U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is heading for Washington and talks on the organization’s peacekeeping budget. His aim is to secure additional funding after the United States capped its share and threw responsibility back on the rest of the world to step up and fill the void.
The U.S., historically the major contributor to the U.N., announced in December that it would cover no more than 25 percent of the U.N.’s multi-billion-dollar peacekeeping budget, down from 28.47 percent.
In 2016, the U.S. paid more than $10 billion for the U.N. — about one-fifth percent of the U.N.’s total budget, according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Of the $10 billion U.S. contribution, about $4 billion went to mandatory “assessed contributions,” and $6 billion went to “voluntary contributions,” according to CFR.
On Thursday, Guterres will be meeting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton for talks aimed at forcing a reconsideration of the decision to cut back. He is also expected to touch on Yemen and Venezuela.
The U.S. cost-cutting has created a hole of about $220 million in this year’s $6.7 billion budget, but the shortfall has been compounded by arrears that have pushed peacekeeping finances further into the red.
At the end of January, Ethiopia was owed $41.6 million for its blue helmets, India $40.5 million and Pakistan $35.7 million, according to the UN peacekeeping department.
When the U.N. was established in 1945 as a body deliberating peace and security matters, the regular budget was $19.39 million in nominal dollars, according to a Heritage Foundation report. In 2016, it was $5.4 billion biennially.