The United Nations General Assembly approved a $5.4 billion budget for the next two years, reducing its operating budget by $286 million, or roughly 5 percent, from its current 2016-2017 period.

The budget funds general operations for the U.N., including political affairs, international justice and law, regional cooperation for development, human rights and humanitarian affairs and public information. Most of the budget savings comes from operational expenses such as the use of consultants, travel expenses and information technology.

Cut in U.S. Contribution?

In announcing the budget cut in a Dec. 24 statement, U.S. Amb. to the UN Nikki Haley said, “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.”

That spurred speculation by several observers and media outlets that the budget cut came in response to the recent passage of a U.N. General Assembly resolution on the status of Jerusalem, resolution A/ES‑10/L.22. Many media outlets mistakenly asserted that the cut was in the U.S. budget for the U.N., rather than within the U.N. budget itself.

When 128 countries voted for the nonbinding resolution, Amb. Haley had warned that the United States  considered it a sign of disrespect and would remember the vote when “called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations.”

The speculation that the cuts came as a consequence to the resolution appears to be overblown.

‘Long and Arduous Process’

Johannes Huisman, Director of the United Nations Programme Planning and Budget Division described the reductions as “efficiency gains” that had been negotiated by U.N. budget committees over the last seven months.

“It’s a long and somewhat arduous process,” he said. “So you are looking at a process where we put some 8,000 pages of budget information on the table. But during the process we write another 8,000 pages of additional information to make sure member states have all the elements they need to make their decision.”

By the Numbers

The United States contributes roughly 22 percent of the U.N. regular budget, or $1.2 billion of $5.4 billion over two years, according to Politifact. If the five percent budget cut is proportional on a member-state contribution level, the reduction in the U.S. contribution to the UN is estimated to be $60 million.


See Supporting Documents Here:

UN statement on its budget.

Amb. Haley Statement on the Budget.

UN Statement on the Resolution on the Status of Jerusalem. resolution A/ES‑10/L.22.

Amb. Haley Dec. 21 Statement on the UN General Assembly.

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About Author

Patti Mohr is an independent journalist living in North Carolina. She has a Master's Degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a certificate in journalism from the University of Cincinnati. After spending 12 years working in Washington, D.C., Patti moved to North Carolina where she consulted clients with their resumes and began working in property management. She continued to work on research and writing on an independent basis and conceptualized the structure for a media organization that would support independent journalism. Patti's lifelong dream is to pursue a career in writing about international relations. She has a strong belief in the fundamentals of journalism, namely the pursuit of truth, the maintenance of independence from sources, and in the verification of information. She is a reliable researcher with strong analytical and problem-solving skills.