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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 October 17, 2014 by David S. Addington Ebola: U.S. Government Civilian and Military Assistance in West Africa

    The U.S. government has substantial efforts under way in West Africa to provide humanitarian assistance to combat the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease and thereby also help prevent the spread of Ebola elsewhere. U.S. government civilians under the direction of the U.S. ambassador, and U.S. military personnel under the Commander of the Joint Force Command (JFC), work…

  • Issue Brief posted July 2, 2014 by Romina Boccia The IMF Is Following the Obama Administration’s Playbook on the Federal Budget

    The International Monetary Fund’s report on its 2014 Article IV Consultation with the United States risks encouraging inaction by U.S. lawmakers on adopting structural entitlement reforms to control U.S. spending and debt growth. The IMF report suggests institutional budget reforms to “lessen fiscal policy uncertainty,” citing “recent experience of debt ceiling…

  • Issue Brief posted April 30, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves, James Phillips Palestinian Intent to Accede to 15 Treaties and U.S. Response

    President Mahmoud Abbas announced on April 1 that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will seek to join 15 international conventions and treaties. This is a new facet of the existing Palestinian policy of seeking international recognition by other governments and membership in international organizations to bolster claims of statehood absent a negotiated peace treaty with…

  • Issue Brief posted April 23, 2014 by Ana Quintana Crisis in Venezuela: UNASUR and U.S. Foreign Policy

    Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress not to respond to the Venezuelan government’s deadly crackdown against the democratic opposition. Recent high-level talks between the Venezuelan government and select members of the opposition have led the Secretary to mistakenly believe that the crisis will soon end. Additionally, he urged Congress to avoid…

  • 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…

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  • Special Report posted January 13, 2009 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves Reforms Needed for a More Effective United Nations: A Memo to President-elect Obama

    [I]t is important that we don't provide veto power to the United Nations or anyone else in acting in our interests. --Barack Obama, second presidential debate, October 7, 2008[1] [T]he UN is an indispensable and imperfect forum. [Susan Rice] will carry the message that our commitment to multi-lateral action must be coupled with a commitment…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Lecture posted September 7, 2005 by The Honorable Ellen R. Sauerbrey Freeing Women from Exploitation and Despair

    Imagine a terrible plague--a devastating disease--descending on and ripping apart the fabric of your community, killing, crippling, or otherwise disabling half of your friends, family, and neighbors. Beyond the human pain and suffering this would cause, consider the incredible impact it would have on your community's ability to thrive. How could the economy grow?…

  • Lecture posted October 3, 2006 by Brett D. Schaefer The Status of United Nations Reform

    Produced by the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom(Delivered September 11, 2006) Sixty years ago, the United Nations was founded to maintain international peace and security, promote self-determination and basic human rights, and protect fundamental freedoms. Sadly, weaknesses in the organization have prevented it from fully realizing these high…

  • 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 May 6, 1997 by Bryan T. Johnson The International Monetary Fund: Outdated, Ineffective, andUnnecessary

    Introduction Founded 53 years ago in the turbulent era of the 1940s to stabilize the world economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)1 has become outdated, ineffective, and unnecessary. Most of the economic conditions that led to the IMF's creation no longer exist; in addition, the Fund has failed to achieve most of its own newly defined roles, a preponderance…

  • Backgrounder posted October 27, 2003 by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Baker Spring Reform the United Nations

    President George W. Bush's major address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23 was a powerful wake-up call for an organization that is in danger of becoming an outdated irrelevance on the world stage. At the dawn of the 21st century, the United Nations looks more like a glorified debating society than a serious global body designed to…

Find more work on International Organizations
  • Issue Brief posted October 17, 2014 by David S. Addington Ebola: U.S. Government Civilian and Military Assistance in West Africa

    The U.S. government has substantial efforts under way in West Africa to provide humanitarian assistance to combat the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease and thereby also help prevent the spread of Ebola elsewhere. U.S. government civilians under the direction of the U.S. ambassador, and U.S. military personnel under the Commander of the Joint Force Command (JFC), work…

  • Issue Brief posted July 2, 2014 by Romina Boccia The IMF Is Following the Obama Administration’s Playbook on the Federal Budget

    The International Monetary Fund’s report on its 2014 Article IV Consultation with the United States risks encouraging inaction by U.S. lawmakers on adopting structural entitlement reforms to control U.S. spending and debt growth. The IMF report suggests institutional budget reforms to “lessen fiscal policy uncertainty,” citing “recent experience of debt ceiling…

  • Issue Brief posted April 30, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves, James Phillips Palestinian Intent to Accede to 15 Treaties and U.S. Response

    President Mahmoud Abbas announced on April 1 that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will seek to join 15 international conventions and treaties. This is a new facet of the existing Palestinian policy of seeking international recognition by other governments and membership in international organizations to bolster claims of statehood absent a negotiated peace treaty with…

  • Issue Brief posted April 23, 2014 by Ana Quintana Crisis in Venezuela: UNASUR and U.S. Foreign Policy

    Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress not to respond to the Venezuelan government’s deadly crackdown against the democratic opposition. Recent high-level talks between the Venezuelan government and select members of the opposition have led the Secretary to mistakenly believe that the crisis will soon end. Additionally, he urged Congress to avoid…

  • 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…

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