to champion the rule of law and, through our actions, to set an example for other countries to follow.
Force drastic reductions in the specialized staffs of the UN agencies that have been developed carefully over the past three decades.
Risk threatening the financial viability of the UN system by provoking other member nations to place restrictions on their assessed contributions, to which the United States would be ill-prepared to object. Cause a significant shortfall of funds for the UN agen. cies since we are the major contributor to most of them the U.S. assessment is about 25% for most UN agencies, slightly less than our capacity-to-pay. Adversely impact, due to the shortage of funds, on the work of the United Nations to preserve international peace and security and to develop greater international cooperation in the economic and social sectors.
Require the UN agencies to make cutbacks possibly affecting such vital programs as:
IAEA's development of nuclear safeguards;
WHO's efforts to control and eradicate contagious diseases;
ICAO's promotion of air navigation safety measures ; FAO's early warning system on impending crop and food shortages;
IMCO's protection against marine pollution; WMO's global exchange of meteorological data to improve the surveillance and prediction of weather patterns; UNESCO's actions to preserve and restore threatened features of mankind's natural and cultural heritage
such as the Nubian monuments in Egypt; · WIPO's fostering of international cooperation in
the fields of patent, copyright, and trademark pro
tection; and . UPU's and ITU's establishment and maintenance of
standards for international postal and radio communications.