Dr. Susan Rice was nominated by President Barack Obama in December 2008 to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and was confirmed by the Senate in January 2009. With her strong belief in the benefits of international cooperation, Ambassador Rice aims "to refresh and renew America's leadership in the United Nations." She believes the United Nations is an essential tool for U.S. policy, allowing the U.S. to share the burden of addressing global problems with the rest of the international community, and "must be strengthened to meet 21st century challenges."
Ambassador Rice leads the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Located in New York City, the Mission was created in 1947 as a means for the President and Secretary of State to conduct U.S. foreign policy at the UN. At any given time, approximately 50 U.S. Foreign Service Officers and five U.S. Ambassadors are dedicated to the Mission. Read Rice's statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf).
In her testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rice laid out her priorities while serving as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations:
Improving the UN's Peacekeeping Capacity
In her nomination testimony, Rice noted the importance of improving the UN's peacekeeping capacity, and expressed particular concern over the continued deployment of the UN-AU mission in Darfur (UNAMID). She suggested that the U.S. and the international community "work to build global peacekeeping capacity and help streamline the UN as well as our own procedures for deploying and supporting UN missions."
Fully Funding the United Nations
Rice has committed to working to get U.S. funding to the UN paid "in full and on time," and will work with the Congress "to pay down our newly mounting arrears and to support legislation to permanently lift the cap on U.S. payments to the UN peacekeeping budget."
Leading the Way on Climate Change
Before the Senate Foreign Relations committee, Ambassador Rice affirmed that the under the Obama administration, "the United States will engage vigorously in UN-sponsored climate negotiations" to create a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.
Preventing the Spread and Use of Nuclear Weapons
Noting that "there is no more urgent threat to the United States than a terrorist with a nuclear weapon," Rice called in her statement for renewed commitments at the upcoming Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference, and said she would work to ensure that the conference "advances the world's nonproliferation and disarmament regime and decreases the chance that nuclear weapons will end up in the hands of terrorists."
Fighting Poverty, Disease, and Corruption
Rice has echoed President Obama's call to make the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) "America's goals," noting that the spread of poverty, disease and corruption breeds "some of the world's most dangerous forces." She called achievement of the MDGs "a broad but crucial agenda for the United States that will enhance our own security in an interconnected world," and noted that "the United Nations has a unique and critical role to play" in achieving the world's goals for human development.
Promoting Human Rights
Defending human rights will be a major issue during Rice's tenure at the United Nations. In order to stand up for the principles embodied in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Rice believes in "strong global mechanisms to defend these rights" and has promised to "work closely with friends, allies, the UN Secretariat and others to seek to improve the performance and the prospects of the Human Rights Council."