How the U.N. Spends Its $1 Billion from U.S. Taxpayers

Report Budget and Spending

How the U.N. Spends Its $1 Billion from U.S. Taxpayers

January 20, 1984 14 min read Download Report
Melanie L.

(Archived document, may contain errors)

323 January 20, 1984 HOW THE U.N. SPENDS ITS 1 BILLION FROM U.S. TAXPAYERS The United Nation s now spends more than $4 billion a year on all its far-flung agencies and operations. Exactly how much the U.N. spends no one seems to know, for there is no consolidated U.N. budget. Indeed, the U.N. budget resembles the budget of no government, for ther e is no link between the burden of payment and influence on policies. the budget, while the ruling majority, the more than 100 nations in the so-called Group of 77, contribute under 9 percent. There is no limit to the spending capability of the U.N.--when a majority approves a program, it is'incorporated into the budget-and the U.S. must pay 25 percent of it. By contrast, the Soviet Union contributes but 10.34 percent.

Last year, U.S. contributions to the U.N. system totalled about $1 billion. Since the U.N .Is founding in 1945, it has received at least $14 billion from American taxpayers. this enormous outlay, surprisingly little attention has been paid to how the money is spent. How much of the U.S. contribution to the U.N for example, reaches the villages and urban slums of the Third World where American generosity is most needed? How much pays for the U.N. administration and bureaucracy? And how much goes for the high living at deluxe hotels during conferences in world capitals definitively. spends Americ a n taxpayers' money by looking aT: randomly chosen slices of the U.N. operational pie. Even this limited survey reveals a curious set of priorities at the U.N. At UNESCO, for example, the controversial body from which the U.S. is resigning at the end of 19 8 4, $2,220,775 of U.S. tax money was spent on helping Ifnational liberation movement" terrorist groups, but only 110,250 on teaching the importance of human rights. education for handicapped children in Africa received $12,400 in Six nations contribute ove r 65 percent of Despite It would take an army of auditors to answer these questions Yet it is possible to sense hc I the United Nations UNESCO's 2 U.S. funds; curriculum development in Pakistan received $1,800 and teacher training in Honduras received $250 was dwarfed by the $439,887 of American taxpayer contributions spent on travel and lodging costs of the UNESCO President and Executive Board But all of that U.N. political programs seem to do better at garnering funds than do delivery of services. Take, f o r example, the Southwest Africa People's Organization SWAPO the mainly terrorist organi zation that wants to impose its rule on Southwest Africa (also known as Namibia U.S. taxes funded $149,550 worth of operations for SWAPO's New York City office, part o f the $514,450 the U.S provided for the U.N. Council for Namibia (which includes substan- tial outlays to SWAPO By contrast, the World Health Organization spent only 7,850 U.S. contributed funds on the Committee on International Surveillance of Communicabl e Diseases 9,250 on road traffic accident prevention 150,000 on training traditional birth attendants; and 265,200 on maternal and child health.

The priorities at the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) are among the most puzzling in the U.N. system. It spends 9,070,675 in U.S. contributions on.maintaining its perma- nent offices, plus $1,046,675 for conferences, and $314,050 for consultants, but by comparison a modest $284,500 on programs to expand and promote world trade and $875,375 for en c ouraging economic cooperation among developing countries. Department of Public Information 1,627,550 of U.S. taxes go for I public information contacts 407,175 for publicity supplies information assistants. The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF meanwhile, seem s to tilt dramatically toward Africa. It spends 723,905 of U.S. tax money on child nutrition in Africa 2,443,127 for formal education in Africa; and $952,577 for social welfare services in Africa. By contrast, only $24,233 of U.S. taxes are spent by UNICEF on social welfare services for children in all of East Asia and Pakistan 22,470 on child nutrition in the Americas 110,150 on 'abandoned street children in Latin America and the Caribbean; and $119,182 on formal education in the Americas At the U.N 1,014, 9 25 for DPI's office in Geneva, but a puny $9,100 to train I These and other examples of how the U.N.-spends American taxpayers' money are found on the following pages 3 United States Contributions to the United Nations in 1982 Assessed contributions Agenc y U.S. Amount United Nations International Labor Organization Food and Agriculture Organization United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization World Health Organization International Civil Aviation Organization Universal Postal Union Inter n ational Telecommunication Union World Meteorological Organization International Maritime Organization World Intellectual Property International Atomic Energy Agency United Nations Emergency Force United Nations Interim Force in Organization Lebanon 201,14 4 ,200 29,755,800 47,815,100 69,173,300 76,640,700 5,887,600 410,800 2,666,500 4,980,600 489,900 632,800 16,268,100 9,612,700 54,496,800 TOTAL Voluntary Contributions Agency United Nations Force in Cyprus United Nations Children's Fund United Nations Develo p ment Program United Nations Educational and Training Program for Southern Africa United Nations Environment Program United Nations Institute for Namibia United' Nations Institute for United Nations Capital Development Fund World Food Program Fund for Drug Abuse Control United Nations Fund for Population United Nations High Commissioner United Nations Relief and Works Agency Special Programs United Nations Trust Fund for United Nations Volunteers WHO Special Programs Training and Research Activities for Ref u gees South Africa 519,974,900 U.S. Amount 9,000,000 54,675,547 127,300,000 1,000,000 490,000 7,839,010 422,000 79,976,600 2,000,000 2,000,000 33,760,000 120,435,254 67,000,000 16,500.,000 343,000 8,000,000 200,000 Percent 25 .OO 25.00 25.00 25.00 25.00 29 . 47 4.72 7.00 24.57 4.35 7.97 25.81 27.20 27.20 Percent 30.51 22.03 19.14 27.59 26.13 21.56 27.46 7.45 26.26 29.77 26.12 33.34 37.57 49.98 16.27 13.14 8.08 4 Agency WMO Program United Nations Administered United Nations Trust Fund Trust Fund International L abor Organization Food and Agriculture Organization United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization World Health Organization World Meteorological Organization International Atomic Energy Agency U.S. Amount 2,241,482 6,661,300 13,848,300 2 , 800 8,408,800 1,252,700 3,222,500 578,600 9,888 100 TOTAL $577,045 993 Total Assessed Contributions 519,974,9001 Total Voluntary Contributions 577,045 9932 TOTAL 1982 U.S. Contributions to the United Nations $1,097,020,893 I Percent 26.14 i 25.00 25.00 Vo l untary 'cont r ibut io to assessed agency If lFigures from United Nations 1982 report 2Figures from Department of State 1982 report 5 The following are samples from recent U.N. budgets, with U.S. contributions based on State Department figures. Included a r e expenditures from U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO p. 8 U.N. Environment Program (UNEP p. 9 International Labor Organization (ILO p. 10 UNESCO p. 6 U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UN IDO p. 11 World Health Organization WHO p. 12;.

U.N. peacekeeping group in Lebanon (UNIFIL p.14 International Ci.vil Aviation Organization (ICAO p. 15 U.N. Center for'Human Settlements (HABITAT p. 15 U.N..Fund and Council for Namibia, p. 16 U.N. Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD p. 16 U.N High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR p 17 U.N. Department of Public' Information (UNDPI p. 18 U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF p.19 U.N. spending on human rights, p. 20 6 United Nations Educational, Scientific and C ultural Organization UNESCO 1981-1983 PROGRAM Education Respect for Human Rights.

Aid to Refugees and such "national liberation movementsgt as the Palestine Liberation Organization, Southwest Africa People's Organization and African National Council.

Regi onal conference on educational policy and cooperation in Arab states to discuss overhauling primary and adult education U.S. SHARE 110 250 2,220,775 76,850 Meeting on the less'developed countries (LDC) needs and priorities in regard to education to discus s needs and priorities in repect to educational development 14,375 Pros ects, quarterly review of education a- inc u ing new editions in Arabic and Russian.

International Education Reporting Service on Educational Innovation 68 775 159 275 Modernization of educational methods in China 84,175 Beijing (Peking) Foreign Languages Institute 33,100 Curriculum development and production of teaching aids and equipment in Pakistan 1,800 Technical education in Lebanon.

Special educational advisor in Haiti. I 258,775 25 950 Teacher training in Honduras 250 Contribution to strategies for the implemen tation of national. literacy and post-literacy programs 588,125 Conference on Status of Women and Participa tion of Women in Development 1,144,000 Family life education i n Malaysia 2 750 7 Regional Office for Education. in Africa New trends in science and technology education 38,743 Education for handicapped children 12 400 Stationery and office supplies 19 550 Regional Office in Latin America and Caribbean Teaching human r ights 7 400 New trends in science and technology education 38,743 Stationery and office supplies 10 225 UNESCO General Conference, Executive Board, and Directorate Interpretation services (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) from the 2 2 nd ordinary conference in addition to language and document services provided by regular staff 208 400 Chauffeur and maintenance of motor vehicles for President of General Conference 4 550 Travel and per diem for Executive Board and President 439 a87 Inte r pretation services for Executive Board 383 , 587 Medals conferred by Directorate Salaries of headquarters staff 7 700 3,967,350 Salaries of field staff 283 275 8 Food and Agriculture Orqanization FA0 1984-1985 PROGRAM Technical and Economic Programs Genet ic resources To provide secretariat services for the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources and to. support the development of a global network on crop gene'tic resources. The program includes activities in Africa, East Asia, and Latin America.

Crop Improvement and Management Program.

Animal health.

Meat development. Particular emphasis on promoting small-scale village industries based on slaughterhouse products and by-products.

Rural Institutions and Employment. Periodic reviews of rural development policies and programs to alleviate rural poverty, to assess the causes and incidence of landlessness among the rural poor and to aid manpower planning.

World Food Security. New approaches to achieve greater,collective self-reliance in basic food- stuffs.

Tree Improvement and Plantation, to increase production of industrial wood, fuelwood, fodder and food, and for soil and water conser- vation.

Fuelwood Program.

Support Services Library.

Publications, including technical studies and periodicals on nutrition, food, and agriculture.

Computer service.

Rent and maintenance of premises.

Cleaning and utilities U.S. SHARE 181,000 $939 250 932 I 250 271 000 859 250 936 I 250 121 250 267,000 1 228 500 929,250 $303 250 754,250 1,075,000 Furniture, equip ment, and vehicles 539,000 9 United'Nations Environment Program mp 1982-1983 PROGRAM Overall Comprehensive Costs Permanent posts and offices.


Temporary assistance at meetings.

Travel of representatives.

Rental/maintenance of premises.

Rental/maintenance of equipment.


Supplies and materials U.S SHARE 1 580 525 82 I 753 I I 273 920 I I 47 948 14 841 72 144 3 213 96 158 Policymaking Organs Conference servicing costs 28 743 Supplies and materials 23 830 Travel of representati ves and staff 14 162 Hospitality at official functions 3 213 Temporary Assistance 31 interpreters for 14 days 285 per day/ interpreter of which U.S. pays $75 79 601 5 revisers for four months to work on documentation before, during, and after the meetings 271 per day/reviser of which U.S. pays 70 28 377 5 typists for four months 180 per day/typist of which U.S. pays $47 18 813 Travel 33,054 15 interpreters for 5 days ($350 per day/inter- preter which U.S. $91 6 846 Secretariat of the U.N. Scientific Commit t ee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation Permanent offices 92 I 369 10 Travel; 11 members are entitled to first-class travel 9 to economy 38 959 Furniture and equipment 600 Environmental Programs Environmental Assessment 3,649,li06 Human Settlements and Huma n Health including report on guidelines on hazardous chemicals 446 I 352 Environment and Development. Includes reports on progress in devising and implementing approaches for incorporation of the environmental objectives into development planning and proce ss in Papua New Guinea 1982) and Cuba (1983 921 108 International Labor Organization ILO 1984-1985 PROGRAM Chinese language services.

Printing of Report on Apartheid.

Conference of American States Members of the ILO.

Two Country Studies on the Trade Union Situation in Europe.

Research and technical services for wider awareness and fuller observance of ILO standards on forced labor.

Program on Equality of Rights.

Promoting Awareness of Women Workers' Problems and adoption of appropriate policies.

National and international aspects of employ- ment and development policy as they relate to disarmament.

Rural women's development and employment program.

Policies for the improvement of working conditions and workers' welfare U.S. SHARE 505,000 98 I 000 53 227 46,987 $237 150 85 488 30 692 76 385 185,062 11 Work-related welfare facilities and services To promote access of workers and their families to such work-related facilities and services, such as canteens, workers' housing, transport, and child-care facilities 106 158 Internal services. Includes drivers, messen- gers, meeting room staff, cleaning and removal services 806,460 Security services. Includes Security Officer night watchman, door-keeper, car park attendant, and receptionist, 13 people in all 311 475 Editing, translation, and revision. For 2 publications resulting from sessions of ILO conference and for other ILO publications.

General workers' education To provide workers' educational manual on occupational safety and health a guide for services pro- vided to youth by trade unions; and a Labour 1,447,627 Education Bulletin published 4 times yearly 342 115 United Nations 1ndustrial.Development O rganization UNIDO 1h82-1983 PROGRAM Gener a1 Overall language training.

Travel of participants to meetings and official travel of staff.

Programs Consultations on Industrial Development including fertilizers, iron and steel, leather and leather products, vegetable oils and fats petrochemicals, agricultl-zral machinery, pharmaceuticals, food processing, capital goods, industrial financing, and industrial manpower Follow-up meetings to the consultation on fertilizer, petrochemical, pharinaceutical, and food processing industries U.S. SHARE 49 725 768,500 1,046,475 12 500 Consulting services. To prepare background tation Meetings papers on issues to be considered at Consul- These activities will require 12 53 consultants for an average of 1.9 man- months each , or $1,29O/month per consultant UNIDO representation at General Assembly, and other forums.

Local travel within U.S. to establish liaison with government representatives.

Development and Transfer of Technology. Publications on development of technology policies geared to developing countries; implementation and monitoring of recommendations on transfer of technology.

Consulting services. To undertake global studies.of long-term development issues.

Consulting services of a report on appropriate technolog ies and their transfer to developing countries. TO assist in preparation PROGM 135 000 17 , 500 8 I 750 544,725 20 000 1 250 World Health Organization WHO 1964-1985 U.S. SHARE Committee on international surveillance of communicable diseases.

Strengthening of national health development centers/networks.

Study on women as providers of health care.

Involvement and training of traditional birth attendants.

World Health Magazine.

Maternal and child health, including family planning.

Human reproduction res rch.

Health of the -elderly.

Prevention and control of sexually transmitted diseases.

Prevention and control of acute respiratory infections 7 850 77 , 000 90,625 150 000 235,750 $265,200 8,011,750 93 250 12 , 500 13 Road traffic accident prevention 9,250 Development of accident safety technology 38 500 Alternative approaches to day-care of children 28,750 Programs on alcohol problems in the employ- ment setting 21 200 Prevention and management of alcohol problems in the family se t ting 14,125 Global promotion and cooperation in water supply and sanitation 32 725 Assessment of health hazards associated with technological development lo 250 Epidemiological study of skin cancer induced by ultraviolet radiation 175,000 Immunization pro g ram 76 050 Informal consultation on disinsecting of vessels and aircraft 6 325 Tropical disease research and development examples; Malaria 2,848,750 Schistosomiasis (river blindness 1,076,750 African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness 1,141,500 Advisory g r oup on the prevention of blindness 11,800 Medium Term Program (1984.1989) on cancer 6,502,350 Research, development, and'training on smoking control 8 250 14 United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon UNIFIL January 19 July 19, 1983 PROGRAM Daily allowance t o troops 1.28 per day of which U.S. pays 356 per man per day, payable in local currency).

Rations to troops estimated at 4.84 of which U.S. pays $1.32 per man Average daily ration cost Rental of four helicopters from Italy.

Tents 25.00 per square meter of which U.S pays $6.80 Furnishings and mess equipment, stoves, ovens freezers meat slicers, potato peelers, food mixers tables lamps chairs sofas beds wardrobes, and other accomodations and dining equipment.

Spare parts and maintenance for motor vehicles.

Clothing and uniforms.

Sandbags 150,000 at approximately 44C each Barbed wire, 750 rolls.


Flags and decals Toilet paper.

Paper towels.

Haircutting for military personnel U.N. medal sets U.S. SHARE 422 144 1,515,040 353 328 40 800 57 936 1,751,680 204,272 18,,224 6 800 544 1 224 7 480 5 576 4,651 3 808 Maps 1 632 Pay for troops. Standard rate of $950 per man-month for all ranks, plus a su pplement of 280 per man per month for a limited number of specialists 10,813,088 I1 15 International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO 1983 PROGRAM Air Navigation Meetings Books and periodicals.

Salaries and wages of professional and general service posts.

Travel of headquarters staff and dependents.

Travel on home leave.



Public information mailing U.S. SHARE 68 125 9 500 4,082,500 22 500 53 000 800 11 250 99,000 United Nations Center for Human S.ettlements HABITAT 1982-1983 PRO GRAM U.S. SHARE Travel of representatives of policymaking organs 9,150 Travel of executive staff.

Executive staff furniture and equipment.

Travel of staff to attend meetings related to human settlements activities 15,425 850 11,650 Settlement planning. tion and environmental policies.

Travel of programs staff In relation to popula 361 975 23 275 16 I United Nations Council for Namibia 1982-1983 PROGRAM U.N. Fund for Namibia U.N. Council for Namibia. Includes office for SWAPO, the Namibian guerrilla and terrorist group.


Travel of representatives.

Other official travel for staff SWAPO Office in New York.

Section 14 of P.L. 98-164 restricts U.S contributions to the U.N. for activities benefitting the PLO and SWAPO, these monies were not withheld this year Even though U.S. SHARE 4,025,000 514,450 30,625 229,200 $186 150 149,550 U.N. Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD) 1982-1983 PROGRAM U.S. SHARE Comprehensive Costs Executive officers and management.

Program for the transfer of technology.

Program for economic cooperation among developing countries.

Program support for conferences.

Permanent posts Consultants official travel of staff.

Hospi tality.

External financing and international monetary issues 1,126,350 1,000,975 875 375 1,046,675 $9,070,675 314,050 378,725 8,025 737 050 Interrelationships among trade, development money and finance, and co ntribution to the 17 International Development Strategy. Including reports on interdependence and global development issues 357,225 Liberalization of government barriers to trade.

Includes helping developing countries parti- cipate in trade negotiations 3 69,900 Export development and structural adjustment. Includes an evaluation of world economy changes relevant to developing countries and technical publications on the role of intra-industry trade in bringing about positive structural adjustment in the wo rld economy 523 125 Trade expansion and promotion 284,500 Administrative and Common Services Hospitality 5 275 Supplies and materials 299 225 Permanent posts 679,425 U.N. Hiqh Commissioner for Refugees u-"CR 1982-1983 PROGRAM Nearly 1,000 posts.

Travel of staff U.S. SHARE 4,722,400 376,125 Hospitality 21 450 Furniture and equipment 5'5 I 475 Directing and coordinating the protection of refugees 390,450 Regional coordination at headquarters 1,118,975 Regular field operations. 74 field officers arid 8 corres p ondents promoting liberal asylum policies and an adequate legal status for refu- gees. They also examine and advise headquarters concerning U"CR requests for assistance 4,003,675 Contractual services. To finance special events, field projects, news agency services, photo- graphic production costs and television/film production, promotion and distribution costs 18 450 18 U.N. Department of Public Information mpI 1 1982-1983 PROGRAM Permanent posts.


Editors -roundtables.

Training ,of information assistants.

Public information contractsI Pouch service U.S. SHARE 8,020,425 266,400 17,675 9 100 1,627,550 202,650 Hospitality 27,075 Public information supplies 407,175 Public information equipment 306,550 Radio and Visual Services Division. Includes tele vision news summaries of U.N. events, 7,OOO'radio news programs on U.N. events, photo coverage of meetings, in-depth media infomation 6,200 radio programs in 18 languages covering the entire range of U.N activities with a daily quarter-hour program dealin g with U.N. efforts against apartheid and dissemination of information.

Press and Publications Division. Includes publi shing booklets, pamphlets, and leaflets on the U.N. and its activities, disarmament and international security, racial discrimi- nation, apartheid, decolonization, Namibia, and the New International Economic Order.

Information Service, Geneva.

Information Centers 4,948,050 $2,160,125 $1,014,925 4,901,000 19 U.N. Children's Fund UNICEF 1984-1985 PROGRAM Abandoned and street children in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Promotion and development of women in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Child health in Africa.

Child nutrition in Africa.

Child nutrition in the Americas.

Social welfare services for children in Africa.

Social welfare services for children in East Asia and Pakistan.

Formal education in Africa.

Formal education in the Americas.

Administration Travel by the Office of the Executive Director.

Fund raising.

Editorial and publications services. Includes publication of: UNICEF News (quarterly State of the World's Children and press kit annual I UNICEF Report (annual Child Reference Bulletin (quarterly and Facts about UNICEF (annual).

Photo and exhibit services based in New York.

Information services based in Geneva.

Personnel services, New York Recruitment and pliisement U.S. SHARE 110 150 209 285 3,2w,agi 723 90 5 22 470 952 I 577 24,233 2,443,127 119 182 129 536 355 674 840 ai9 203 975 245 083 1 023 , 734 448,222 I 20 Division on Human Rights PROGRAM U.S. SHARE Overall Established posts.

Travel of representatives and other official travel of staff There are 81 posts.


Policymaking organs Human rights committee honoraria the 18 members of the Committee 3,000 per year for 17 members and $5,000 per year for the Chairman).

Travel of representatives and staff to Human Rights Cbmmission Payable to 1,711, 750 210,600 375 28,000 105,475 Human Rights Activities Standard-setting, research, studies, and preven tion of discrimination. Work on drafting a declaration on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief; on drafting a convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punis,hment; on drafting a conven tion on the riqhts of the child; and on draft ing a declaration on the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities 577 250 Implementation of the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination.

Organization of seminars and studies on the subject, including Report to the Sub-Commission on ways and means of ensuring the implementation of U.N. resolutions on apartheid, racism, and racial discrimination 432,925 Melanie Merkle Research Assistant }{ \f1

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Melanie L.