Featured Global Global Governance Headlines IPS UN: Inside the Glasshouse News TerraViva United Nations

Is it Time to End Cheque Book Diplomacy at the UN?

Is it Time to End Cheque Book Diplomacy at the UN?
Featured, International, International Governance, Headlines, IPS UN: Inside the Glasshouse, TerraViva United Nations

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 19 2018 (IPS) – The UN’s main donors – led by the United States – have lengthy been accused of influence-peddling and misusing their monetary clout not solely to seize a few of the excessive rating jobs in the world physique but in addition threaten funding cuts to push their very own home agendas.

The Trump administration’s plan to scale back its 22% assessed contributions to the world physique –- obligatory funds to the UN’s common finances– has helped resurrect a 1985 suggestion by the late Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme who proposed a brand new system of financing the UN.

The Palme proposal didn’t surrender the present “capacity to pay” formulation, however instructed there must be a cap of 10 % most for anybody nation.

This cover is meant to scale back the UN’s extreme dependence on funding by the US and a fistful of massive donors. The spirit of the Palme proposal is to shield the UN from being unduly influenced by these donors.

In accordance to the present components, apart from the 22% by the US, the proportion for the different main contributors embrace: Japan pays 9.7 %, China 7.9%, Germany 6.four%, France four.9 %, UK four.5%, Italy three.7% and Russia three.1%.

The poorest nations of the world pay zero.zero01% of the UN price range, whereas the Least Developed Nations (LDCs), described as the poorest of the poor, have a cap of zero.01% every

Kul Gautam, former UN Assistant Secretary-Common and Deputy Government Director of the UN youngsters’s company UNICEF, is a robust advocate of the Palme proposal and argues that if UN decision-making is to be free of extreme vulnerability to, and even being blackmailed by the huge donors, it is necessary for UN not to be too depending on any single donor for its general price range or necessary tasks.

In an interview with IPS, he identified that former Secretary-Common Ban Ki-moon was compelled to change his report on Saudi Arabia’s blatant concentrating on of youngsters and civilians in its assaults in Yemen a number of years in the past, due to the Saudi menace of withholding its funding for the UN.

Equally, in 2005, former Secretary-Common Kofi Annan was compelled by then US President George W Bush to appoint an American Government Director of UNICEF inside 72 hours —with none critical vetting by the UNICEF Government Board.

A transparent case of influence-peddling, and “cheque book diplomacy,” stated Gautam, writer of the recently-released ebook titled “Global Citizen from Gulmi: My Journey from the Hills of Nepal to the Halls of the United Nations”.

James Paul, who served as government director of the New York-based International Coverage Discussion board (1993-2012), informed IPS that on 21 October 1985, in a speech to a Basic Meeting commemoration of the UN’s 40th anniversary, Olof Palme proposed that the cap on most evaluation by anybody nation to the UN’s common price range be decreased from 25% to 10%.

Palme stated: “A more even distribution of the assessed contributions would better reflect the fact that this Organization is the instrument of all nations.”

The UN at that point was dealing with a rising monetary disaster, due largely to a rising debt by the United States; Palme was proposing an unconventional answer.

Quite a lot of nations agreed with Palme and a high-level UN reform paper took up the concept. The German authorities argued with Washington that the United States ought to pay up– or settle for a decrease evaluation.

However US Secretary of State George Schultz rejected the concept out of hand, stated Paul, writer of the newly-released ebook titled “Of Foxes and Chickens: Oligarchy & Global Power in the UN Security Council.”

“Washington wanted to keep its financial strangle-hold. Unfortunately, many other member states preferred to maintain their own dues at a low level. Some were thought to pay less in dues to the world body than the operating cost of their delegation in New York,” he added.

In 2001, the US altered course and agreed to pay the UN most of the excellent US debt if its common finances dues fee was lowered to 22%, from 25%. That shift was, in fact, removed from the Palme concept. Outsize US monetary affect continued.

“The 2001 changes are very relevant today, as yet another UN financial crisis is upon us and Washington is yet again the main culprit, said Paul”, who for a few years was additionally an editor of the ‘Oxford Companion to Politics of the World’.

Might the distribution of dues be modified additional in the course that Palme recommended?

The method main to the 2001 change proved that beneath the proper circumstances different member states might be persuaded to provide you with a further share of the dues, he famous.

Martin Edwards, an Affiliate Professor and Director of the UN Research Program at the Faculty of Diplomacy and Worldwide Relations at Seton Corridor College, advised IPS: “Given that the White House is heading us back toward arrears with its desire to ratchet US contributions down, this is an auspicious moment to propose this.”

He stated the problem can be to promote it, although, since the intent on the UN aspect is to diversify the portfolio and restrict the affect of donors, they may not bounce on it since it means foregoing future affect. (In the P-5, what different nations would have an interest? Definitely not Russia and China.—the different three being the US, UK and France.)

“But, we have a relatively unexperienced US Ambassador arriving in the form of Heather Nauert, and she’s going to face competition from seasoned veteran counterparts. It would be smart to offer it to Nauert and see if she jumps on it to bring a quick win for her boss,” Edwards declared.

Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury, a former UN Underneath-Secretary-Common, informed IPS:

“For the Olof Palme proposal, I would say with pride that as the Deputy Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to UN, I had advocated publicly in 1985 and thereafter that no one Member State should be paying more than 10 percent of the UN budget.”

Even at that point, he stated, the US was very strongly opposed to the concept.

“I continue to believe very earnestly in the wide-ranging positive impact of the 10 percent ceiling proposal,” declared Chowdhury.

Gautam stated: “I am not in favour of the argument that because the US economy is strong right now that it should be asked or expected to pay more to the UN”.

That, he identified, can be opposite to the spirit of the Palme proposal.

Any shortfall brought on by capping the US contribution to the UN may be simply made up by different OECD nations (Group of Financial Cooperation and Improvement) and the giant variety of middle-income rising economies, with out placing undue burden on the worlds low-income nations and LDCs.

“Please remember that in the larger scheme of international finance, in a world economy of $77 trillion and global military budgets of $1.7 trillion per year, the totality of the UN system’s budget and expenditure for humanitarian assistance, development cooperation, peace-keeping operations, technical assistance and other essential normative functions, amount to about $48 billion per year,” he identified.

This can be a modest quantity to reply to the large challenges that the UN is requested and anticipated to assist deal with.

He stated the complete UN system-wide spending yearly is lower than the protection finances of India or France, and fewer than one month’s US spending on protection.

With comparable funding, bilateral help and nationwide budgets of a lot greater proportions might hardly obtain outcomes comparable to what the UN and worldwide monetary establishments obtain.

At the moment financing for improvement panorama is altering quickly. Many UN actions profit from personal sector financing and philanthropic foundations.

Many NGOs rely more and more in cloud-sourcing and crowd-funding in addition to totally different modalities of public-private partnerships.

Harnessing such prospects and exploring the utilization of schemes like the Tobin Tax and assets generated from the international commons which are supposed to be the widespread heritage of humanity must be critically explored to liberate the UN from the perpetual threats of arbitrary cuts by its present main donors, declared Gautam.

Paul advised IPS: “Obviously, the Swedish prime minister was generally inclined towards a fiscal system that required the richest participants to pay on a progressive basis.”

That’s why his voice on this concern was so influential, as a result of he was balancing that precept towards others he thought-about extra necessary – the viability of the United Nations and the safety of the UN from strain from the largest payer.

Can the Palme idea be utilized at the moment when yet one more UN monetary disaster has arisen and a US administration of unprecedented hostility to international cooperation is in energy?

It will be value making an attempt, stated Paul.

And it could also be an urgently-needed revision to the post-1945 preparations and the world order that lay behind them. Different member states would have to agree to settle for a bigger share of the UN dues to make up for a discount by Washington, stated Paul.

“That would be most likely if the shift took place over an extended period – say over ten years. Getting a fairer share of top executive posts might be an incentive to the other UN members, as would a greater democratization of UN policy-making.”

He stated complaints that nationwide budgets are over-stretched can’t be taken critically, since UN dues are a really small quantity in all nationwide budgets from the poorest to the very richest nations. Affordability is just not the important situation.

Washington may oppose such a change, in order to hold its monetary affect intact, however the time has come for the remainder of the world to get up and defend a mandatory change to strengthen an establishment that they want and need.

The world has modified since 1945 and the United States can not fake to be the world’s “leader.”

Adoption of the Palme proposal could be the first step in the direction of different much-needed modifications to make the UN stronger and simpler in the years to come, declared Paul.

The author may be contacted at [email protected]


(perform()var fbds=doc.createElement(‘script’);fbds.async=true;fbds.src=’//join.fb.internet/en_US/fbds.js’;var s=doc.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(fbds,s);_fbq.loaded=true;