Statement by Timothy E. Wirth, President of the UN Foundation, Regarding the United Nations Reform Act of 2005

Washington, D.C.

June 8, 2005


Megan Rabbitt

Senator Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, issued the following statement today regarding the House International Relations Committee’s approval of the United Nations Reform Act of 2005 authored by Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL).

“We are very disappointed in the approval of a bill that will most likely trigger new UN arrears for the U.S. The last time the U.S. withheld funds, it led to a huge debt to the UN and inhibited our ability to lead within the institution. If we do go down this road again, it will again limit the ability of our diplomats to achieve changes within the UN because it will undercut U.S. credibility. We should support the Administration’s stated policy which is to oppose the withholding of funds.

“Reforming the UN is the right goal. Withholding dues to the UN is the wrong methodology. Past experience has taught us that it will not help us to achieve our goal.

“In this legislation there are some very important reforms to which the UN has already committed, but this approach seals their fate before we’ve given them a chance to succeed.

“This is like trying to force a bank to renegotiate your home mortgage by refusing to make your monthly payments.”


The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations’ causes. The UN Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the UN. Through its grant making and by building new and innovative public-private partnerships, the UN Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century.