The Obama Administration has restored America’s standing and leadership in the world, repaired frayed relations and ended needless U.S. isolation on a range of issues. As a result, we have secured strong cooperation on the issues most important to U.S. national security and upheld American values. President Obama has delivered on his promise of a “new era of engagement.”
The United States has led at the United Nations to rebuild a strong basis for international cooperation to respond to the threats of the 21st Century. These results include: the stiffest UN sanctions ever against Iran and North Korea; vigorous and sustained defense of our ally Israel; renewed momentum to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials; strong sanctions and an unprecedented mandate to save lives in Libya; a peaceful political transition in Yemen; support for the historic and peaceful independence of South Sudan; vital UN assistance in Afghanistan andIraq; backing for a democratically elected government in Cote d’Ivoire; the historic and long overdue completion of the political transition in Somalia; reinvigorated global efforts to counter the scourge of international terrorism; lifesaving humanitarian assistance in crisis zones; and progress in improving the UN Human Rights Council.
Addressing Key National Security Challenges
- Iran: With American leadership, the UN Security Council imposed the toughest UN sanctions regime ever on Iran for its continued failure to live up to its obligations. Resolution 1929 restricts Iran’s nuclear activities, ballistic missile program, and ability to acquire certain conventional weapons. It put in place a framework to stop Iranian smuggling and crack down on Iran’s use of banks and financial transactions to fund proliferation. The United States engages the international community to ensure that these sanctions are vigorously enforced, just as we continue to strengthen and enforce our national sanctions alongside those of our friends and allies.
As a result, Iran is more isolated than it has ever been and facing the toughest economic pressure that has ever been mustered. Iran is increasingly cut off from the global financial system; significant amounts of Iranian oil are coming off the market; the Iranian currency is plummeting in value; and firms all over the world are divesting themselves of business with Iran. In less than a year, Iran’s oil production has dropped 40% — from 2.5 million barrels per day in 2011, to 1.5 million barrels in June. Their economy, which had been growing steadily, is now shrinking at 1% a year. While their official inflation rate is slated to be around 20%, unofficial estimates put it at 30 to 40%, and the Iranian currency has lost 50% of its value since December.
- North Korea: In response to North Korea’s announced 2009 nuclear test, the United States secured the unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 1874, which imposed the strongest array of measures ever placed on North Korea, including asset freezes, financial sanctions, a broad-based embargo on arms exports and imports, and an unprecedented framework for the inspection of suspect vessels. Since the adoption of Resolution 1874, countries have intercepted and seized tons of contraband cargo.
In May of this year, following a prohibited missile test by North Korea, the United States successfully led the Security Council to strongly condemn the test, impose new sanctions on North Korea, tighten enforcement of existing ones, and demand that North Korea not proceed with any further provocations or face additional Council actions.
These actions have helped slow the pace of North Korea’s WMD program, strengthened our defenses against proliferation, rallied international consensus to condemn the North’s nuclear and missile programs, and sharpened Pyongyang’s choices by driving up the cost of its irresponsible behavior.
- Nuclear Nonproliferation: In 2009, the President outlined his vision for a world without nuclear weapons and set the United States on a realistic path to help advance this goal, including taking several critical steps at the United Nations.
Ø UN Security Council Resolution 1887: In September 2009, under the United States presidency of the UN Security Council, President Obama chaired an historic Council Summit on nonproliferation and disarmament, culminating in the unanimous passage of Security Council Resolution 1887. This resolution, the first comprehensive action on nuclear issues in the Security Council in over a decade, resolved to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons. It also called on countries to adhere to their obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)–including cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, supported better security for nuclear weapons materials to prevent terrorists from acquiring materials essential to make a bomb, and called on nations to reduce their numbers of nuclear weapons.
Ø Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference: In May 2010, NPT parties adopted by consensus a Final Document that includes calls for strengthened verification and compliance, recognizes the New START agreement and the need for deeper reductions of nuclear weapons, and supports efforts to pursue international fuel banks and related mechanisms to broaden access to peaceful nuclear energy without creating new proliferation risks.
Ø UN Security Council Resolution 1977: In April 2011, the Security Council unanimously extended the mandate of the 1540 Committee for an additional ten years. The 1540 Committee is charged with assisting UN Member States in the implementation of UNSCR 1540’s obligations to take and enforce effective measures against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery, and related materials.
- Iraq: The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has continued to play a critical role as the United States completed the withdrawal of U.S. forces. The United States strongly supports the work of UNAMI as it continues to provide important technical assistance to the Government of Iraq, assists displaced persons and provides humanitarian assistance. Additionally, the United States played a key role in the passage of three resolutions that mark an important milestone in normalizing Iraqi ties to the international community. The Security Council, in a special session chaired by Vice President Biden in 2010, passed Resolutions 1956, 1957 and 1958 to help return Iraq to the legal and international standing it held prior to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
From February to September 2012, UNAMI orchestrated the relocation of residents from former Camp Ashraf to Camp Hurriya, a significant milestone in efforts to achieve a sustainable humanitarian solution to one of the most difficult remaining post-war issues in Iraq. The United States will continue to work with the Iraqi Government and the United Nations to provide a path for the safe permanent relocation of former Ashraf residents out of Iraq.
- Afghanistan: The United States has pursued a strategy in Afghanistan that assists its people as they take responsibility for the security of their country. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is leading and coordinating international civilian efforts and cooperating with the International Security Assistance Force on reconciliation efforts, elections, regional cooperation, the protection of human rights and the provision of humanitarian assistance. The United States has worked to ensure that UNAMA carries out its vital mission to lay the foundation for sustainable peace.
- Countering International Terrorism: The United States remains committed to actively countering the actions and ideologies of terrorist organizations and violent extremists. These efforts take many forms, including multilateral efforts at the United Nations, such as:
Ø Reinvigorating the UN’s al-Qaeda Sanctions Regime: Eleven years after the Security Council first imposed sanctions against the Taliban and al-Qaida, the United States led efforts at the UN Security Council to respond to the evolving and distinct threats posed by these groups, creating a new sanctions regime targeted against extremists in Afghanistan (UNSCR 1988) and refocusing the 1267 sanctions regime exclusively on the threat posed by al-Qaeda (UNSCR 1989).
Ø Calling Iran Into Account: In the fall of 2011, the United States joined Saudi Arabia to gain the General Assembly’s overwhelming condemnation of the Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., sending a very clear message to the Iranian government that the international community will not tolerate the targeting of diplomats. We continue to work closely with our allies and partners around the world to ensure that Iran understands that such outrageous acts only deepen Iran’s isolation.
- Standing up for Israel at the UN: The Obama Administration has consistently and forcefully opposed unbalanced and biased actions against Israel in the Security Council, the UN General Assembly, and across the UN system.
In 2009, the United States withdrew from the Durban Review Conference, which advanced anti-Israel sentiment, and did not participate in a 2011 commemoration of the original 2001 Durban conference. The United States also stood up strongly for Israel’s right to defend itself in 2009 after the deeply flawed Goldstone Report was released. In 2010, the United States worked assiduously in the aftermath of the flotilla incident to ensure other delegations understood the event in its proper context and to underscore Israel’s right to conduct its own independent investigation. The subsequent report of the Secretary-General’s panel served as the primary vehicle for the international community to review the parties’ investigations into the episode. In 2011, the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution on settlements, which risked bringing final status issues onto the UN Security Council agenda. In 2012, after a seven-year silence, the UN Security Council twice unanimously condemned terrorist attacks against Israelis and Israeli diplomatic missions—first in February following the attacks in New Delhi and Tblisi and again in July following the attack in Bulgaria.
The United States has opposed Palestinian attempts to upgrade their UN status in advance of a negotiated settlement with Israel, and when anti-Israel resolutions come up at the UN Human Rights Council, the General Assembly, UNESCO, and elsewhere, we consistently oppose them.
The United States has also constantly promoted full Israeli participation throughout the UN system and in other multilateral institutions, including leadership positions in UN commissions and membership in consultative and negotiating groups in New York and Geneva. We have also fought hard to ensure the accreditation of Israeli NGOs.
- Addressing the Challenges Associated with the Arab Spring: The United States has worked tirelessly across the UN system to respond dynamically to the myriad challenges and opportunities posed by the Arab Spring: leading the international community’s efforts to support these political transitions, providing humanitarian aid and speaking out and holding accountable those responsible for atrocities.
Ø Libya: In March 2011, the United States led efforts at the UN to respond to the calls of help from the Libyan people and the region and took unprecedented action to protect civilians in Libya. Resolution 1973 saved thousands of lives in Libya by authorizing states to take all necessary measures to protect civilians. The UN is helping the people of Libya as they take the initial steps to rebuild their country, transition to an inclusive democracy and secure their borders.
Ø Yemen: The United States backed Security Council efforts to support a successful and peaceful political transition in Yemen on the basis of the Gulf Cooperation Council transition initiative. The Security Council has supported the Yemeni people as they secure a more peaceful, democratic, and prosperous future without illegitimate interference or terrorism. The United States has also repeatedly pressed for additional international resources to enable the UN to deliver immediate humanitarian assistance to Yemen, given the acute needs.
Ø Syria: When the Assad regime responded to calls for democratic reform with violence and oppression, the United States worked closely with the United Nations and the League of Arab States as part of our approach to resolving the crisis in a way that would lead to a political transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people. The United States supported the establishment of the Joint Special Envoy for Syria, and fought tirelessly in the Council in support of his Six Point Plan and the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) created to monitor implementation of it. Regrettably, when it became clear that the Assad regime would not adhere to its commitments under the plan, Russia and China blocked efforts to create consequences for the regime’s non-compliance, one of three double vetoes that have prevented meaningful action in the Security Council on Syria. However, the United Statescontinues our work with a diverse range of partners outside the Security Council to bring pressure to bear on the Assad regime and to deliver humanitarian aid to those in need.
In the Human Rights Council, U.S. leadership has led to a total of four special sessions and an urgent debate on the situation in Syria, including the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate violations of international human rights law by Syrian Authorities. Subsequently, the Council created a Special Rapporteur to maintain focus on the human rights situation in Syria and to lay the groundwork for accountability when the day comes that the Assad regime finally leaves power.
In the General Assembly last year, the United States guided efforts to adopt an unprecedented human rights related resolution on Syria condemning the Assad regime and calling for a political transition. Additionally, earlier this year the United States worked hard with key Arab delegations to ensure adoption, by an overwhelming margin, of a General Assembly resolution condemning the Syrian authorities’ abuses, demanding that the first step in the cessation of violence be made by the Assad regime and welcoming the Arab League’s decision to call for Assad to step down and for a transitional government to be formed.
On the humanitarian front, where more than 20,000 civilians have been killed and approximately two and a half million are in need of assistance, the United States is working with the United Nations, Syria’s neighbors, and others in the international community to deliver life-saving aid. The United States is one of the leading providers of humanitarian relief, providing more than $100 million to date through multiple UN agencies, including the World Food Program, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
- Ending Armed Conflicts in Africa: The United States has led efforts at the UN to address recent challenges on the continent.
Ø Sudan and South Sudan: On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan celebrated its independence. This action took place following months of intensified diplomatic efforts in the lead up to the historic, peaceful referendum on independence in January. Much of this work was accomplished working within or alongside the United Nations, including the 2010 high-level meeting at which President Obama delivered remarks to galvanize international action to ensure a credible and timely referendum.
In June 2011, the Security Council created UNISFA, a UN peacekeeping force responsible for monitoring the demilitarization of the Abyei area, has acted forcefully to prevent unauthorized military or paramilitary forces from returning, and has protect civilians and humanitarian workers. UNISFA successfully transformed a volatile flashpoint for war into a zone of peace and stability. In July 2011, the Security Council created UNMISS, a new UN peacekeeping force in the Republic of South Sudan, to consolidate peace and security and to help establish conditions for economic and political development.
When Sudan and South Sudan came very close to resuming full-scale war in the spring of 2012, the United States led the Security Council to adopt UN Security Council Resolution 2046, a binding Chapter VII resolution obligating the parties to take steps laid out by the African Union to decrease tensions. The United States has also led international efforts to push Sudan to provide humanitarian access to the Two Areas.
In Darfur, the United States remains deeply committed to supporting international efforts to end conflict there. UN-AU efforts in Darfur, most notably through UNAMID, are key to providing protection to civilians and encouraging parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international law.
Ø Ivory Coast: In 2011, the United States supported and advocated robust implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1975, which reaffirmed President Alassane Ouattara’s victory in an internationally recognized election in Ivory Coast and demanded that former President Laurent Gbagbo end his illegitimate claim to power. The resolution imposed sanctions on Gbagbo and his close associates and reiterated that the UN Operation in Ivory Coast (UNOCI) could use “all necessary means” in its mandate to protect civilians under imminent threat of attack.
Ø Somalia: The United States has led efforts at the UN to promote a path toward a more hopeful future in Somalia after decades of political instability, violence and famine. The election this month of Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud as Somalia’s new President signified the last step of the UN-brokered roadmap agreed to in the fall of 2011, and the end of the Transitional Federal Government. Key in this transition has been the role of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in confronting the al-Shabaab militia and allowing the political process in Mogadishu to take place. A critical component in this effort was Security Council Resolution 2036, which expanded the AMISOM troop contingent and created a ban on the export of Somali charcoal, an important source of revenue for al-Shabaab.
Ø Eritrea: In 2009, the United States supported the African Union’s call to sanction Eritrea for that country’s role in destabilizing Somalia and the region and its failure to comply with Security Council Resolution 1862 concerning Eritrea’s border dispute with Djibouti. As a direct result of U.S. and African leadership, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1907 to impose an arms embargo and targeted financial and travel sanctions on Eritrean officials. Then, in response to continued Eritrean intransigence, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2023 in December 2011, imposing additional sanctions on Eritrea and limiting its ability to continue to use the mining sector and the diaspora tax to fund its illicit activities.
Ø Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): The United States continues to champion improved protection of civilians, especially by demanding an end to the epidemic of rape and gender-based violence, through the deployment of the UN’s largest peacekeeping force. The United States has continued to work to secure new Security Council sanctions against key leaders of armed groups operating in the DRC when needed, including for individuals linked to crimes involving sexual and gender based violence and recruitment of child soldiers. Additionally, in 2009, the United States led the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1896 that supported, for the first time, due diligence guidelines for individuals and companies operating in the mineral trade in Eastern Congo.
· Providing Humanitarian Assistance: The United States is the world’s leading donor of humanitarian assistance through the UN system, maximizing the help the international community can provide in the face of humanitarian disasters. In just four major recent disasters, the United States contributed nearly $1.7 billion through the UN alone:
Ø Horn of Africa: When millions of people in the Horn of Africa suffered from drought and famine in 2011 and 2012, the United States provided nearly $900 million in emergency aid to UN agencies.
Ø Haiti: After the devastating earthquake of January 2010, which, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of Haitian lives lost, claimed the lives of over 100 UN personnel and the UN Mission’s leadership, the United States worked closely with the UN to help the Government of Haiti ensure security and deliver vital humanitarian relief to the people of Haiti. The United States has channeled over $150 million through UN agencies to assist the country with immediate life saving measures and to help Haiti rebuild.
Ø Pakistan: In 2010, the Government of Pakistan called for international assistance to respond to the tragic and devastating floods that began in July of that year. The United States responded generously to this request, providing nearly $360 million through UN channels.
Ø Sahel: This year, drought conditions in the Sahel have created a humanitarian crisis for the more than 15 million people facing food shortages in the region. So far, the United States has responded by channeling more than $255 million through UN agencies.
Upholding Our Values
- Human Rights: At the beginning of the Obama Administration, the United States joined the Human Rights Council (HRC) to fight for oppressed people around the world. While much work remains to be done at the Council, in particular ending its excessive focus on Israel, the Council has made great strides in speaking up for those who have suffered major human rights abuses and lived under the grip of the world’s cruelest regimes. We have also maintained active engagement in the UN General Assembly to highlight human rights abuses worldwide and to improve international mechanisms for defending human rights.
Ø Spotlight on the World’s Worst Abusers: With active U.S. leadership, the Council authorized international mandates to expose and address the human rights situations in Iran, Libya, Syria, Ivory Coast, Burma, North Korea, Cambodia, Belarus, Eritrea, and Sudan.
Ø Libya: In March 2011, with the Qadhafi regime continuing its murderous rampage against its own people, the United States spearheaded the General Assembly’s unanimous and unprecedented decision to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council.
Ø Religious Tolerance: In 2011, the Human Rights Council, and later the General Assembly, took an important step away from the deeply problematic concept of defamation of religion by adopting a constructive new resolution that promotes tolerance for all religious beliefs, promotes education and dialogue and is consistent with U.S. laws and universal values. Previous resolutions adopted under the concept of defamation of religion have been used to rationalize laws criminalizing blasphemy and challenge widely held freedoms of expression and the press, rather than protect religious freedom and human rights.
Ø LGBT Rights: Last year, the Human Rights Council took historic action to highlight violence and human rights abuses faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons around the world by passing the first UN resolution ever to be solely focused on LGBT persons, paving the way for the first ever UN report on the challenges faced by LGBT people. The United States also spearheaded an effort that led to a decisive victory in the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which voted to grant consultative status to the first U.S.-based LGBT rights NGO, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. We have since continued to fight for the accreditation of LGBT NGOs. In 2010, the United States led a successful campaign to reinstate a reference to “sexual orientation” in a General Assembly resolution on extrajudicial killings. And, the United States joined the LGBT core group – a coalition of likeminded countries – in New York.
Ø Internet Freedom: This year, the United States worked closely with Sweden and over 80 co-sponsors to pass a landmark internet freedom resolution reaffirming our longstanding commitment to freedoms of expression, association, and assembly.
· Millennium Development Goals: From the earliest days in office, President Obama made clear that the Millennium Development Goals were America’s goals, and set a course for the United States that would help the world achieve them. During the UN Millennium Development Summit in New York in 2010, the President outlined the Administration’s Global Development Policy–the first of its kind by an American administration—that laid out the new U.S. approach and thinking guiding overall development efforts, including a plan to help achieve all of the Millennium Development Goals. The Administration is now actively working to shape a next-generation development agenda when the current Millennium Development Goals conclude in 2015.
- Women’s Equality and Empowerment: The United States has led efforts across the UN to empower women politically, socially, and economically around the world, to promote the role of women in preventing, managing, and resolving conflict, to combat conflict-related sexual violence, and to integrate women’s issues more fully into the work of the United Nations.
Ø Security Council Resolution 1888: In 2009, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presiding, the United States led the Security Council in unanimously adopting Resolution 1888, which strengthens the international response to sexual violence in conflict by establishing a dedicated UN Special Representative and creating a team of experts to assist individual governments in strengthening their capacities to address sexual violence in conflicts within their borders.
Ø UN Women: The United States was also instrumental in the establishment of UN Women, a new UN agency that combines four separate UN offices into one stronger, streamlined and more efficient entity working in support of women around the world.
Ø National Action Plan: In late 2011, the United States released its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, which seeks to integrate women’s views and perspectives fully into our diplomatic, security, and development efforts, including by helping women engage in peace processes, providing assistance to NGOs focused on women’s participation, helping to integrate women into the security sectors of partner nations, and improving the UN’s capacity to combat sexual violence.
Ø Mexico City Policy: In one of his earliest acts in office, President Obama ordered the repeal of the global gag rule, which had prevented women around the world from gaining access to essential information and healthcare services. This policy, known as the Mexico City Policy, had made it more difficult for women around the world to gain access to essential information and healthcare services.
· Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: In 2009, the United States signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first new human rights treaty of the 21st century. This extraordinary treaty calls on all nations to guarantee rights like those afforded under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
· Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: President Obama announced in 2010 the support of the United States for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples after a comprehensive, interagency policy review, including extensive consultation with tribes.
· Keeping Our Fiscal Commitments: From the earliest days in office, the Administration worked with Congress to clear hundreds of millions of dollars in arrears to the United Nations, which accumulated between 2005 and 2008, and has worked to stay current with payments to the Organization.
Reforming the United Nations
- Economy—A Leaner UN: As the largest financial contributor to the UN, ensuring that U.S. funds are spent wisely and not wasted is vital. As we have worked to meet our fiscal obligations in full and on time, the United States has worked to contain the growth of the UN budget and consistently pressed the issue of efficiency and fiscal accountability at the UN.
Ø Regular Budget Reduction: Last year, the United States and its international partners achieved a 5% reduction in the size of the 2012-13 UN regular budget from the previous biennium, the first meaningful cut in the UN budget since the 1990’s, and just the second in 50 years. Additionally, in 2009, the Administration successfully negotiated an agreement that held constant the share of U.S. assessed contributions to the United Nations.
Ø Peacekeeping Budget Discipline: Earlier this year, the United States successfully negotiated a lower price tag for UN peacekeeping of more than $567 million compared to the previous year’s approved budget by emphasizing management innovations, thoughtful downsizing where missions have changed, and shifting resources from overhead to operations.
Ø UN Pay Freeze: Earlier this year, after U.S. calls for action, the International Civil Service Commission effectively implemented a pay freeze for New York-based UN employees, while deferring a final decision on the issue until the General Assembly takes it up in the fall session, and we will continue to urge the UN to maintain the pay freeze at a time when taxpayers everywhere are facing greater financial pressures.
- Accountability—A Cleaner UN: The Obama Administration has made considerable progress in boosting transparency and advancing oversight and accountability throughout the UN system.
Ø Oversight and Accountability: The United States has consistently supported the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to be a strong and independent watchdog by securing the necessary authority and resources from the General Assembly and by blocking attempts to curb the authority and operational independence of OIOS. The United States has worked to improve the OIOS’ ability to more vigorously pursue fraud and misconduct by supporting a pilot restructuring of the Investigations Division in 2009 that was again renewed in May 2012. The United States also continues to work to put in place robust mechanisms to ensure accountability amongst its leadership and staff.
Ø Transparency: The United States successfully lobbied for the United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Office of Project Services and the United Nations Population Fund to make their audit reports publicly available on the internet—a new standard for transparency in the UN system. We are building on this success to empower the rest of the UN system, including the UN Secretariat, to do the same. The United States was also successful in instituting live coverage of all UN Committee formal meetings through webcasting.
- Integrity—A Respected UN: As a founding member, host country, and largest contributor, the United States has a particular interest in ensuring the UN lives up to its founding principles and values, and we have worked determinedly in that regard.
Ø Keeping the Worst Actors off UN Bodies: The United States has consistently led the fight against abusive governments seeking leadership positions at the UN. For example, in 2010, Iran launched a wholly inappropriate campaign to join the Human Rights Council and the United States successfully led efforts to block it. In 2011, the brutal Assad regime in Syria attempted to join the HRC and was also blocked by U.S.-led efforts. This year, the government of Sudan ended its campaign for the Human Rights Council in light of the U.S.-led international outcry over its entirely unsuitable candidacy. Similarly, in 2010 Iran was defeated in its efforts to join the board of UN Women.
Ø Promoting Accountability for UN Peacekeepers: The United States, for first time ever, prevented reimbursement for troops who have been repatriated for disciplinary reasons, including violation of the UN zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and this year successfully negotiated the first-ever comprehensive review of civilian staffing to ensure that staffing levels better align with changing requirements as missions evolve.
Ø Defending NGOs at the UN: The United States constantly works to ensure that all worthy non-governmental organizations have access to the UN by gaining accreditation through the UN’s NGO Committee. In 2011, the U.S. fought to gain ECOSOC accreditation for the first Syrian- based NGO, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, amidst strong Syrian-led opposition.
- Excellence—An Effective UN: Because so many people depend on the UN for critical services, the United States has led efforts at the UN to ensure that the institution performs to the highest standards of excellence and delivers real results. For example:
Ø Improving UN Peacekeeping: U.S. leadership has been instrumental in the advancement of the Global Field Support Strategy, a sweeping reform of how the UN undertakes administrative and logistics support for UN field operations. Implementation of this initiative has already led to $250 million in savings in the current peacekeeping budget and will improve the quality, consistency, and efficiency of service delivery and strengthen the UN’s capacity to support complex field missions.
Ø Human Resources Reform: The United States continues to promote human resource reforms that ensure that the UN is getting the right person at the right place at the right time. U.S. leadership was instrumental in adopting landmark reforms in the General Assembly to streamline contractual arrangements within the UN, creating a truly global Secretariat, and to harmonize conditions of service for field-based staff across the various organizations in the UN system. The U.S. continues to call for the UN to improve its personnel management policies, particularly in the areas of strategic planning, career development, and performance management, while also advocating for measures to control the cost of personnel given the current economic climate, i.e. through the imposition of a hiring freeze.
While much work remains, the United States will maintain a course of renewed American leadership at the United Nations, addressing national security challenges, upholding our values and reforming the institution so it is better equipped to address the challenges of the 21st Century.