Even as the mandated sequester bites into U.S. federal spending — and newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry boasts that he is cutting his budget by 6 percent — the State Department is planning to boost spending on the United Nations in 2014 by more than 4 percent to at least $3.6 billion.
That is likely to be far from the final tally of Obama Administration support, as hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. development, health and other funds are usually channeled through U.N. agencies and institutions — with the U.N. agencies taking administrative fees as part of the deal. The most recent tally on the website of the White House Management and Budget website, for example, lists support for the U.N. at $7.7 billion — in 2010.
Nonetheless, the portions that are sprinkled across various areas of State’s 2014 budget—which, like the rest of the administration’s proposed budget, must still face Congressional approval– are impressive, at least in terms of their hikes over previous years.
The projected spending increase for the New York-based U.N. Secretariat, for example, is an 8.6 percent hike, to $617.6 million, compared with 2013. It represents the U.S.’ 22 percent annual share –the highest by far of any country–of the Secretariat’s “regular” budget covered by dues levied on richer member states.
When a broader array of U.N. affiliated agencies, listed under “Contributions to International Organizations,” are added in to the Secretariat support, the U.S. planned contribution climbs to $1.2 billion — a still significant 4.5 percent hike in an age of enforced American domestic austerity.
Meantime, proposed U.S. contributions to U.N. peacekeeping are also taking a big hike, to $2.09 billion, up more than a quarter-billion dollars, or 13.9 percent, from 2013, and an even more impressive 14.6 percent since 2012.
One reason: there has been an increase this year in the annual share of global peacekeeping expenses that the U.S. bears, from 27.14 percent to 28.36 percent, even as a number of peacekeeping missions close or shrink.