1. Action Alert
  2. Peacebuilding

A Dangerous Signal: Legislation to Defund the United Nations

By Theo Sitther, January 19, 2017


Cutting funding to the United Nations sends a dangerous message.

Congressional efforts to cut U.S. funding to the United Nations sends a dangerous message to the international community. It signals that the United States is not willing to abide by global norms and work collaboratively with the international community to solve some of the most complex problems that the global community is facing.

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) along with twenty other Republican senators introduced legislation (S. 107 – Safeguard Israel Act) that would prohibit any U.S. funding to the United Nations unless the UN Security Council repealed Resolution 2334, which reiterated long-standing UN policy that Israeli settlements in West Bank are illegal and an obstruction to peace in the Middle East.

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FCNL opposes this legislation. U.S. engagement with the United Nations is an essential part of U.S. objectives to advance peace, security, and human rights. The United Nations is the only significant platform where the international community can come together to fight climate change, reduce nuclear weapons, end violent conflict through mediation and diplomacy, and support democratic governance.

Congressional efforts to cut U.S. funding to the UN is not new. In 2005, the House passed legislation restricting funding to the UN unless certain reforms were met. The Bush administration opposed the legislation and Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN under President Reagan, wrote in a letter – “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.”

Governor Nikki Haley, who is President-elect Trump’s nominee as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and said that she does not believe in a “slash and burn” approach to reforming the UN system. Threatening the United Nations with funding cuts until the U.S. gets its way is a dangerous “slash and burn” approach that does not bode well for international cooperation.

Send a message to your senators and urge them to fully fund the United Nations.

Theo Sitther

  • Consultant, Advocacy Teams Trainer

As an Advocacy Team Trainer, Theo provides teams with extra support to be strong communities and advocates.