Open letter to Congress urging continued support and leadership in the United Nations
Published: 28 Feb 2017
(28 February 2017) Continued engagement with the UN is critical to advancing a number of core U.S. foreign policy objectives, including securing recent gains in international development, delivering lifesaving humanitarian assistance, combating terrorism, encouraging the peaceful resolution of conflict, and promoting universal human rights. IRRI has joined with one hundred other human and civil rights organisations to advocate for stronger United Nations support, both financially and politically.
Now is the time to engage robustly and constructively with Mr. Guterres to achieve these ends, and avoid counterproductive actions, such as withholding financial support for the UN, that will only isolate the U.S. from its international partners and stymie efforts to achieve real and sustainable reform. This viewpoint has been articulated by both Republican and Democratic Administrations for decades. Earlier this month, for example, during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Ambassador Nikki Haley stated repeatedly that she opposed the “slash-and-burn” approach to UN funding advocated by some observers. Furthermore, in 2005, when Congress was considering legislation to tie the payment of U.S. dues to reform, a bipartisan group of eight former U.S. Ambassadors to the UN—including Jeane Kirkpatrick, John Danforth, Richard Holbrooke, and Madeleine Albright— authored a letter opposing the proposal. “Withholding our dues to the UN is the wrong methodology,” the letter argued. “When we last built debt with the UN, the United States isolated ourselves from our allies within the UN and made diplomacy a near impossible task.”