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International Organizations

The United States belongs to dozens of multilateral organizations, from large and well-known organizations such as NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the United Nations to relatively small niche organizations such as the Universal Postal Union and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. The FY 2011 request for “Contributions to International Organizations” under the U.S. Department of State budget included line items for U.S. contributions to some fifty distinct international organizations and budgets. The decisions and policies of these organizations directly and indirectly impact U.S. foreign policy, security and commercial interests. The U.S. should use its influence in these organizations to ensure that American interests are protected.

Our Research & Offerings on International Organizations
  • Issue Brief posted March 24, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer 11 Issues for Congress in the President’s FY 2015 International Affairs Budget Request

    President Barack Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal on March 4, 2014. Although much of the budget reflects long-standing programmatic and budgetary practice, there are 11 specific issues that Congress should address. The President’s FY 2015 budget request for International Affairs (IA) totals $50.01 billion, including a base budget of $44.1 billion…

  • Issue Brief posted February 26, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Should Demand Increased Transparency and Accountability as U.N. Revenues Rise

    United Nations system revenues nearly tripled between 2002 and 2012 from nearly $15 billion to $41.5 billion. Cumulatively, the U.N. received more than $312 billion over that period. The U.S. has been and remains the U.N. system’s largest contributor, providing approximately one-fifth of total contributions on average annually over that period. Incomplete data make a…

  • Issue Brief posted December 20, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Needs Financial Leverage to Hold Line on U.N. Budget

    The United Nations’ regular budget has grown reliably over the past six decades, with particularly sharp growth over the past decade. Last year seemed promising, as the initial U.N. regular budget for 2012–2013 was lower than the final expenditures for the previous biennial budget. However, that reduction was largely achieved through the negotiating gimmick of deferring…

  • Issue Brief posted October 19, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Withdraw from UNESCO

    Last fall, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) granted membership to the Palestinian Authority. It did so despite clear warnings from Washington that this would necessitate an immediate freeze on all U.S. funding to the agency. Subsequently, President Obama stopped all U.S. financial contributions to the organization as required…

  • Backgrounder posted August 6, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer United Nations: Credits Owed Should Be Returned to Member States

    Abstract: For years, the United Nations has retained surplus appropriations for closed peacekeeping operations and credits owed to the U.S. from the Tax Equalization Fund. U.N. financial rules and regulations state that the U.N. should “surrender” these funds (reimburse or credit them toward related assessments) after a specified period. Instead, the U.N. has retained…

  • Issue Brief posted July 31, 2012 by Morgan Lorraine Roach, Brett D. Schaefer How the New African Union Leadership Should Improve the Organization

    For the African Union (AU) Commission, the election earlier this month of South Africa’s Home Affairs minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as chair offers a chance to address issues that have hindered the organization’s image and its impact on the continent. The new leader should provide leadership in pressing the organization to respond more effectively to the…

  • Issue Brief posted April 19, 2012 by Ambassador Terry Miller, Anthony B. Kim Advancing Economic Freedom Through the World Bank: A Worthy Goal for Jim Yong Kim

    On April 16, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of Dartmouth College, was elected as the next president of the World Bank. Kim, a physician with a background in public health, prevailed after an unusual race contested by two highly regarded economists from Nigeria and Colombia. Kim’s background raises plenty of questions regarding his suitability for the job and particularly his…

  • Lecture posted February 14, 2011 by Brett D. Schaefer The Role and Relevance of Multilateral Diplomacy in U.S. Foreign Policy

    Abstract: Multilateral diplomacy is challenging. The dynamics are often more complex than bilateral negotiations because there are many more players. But while policies and venues may change, the role of diplomacy—to advance and promote the foreign policy objectives of the United States—is constant and does not change when the diplomacy is multilateral rather than…

  • Backgrounder posted November 1, 2010 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.N. Should Stop Ignoring Its Financial Regulations and Pay Its Debts to the Member States

    Abstract: In defiance of U.N. financial rules and regulations, the U.N. has retained more than $200 million in unspent funding for closed peacekeeping missions. Instead of returning these funds to U.N. member states as required, the U.N. Secretary-General has used them as a slush fund to cover financial shortfalls in U.N. peacekeeping missions and the regular U.N. budget.…

  • Special Report posted September 21, 2010 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. Smart Multilateralism and the United Nations

    Abstract: Multilateralism is not an end in itself. It is one of many foreign policy tools, admittedly a very important one, in the diplomatic kit. For the United States, multilateralism faces its greatest challenge at the United Nations, where the all-too-frequent clash of worldviews between liberty and authoritarian socialism has stymied multilateralism more than…

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  • Backgrounder posted August 18, 2009 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves The U.S. Should Not Join the International Criminal Court

    The idea of establishing an international court to prosecute serious international crimes--war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide--has long held a special place in the hearts of human rights activists and those hoping to hold perpetrators of terrible crimes to account. In 1998, that idea became reality when the Rome Statute of the International Criminal…

  • Backgrounder posted September 17, 2003 by Ana I. Eiras IMF and World Bank Intervention: A Problem, Not a Solution

    On September 23, 2003, the World Bank Group and the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will meet in Dubai to discuss the work of their respective institutions in international monetary and development issues. This meeting would be worth its high expense if the discussion were centered on these institutions' own reform rather than on how they…

  • Issue Brief posted March 24, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer 11 Issues for Congress in the President’s FY 2015 International Affairs Budget Request

    President Barack Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal on March 4, 2014. Although much of the budget reflects long-standing programmatic and budgetary practice, there are 11 specific issues that Congress should address. The President’s FY 2015 budget request for International Affairs (IA) totals $50.01 billion, including a base budget of $44.1 billion…

  • Backgrounder posted May 16, 1996 by Bryan T. Johnson The World Bank and Economic Growth: 50 Years of Failure

    Map 1: Countries Receiving World Bank Loans for 25 years or LongerTable 1: Economic Growth Rates of Recipients of World Bank Loans, Algeria - LesothoTable 1: Economic Growth Rates of Recipients if World Bank Loans, continued, Madagascar - ZambiaTable 2: How Long Term Recipients of World Bank Loans Rate on Economic FreedomTable 3: Economic Growth and Government…

  • Lecture posted July 28, 1986 by Mohamed Sahnoun, Gunther Van Well , Gunther ; Koh, Tommy T.B.; Lichenstein, Charles M. How the United Nations Can Be Reformed: The Recommendations of Four Former Ambassadors to the U.N.

    (Archived document, may contain errors) HOW THE UNITED NATIONS CAN BE REFORMED The Recommendations of Four Former Ambassadors to the U.N. M ohamed Sahnoun Ambassador of Algeria to the United States Permanent Representative to the United.Nations 1982-1984 Gunther van Well Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United States…

  • Backgrounder posted June 15, 1984 by Roger A. Why Congress Should Be Wary of the U.N. Convention on theInternational Sale of Goods

    (Archived document, may contain errors) 361 I June 15, 1984 WHY CONGRESS SHOULD BE WARY OF THE U.N. CONVENTION ON THE INTERNATIONAL SALE OF GOODS INTRODUCTION Next week the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will con sider whether to refer the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) to the Senate for…

  • Economic Freedom Project Report posted April 1, 2000 by Brett D. Schaefer The Bretton Woods Institutions: History and Reform Proposals

    The Economic Freedom Project is produced by the Heritage Center for International Trade and Economics (CITE) which provides state-of-the-art research on the role democracy and free markets play in fostering economic growth in countries around the world. CITE's mission to promote global economic freedom by making it the key principle of the United States's…

  • Backgrounder posted September 8, 2009 by Brett D. Schaefer Critical Reforms Required for U.N. Peacekeeping

    One of the United Nations' primary responsibili­ties--one with which most Americans agree--is to help to maintain international peace and security. Cold War rivalries greatly hindered the U.N.'s ability to undertake peacekeeping operations during its first 45 years. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.N. Security Council has been far more active in…

  • WebMemo posted June 15, 2005 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. The Cotecna Memorandum: End of the Road for Kofi Annan?

    The release this week of a memorandum written by a high-ranking official with the Oil-for-Food contractor Cotecna is deeply embarrassing to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and may herald the end of his tenure of office. The memorandum calls into question Annan's central claim that he was unaware of Cotecna's bid for a lucrative U.N. Oil-for-Food contract in…

  • WebMemo posted December 13, 2007 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Oppose the Largest Budget Increase in U.N. History

    On December 11, Ambassador Mark Wallace of the United States Mission to the United Nations challenged the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) of the U.N. General Assembly over the unprecedented growth in the U.N. regular budget. After illustrating how the 2008/2009 biennial budget would result in the largest increase in the history of the organization,…

Find more work on International Organizations
  • Issue Brief posted March 24, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer 11 Issues for Congress in the President’s FY 2015 International Affairs Budget Request

    President Barack Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal on March 4, 2014. Although much of the budget reflects long-standing programmatic and budgetary practice, there are 11 specific issues that Congress should address. The President’s FY 2015 budget request for International Affairs (IA) totals $50.01 billion, including a base budget of $44.1 billion…

  • Issue Brief posted February 26, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Should Demand Increased Transparency and Accountability as U.N. Revenues Rise

    United Nations system revenues nearly tripled between 2002 and 2012 from nearly $15 billion to $41.5 billion. Cumulatively, the U.N. received more than $312 billion over that period. The U.S. has been and remains the U.N. system’s largest contributor, providing approximately one-fifth of total contributions on average annually over that period. Incomplete data make a…

  • Issue Brief posted December 20, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer U.S. Needs Financial Leverage to Hold Line on U.N. Budget

    The United Nations’ regular budget has grown reliably over the past six decades, with particularly sharp growth over the past decade. Last year seemed promising, as the initial U.N. regular budget for 2012–2013 was lower than the final expenditures for the previous biennial budget. However, that reduction was largely achieved through the negotiating gimmick of deferring…

  • Issue Brief posted October 19, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Withdraw from UNESCO

    Last fall, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) granted membership to the Palestinian Authority. It did so despite clear warnings from Washington that this would necessitate an immediate freeze on all U.S. funding to the agency. Subsequently, President Obama stopped all U.S. financial contributions to the organization as required…

  • Backgrounder posted August 6, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer United Nations: Credits Owed Should Be Returned to Member States

    Abstract: For years, the United Nations has retained surplus appropriations for closed peacekeeping operations and credits owed to the U.S. from the Tax Equalization Fund. U.N. financial rules and regulations state that the U.N. should “surrender” these funds (reimburse or credit them toward related assessments) after a specified period. Instead, the U.N. has retained…

  • Issue Brief posted July 31, 2012 by Morgan Lorraine Roach, Brett D. Schaefer How the New African Union Leadership Should Improve the Organization

    For the African Union (AU) Commission, the election earlier this month of South Africa’s Home Affairs minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as chair offers a chance to address issues that have hindered the organization’s image and its impact on the continent. The new leader should provide leadership in pressing the organization to respond more effectively to the…

  • Issue Brief posted April 19, 2012 by Ambassador Terry Miller, Anthony B. Kim Advancing Economic Freedom Through the World Bank: A Worthy Goal for Jim Yong Kim

    On April 16, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of Dartmouth College, was elected as the next president of the World Bank. Kim, a physician with a background in public health, prevailed after an unusual race contested by two highly regarded economists from Nigeria and Colombia. Kim’s background raises plenty of questions regarding his suitability for the job and particularly his…

  • Backgrounder posted November 1, 2010 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.N. Should Stop Ignoring Its Financial Regulations and Pay Its Debts to the Member States

    Abstract: In defiance of U.N. financial rules and regulations, the U.N. has retained more than $200 million in unspent funding for closed peacekeeping missions. Instead of returning these funds to U.N. member states as required, the U.N. Secretary-General has used them as a slush fund to cover financial shortfalls in U.N. peacekeeping missions and the regular U.N. budget.…

  • Special Report posted September 21, 2010 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. Smart Multilateralism and the United Nations

    Abstract: Multilateralism is not an end in itself. It is one of many foreign policy tools, admittedly a very important one, in the diplomatic kit. For the United States, multilateralism faces its greatest challenge at the United Nations, where the all-too-frequent clash of worldviews between liberty and authoritarian socialism has stymied multilateralism more than…

  • Special Report posted September 21, 2010 by Baker Spring Restoring the Role of the Nation-State System in Arms Control and Disarmament

    Abstract: The cause of the United States is the preservation of liberty, starting with its own. It is the most noble of callings, and U.S. leaders should never lose sight of this. The shortcomings of the U.N. system, particularly in arms control and disarmament, are increasingly focused, intentionally or unintentionally, on constraining our ability to defend…

Find more work on International Organizations
Find more work on International Organizations