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Trump seeks to reduce US funding for UN, int'l bodies

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

US President Donald Trump today sought to "reduce or end" direct funding for international bodies like the UN and eliminate global climate change initiative as he proposed a massive 28 per cent cut in America's foreign aid.

In his USD 1.1 trillion budget proposal for the fiscal year 2018, that could have implications for countries like Pakistan, the Trump Administration has proposed to shift some foreign military assistance from grants to loans.


However, he has sought to retain some of the major global healthcare initiatives like Gavi, the vaccination alliance, of which is a part of and those related to AIDS and malaria programmes.

The Trump Administration proposed to reduce the funding for multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, by approximately USD 650 million over three years compared to commitments made by the previous administration.

Despite the proposed decreases, the US would retain its current status as a top donor while saving taxpayer dollars, the budgetary proposals said.

As indicated by Trump in his presidential elections, the budget proposes to reduce funding to the UN and affiliated agencies, including UN peacekeeping and other international organisations, by setting the expectation that these organisations rein in costs and that the funding burden be shared more fairly among members.

The amount the US would contribute to the UN budget would be reduced and the US would not contribute more than 25 per cent for UN peacekeeping costs, it said.

"The Budget seeks to reduce or end direct funding for international organisations whose missions do not substantially advance US foreign policy interests, are duplicative, or are not well-managed," the proposals said.

"Additional steps will be taken to make the Department and USAID leaner, more efficient, and more effective. These steps to reduce foreign assistance free up funding for critical priorities here at home and put America first," it said.

The 2018 budget proposals eliminates the Global Climate Change Initiative and fulfils the President's pledge to cease payments to the UN's climate change programmes by eliminating US funding related to the Green Climate Fund and its two precursor Climate Investment Funds.

However, it provides sufficient resources on a path to fulfil the USD 1 billion pledge to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

This commitment helps support Gavi to vaccinate hundreds of millions of children in low-resource countries and save millions of lives.

It also provides sufficient resources to maintain current commitments and all current patient levels on HIV/AIDS treatment under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and maintains funding for malaria programmes.

The Budget also meets US commitments to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by providing 33 per cent of projected contributions from all donors, consistent with the limit currently in law.
(REOPENS FGN 34)

Without giving country specific details, it shifts some foreign military assistance from grants to loans in order to reduce costs for the US taxpayer, while potentially allowing recipients to purchase more American-made weaponry with US assistance, but on a repayable basis.

Refocusing economic and development assistance to countries of greatest strategic importance to the US, the annual budget at the same time allows for significant funding of humanitarian assistance, including food aid, disaster and refugee programme funding.

"This would focus funding on the highest priority areas while asking the rest of the world to pay their fair share," it said.

The Budget however eliminates the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance account, a duplicative and stove piped account, and challenges international and non-governmental relief organisations to become more efficient and effective.

Reducing funding for the Department of State's Educational and Cultural Exchange (ECE) Programmes, the budget focuses on sustaining the flagship Fulbright Programme, which forges lasting connections between Americans and emerging leaders around the globe, it said.

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