2013 was a tough year for the world — a year for the UN to prove itself more than ever. It was a year in which the UN showed its ability to respond nimbly to unfolding crises around the globe, from the humanitarian response to Typhoon Hainan to the critical role that peacekeepers are playing in containing and even reversing conflicts in some of the toughest corners of the world. However, just as peacekeeping is proving its worth, Congress and the Administration have decided to cut U.S. support for UN peacekeeping by 12 percent.
In South Sudan, UN peacekeepers are working to preserve the recently-signed ceasefire. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN peacekeeping “intervention brigade” with a mandate to directly support the Congolese military has quelled a brutal insurgency. Meanwhile, the UN peacekeeping force in Mali — authorized by the Security Council after Mali-based insurgents killed three Americans in a brazen terrorist attack—has, along with French forces, placed Al Qaida-aligned rebels on the defensive and is restoring civilian rule.
Despite these successes, the 2014 federal spending bill newly signed into law reduces U.S. support for peacekeeping by roughly $400 million. This cut has major implications for the UN’s 15 peacekeeping operations and 116,000 deployed blue helmets around the world. Even as we are asking the UN to do more to advance our own national interests as well as the worlds’, we are removing tools and resources they need to respond.
It is time for those who believe in the fundamental peacemaking role of the UN to stand up for those who stand on the line in the most dangerous regions of the world.
General Assembly Policy
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its predecessor denominations have long recognized God’s call to honor the deep connections within our human family and to awaken a new spirit of international community and cooperation. General Assemblies have affirmed support for the United Nations, and called for a strong United States commitment to and participation in the organization, since its creation.
The 220th General Assembly (2012) called upon the United States government to: foster peacemaking through multilateral diplomacy rather than unilateral force; support efforts to strengthen the United Nations and the rule of international law; assure that its financial obligations to the United Nations are adequately and promptly met.
(Courtesy of the United Nations Association)