United Nations Reform: Issues for Congress [February 20, 2013]   [open pdf - 924KB]

"United Nations (U.N.) reform is an ongoing policy issue for the United States, and may continue to be an area of focus during the 113th Congress. As the single largest financial contributor to the U.N. system, the U.S. government has an interest in ensuring the United Nations operates as efficiently and effectively as possible. Congress has the responsibility to appropriate U.S. funds to the United Nations and can impose conditions on payments. On several occasions, Congress has sought to link U.S. funding of the United Nations to specific reform benchmarks. Since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945, U.N. member states and past secretaries general have repeatedly attempted to reform the organization. These reform efforts tend to be cyclical, with member states considering waves of new reform proposals every 5 to 10 years. The reform attempts are often initiated by a member state, groups of member states, and/or the current Secretary-General. They have generally focused on three areas of concern: (1) perceived inefficiencies and lack of accountability in the U.N. Secretariat; (2) duplication and redundancy of U.N. mandates, missions, and/or programs; and (3) evidence of fraud, waste, abuse, and/or mismanagement of U.N. resources. […] This report examines reform priorities from the perspective of several key actors, including Members of Congress, the Obama Administration, selected member states, the U.N. Secretary- General, and a cross-section of groups tasked with addressing U.N. reform. It also discusses congressional actions related to U.N. reform and mechanisms for implementing reform, as well as possible challenges facing U.S. policymakers as they consider existing and future U.N. reform efforts."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33848
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