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28 March 2018
Observing and Championing Together Our Common U.S. Values and UN Goals
By Stephen  F. Moseley, President, UN Association- National Capital Area

This is a trying week for our UNA-NCA members to reflect on the many global challenges we face. The values that historically reinforce the founding principles of the UN – mirroring in many ways, the enduring values of the U.S. founding principles – seem increasingly challenged by the current U.S. administration’s policies and key leaders. As our new leaders for National Security and the State Department come into office next month, we hope they will seek to uphold these common  American and UN shared global values. Many UN members have counted on the U.S., without significant partisan differences, to champion these values, which include peacebuilding; equitable and fair treatment of women and girls; non-discrimination by race or class; youth engagement; economic opportunity for all, good governance and justice; celebration of human rights; access to health and education including for those students with disabilities; and humanitarian support of refugees and displaced persons. Today, we face the dual challenge of needing to ensure that these values are still being provided to our own citizens and residents,  in addition to our national responsibility to maintain these values for international stability around the world by continuing to fully fund the US share for successful operations of the UN.

The U.S. budget  request to Congress  for the UN – as set forth in the President’s FY 2019 Budget( for October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019)  proposes once again to eliminate substantial support of the UN, as well as to significantly decrease US international affairs diplomacy and peacebuilding efforts in  the budgets for the State Department, USAID, and other US agencies committed to fostering long-term social and economic well-being for the world. Concurrently the proposed budget again has a parallel threat of cuts to programs in the  U.S., that address our local needs for civil and human rights, fair justice, poverty prevention, health and education for all, environmental protection, and anti-corruption at all levels of governance. Such budget reduction proposals for domestic spending on social, economic and environmental programs,  are compounded by the proposals for increased military spending even beyond the enormous recent increases just passed for the 2018 budget. Long-term peacebuilding investments which are crucial to lessen the outbreaks of violence and war, build enduring trade agreements for peaceful economic development and support for global standards of human and refugee rights would be diminished dramatically by these budget proposals.

This past 12 months, we have successfully advocated to the congressional policy and appropriation foreign affairs committees which stopped more than 95% of the massive budget cuts proposed by the President for the 2018 U.S.funding for the UN.  Furthermore, the new UN leadership team has made a number of policy and budget changes to enhance and alter UN programs for greater effectiveness and efficiency.

Stopping this next round of proposed budget cuts requires all of us in UNANCA  to make our voices heard amongst our fellow citizens and to our congressional representatives. Protecting full funding for the US share of the UN budget is not the only objective. We must couple that with continuing to build awareness with our citizens and the Congress about the shared common UN and American values. We must help all of our young people in schools and universities across America, and citizens everywhere,  recognize that these shared values are at the root of support for a strong UN. A strong UN enables America and its friends and allies to contribute to a peaceful world, which benefits all of us at home and abroad. Our Global Investments in people’s social and economic development capacity and peacebuilding are the surest way to safeguard American interests and world stability. For our lives to be sustained together, it is essential that we act globally and locally at once for our common human values.  

Join and participate in our UNANCA committees and work groups for Peace and Security, Human Rights, Sustainable Development, Global Classrooms,  International Law, and Advocacy. On June 8th, 2018 join the UNANCA Annual meeting of our members to celebrate the values of the UN as we near its 73rd founding birth-date, on June 26, 1945; and the 70th year of the signing of the UN  Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed on September 10, 1948.