April 11, 2013
President Obama Releases FY 14 Budget
President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2014 budget yesterday. UN-related accounts fared relatively well in the request, though concerns continue about shortfalls accumulated in FY 13 for UN peacekeeping. The budget calls for full funding of the UN regular budget and also requests waiver authority to restore UNESCO funding, and pay back UNESCO arrears accumulated over the past two years. Overall funding levels for global health, as well as energy and environment programs were also positive. The proposal also renews several key commitments to global health priorities, including fully funding the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, as well as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.
Unfortunately, funding for the International Organizations and Programs (IO&P) account, which funds voluntary U.S. contributions to the UN system, was lower than previous years. In addition, while the President's budget calls for full funding in FY 14, existing shortfalls due to underpayment in FY 13 â€” the peacekeeping cap was only partially lifted. This means we are currently paying 27% of dues instead of 28% and could soon go into arrears.
UN General Assembly Overwhelmingly Passes Arms Trade Treaty
The UN General Assembly voted to pass a historic Arms Trade Treaty earlier this month. The U.S. joined 153 other member states in approving the treaty; Iran, North Korea, and Syria were the only countries to vote against it. While the U.S. voted in favor of the treaty in the General Assembly, for the country to be part of it the treay must be ratified by the U.S. Senate. Ratification faces an uphill battle, and many treaty opponents have spread falsehoods about the treaty. See how you can take action and educate your elected officials and communities about the treaty by visiting www.unausa.org/att.
Members Join in Global MDG Rally with Post-2015 Conference Call
April 5 marked the 1,000-day milestone until the 2015 target date to achieve the UNâ€™s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). UNA-USA joined a diverse group of organizations from all parts of the international development community in a rally to raise awareness and inspire action around the MDGs. Members participated in a conference call with United Nations Foundation Public Policy Director Minh-Thu Pham, for discussion and Q&A on progress toward the MDGs and the Post-2015 framework. A call summary, recording, and full transcript is available on the UNA-USA website.
Join UNA-USA for our Next Conference Call on Peacekeeping in DRC!
Members are invited to participate in a Nationwide Conference Call, An Inside Perspective: Peacekeeping in Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Raffi Gregorian, who recently returned from DRC will speak and take questions. Better World Campaign Executive Director Peter Yeo will moderate. Visit the UNA-USA website for full conference call details.
Human Rights Council Wraps Up 22nd Session
The 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) recently concluded. The Council had an especially busy agenda including addressing human rights situations in Iran, Mali, Myanmar, North Korea Sri Lanka, and Syria, among others. Read an exclusive interview from Geneva in The InterDependent, and a blog from the Fellow on key issues during the session.
Whatâ€™s Happening at the UN
- WFP Begins Food Assistance to Refugee Camps in Jordan, Iraq
- Clashes and Refugee Crisis Continue to Plague Progress in Sudan
- UN High Commissioner Decries Nepalese Commission
- OCHA Operations Director Highlights Work to be done in Myanmar, Philippines
WFP Begins Food Assistance to Refugee Camps in Jordan, Iraq
The World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a food assistance program in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and Iraq to encourage children to continue going to school. The program reaches 10,500 children currently and plans on increasing that number to 36,000. The WFP needs $780,000 to continue with the school feeding project in Jordan and Iraq until the end of the year.
Clashes and Refugee Crisis Continue to Plague Progress in Sudan
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says clashes between the South Sudanese army and other armed groups continue to affect thousands, and road insecurity is hampering aid efforts. Despite the challenges, aid organizations have distributed aid to thousands of people. The UN Refugee Agency reports increases in South Sudanese fleeing to Kenya, about 360,000 people have been registered as refugees this year in Kakuma; the 2010 â€“ 2012 yearly average was 45 people. Meanwhile, aid organizations carried out a nationwide polio vaccination campaign last week aiming to reach three million children, which will continue next month.
UN High Commissioner Decries Nepalese Commission
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said she deeply regrets the passing of an ordinance that will establish a truth and reconciliation commission with the power to recommend amnesties for serious human rights violators. Pillay said that such amnesties would not only violate core principles under international law, but would also weaken the foundation for a genuine and lasting peace. Additionally, an amnesty for those who committed serious human rights violations will deny the right of thousands of Nepalese to truth and justice. Further information is available on the website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner.
OCHA Operations Director Highlights Work to be done in Myanmar and Philippines
John Ging, Director of Operations for OCHA recently discussed his trip to Myanmar and the Philippines. In Rakhine State, Myanmar, there 127,000 people still displaced from last yearâ€™s violence in June and October which killed 167 people, and 24,000 people are still left in camps vulnerable to flooding and who need to be relocated. The humanitarian appeal for Rakhine State has only received $39 million of the requested $67.6 million. Ging also noted that recent communal violence has left 40 dead and 12,000 displaced in Mandalay. A state of emergency has been declared in the townships, and humanitarian agencies are working with the government on a response. Initial humanitarian needs have been identified as non-food items such as: hygiene kits; latrines; and shelter. OCHA still struggles for access to Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)-controlled areas in the north where 83,000 are still displaced. Ging also recently visited the Philippines where last year 6.2 million were affected by a monsoon and 900,000 were displaced, noting the excellent response mobilized by the local and central government and international community. His major concern is that it does not â€śfall off the radar screenâ€ť, as the appeal for $112 million has only been funded for $37.5 million.
The UNA-USA Advocacy Update is structured around the UNA-USA Advocacy Agenda, which focuses UNAâ€™s work on four core issue areas: securing U.S.-UN funding; advancing human rights through the UN; encouraging U.S. ratification of international treaties; and supporting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Also included in the Update is a recent â€śround-upâ€ť of the monthâ€™s most important UN news. If you would like additional information on any of the items included contact the Membership Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.