Page 1


The United States and the United Nations in the 112th Congress 2012 Briefing Book Update

Dear Colleague: Last year, the Better World Campaign (BWC) and the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) developed a briefing book with information on the critical work of the United Nations and how it benefits American interests. This year, we are providing an update to alert you to notable achievements in 2011 and how the U.S. and UN continue to work together to create a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. The UN is not a perfect institution, but it serves a near-perfect purpose: to promote global cooperation to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges that no single country can resolve alone. By allowing our nation to share the burden of promoting international peace and stability with the rest of the international community, U.S. engagement with the UN helps buttress core American foreign policy, economic, national security, and humanitarian priorities around the world—from sub-Saharan Africa to the Western Hemisphere. In 2011, the UN continued to advance key U.S. interests by serving as an indispensable platform for international cooperation on a number of security issues, from global counter-terrorism efforts to curbing nuclear proliferation by rogue regimes. As U.S. troops completed their withdrawal from Iraq and began to leave Afghanistan, the UN bolstered efforts to rebuild those war-torn societies, and UN peacekeepers worked to stabilize some of the world’s most hazardous and operationally difficult conflict zones. In addition, the UN maintained its leadership role on a range of humanitarian, economic, and development issues, providing lifesaving aid to millions stricken by famine in the Horn of Africa, addressing the root causes of poverty through the Millennium Development Goals, and seeking to improve global health and empower women. Constructive U.S. engagement with the UN is key to the success of these activities and will continue to play a pivotal role in the UN’s ongoing efforts to address the global challenges of the 21st century. For these reasons and many others, it is critical that the U.S. honor its financial obligations to the UN by paying its peacekeeping and regular budget dues on time and in full. While the U.S. currently faces a number of difficult budgetary choices, cutting funding to the UN will not solve our nation’s fiscal challenges - it may, in fact, lead to greater expenditures in certain areas - and it will imperil vital UN programs that advance American interests and values on the world stage. According to research undertaken by a bipartisan polling team late last year, this view is shared by the wide majority of American voters. Nearly 86% of Americans believe it is important for the U.S. to maintain an active role within the UN system, and strong majorities (64% and 71% respectively) support the full and timely payment of our nation’s regular and peacekeeping dues. The enclosed update touches on the aforementioned issues along with other matters related to U.S.-UN engagement. We hope you find these materials helpful and invite you to call us at 202.462.4900 or visit our websites at or to obtain additional information. We look forward to working with you in the future to advance a strong U.S.-UN relationship. Sincerely,

Peter Yeo Patrick Madden Executive Director Executive Director Better World Campaign United Nations Association of the United States of America

2012 Briefing Book Update

Table of Contents 2



The UN: Benefiting the U.S. Economy


UN Specialized Agencies: Promoting U.S. Business, Security and Humanitarian Interests


U.S. Dues and Contributions to the UN The Importance of Paying our Assessed UN Regular Budget Dues


UN Strengthening and Reform


Peace and Security Issues Peacekeeping Counter-terrorism Preventing Nuclear Proliferation


United Nations on the Ground UN Mission in Iraq UN Mission in Afghanistan UN Missions in South Sudan Horn of Africa


Global Health and Human Rights Promoting Global Health and Preventing Disease Through Partnerships Championing Women and Girls The Millennium Development Goals: Looking Forward to 2015 and Beyond Human Rights Council


International Agreements

The United States and the United Nations during the 112 th Congress

About The Better World Campaign & UNA-USA

A Program of The United Nations Foundation

Our Missions The Better World Campaign (BWC) works to foster a strong, effective relationship between the United States and the United Nations to promote core American interests and build a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. BWC engages policymakers, the media, and the American public alike to increase awareness of the critical role played by the UN in world affairs and the importance of constructive U.S.-UN relations. The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is a grassroots organization with 125 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide devoted to strengthening the U.S.-UN relationship through public education and advocacy. For more than six decades, UNA-USA and its chapters and regions have stood at the forefront of building American support for the UN. The Better World Campaign and UNA-USA together represent the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the UN in the world. 2012 Agenda Each year, BWC and UNA-USA educate Americans and policymakers around four core elements of the U.S.-UN relationship: full payment of dues for the UN’s regular and peacekeeping budgets, UN reform, the Millennium Development Goals, and approval of UN treaties. In 2012, we will continue to pursue and build on these four principles to demonstrate the benefits of constructive U.S. engagement with the UN and how, working with the UN, we can better address the global challenges of the 21st century. We will work with Congress and the Administration on a range of issues, including: • Payment of our nation’s UN regular budget and peacekeeping dues on time, in full, and without conditions, the removal of the Congressionally imposed arbitrary peacekeeping cap, and the reversal of the U.S. policy of paying dues one year late; • Greater support for UN peacekeeping operations and for U.S. assistance in managing the large number of missions by working with the UN to develop its capabilities in logistics, training, doctrine, and management expertise; • Increased awareness about the work being performed by UN specialized agencies around the world and heightened support for fully funding their crucial mandates; • Constructive engagement on structural and management reforms at the UN and the implementation of ongoing reforms; • Advancement of the Millennium Development Goals; • Senate passage of key international agreements that we have signed but not yet ratified, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.



2012 Briefing Book Update

The UN: Benefiting the U.S. Economy For more than six decades, U.S. engagement with the UN has played a crucial role in advancing America’s foreign policy, national security, and economic interests on the world stage. Besides promoting these core strategic objectives, however, the UN’s work also directly benefits thousands of U.S. businesses through procurement contracts and returns to the New York City economy. In fact, for every $1 our nation contributes to the UN Secretariat—the institution responsible for carrying out the day-to-day work of managing the UN’s general operations globally—we receive more than $1.60 back. In light of the difficult budgetary choices currently facing our nation, this level of return on our investment in the UN is truly noteworthy. Procuring American Goods and Services In 2010, the UN Secretariat purchased more than $830 million worth of goods and services from over 3,500 U.S. companies based in locations as diverse as San Jose, CA; Southfield, MI; Morrisville, NC; and Miami, FL. Companies that have contracted with the UN include such pillars of the U.S. economy as Ford Motor Company, Caterpillar, and CISCO, and provide everything from vehicles to engineering and electronic equipment to support core UN missions and activities. The U.S. benefits from the UN in a variety of ways, including through: • The Capital Master Plan: The Capital Master Plan (CMP) is a five-year project to renovate UN Headquarters in New York by updating building and fire safety codes so that they comply with current standards for security, energy efficiency, and accessibility. Construction began in 2008 and U.S. companies have been awarded 80 of the 82 contracts – a total investment of $1.7 billion in the U.S. economy over five years. As part of our assessed dues, the U.S. will contribute $377 million to the $1.95 billion total project budget. Consequently, for every dollar the U.S. puts into the Capital Master Plan, it gets back $4.50. • UN Peacekeeping Operations: In 2010, the U.S. received more than $188 million in contracts to support 15 UN peacekeeping operations around the world. American companies are on the ground in places like Haiti, Lebanon, South Sudan, and Liberia supporting these critical peacekeeping missions by providing telecommunications lines, information technology services, earthmoving machines, and building materials, among other crucial supplies. Benefiting the Big Apple New York City benefits greatly from the daily business of UN headquarters, with one past estimate putting the Big Apple’s total annual economic gain from the UN’s presence at $3.3 billion. Visitors attending UN conferences held in New York infuse millions into the city’s economy, with the annual opening of the General Assembly session alone generating revenue comparable to a major international convention or sporting event. This type of annual conference is not affected by economic recessions, so these large expenditures will be made each year, which can be especially beneficial in a difficult economy. Finally, the UN plays an important role in boosting New York’s tourism industry. The world body hosts an average of more than 1 million visitors each year, providing business to local hotels and restaurants. 3

The United States and the United Nations during the 112 th Congress

UN Specialized Agencies: Promoting U.S. Business, Security and Humanitarian Interests The UN system is comprised of the UN Secretariat, whose headquarters is in New York, and more than thirty affiliated organizations—programs, funds, and specialized agencies—that work with and through the UN to promote global security and prosperity. In terms of the specialized agencies, through their work, they promote core U.S. foreign policy, economic, national security, and humanitarian goals every day. In addition to these benefits, American engagement with these agencies is an extremely cost-effective way to address global challenges, as other Member States foot the bill for the vast majority of their costs. Provided below is a brief snapshot of the work of several of these agencies and how they advance U.S. interests. • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA works to prevent, detect, and respond to the illicit or non-peaceful use of nuclear material, conducting monitoring and inspection activities in 150 countries to verify compliance with international nuclear safeguard agreements. In 2003, the IAEA unmasked Libya’s hidden nuclear weapons program. In 2010, with strong U.S. support, the board of the IAEA voted to set up a global nuclear fuel bank that aspiring nations can turn to for reactor fuel instead of making it themselves, thereby reducing the risk of global proliferation. For nearly a decade, the IAEA’s monitoring activities in Iran have played a pivotal role in bolstering efforts to curb that country’s nuclear ambitions. In November 2011, the agency issued a report detailing evidence of a military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA’s findings provided the impetus for enhanced sanctions targeting the Iranian nuclear program by the U.S., EU, and Canada. • World Health Organization (WHO). WHO serves as a coordinating authority on international public health. It is responsible for leading the global response to public health emergencies, monitoring outbreaks of infectious disease, spearheading global vaccination efforts, and developing campaigns to eradicate life threatening diseases like polio and malaria. Every year, the WHO investigates 200 to 250 disease outbreaks. In 2003, WHO helped stop the spread of SARS before it could reach and infect tens of thousands of people. In 2009 and 2010, WHO steered efforts to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus. • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO encourages American innovation and economic growth through the registration and protection of patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property, as well as through the adjudication of cross-border disputes on intellectual property. In the last year alone, dozens of major American companies have brought cases before WIPO, including the American Automobile Association, Apple, The North Face, Costco, and Facebook. Moreover, according to the U.S. 4

2012 Briefing Book Update

Chamber of Commerce, one of 57 NGO observers at WIPO, nearly 19 million Americans are employed in IP-intensive industries, and therefore depend on WIPO-administered IP protection activities. • International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO contributes to the U.S. business sector by setting safety standards for the international shipping industry and guidelines for preventing maritime pollution. Standards promulgated by IMO are central to the U.S. economy because 90 percent of all international trade is carried on ships. IMO recently completed comprehensive revisions designed to upgrade training standards for seafarers. Such training is critical to preventing losses at sea, and thereby reducing shipping costs to U.S. businesses. IMO also addresses security threats to the international shipping industry, including piracy. • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO enables safe air travel everywhere by setting global standards for navigation, communication, and airline safety. These standards map out airspace jurisdiction and establish “free range” airspace over oceans and seas. This agency also sets international standards for limiting environmental degradation and works to strengthen aviation security by conducting regular audits of aviation security oversight in ICAO member states. ICAO also works to enhance the security of travel documents like passports, developing global standards to ensure the safety and integrity of these documents. By December 2010, 185 ICAO Member States had adopted machine readable passports (MRPs) that complied with ICAO standards. With concerns over terrorism, drug smuggling, and human trafficking topping the list of U.S. security priorities, such standards are of critical importance to the U.S. • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAO fights hunger worldwide and develops global standards for food safety and plant health. U.S. farmers and consumers alike benefit from FAO’s activities in these areas. Among its recent accomplishments, the FAO spearheaded the successful global campaign to eradicate rinderpest, a disease that kills livestock and wildlife and represents a serious threat to the livelihoods of farmers and food security around the world. FAO also plays an indispensable role in global fishery conservation efforts, which are important to U.S. consumers, the world’s second largest importer of fishery products. In addition, FAO promotes food security and sustainable agriculture in countries where the U.S. has vested foreign policy and national security interests, supporting programs that provide alternatives to opium poppy production in Afghanistan and helping refugees return to their farms in South Sudan. • UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO promotes global peace and security, scientific innovation, and intercultural dialogue through a variety of programs in five major areas: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information. Among its activities, UNESCO helps protect the lives and property of Americans through its management of a tsunami early warning system in the Pacific - a system which alerted residents of the West Coast to the possibility of a tsunami in the aftermath of Japan’s March 2011 earthquake. UNESCO also supports U.S. national security objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the organization is helping Afghans and Iraqis prepare for life after the exit of U.S. forces. In Afghanistan, UNESCO is facilitating U.S. efforts to create a well-trained, capable police force by providing literacy training to members of the Afghan National Police, 70% of whom are unable to read or write.


The United States and the United Nations during the 112 th Congress

U.S. Dues and Contributions Funding for the United Nations and its agencies comes from two sources: assessed and voluntary contributions. Assessed contributions are payments made as part of the obligations that nations undertake when signing treaties. At the UN, assessments on member states provide a reliable source of funding to core UN functions through the UN regular and peacekeeping budgets, based on each country’s ability to pay. Voluntary contributions are left to the discretion of each individual member state. These contributions, which make up nearly half of all UN funding, finance most of the world body’s humanitarian relief and development agencies, including the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP), the UN Development Program (UNDP), and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The UN Regular Budget The UN Regular Budget finances the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat as well as the UN’s special political missions, the largest of which are the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). The current payment structure for UN Regular Budget dues sets maximum (22%) and minimum (.001%) rates for all nations based on their ability to pay. The U.S. pays the maximum rate and has negotiated several reductions in this rate over time, most notably from 25% to 22%. The assessment rate is primarily determined by gross national product (GNP), and since the U.S. has one of the highest in the world, its dues assessments are higher than those of other Member States. The UN uses assessed contributions to the regular budget to: • Facilitate elections, good governance, and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan and Iraq; • Investigate the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri; • Monitor compliance with international sanctions regimes against Iran and North Korea; • Coordinate technical assistance to help countries around the world fight terrorism; • Create systems to protect the intellectual property rights of American entrepreneurs; • Enable the delivery of mail around the world. The Peacekeeping Budget The UN’s peacekeeping budget currently finances 15 peacekeeping missions with more than 120,000 military, police, and civilian personnel deployed in conflict zones throughout the world. The UN funds its peacekeeping budget with assessments on member states similar to those made for the regular budget, but with greater discounts for poorer nations. The resulting funding deficit is compensated for by the 5 permanent members (P5) of the Security Council—the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China. Under this formula, the U.S. is assessed 27% of the UN’s peacekeeping budget, though an outdated and arbitrary Congressional mandate caps U.S. expenditures for peacekeeping at 25%.


2012 Briefing Book Update

Since each of the P5 nations possess veto powers over Security Council decisions, no new or expanded peacekeeping missions can advance without U.S. consent. While this unique responsibility for establishing and renewing missions means the U.S. pays a higher proportion of the bill for peacekeeping activities, the vast majority of personnel deployed on such missions come from developing countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Ghana. In addition, the GAO has shown that UN peacekeeping forces are significantly cheaper than sending in unilateral U.S. forces. Current Funding Levels for UN Regular and Peacekeeping Budgets Over the past three years, after years of accumulating arrears in its UN dues, the U.S. returned to good financial standing at the world body by fully funding its regular and peacekeeping budget assessments and paying off past debts. In the coming year, we ask that Congress honor U.S. financial obligations to the UN and fully fund our nation’s regular and peacekeeping budget dues. Full funding for our assessed dues to the UN ensures that it can carry out its vital humanitarian, peacekeeping, democracy-building, and development work, all of which serve core U.S. foreign policy interests. As the U.S. is the UN’s largest contributor, Congressional funding shortfalls significantly impact the UN’s ability to carry out its operations. Below is a chart detailing FY 2011 and FY 2012 funding levels, along with the President’s request for FY 2013. Account

FY’11 Actual

FY’12 Estimate

FY’13 Request


$1.884 billion

$1.92 billion*

$2.098 billion


$1.578 billion

$1.551 billion**

$1.57 billion

CIO – UN Regular Budget

$516 million

$569 million

$568 million

*This total includes $91,818,000 within the Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) account designated to pay assessed expenses of international peacekeeping activities in Somalia. **This total includes $101,300,000 designated for CIO provided in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.

Voluntary Contributions Voluntary contributions are, as the term implies, payments left to the discretion of individual Member States. These contributions finance most of the United Nations’ humanitarian relief and development agencies. These activities help advance critical U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities and would be difficult, if not impossible, for the United States to undertake alone. Voluntary contributions from UN member states pay to: • Purchase U.S. agricultural products for food assistance activities; • Immunize children against deadly diseases like polio and measles; • Further nuclear energy safety and security; • Assist refugees in countries from Afghanistan to Sudan; • Tackle the AIDS pandemic.


The United States and the United Nations during the 112 th Congress

  The Importance of Paying Our Assessed UN Regular Budget Dues While a substantial portion of the funding provided by the U.S. to the UN each year is voluntary, paying our assessed dues is absolutely critical to the effectiveness and legitimacy of the organization, as these contributions serve as the primary source of reliable funding for core UN activities. Nowhere is this more true than the UN Regular Budget, which funds a variety of activities that are critical to the advancement of U.S. priorities around the world. Unfortunately, bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate that could have disastrous consequences for programs funded through the UN Regular Budget; undermining key U.S. interests, our standing at the world body, and causing massive new U.S. arrears to the UN. While these bills contain a number of provisions that could do serious harm to the U.S.-UN relationship, one of the most troubling would require the U.S. to withhold 50% of its dues unless the UN adopts a system of voluntary funding for the regular budget. Converting the UN Regular Budget from an assessed to a voluntary scheme is highly problematic for several reasons: • Such a shift could lead to significant funding shortfalls for a number of UN programs, as Member States would be given a green light to cherry pick which UN activities they want to support. While other countries currently pick up the tab for nearly 80% of the UN’s total regular budget, under a voluntary funding scheme the U.S. would likely end up paying much more for UN initiatives that are critical to its interests. These include the UN political missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which comprise a significant portion of the regular budget. This point was made by the Congressionally-mandated Gingrich-Mitchell report on UN Reform when it noted that voluntary funding schemes can lead to under-funding for Member-State priorities and added that “it cannot replace basic funding of the core functions of the institution.” • Allowing UN Member States to pick and choose which regular budget programs they want to support would strip away the unique international legitimacy enjoyed by the world body. For example, the UN Regular Budget funds a special international tribunal, created by the Security Council in 2007, to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Because all countries currently provide financial support to the tribunal through their regular budget dues, the work of the tribunal enjoys a high level of independence and international credibility. These advantages would be erased if the tribunal was funded through voluntary contributions and only countries that wanted a weaker or tougher line on Syria stepped up to fund the investigative body.


2012 Briefing Book Update

UN Strengthening and Reform In order to meet the challenges of the 21st century and ensure Member States’ resources are used efficiently and effectively, the UN continues to update its operations and management practices. Changes have taken place in nearly every area of UN operations, from the management of UN peacekeeping missions, to improved transparency, accountability, and financial reporting mechanisms. Below is a selection of recently completed and ongoing UN strengthening and reform efforts. Increasing Cost Efficiency and Transparency • In late December 2011, the General Assembly approved the UN’s core budget for 2012-2013, cutting spending by 5 percent from the UN’s previous two-year budget, and saving American taxpayers approximately $100 million. • The Secretary-General moved the UN from print to electronic distribution of UN publications, both increasing transparency by making the documents more widely accessible, and significantly reducing printing costs. Streamlining the UN’s work • The UN continues to implement the Global Field Support Strategy (GFSS), a five-year project aimed at improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of administrative and logistics support to UN peacekeeping and political missions. The GFSS has already delivered more than $62 million in savings during its first year alone. • The UN’s “Delivering as One” initiative to streamline the work of all UN funds and programs has proven to be effective. An independent evaluation of the program’s 8 pilot countries found that these reforms have made the delivery of humanitarian aid more efficient and encouraged those countries to take national ownership of their own development programs. Strengthening Accountability and Oversight • In June 2011, the Executive Boards of the UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Office of Project Services (UNOPS), and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) voted to give the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and other intergovernmental donors, access to internal audit reports. These organizations also voted to give governments who fund their programs the ability to read internal audit reports remotely to further facilitate access to these documents. • On December 5, 2011, UNDP and the Global Fund signed an agreement setting out terms for cooperation and information-sharing on oversight investigations. • The Secretary-General developed a framework to make staff and senior managers more accountable for their performance. In 2011, for the first time, an internal website was launched compiling key documents, such as program plans, budgets and performance reports. 9

The United States and the United Nations during the 112 th Congress

• The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) — which performs internal audits, inspections, evaluations and investigations within the UN System — has increased its capacity to handle investigations, provide internal auditing, and evaluate peacekeeping missions. Under the leadership of current OIOS chief Carman LaPointe, vacancies at the agency have decreased from 27% to 17%. Improving Business Practices and Financial Reporting • The UN is replacing its outdated information management system with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). ERP will streamline the management of operations, resources, and staff; reduce business processes by over 70 percent; and save Member States hundreds of millions of dollars. • Once implemented, ERP will also enhance internal controls and ensure the UN meets International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), which will improve the quality and transparency of financial reporting within the UN. Recruiting and Maintaining Quality Staff • Staff contracts were recently streamlined, replacing a complex system of multiple contracts and reducing inefficiencies. • The UN ended the practice of issuing new permanent contracts, ensuring that only the most qualified people remain on staff. Ensuring Continued Progress on Reform in 2012 and Beyond Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remains committed to a strong reform agenda in 2012, promising to continue building upon efforts already in progress to ensure that the UN can meet new demands and deliver vital services in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Nevertheless, additional measures are needed to further strengthen the UN, and making sure these reform efforts are successful requires strong, consistent engagement by the U.S. Withholding funding from the UN budget in order to force reform would be more of an obstacle to reform than a catalyst to encourage it. This approach alienates our allies, whose support we need to push for additional changes, and sends a signal that the U.S. is more interested in weakening the UN than making it a more transparent and responsive institution.


2012 Briefing Book Update

Peace and Security Issues Peacekeeping The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) oversees the second largest deployed military force in the world, with over 120,000 military, police, and civilian personnel from 114 countries currently serving in 15 missions on four continents. The United States provides very few troops for these operations, and other UN Member States cover nearly three-quarters of their costs. The UN Security Council authorizes the deployment of peacekeepers to stabilize some of the world’s most volatile conflict zones and prevent the collapse of fragile states. UN peacekeeping missions accomplish these objectives by, among other things, supporting the implementation of peace agreements, disarming and demobilizing former combatants, training national police forces, facilitating humanitarian aid to disaster and war-ravaged communities, and promoting political reconciliation and free and fair elections. These activities are a boon to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, as they help deny potential safe havens to terrorists and criminals and promote core American values while requiring a relatively small investment of financial resources and personnel from the U.S.

[United Nations] peacekeepers help promote stability and help reduce the risks that major U.S. military interventions may be required to restore stability in a country or region. Therefore the success of these operations is very much in our national interest. —Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The importance of UN peacekeeping in promoting America’s broader strategic goals and values is not surprising, given that the U.S. plays a pivotal role in crafting and authorizing the mandates of all UN peacekeeping missions. As a permanent, veto-wielding member of the Security Council, no new or expanded peacekeeping missions can proceed without U.S. consent. In recognition of the benefits of UN peacekeeping, the U.S., under both Democratic and Republican administrations, has actively supported a nine-fold increase in the number of peacekeepers operating around the world since 1999. Over the last year, with strong U.S. support, the Security Council established two new peacekeeping missions to promote peace and security in the new nation of South Sudan and along its border with Sudan, and voted to expand ongoing operations in Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire to promote democracy and free elections. Counter-terrorism Combating terrorism has long been a priority of the United Nations, and various parts of the UN system have helped Member States counter the threat posed by terrorists. For its part, the Security Council has adopted a number of resolutions and established several subsidiary bodies to tackle the global challenges posed by transnational terrorism. Prior to September 11, 2001, the Security Council imposed financial, travel, and weapons sanctions on al-Qaeda, the Taliban and their supporters, and established a committee to monitor compliance with these measures. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1373, requiring countries to criminalize terrorism financing, cooperate with other governments to arrest and prosecute terror11

The United States and the United Nations during the 112 th Congress

ists, and established a Counter-Terrorism Committee to help national governments achieve these goals. Several years later, the Council adopted Resolution 1540, which mandates that countries take steps to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists. In 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, representing the first time that all UN Member States had agreed to a common strategic and operational plan to combat terrorism. The strategy includes practical steps to address the conditions that spread terrorism, strengthen state capacity to counter terrorist threats, improve coordination among UN bodies involved in fighting terrorism, and safeguard human rights and the rule of law. Recent developments in the UN’s ongoing efforts to fight terrorism include: • In March 2011, the Secretary-General established a new UN System Task Force on Transnational Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking. Recognizing the links between narcotics trafficking and terrorism, the Task Force will integrate and strengthen the UN’s response to illicit drugs and organized crime by building them into all UN peacekeeping, peacebuilding, security, development and disarmament activities. • In April 2011, the Security Council voted unanimously to extend for another ten years the mandate of the committee charged with implementing Resolution 1540, which requires states to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. At the time, the U.S. pledged $3 million to the United Nations to help the 1540 Committee fulfill its objectives. • In order to further the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the General Assembly and UN specialized agencies are building a worldwide counter-terrorism legal framework via the adoption of 16 international treaties that criminalize nearly every imaginable terrorist offense and facilitate international legal cooperation. Preventing Nuclear Proliferation The United Nations serves as a key international platform from which countries can work together to stem the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The UN General Assembly, the Security Council, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) all provide venues for countries to share resources and information, create frameworks for addressing breaches of international agreements, and build unified fronts against rogue states like Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Recent developments in ongoing efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and address the nuclear aspirations of rogue regimes at the UN include: • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continues to closely monitor Iran’s nuclear program, playing a pivotal role in global efforts to curb that country’s nuclear aspirations. In November 2011, the IAEA released a report which found that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of nuclear weapons. Several weeks later, the agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors voted to censure Iran by a vote of 32-2. In reference to the vote, White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon argued that it signaled “the degree of isolation [currently faced by Iran] really is unprecedented.” • The IAEA has also sought to ensure that Syria fulfills its international non-proliferation commitments by calling on Syria to come clean regarding an alleged nuclear facility that was bombed by Israel in 2007. In May 2011, the IAEA released a report concluding that the facility was “very likely” a nascent nuclear reactor. In June, the agency’s Board of Governors rebuked Syria and voted 17-6 to refer the report to the Security Council. • The number of countries participating in the IAEA’s Illicit Trafficking Database, which provides states with information on incidents of illicit trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials, rose to 113 as of November 30, 2011.


2012 Briefing Book Update

United Nations on the Ground Iraq The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) is a civilian-led political mission first established after the start of the Iraq war in 2003. Tasked with coordinating the activities of various UN programs and agencies in Iraq, UNAMI works to promote political dialogue, national reconciliation, and human rights; help resolve difficult internal boundary disputes between Iraqi and Kurdish authorities; deliver humanitarian and development assistance to the Iraqi people; and facilitate free and fair elections. With the departure of the last U.S. troops from Iraqi soil completed in December 2011, UN efforts to create a more peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Iraq have taken on even greater urgency. Over the past year, the UN has worked to strengthen Iraq in the following ways: • Providing Critical Humanitarian Aid. In 2011, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and its partners coordinated the provision of clean water, shelter, and sanitation assistance to nearly 500,000 displaced persons. The World Food Program (WFP) launched a school feeding initiative to help keep 550,000 Iraqi schoolchildren healthy and scaled up a cash-for-work program to provide short-term employment opportunities to Iraqis in regions particularly hard-hit by violence. The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) currently manages an educational program to instill civic values and life skills in young Iraqis to help prevent them from being recruited by extremist groups. • Addressing Disputed Territories. UNAMI continued to facilitate dialogue over disputed internal boundaries between the Iraqi national government and the Kurdistan regional government in order to prevent violence and promote reconciliation. UNAMI also brought together the leaders of various minority religious and ethnic communities and government officials in northern Iraq to discuss the security needs of these communities and the protection of their legal, political, and cultural rights. • Encouraging Human Rights. In 2011, UNAMI worked closely with the Iraqi government to establish an Independent High Commission for Human Rights to promote and protect the rights of all Iraqis in accordance with international standards. In coordination with the Iraqi government, UNAMI also led human rights training sessions for government officials in the Ministries of Interior and Justice, civil society organizations such as the Iraqi Bar Association, and 200 journalists. • Promoting Democracy. Since its inception, UNAMI has played a pivotal role in facilitating six national and provincial elections in Iraq, including the country’s historic 2005 parliamentary elections. The UN Mission helped establish and train Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), and the UN continues to provide strategic and technical assistance and advice to the Commission. In 2011, IHEC asked UNAMI to play an advisory role in the selection of its new Board of Commissioners, in order to ensure the process remains transparent and merit-based.


The United States and the United Nations during the 112 th Congress

Afghanistan Following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the UN Security Council established the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), a special political mission, to assist in reconstruction efforts, provide vital humanitarian and development assistance, encourage stable and effective governance, and facilitate democratic elections. During an October 2011 hearing on Afghanistan before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Secretary Clinton stated that UNAMA’s activities “are essential to the safety and security of our troops, our civilian employees and the success of the transition…We partner closely on a literally hour-by-hour basis with UNAMA. And if we can’t depend on UNAMA, we’ll have to pay for or invent some other entity, because we don’t have another partner that has the credibility or the reach UNAMA has.” Over the past year, the UN has worked to strengthen Afghanistan in the following ways: • Improving Literacy Skills to Empower Afghan Police. In Afghanistan, more than 70% of police officers are unable to read or write. This lack of basic literacy skills can lead to misunderstandings and aggravate tensions between the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the population at large, posing a challenge to U.S. nation-building efforts. To remedy this situation, UNESCO launched a program in June 2011 to provide literacy training for 3,000 members of the ANP. These types of initiatives are indispensable to larger U.S. efforts to build a well-trained, effective security force for Afghanistan, and could allow U.S. troops to pull out of the country sooner. • Combating Afghanistan’s Opium Trade. Afghanistan produces nearly 90% of the world’s opium supply, feeding an international narcotics market and posing a serious threat to security in the country. To address these challenges and strengthen the rule of law in Afghanistan, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is working to strengthen the country’s Counter Narcotics Police and provincial law enforcement authorities; increase the institutional capacity of the Afghan justice system; and help oversight bodies within the Afghan government improve their ability to fight corruption. In addition, UNODC and the UN Development Program (UNDP) provide educational and alternative livelihood opportunities to opium farmers to help them transition to other agricultural commodities. • Curbing Gender-based Violence. UNAMA works with Afghan authorities to support implementation of the country’s Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law, enacted in 2009 to criminalize child marriage, forced marriage, and acts of violence against women. While gender-based violence remains widespread in Afghanistan and challenges remain to full enforcement of the law, 28 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces opened cases under the law between March 2010 and March 2011. • Providing Critical Humanitarian Assistance. In addition to building the capacity of the country’s security sector and curbing the opium trade, UN agencies provide lifesaving aid to millions of Afghans. In 2011, UNICEF and WHO, working in conjunction with other international and local partners, vaccinated 7 million Afghan children against polio. UNHCR assisted in the return, registration, and repatriation of nearly 165,000 refugees. For its part, the World Food Program (WFP) launched a vouchers program to help energize local economies and strengthen small farmers by enabling poor Afghans to purchase food in local markets. South Sudan On July 9, 2011, seven months after a successful referendum on self-determination was completed, the Republic of South Sudan formally declared independence. In the run-up to that historic declaration and in the months following, territorial disputes between the Republic of Sudan and its new neighbor erupted into serious outbreaks of violence, with members of the Sudanese Armed Forces carrying out major military operations in several key border regions—Abyei, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. As a result of this violence, tens of thousands of refugees have fled these border regions into South Sudan in recent months, joining an already substantial flow of South Sudanese leaving other areas of the Republic of Sudan for the newly-established


2012 Briefing Book Update

country. UN humanitarian agencies, particularly UNHCR, continue to provide food, water, shelter, and other forms of aid to these vulnerable populations. In addition to ongoing territorial disputes and challenges posed by recent influxes of refugees, the world’s newest country faces a number of other serious dilemmas, including building stable and effective government institutions to uphold the rule of law and ensure security; curbing inter-ethnic fighting and other types of internal violence; disarming and reintegrating former combatants; and facilitating long-term economic development. As a result of these ongoing challenges, the UN Security Council, with strong support from the U.S., created two new peacekeeping missions for the region in 2011 to consolidate security, promote good governance, and facilitate access to critical humanitarian aid for vulnerable populations. UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) On July 8, 2011, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1996, establishing a new peacekeeping mission to help consolidate peace and security in South Sudan, strengthen the capacity of its government, and facilitate development. Authorized for an initial period of one year, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is authorized to consist of up to 7,000 military personnel and 900 police, as well as a civilian component. Since its establishment, UNMISS has been working to: • Consolidate Peace and Foster Long-term State-Building. UNMISS is advising and supporting efforts by the South Sudanese government to carry out an inclusive constitutional process, hold elections, and promote women’s participation in public life. UNMISS also supports independent media, like the Juba–based Radio Miraya, to report on ongoing issues across South Sudan. • Prevent Conflict and Protect Civilians. Inter-ethnic fighting and attacks by militias remain a serious threat to security in South Sudan, claiming hundreds of lives and leading to the displacement of thousands in the South Sudanese state of Jonglei over the past year. UNMISS has a civilian protection mandate, requiring peacekeepers to deter violence through proactive deployment and patrols in areas at high risk of conflict and empowering peacekeepers to protect civilians “under imminent threat of physical violence.” To help fulfill these responsibilities, large numbers of UN peacekeepers have been dispatched to Jonglei and pre-positioned in sensitive areas to help South Sudanese authorities deter violence and promote reconciliation. UNMISS also conducts daily surveillance flights and land patrols over conflict-affected areas in Jonglei to enhance the ability of peacekeepers and local authorities to curb instability. In January 2012, the Obama Administration announced it would contribute five U.S. military officers to the peacekeeping mission in order to help with strategic planning and operations. • Strengthen South Sudan’s Security and Justice Sectors. UNMISS peacekeepers are supporting the development and implementation of a national strategy for disarming, demobilizing, and reintegrating ex-combatants; strengthening the nation’s police services and security sector reform; developing a military justice system to support the civil justice system; and conducting demining activities. UNMISS supports government efforts to build effective rule of law and security institutions by providing technical advice to mobile teams of judges and prosecutors in states with high caseloads. UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) The future political status of the disputed oil-rich region of Abyei, which straddles the border between Sudan and South Sudan, has been a serious source of contention between both sides in recent years. Beginning in late May 2011, Abyei was the scene of intense clashes and looting after the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) launched a major assault on the area, leaving hundreds dead and over 100,000 displaced. Despite efforts in September 2011 between the governments of the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan to withdraw their respective forces from Abyei, the SAF continues to occupy the region.


The United States and the United Nations during the 112 th Congress

To address this crisis, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to establish the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) in June 2011, a separate UN peacekeeping force to monitor the region. UNISFA, the creation of which was championed by the U.S., is authorized to include up to 4,200 Ethiopian troops to ensure security and monitor the withdrawal of armed forces from both sides in the region. On December 14, 2011, UNISFA’s mandate was expanded to include monitoring the border between Sudan and South Sudan and supporting a demilitarized zone in the area. In addition, UNISFA works to provide assistance and technical support to demining efforts, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, and secure freedom of movement for aid workers. As efforts to defuse the crisis and demilitarize the disputed region progress, peacekeepers will continue to play a critical role. Horn of Africa Over the last year, the Horn of Africa has been witness to one of the world’s most severe current humanitarian crises, with the region’s worst drought in nearly six decades combined with ongoing violence and instability in Somalia causing significant disruptions to food supplies and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. At its height, the crisis left more than 13 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti in need of emergency food aid, and caused the total number of Somalis seeking refuge in neighboring countries to soar to more than 950,000. From the outset of the crisis, the UN has played an indispensable role in providing food, water, medical care, shelter, and other forms of assistance to affected individuals across the region. In spite of the sheer magnitude of the tragedy and serious logistical and security challenges, the UN’s work in the region has had a noticeable impact. Nevertheless, much of the region remains under a severe humanitarian emergency, with millions still in need of aid, and the security threat posed by al-Shabaab militants continues to hinder access to much of southern and central Somalia. Provided below is a summary of actions taken by various UN entities to ease the crisis in the region and promote peace and stability in Somalia. • The World Food Program (WFP) has delivered lifesaving food aid throughout the region, reaching more than 7.7 million people affected by drought and famine. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) prepared temporary shelters and distributed blankets, plastic sheeting, and other basic but essential items to hundreds of thousands of refugees outside of Somalia and displaced persons within the war-torn country. Together with the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) carried out a large-scale immunization campaign in Somalia between October and November 2011, vaccinating 600,000 children from measles and 273,000 from polio. • The UN Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) is working to stabilize the fragmented country by assisting in the re-establishment of security forces and supporting Somalia’s transitional government. UNPOS was instrumental in the creation of a political roadmap for Somalia in September, which sets out a number of key measures to be taken by the transitional government in the areas of security, drafting a constitution, reconciliation, and good governance over the coming months.


2012 Briefing Book Update

Global Health & Human Rights Promoting Global Health and Preventing Disease Through Partnerships The United Nations global health portfolio is set, monitored, and implemented as part of a coordinated effort across a number of UN agencies, funds, and programs, including: the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The UN works in close coordination with the U.S. government and private sector organizations to combat diseases such as malaria, HIV/ AIDS, measles and polio. Malaria Once the largest killer of children under five, deaths from malaria have decreased dramatically due to significant investments from UN agencies (including UNHCR, UNICEF, UNDP, and WHO), the U.S. government, and private sector organizations. Nevertheless, a child in Africa still dies every 60 seconds of this preventable and treatable disease. Prevention methods including long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying have long been the standard in cost-effective and efficient mechanisms for protecting families. In addition, prevention efforts received a boost recently from the promising results of malaria vaccine clinical trials. HIV/AIDS In coordination with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the UN, through UNAIDS, coordinates national and regional programs to aid the distribution of medicine and supplies, and supports national responses to the AIDS epidemic in more than 150 countries. At the June 2011 UN High-Level Meeting, global leaders agreed upon new targets to speed the advance of the global AIDS response. As a result of the meeting, there is now a Global Plan towards eliminating new HIV infections among children by 2015. Polio and Measles The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a public-private partnership spearheaded by WHO, UNICEF, the U.S. government, and NGOs. GPEI has led the effort to eradicate polio and helped reduce the number of nations with endemic polio to an all-time low of four. Since the Initiative’s inception in 1988, the number of polio cases has dropped by 99 percent. In January 2012, the protracted struggle to eradicate polio achieved an important victory when India reported that it had seen no new cases of the disease in more than one year. A similar public-private partnership is the Measles Initiative, whose goal is to prevent childhood deaths due to measles. In just 10 years, the Measles Initiative has helped reduce measles deaths by 78 percent globally and by 92 percent in Africa. Working closely with national governments and local communities in more than 60 countries, the Measles Initiative recently celebrated a major milestone in 2012, with the vaccination of its one billionth child. Championing Women and Girls UN agencies are involved in a wide variety of efforts to help improve the status of women and girls around the world. Since its launch in 2010, the UN’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health has raised $40 billion to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. In order to effectively address the health challenges 17

The United States and the United Nations during the 112 th Congress

faced by women and children, the Global Strategy is driven by the actions of UN agencies, national governments, the private sector, and civil society alike to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4, 5, and 6. In addition, the following UN agencies are working to promote the equality of women and women’s health: • UN Women: UN Women is the consolidation of four UN offices focused on women into a single body, which has enhanced financial efficiency, reduced overlap, and improved policy coherence. As an Under-Secretary-General, the head of UN Women reports directly to the Secretary-General, giving women’s issues greater prominence within the UN system. • UN Population Fund (UNFPA): UNFPA is the largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programs in the world. UNFPA helps women, men, and young people plan their families, including the number, timing, and spacing of their children, go through pregnancy and childbirth safely, and avoid sexually transmitted infections. UNFPA also combats violence against women and promotes women’s equality. UNFPA does not provide, support, or advocate for abortion, nor does it support, promote, or condone coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. The Millennium Development Goals: Looking Forward to 2015 and Beyond In 2000, all UN Member States committed to eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to significantly reduce extreme poverty and disease, ensure environmental sustainability, and enhance international coordination around development by 2015. The MDGs are the first and only international framework for improving the human condition of the world’s poor. The Eight Millennium Development Goals include: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Improve maternal health

Achieve universal primary education

Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

Promote gender equality and empower women

Ensure environmental sustainability

Reduce child mortality

Develop a global partnership for development

In September 2010, over 140 heads of state convened in New York for the 10-year Review Summit on the MDGs. They met to highlight advances toward the goals to date and demonstrate a renewed commitment to achieving them by 2015. In addition to celebrating tremendous progress made in East Asian countries, many of which are set to achieve most, if not all of the goals by 2015, the Summit participants also committed to redoubling their efforts on sub-Saharan Africa. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also used the 2010 Summit to launch his Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. Globally, significant progress has been made in efforts to achieve the MDGs over the last decade. The world as a whole continues to make important strides in poverty reduction, and we are on track to surpass the current target of reducing the poverty rate by one-half by 2015. Moreover, a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa have made notable progress in increasing access to primary education, and the global childhood mortality rate has declined precipitously in recent years due to ongoing efforts to control measles, malaria, and HIV. In spite of these achievements however, much of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, has a long way to go towards achieving the MDGs, and Secretary-General Ban is working with world leaders to accelerate efforts


2012 Briefing Book Update

to meet these goals by the 2015 deadline. In addition, the UN is already beginning to engage in conversations regarding the creation of a post-2015 development agenda to build on the development progress made by the MDGs. As the international community ramps up its efforts ahead of 2015 and begins to sketch the contours of a post-MDG landscape, the sustained engagement of the U.S. will be critical towards ensuring the continued advancement of core development goals—from gender equality to increasing access to basic health services. Human Rights Council The UN Human Rights Council was first established in 2006 to replace an earlier human rights body which had been criticized as ineffective, politicized, and biased against Israel. Initially, the U.S. declined to run for a seat on the Council, and during its first several years, the new 47-member human rights body struggled to fulfill its mandate to promote and protect internationally recognized human rights. In 2009, however, the U.S. changed course and successfully ran for a seat on the Council. Since then, U.S. membership has produced tangible, positive outcomes on a number of fronts, making the institution a more effective advocate for human rights and producing progress on a number of key U.S. policy objectives. • The Council is bringing international attention to some of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers and creating new mechanisms to spotlight and address serious human rights concerns. In 2011, the Council held special sessions on Syria and Libya, establishing Commissions of Inquiry to investigate gross and systematic violations of human rights in both countries, as well as a special rapporteur for longer term monitoring of the situation in Syria. In March 2011, the U.S. helped lead an effort to create the Council’s first new country-specific special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran. • By promoting strong cross-regional dialogue, U.S. diplomats are using the Council to advance universal values. In June 2011, the Council took bold action to highlight violence and discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) persons around the world, making it the first UN resolution to recognize that LGBT rights are human rights. The Council also adopted a resolution on combating discrimination and violence based on religion. This replaced an earlier proposal, put forth by members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which sought to ban religious defamation and proposed dangerous limitations on free speech. • With U.S. leadership, the Council initiated a new effort to focus on country-specific resolutions, encouraging countries in transition to uphold their human rights obligations. Since the U.S. joined the body, countries that have been added to the Council’s agenda include Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen. • In October 2011, the Council completed the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, a peer review of the human rights records of all UN member states. For the first time, all countries were reviewed on an equal basis with the participation of governments as well as local, regional, and international NGOs. The UPR process also provides the U.S. with another global platform to publicly condemn and push for action on grave human rights violations in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and other countries. While the continuation of the Council’s special agenda item on Israel remains a serious concern, disengaging from the Council will not lead to better results. Disengagement will only risk a roll-back of the significant progress, documented above, which the U.S. made in 2011, and will guarantee that other serious human rights situations around the world that need effective champions go unaddressed. Moreover, pulling out of the Council or leaving it unfunded would likely hurt Israel, as the number of resolutions and sessions focused on Israel has dropped sharply since 2009.


The United States and the United Nations during the 112 th Congress

International Agreements The United Nations provides a platform for nations to work together to establish international norms, standards, and agreements in the common interest of all nations. In recent decades, the UN has facilitated negotiation of critical international treaties on issues ranging from trade and commerce to the environment and human rights. While, historically, the United States has played a leading role in fostering the development of international law, the U.S. has thus far failed to ratify several important international conventions negotiated under the auspices of the UN, including: the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Provided below is a list of recent developments on an array of important international agreements established under the auspices of the UN. • In September 2011, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher stated that one of the Administration’s “highest priorities is the ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.” In addition, in late August 2011, the U.S. made an $8.9 million voluntary contribution to accelerate development of the treaty’s verification regime. • In July 2011, in honor of the 21st anniversary of enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, President Obama issued a proclamation reiterating the U.S.’s commitment to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which it signed in 2009. • In response to increasing assertiveness by China in regards to its territorial claims in the South China Sea, a major conduit for international trade, Secretary of State Clinton stated in November that the U.S. wanted the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to be “used as the overriding framework for handling territorial disputes” between China and its neighbors. Earlier in the year, Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, stated in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee that it is “essential that the United States become a full party” to the Law of the Sea Treaty. • In a March 2010 report to the UN Human Rights Council, the State Department reiterated its support for CEDAW and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and stated that the Administration intended to review how they could move forward on ratification.


The Better World Campaign (BWC), an initiative of the Better World Fund, works to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the United Nations through outreach, communications, and advocacy. It encourages U.S. leadership to enhance the UN’s ability to carry out its invaluable international work on behalf of peace, progress, freedom, and justice. In these efforts, BWC engages policymakers, the media, and the American public to increase awareness of and support for the United Nations. For more information, visit

The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNAUSA), a program of the UN Foundation, is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire and mobilize the American people to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations. UNA-USA works to accomplish its mission through its national network of chapters, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA and BWC are the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world. For more information, visit

1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036 Phone: (202) 462-4900 Fax: (202) 462-2686

BWC 2012 Briefing Book  

BWC 2012 Briefing Book

BWC 2012 Briefing Book  

BWC 2012 Briefing Book