Information on the Helms-Biden "Package" for UN Funding


A summary prepared by the Emergency Coalition for U.S. Financial Support of the United Nations on June 10, 1997, that includes the many "benchmarks" and conditions on the Congressional funding of U.N. assessments and arrears.

Deal Struck Between Senators Helms & Biden
on U.N. Issues

June 10, 1997

Late last week, Senators Biden and Helms arrived at an agreement on U.N. issues, with a draft package on funding and reforms affecting the U.S. relationship with the United Nations. While the actual numbers for U.N. arrears and current assessments are not yet known, the language of the provisions in the Chairman's draft FY98 State Department Authorization is outlined below. On the funding levels, it is expected that the Committee does not fully fund the Administration's request.

The State Authorization bill is scheduled for consideration by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Thursday, June 12th. Both Chairman Helms and Ranking Member Sen. Biden are expected to support this package, and will oppose efforts to strength or weaken its provisions. Reportedly this package has the support of the Clinton Administration.

Provisions affecting the U.N. are in Division C. There are three basic sections: on U.N. regular funding, on peacekeeping funding, and on payment of U.S. arrears to the United Nations.


Section 2101. Assessed Contributions to the U.N. and Affiliated Organizations.
- Provides authorization for FY98 for regular dues, but expected to be below the level of the Administration's request of $320 million.

Conditions on FY98 Regular Funding:

  • Now Growth Budget. $80 million withheld pending semi-annual certification that the U.N. has stuck to a no-growth budget.
  • Inspector General. 20% of funds withheld pending certification by Secretary of State that the Inspector General of the U.N.:
    - has met conditions set in FY94 and FY95, and has established procedures to report directly to the Secretary General;
    - has increased auditing, inspection, and investigation authorities.
  • Global Conferences. Certification that no U.S. funding has gone to support the holding of a U.N. global conference outside of Geneva or New York.
  • Personnel Cuts.
    - $50 million in FY98 withheld pending certification by Secretary of State to Congress that U.N. posts in the 1998-99 regular budget are reduced by at least 1,000 posts from those at the close the 1996-97 biennium.
    - $50 million in FY99 withheld pending certification by Secretary of State to Congress that the 1998-99 regular budget contains a vacancy rate not less than 5% for professional staff and 2.5% for general services staff.
  • Ban on Funds to Other Organizations. Prior to use of funds, the Secretary of State must certify to Congress that no money will be used to fund any other organization than the U.N., including the Framework Convention on Global Climate Change and the International Seabed Authority.
Limit on Funds to International Organizations.
No more than $900 million may be made available in any fiscal year after fiscal year 1998 for all U.S. memberships in international organizations for which contributions are assessed, including new organizations. The U.S. shall withdraw from international organizations or reduce U.S. assessments if the amount assessed would force the U.S. to exceed the cap of $900 million. Procedures to withdraw from an international organization are specified.

The section on regular dues also provides for currency fluctuations and requires refunds to nations when the U.N. and its specialized and affiliated agencies receive more money than they spend.

Section 2102. Assessed Contributions for Peacekeeping.
- Provides authorization for FY98 for peacekeeping assessments, but expected to be below the level of the Administration's request of $240 million. While new and major reporting requirements are made by the bill, no conditions are put on the FY98 funding.

Notifications to Congress.

- Peacekeeping Reporting. Requirement that the President consult with Congress on the status of both on-going and new peacekeeping operations each month, with information including:

  • resolutions on peacekeeping expected for a vote in the U.N. Security Council
  • for each operation, detailed information on duration, mandate, command & control, exit strategy, vital national interest;
  • estimate of costs and to the U.S., and source of reprogramming;
  • changes in U.S. participation, role of U.S. armed forces;
  • description of U.S. support to new operations.

The information must be submitted not later than the 10th day of each month; 15 day notification is required for anticipated votes on new operations in the Security Council, as far as practical.

- U.S. Assistance Reporting. The President must notify Congress 15 days in advance of providing assistance to the U.N. to support peacekeeping operations. Exceptions are made when:

  • the value of the assistance in less than $3 million if nonreimbursable; $14 million if reimbursable; OR
  • assistance is provided under emergency drawdown authority.
- Quarterly Reports. The President must submit quarterly reports to Congress on all assistance provided by the U.S. to support peacekeeping operations.

Section 2103. Data on Costs Incurred in Support of U.N. Peace and Security Operations.
Provisions amend Chapter 6 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961:

  • Sec. 555: Calls for annual U.S. reporting to U.N. Secretary General of costs incurred by the U.S. in support of all U.N. authorized operations in support of international peace and security. The U.S. shall request the U.N. to compile and publish this information concerning costs incurred by all U.N. members.

Section 2104. Reimbursement for Goods and Services Provided by the U.S. to the U.N.
The Secretary of State shall seek and obtain a U.N. commitment to reimburse the U.S. whenever the U.S. furnishes assistance to the U.N. at the request of the United Nations pursuant to law [per the U.N. Participation Act, sections of the Foreign Assistance Act, unless waived] -

  • to the United Nations;
  • for any U.N. peace operation authorized by the U.N. under Chapter VI and VII and paid for by the peacekeeping or regular budget assessments of member states;
  • to any country participating in any operation authorized by the U.N. Chapter VI and VII and paid for by U.N. members' peacekeeping assessments "when assistance is designed to facilitate or assist the participation of that country in the operation."
  • Exception is made when:
    - expenses incurred by the U.S. are for the direct benefit of the U.S. armed forces;
    - assistance is below $3 million per year per operation.
This provision also allows the U.S. to include credits against the U.S. assessed contributions for peacekeeping, with details on handling those funds. Waiver authority is provided if the President determines it is in U.S. security interests and Congress does not override that determination.

Section 2105. Restriction on U.S. Funding for U.N. Peace Operations
Requires President to withhold funding to the regular budget in an amount equal to that which would pay for a peacekeeping operation unless he determines that such funding serves U.S. national security interests.

Section 2106. U.S. Policy Regarding U.N. Peacekeeping Missions.
This section states that it shall be U.S. policy -

  • to ensure that major peacekeeping operations authorized by the U.N. under Chapter VII are conducted by regional organizations such as NATO, not by the U.N. (under U.N. operational control or paid for through US assessments); and
  • to consider, case-by-case, whether it is in U.S. national interests to agree that smaller U.N. authorized Chapter VII missions should be established under U.N. operational control and paid for through U.N. assessments.

Chapter 1. Arrearages to the United Nations
(Findings section not yet written.)

Section 2211. Authorization of Appropriations.
Funds authorized to pay for the U.N. regular budget, peacekeeping and specialized agencies are made available until expended, with limitations.

Section 2212. Disbursement of Funds.
Funds available if requirements met, for amounts in each of the following three fiscal years, with certification to Congress required 30 days in advance of the release of funds to the United Nations.

1998 Funding. For release of money authorized for FY98, the Secretary of State must make the following certification:

  • Contested Arrears Account. The U.N. has established an account for disputed funds in respect to all U.S. arrears incurred before the date of enactment of this bill, and that failure to pay those amounts does not affect application of Article 19 of the U.N. Charter.
  • Supremacy of U.S. Constitution. No U.N. action requires the U. S. to violate its Constitution.
  • No U.N. Sovereignty. The U.N. has not exercised authority or taken steps to do so that cede U.S. sovereignty.
  • No U.N. Taxes. The U.N. has no legal authority to and has not imposed, or approved any effort to develop, advocate, or promote any proposal to impose taxes or fees on U.S. citizens, with the exception for publication fees and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
  • No Standing U.N. Army. The U.N. has taken no steps to set up its ability to call the armed forces of its member states.
  • No Interest Fees. The U.N. has not levied any penalties against the U.S. or charged interested for U.S. arrears.
  • U.S. Property Rights. Nothing the U.N. has done exercises authority over any U.S. national park, wildlife preserve, monument or property, nor has the U.N. or any of its specialized or affiliated agencies implemented plans or other authority over the private property of U.S. citizens.
  • No U.N. Borrowing Authority. The U.N. must not have, nor in the future, engage in borrowing external money.

Section 2231. Certification requirements.

1999 Funding. For release of money authorized for FY99, the Secretary of State must make the following certifications in addition to the ones made in the previous section:

  • Limit on Regular Dues. The U.S. share of the total assessed contributions for the U.N. regular budget and any designated specialize agencies is no more than 22% for any member. [Note: The current U.S. share is 25%.]
  • Limit on Peacekeeping Dues. The U.S. share of the total assessed contributions for U.N. peacekeeping is no more than 25% for any member [Note: The current U.S. share is over 30%.]
  • Security Council Review of Operations. The mandates for two missions, UNTSO and UNMOGIP, must be subject to annual review by the Security Council. [Note: These two missions currently are the only ones not reviewed regularly by the Security Council.]

Section 2241. Certification requirements.

2000 Funding. For release of money authorized for FY2000, the Secretary of State must make the following certifications, in addition to the ones made in the previous sections:

  • Limit on Regular dues. The U.S. share of the total assessed contributions for the U.N. regular budget and any designated specialized agencies is no more than 20% for any member [Note: The U.S. current share is 25%].
  • Inspector Generals. Each designated U.N. specialized agency has established an office of an inspector general (IG); that the IG is appointed and qualified; and that each is authorized to conduct a wide range of investigative work, with clear access to information.
  • New Budget Procedures. The U.N. has maintained the budget at the level agreed to by the General Assembly, unless increases are made by consensus, and that functional categories of expenditures are made to identify costs of personnel, travel and equipment.
  • Sunset Policies. An evaluation system for all programs is established, and that the U.S. seeks adoption of a U.N. resolution that includes requiring termination dates for all U.N. programs unless the program evaluation demonstrates the continuing relevance and effectiveness of the program.
  • Seat on the ACABQ Committee. The U.S. has a seat on the U.N. Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions or the five largest U.N. contributing nations each having a seat.
  • GAO Audits. The U.S. General Accounting Office [a branch of Congress] has access to the financial data of the U.N. to perform national audits.
  • Personnel. Staff employed by the U.N. are appointed on the basis of merit, and that they are available to transfer worldwide.
  • Staff Code of Conduct. The General Assembly has adopted and the Secretary General is enforcing a code of conduct for U.N. personnel, including financial disclosure statements and rules against nepotism.
  • Personnel Evaluation System. The U.N. is enforcing a personnel evaluation system.
  • Periodic Assessments. The U.N. conducts periodic assessments of the U.N. personnel system, which is to include a comparison to the U.S. civil service, with recommendations to reduce allowances in effect in January 1998.
  • Negative Growth in Budget, Personnel. Designated specialized agencies have achieved a negative growth budget from the 1998-99 biennium level in the 2000-01 budget.
  • New Budget Procedures. Each designated specialized agency has established procedures to not exceed its established budget, identified expenses by functional categories, and required approval in advance of requests to the Secretariat for supplemental budget funding.

Chapter 2 - Miscellaneous Provisions

Section 2253. Prohibition on Payments Relating to UNIDO and Other Organizations from Which the US has Withdrawn or Rescinded Funding

No money is allowed for payment of U.S. arrears to:

  • the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO);
  • cover costs for merging that organization into the United Nations;
  • pay costs associated with any other U.N. organization from which the U.S. has withdrawn, including costs of merging such organizations into the U.N., or
  • the World Tourism Institute, or any other organization with respect to which Congress has rescinded funding.

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