By Jordie Hannum, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign
Congressional budget season is well underway in Washington. Decisions made over the next several days could make all the difference in how the U.S. manages critical matters of international diplomacy, peace, and global health.
In other words, our funding for the United Nations – not to mention relationships with all of our allies and investments in peace and global health – is very much on the line.
This is precisely why I was honored to testify on behalf of the Better World Campaign before the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday. As lawmakers are analyzing next year’s budget, I was able to make the case for, among other things, full funding of UN Peacekeeping, the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and global vaccinations that halt the spread of disease.
The full testimony is here, but here’s the “Cliffs Notes” version:
- Through UN Peacekeeping, the U.S. doesn’t have to go it alone: UN peacekeeping missions are cost-effective, having been found by the Government Accountability Office to be eight times cheaper than U.S. forces acting alone. The UN is also continuing to update its operations to better meet evolving challenges.
- Peacekeepers stand between life and death: For example, the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan is protecting more than 100,000 civilians who have sought shelter at UN bases. Peacekeepers are also working alongside UNICEF and other organizations to help end the recruitment of child soldiers in South Sudan. Over the past three months, the UN has helped negotiate the release of 1,000 child soldiers from a rebel militia, one of the largest demobilizations of children ever.
- The UN keeps us safe from nuclear and terrorist threats: UN agencies are monitoring global compliance with Security Council sanctions against Iran, North Korea, and al-Qaeda.
- The UN is enhancing global health: The UN promotes maternal health, to protect the lives of 30 million women each year. The UN helps to vaccinate 60% of the world’s children. Over the years, through these efforts and that of UN partners, 1 billion children have been immunized against measles and the number of new polio cases has dropped by 99%, leaving the world nearly polio free.
And of course, for all of this, our contributions are leveraged with that of the other 192 member states.
In short, the Better World Campaign told Congress that the work of the UN saves millions of lives. Its activities are absolutely central to our national security and foreign policy priorities.
If you agree, Congress needs to hear from you too. Join the Better World Campaign here!