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U.S. Congress Approves $665 Million for United Nations



June 27, 2008

U.S. CONGRESS APPROVES $665 MILLION FOR UNITED NATIONS
AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

‘Funding supports key peacekeeping missions, reduces U.S. debt to the UN’

Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2008) –  The fiscal 2008 supplemental appropriations bill approved by Congress late yesterday includes critical funding that will help the United States erase more than 20% of its unpaid bills to the United Nations, the Better World Campaign said today.

“At a time when the United States is asking the United Nations to take on more and more responsibilities for peace, security and progress around the world, it is imperative that America honor its financial commitments to the UN,” said former Senator Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation and Better World Campaign.  “America is a great nation and as such needs to pay its bills on time and in full. This legislation is an important step toward reducing America’s nearly $2 billion debt to the UN,” Wirth said.

“If the President approves this budget request, U.S. debt to the UN will fall to $1.734 billion,” said Deborah Derrick, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign.  “In order to further reduce U.S. debt to the UN, and enhance America’s reputation in the world, the Better World Campaign is calling on Congress and the Administration to prioritize payment of unpaid bills to the UN in the fiscal 2009 appropriations process,” she said.

As approved by Congress, the supplemental funding bill includes $524 million to help address U.S. shortfalls to critical UN peacekeeping missions, including more than $334 million for the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan (UNAMID) and another $190 million for peacekeeping missions to countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Haiti, Liberia, and Sudan.

The approved legislation also includes $141 million for the U.S. government’s Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) account, which will finance U.S. contributions to the UN assistance missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The CIO account also supports the UN’s core funding and key peace and security organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organization.

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About the Better World Campaign
The Better World Campaign (BWC), an initiative of the Better World Fund, works to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the United Nations through outreach, communications, and advocacy.  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.  In these efforts, BWC engages policy makers, the media, and the American public to increase awareness of and support for the United Nations.  For more information, visit www.betterworldcampaign.org.

Press Contacts:

In Washington, D.C.:
Adele Waugaman
UN Foundation/Better World Campaign
(o) 202.887.9040
(e) awaugaman at unfoundation.org

In New York:
Robert Skinner
UN Foundation/Better World Campaign
(o) 212.697.0520
(e) rskinner at unfoundation.org