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16 May 2017

Senate Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is Critical to US Security, Energy, Trade, and Economic Interests

Given recent troubling events in international waters and substantial losses of valuable US mineral and offshore energy resource rights, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area urges Senate Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to meet compelling national security and economic interests

On May 9, 2017, The International Law Committee of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, in partnership with the American Society of International Law and the International Law Section of the American Bar Association, held a symposium of leading experts on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The unanimous conclusion of these experts is that Senate ratification of UNCLOS is critical to US national security, energy, trade and job creation interests and objectives.

The experts included Ambassador to UNCLOS John Norton Moore (Ret.), Walter L. Brown Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, Douglas R Burnett, International Law Advisor to the International Cable Protection Committee, Myron Norquist, leading scholar on UNCLOS, and Ruth Wedgewood, Edward Burling Professor of International Diplomacy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. UNA-NCA expresses appreciation to Bob Craft, Chair of the International Law Committee  and the entire committee, including Wes Rist of the ASIL and Renee Dopplick of the ABA, for organizing this event.

167 countries and the European Union have ratified UNCLOS, leaving the US, which has not done so, at a serious strategic disadvantage.

As set forth by Ambassador Moore (Ret.), the benefits to the US of ratification are substantial and include:
·         A fourfold extension of US territorial waters from 3 nautical miles to 12 nautical miles.
·         Doubling of the contiguous zone from 12 to 24 nautical miles.
·         Eightfold Extension of US rights to archeological and historical objects found at sea to 200 nautical miles.
·         Massive extension of oil, gas, fishing rights, and other activities for economic exploitation to 200 nautical miles off our coast and Pacific island possessions.
·         Expansion of oil and gas rights from the narrow geologic continental shelf to 200 miles and beyond to approximately the entire geological continental margin, which extends 600
          miles off the Alaska coast.
·         Establishing innocent passage transit rights through territorial waters.
·         Establishing a new regime of strait transit rights and overflights that meet US defense requirements for naval aircraft and submarines.
·         Establishing US rights to strategic minerals, including copper, nickel, manganese, cobalt and rare earth minerals, valued at $1 trillion.
·         Granting the US the only permanent seat on the International Seabed Authority, which determines property rights beyond the jurisdiction of any nation.
·         Protecting submarine transoceanic cables essential to telecommunications and the internet.
·         Providing for dispute settlements between nations that enforce Convention provisions and protect US vessels from seizure or harassment by foreign entities.
Failure of the US to ratify UNCLOS has been very costly to the United States. For example:
·         The US has lost a Deep Sea Mining Bed site, USA-1, the size of Rhode Island, valued at $250 billion to Belgium.
·         The US has lost a Deep Sea Mining Bed site, USA-2, the size of Rhode Island, valued at $250 billion to the UK.
·         The US risks losing the two additional seabed mining sites, USA-3 and USA-4,  valued at $500 million.
·         If  foreign countries threaten US naval ships, such as Iran in the Persian Gulf, China in the South China  Sea, or North Korea in the Sea of Japan, the US cannot effectively 
          enforce the UNCLOS-protected rights to navigational freedom.
·         Jeopardizes US rights to oil, natural gas and minerals in the Artic shelf.
·         Removes US ability to shape the rules for deep seabed mining.
·         Removes US ability to shape the rules for shaping the outer continental margin.
·         Risks international regulation of the US outer continental margin,  an area larger than Jefferson’s  Louisiana purchase.
·         Eliminates ability to block undesirable amendments.
·         Eliminates ability to shape ocean law.
·         Undermines US negotiating credibility after having achieved all US objectives in negotiating UNCLOS.

Although President Trump has not yet declared a position, since the successful negotiation of UNCLOS, all prior presidents,  all Secretaries of State, and national security leaders have supported ratification. The US Navy’s ability to operate in contested waters in accordance with international law would be greatly enhanced. Industry and environmental groups have joined together to support ratification. The only impediments have been a knee jerk ideological opposition to treaties by a minority of Senators and the Senate calendar itself that fails to allocate time for consideration of a complex treaty that serves the US interest in countless ways.

UNA-NCA strongly supports Senate ratification of the Convention on the Law of the Sea to advance and protect US national security and defense interests, support global preservation of the oceans heritage,  uphold the credibility of strong and successful US diplomacy,  accelerate energy resource development and independence, ensure valuable US mining rights, promote job growth, and protect fair and efficient trade, commerce, and communications.

Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.)
President, United Nations Association of the National Captial Area

10 May 2017

Hopeful Despite Challenging Times: Students gather at the U.S. Department of State and PAHO for Annual Global Classrooms DC Model UN Conference

On May 2, 2017 UNA-NCA had the pleasure of welcoming nearly 700 students, educators, parents, volunteers, and guests to the Global Classrooms DC (GCDC) Annual Spring Model United Nations (UN) Conference, hosted at the U.S. Department of State and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). 

Students from 5th to 12th grade came from nearly 40 schools and groups mainly in the Washington DC metro area, but also as far as Texas. Across eight total middle and high school committees, delegates debated solutions to addressing rising sea levels, access to primary education, human rights of refugees, technology for sustainable cities, and the situation in Somalia. The students discussed these topics as representatives of countries from every corner of the globe through the UN Environment Programme, the African Union, the UN Human Rights Council, a Special Summit of the UN General Assembly, and the UN Security Council.

Donald_T._BlissThe conference was opened by Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (retired), UNA-NCA President. He discussed the important role the UN plays in global corporation, citing the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and aviation safety standards, and the importance for the United States to remain actively involved in the UN.  Megan Penn, Director of Global Education for UNA-NCA, shared with the audience her experience in Model UN and shared some words of advice and encouragement for the delegates. Prior to hearing from the Keynote Speaker, the audience heard a wonderful speech from Luis F. Mendez, a State Department Foreign Service Officer who has worked with Global Classrooms this past year as part of his Una Cox Chapman Foundation Fellowship. He stressed how he is hopeful for the future after having the privilege to work with a number of schools in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area.

The Keynote Speaker for 13th Annual GCDC Model UN Conference at the U.S. Department of State and PAHO was Nicol Perez, US Youth Observer to the UN. Born in Bolivia, Ms. Perez shared her story of immigrating to the US, how she started in Model UN as an initially shy and quiet delegate, and later founding her own NGO empowering Latin American women to establish their home businesses. We had the pleasure of the presence of Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson who delivered an inspiring speech on integrity and encouraging the students to pursue their passion in international relations. Lastly, the GCDC Student Secretary-General, Steve Mirabello, opened the conference.


“The fact that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke to us showed how important this conference is” – Student from Potomac Falls High School

GCDC_Open_HouseStudents went straight for their committee rooms in both the U.S. Department of State and PAHO, to begin their sessions. Educators and guests had the opportunity to see the committees in action, as well as attend the GCDC Open House. UNA-NCA Executive Director Paula Boland led the Open House, highlighting this year’s conference sponsors and partners. We give many thanks to UNFCU, Konnected, Culturfied Foundation, O’Melveny and Myers LLP, AIRSCHOTT, NEA, Carlos M. Molina, Una Chapman Cox Foundation, Starbucks at 21st and P St., Trader Joe’s at 25th St. NW, and all those who donated through the GCDC Support a Delegate program. 

Untitled_design After lunch, the students went straight back to work, and wrote draft resolutions that outlined their ideas to solve their committees’ respective challenges. Some of the students shared with GCDC Staff the highlights of the day thus far, and what they learned through preparing for the conference. Meanwhile, the GCDC team ran the Professional Development Workshop, getting educators on their feet through global education activities and getting vital feedback from educators on the year-long programming and curriculum as well as the conference.

“It’s shocking that some of these issues are not covered by the media so the model UN definitely broadened my worldview.” – Student from Bishop Ireton High School

“The unmoderated causes have been my favorite part of the experience so far because it is easier to form ideas. It is a more casual way of getting to know each other and our viewpoints.” – Student from Al-Rahmah School

_RLS6156To round out the day, closing ceremonies featured Acquania G. Escarne, Recruitment and Outreach Officer at the U.S. Department of State, who drew attention to the State Department programs available to high school students. UNA-NCA Director of Global Education, Megan Penn, and Mr. Mirabello, the Student Secretary-General, gave out the committee and position paper awards to recognize outstanding work done by participating students.

The GCDC Model UN Conference was a great success in being a place for the leaders of tomorrow – and today – to participate in and discuss some of the world’s most pressing international issues while working with students from other communities and backgrounds.

“Working with others to figure out resolutions has been my favorite part of the conference.” – Homeschooled Student

Thank you to all our speakers and a very special thank you for the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Organization Affairs and the Pan American Health Organization for continued support and hosting the event throughout the years. UNA-NCA also thanks the UN Federal Credit Union, and other GCDC Spring Model UN Conference sponsors. Thank you to Elliott Lyles for his continued support photographing UNA-NCA events. Finally, a warm thank you to UNA-NCA and GCDC Staff, Program Assistants, and volunteers – this conference could not run without your support.

For full coverage of the Opening Ceremonies, watch the video below or on YouTube here:

Did you use the GCDC Model UN app?! If so, we would appreciate you completing the following survey: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3536122/Konnected-User-Feedback

27 April 2017

Now, More Than Ever, We Need Your Support!

For more than 70 years, the United Nations has been the cornerstone of a new world order, preventing another catastrophic world war that would no doubt be the last. Longstanding bipartisan support for US leadership at the UN is under challenge in some quarters.

There have been proposals to slash funding, withdraw from UN organizations, and revisit the value of treaty commitments. Funding for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) with its lifesaving programs for women and children has been terminated. The US commitment to the Paris Climate Change Agreement is under attack.

Like any human institution, the United Nations is far from perfect. Highly respected Secretary General António Guterres is fully committed to UN reforms, and US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has stated that she is committed to working with him to achieve a more efficient and effective United Nations. The challenges facing the global community have changed, and the United Nations must change to respond to these challenges.

We at UNA-NCA see this as an opportunity to demonstrate how US leadership at the United Nations will greatly enhance US national security, diplomatic, economic and defense interests. US leadership means fully funding our UN obligations. But this will require public education and strong advocacy.

We are counting on your support to raise our profile and engage in this debate. We need to show---

  • That the United Nations provides global humanitarian assistance to 130 million needy people affected by natural and manmade disasters and an unprecedented 70 million refugees and displaced persons, mitigating the harsh effects of global instability.
  • That the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development address the systemic causes of global instability through cooperative private sector, civil society and government investment in improving global living conditions.
  • That the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights extend American values globally, establishing universals norms in the fight against violators of human rights from human trafficking to gender suppression.
  • That with US support, UN peacekeepers are a cost-effective alternative to US boots on the ground in 16 conflict zones from Lebanon to Mali to Somalia—breeding grounds for metastasizing terrorism.
  • That the UN Specialized Agencies provide efficient multilateral solutions to global challenges from international aviation safety and security to controlling pandemics and communicable diseases that do not respect sovereign borders.
  •  That the Chemical Weapons Conventionand Security Council Resolutions have established that the use of chemical weapons in war or against civilian populations is illegal and a war crime.
  • Leadership in implementing the Paris Climate Accords will apply American ingenuity and technology to the creation of new domestic jobs in clean energy infrastructure and new markets for US exports.
  • Finally, that US leadership is absolutely critical in ensuring an effective, accountable, transparent, and efficient United Nations.

We have a strong case to make—and there has never been a more important time to make it. If you have already contributed, please consider contributing again. Will you make an extra commitment that will enable UNA-NCA to demonstrate what 70 plus years of history has shown—that United States leadership at the United Nations is not only vital to our national security, but at less than one percent of the US budget, is a very cost effective tool of US foreign policy?
amembersday In this spirit, please consider making a tax deductible donation to help us continue to achieve our mission. While we are a part of the largest supporting network of the United Nations here in the US, along with the Better World Campaign and UN Foundation family, we are responsible for securing our own funding.  Your donation will enable UNA-NCA to support its flagship Global Classrooms Model UN programadvocacy training and visits to congressional representatives, the efforts to legislate support for women's rights in our area, the seminars on peace and security, sustainable development, human rights, and international law; and the career development and mentoring support to our young professionals.


Thank you in advance for your generosity and support.


Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret)



24 April 2017

UNA-NCA Seeks Development Associate

United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) is seeking a part-time Development Associate.

Position: Development Associate

Part time: 24 hours/week

The Development Associate is responsible for supporting fundraising efforts and building a systemic approach for financial support for UNA-NCA’s major initiatives. Critical elements of this position include managing timelines and tracking progress and deliverables, development of letters, emails and packets, grant writing, prospect research, outreach and reporting. This position is also responsible for performing associated communications and marketing tasks to support UNA-NCA resource development efforts.

The Development Associate reports to the Executive Director of UNA-NCA and works closely with the Development Committee, Board of Directors, Membership and Programs Director, and other team members.

Essential Functions

  • Prepare written solicitation including emails, letters for current and prospective donors.
  • Manage donor lists including individuals, foundations and institutional sponsors.
  • Manage prospect pipeline tracker and delivery of sponsor benefits.
  • Maintain internal team tracking system including timeline and meeting agendas.
  • Create fundraising reports and other reports as needed.
  • Prepare leadership for gift solicitation via research and preparation of briefing memos, background documents, proposals and other resources.
  • Participate in development of strategies for building relationships and soliciting funding from current and new donors.
  • Prepare acknowledgement letters and other correspondence.
  • Maintain accurate, up-to-date records on all donor related communications in database.
  • Research, prospect and solicit new sources of support for UNA programs.
  • Manage, create, and supervise fundraising content for social media accounts, and manage fundraising content for website, newsletter, annual report and other communications as needed.
  • Perform other related duties and/or tasks as assigned.

Selection Criteria

  • Bachelor's degree in a related field.
  • One to two years of experience in fundraising, including solicitations, grant proposals, and fundraising events.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel. Database management experience a plus. 
  • Strong organizational skills required.  
  • Strong ability to multi-task and work in fast-paced environment.  
  • Ability to work on a team with multiple key players and to effectively communicate with high profile stakeholders.
  • Ability to use discretion and independent judgment.
  • Excellent verbal, written, organizational, and interpersonal skills. 
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle stress.

Please submit your resume and cover letter to Executive Director Paula Boland at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by May 12th. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Only those selected for interviews will be contacted.

05 April 2017

UNA-NCA Young Professionals Board of Directors Position Openings - Spring 2017

The UNA-NCA Young Professionals program cultivates future globally minded leaders in international affairs, spanning nonprofits and the public and private sectors through professional development programming and leadership and mentorship opportunities. YP BOARD OF DIRECTORS POSITIONS SUMMARY

UNA-NCA seeks motivated individuals for the UNA-NCA Young Professionals Program to fill five (5) volunteer leadership roles on the YP Board of Directors to serve as a co-director for a specific portfolio. These positions provide key leadership and programmatic support to the Association's full membership, in support of wider strategic organizational goals and initiatives overseen by the Executive Committee and full-time staff. The YP Board of Directors oversees a portfolio of activities related to UNA-NCA's Young Professionals membership, events, communications and government affairs initiatives.

  • Volunteer Leadership Position.
  • 2-5 hours per week.
  • Up to three (3) monthly in person meetings held in the Washington D.C. Metro area.
  • Directors are selected to serve a 2 year term, with the opportunity to extend.
  • Applicants must reside in the greater Washington D.C. area and be current UNA-NCA Members. Join here and select DC-Nat'l Capital Area Division as your chapter.


YP Co-Director of Communications & Advocacy

  • Craft communications strategy for YP engagement for current and potential member audiences in coordination with UNA-NCA Vice President for Communications and Vice President for Advocacy.
  • Play a key role on organization communications including on social media networks and other traditional media outlets.
  • Develop and implement individual communications and advocacy action plans for events and ad hoc fundraising initiatives led by the YP program in coordination with UNA-NCA VP for Advocacy, Maryland Area and Virginia Area Vice Chairs.
  • In coordination with Director of Membership and Outreach, serve as a liaison to the UNA-NCA Communications Committee and UNA-NCA Advocacy Committee.

YP Co-Director of Membership & Outreach

  • Craft membership and volunteer strategy and outreach plans for YPs in the greater DC and Baltimore areas in coordination with UNA-NCA Vice President for Membership and Volunteer Engagement
  • Work closely with the UNA-NCA Board Student Representative to implement strategies around student engagement.
  • Engage current members, working closely with Director of Communications & Advocacy, to increase retention of members and volunteers.
  • In coordination with Director of Communications & Advocacy, serve as a liaison to the UNA-NCA Communications Committee and UNA-NCA Advocacy Committee.

YP Co-Director of Operations

  • Serve as secretary for the YP Board, keeping all records of meetings and conduct follow up on all taskings and project assignments.
  • Manage all resources created by the YP program that can be shared and adapted by other program committees across UNA-NCA.
  • Oversee budget and financials for the YP program working closely with UNA-NCA staff and Vice President for Finance.
  • Coordinate all YP leaders and oversee meeting management, including space, scheduling, agendas and follow up.

YP Co-Director of Programs

  • Serve as project manager for all YP focused events.
  • Develop resources for committees and students for event planning and serve as a key advisor on programming for YP audiences in coordination with UNA-NCA Vice President for Education and Programs.
  • Manage the flagship International Career Dinner event hosted twice annually.
  • Coordinate event needs with UNA-NCA staff and fellow directors, including marketing, registration, volunteer engagement, and budget

YP Co-Director of Development

  • Oversee all fundraising and development efforts by the YP program.
  • Craft annual fundraising strategy and plan geared specifically toward YPs in coordination with UNA-NCA Vice President for Development.
  • Work with UNA-NCA staff and Board leadership on local partnership engagement for YP programming.
  • Serve as the liaison to the UNA-NCA Development Committee.


  • Ideal candidates are young professionals, graduate students and recent graduates in the Washington D.C. Metro area.
  • Passion for the United Nations and international issues a must.
  • Academic background in international affairs, journalism, communications, conflict resolution, public policy, security studies or international development desirable, but not required.
  • Ability to manage tasks in free time and work within deadlines.
  • Strong professional communications skills, including public speaking and frequent e-mail correspondence, required.
  • Experience working on group projects and/or in a team environment highly desirable.
  • Available for some events outside of normal business hours, on as-needed basis.


Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter addressed to UNA-NCA YP Program at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Please mention what position you are applying for in the subject line of the email. In your cover letter, please indicate no more than three (3) of the YP Board positions for which you would like to be considered.

Interviews will take place throughout April and May with final candidates chosen by June.

Applications accepted on a rolling basis so apply early!

30 March 2017

UNA-NCA President's Statement: UN Ambassador Haley Sets Forth Important Priorities as the US Assumes Security Council Presidency

In her address to the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nicki Haley, set forth three priorities that she will advance when the US assumes the presidency of the UN Security Council in April.

First, she stated that human rights should be essential to the Security Council's peace and security mission. She contended that the abuse of human rights is often the cause of conflict, that it should be addressed up front by the Security Council, and that the United States should be a strong advocate of human rights as "the moral conscience of the world." We agree. Hopefully when Ambassador Haley visits the Human Rights Council in Geneva in June, she will learn that US leadership at the HRC is essential in shaping the agenda and addressing human rights abuses around the world.

Second, Ambassador Haley called for a comprehensive review of UN Peacekeeping missions. Hopefully she will draw upon the many studies that have been done and recognize the value to US national security of UN peacekeepers protecting civilians and keeping the peace in conflict areas, often in failed and failing states that are breeding grounds for terrorism, where the US would not want to send boots on the ground. It is timely and appropriate to evaluate the specific mandate, need for, and performance of each peacekeeping mission, and to ensure that peacekeepers are well trained and accountable. UN peacekeeping can and should be a very cost-effective tool in the US defense arsenal that the Administration seeks to strengthen.

Finally, Ambassador Haley reaffirmed her commitment and that of the Secretary General to seek reforms at the UN that will make it more effective in realizing the vision of the San Francisco Charter. We agree that US constructive leadership, working closely with like-minded allies and the new Secretary General, is essential to an effective United Nations.

- Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (retired) 

21 March 2017

GCDC Spring Conference Keynote Announced

Click the video to see a short documentary about the first-ever U.S. Youth Observer to the UN, Brooke Loughrin

The U.S. Youth Observer to the UN, Nicol Perez, will be giving the keynote speech at Global Classrooms DC's (GCDC) 14th Annual Spring Model United Nations Conference. The May 2nd event is expecting hundreds of middle and high school students, as well as enthusiastic and dedicated educators, parents, volunteers, staff, and guests. 

NicolPerezNicol, a graduate from the University of Florida, worked as the "president of Nourish International, a student-run, non-profit organization that works towards making a sustainable impact on communities around the world. During her time at UF, Nicol spearheaded a project in Guatemala City, alongside 3 other students, where they taught business classes to a group of 50 single mothers living in extreme poverty and provided them with the tools and skills needed to start their own businesses. At UF, Nicol co-founded the Global Leadership Program where elected students spent a semester leading business ventures around campus to raise money to start a Goat farm in Uganda. Later, Nicol studied abroad in Bangkok, Thailand where she volunteered with the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation for a semester. Upon graduation, Nicol received an Outstanding Leadership Award for her work in Guatemala."

Click here to learn more about Nicol 

15 March 2017

UNA-NCA President's Statement: US Leadership at the United Nations Has Never Been More Important

The first member of President Trump's foreign policy team to be confirmed by the Senate was UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. In her confirmation hearing, then Governor Haley testified: "I don't think we need to pull money out of the UN....we don't believe in slash and burn... We need to look at each and every mission, see what we are doing and how to make it more effective... As I've said, you can never win with slash and burn techniques." Since then Ambassador Haley has been the most effective foreign policy spokesperson in the Trump Administration, vigorously taking on Russian aggression in Crimea and the Ukraine, North Korean missile and nuclear mischief, and Syrian crimes against humanity. She has articulated a US foreign policy most consistent with bipartisan US foreign policy since World War II, thereby showing how US leadership at the United Nations is an essential tool in the US national security arsenal.

The unfortunate unfolding of the Trump Administration's proposed deep budget cuts in the funding of the State Department, the United Nations, and Foreign Assistance and its apparent intent to withdraw from UN agencies with which it disagrees represents a stark departure from the post-World War II global order designed, created, and advanced by both Republican and Democratic Administrations. Yes, for a time, the US sought to withhold funding from the UN, but funding was quickly restored after 9/11 when we woke up and realized that we were no longer an oasis, immune from the forces of evil and good in the global community. We recognized that the challenges we face in the 21st century are inherently global and need a global response-- terrorism, pandemics, an interconnected global economy, fair trade, climate change, migration, nuclear proliferation, among others.

While 193 nations may disagree on issues from time to time, for the most part the United Nations has been a strong voice in support of US values and policies from confronting nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea, addressing war crimes and the use of chemical weapons in Syria, providing humanitarian assistance to victims of natural and man-made disasters, advocating for human rights, working for peace and security in conflict areas and creating sustainable and democratic institutions in failed and failing states. Like any complex organization, including the US Congress and the federal bureaucracy, the United Nations faces bureaucratic challenges and conflicting visions. History teaches that the UN is at its best when there is strong US leadership. When the only former UN ambassador to serve as US president, George H. W. Bush, sought UN support to confront Iraqi's invasion of Kuwait, the UN provided critical support for the Gulf war. As the only nation to send an Ambassador to New York for UN management and reform, the US has been successful in advocating for much needed reforms in the UN budget and personnel management, especially when we work behind the scene in quiet diplomacy with like-minded nations. Much more needs to be done. And we are fortunate that the UN has a Secretary General, who is greatly respected and fully committed to UN reform.

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres' recent initiative to strengthen the accountability and effectiveness of UN Peacekeepers demonstrates not only his commitment to address abuses and neglect in need of reform but, perhaps more importantly, it serves a critical US national security objective and fundamental tenet of President Trump's foreign policy. The president has made clear that fighting global terrorism is a top priority, but he also has made clear the the United States cannot be the policeman of the world intervening in conflict situations around the globe and engaging in nation building. Yet, failing states are breeding grounds for terrorist cells. Strengthening UN Peacekeeping, with strong US and NATO support, would provide a cost-effective response to the proliferation of conflicts in areas where the US has no intention of deploying boots on the ground. The president understands that the American public would not support redeploying American troops to places like Somalia and Lebanon. We have done that before with disastrous consequences.

President Trump has proposed substantial increases in the defense budget, and so perhaps it is time for the Defense Department to assume the responsibility for funding UN Peacekeepers. With the US Security Council veto and with the US meeting its substantial peacekeeping funding commitments, the US must approve all peacekeeping missions and can exercise oversight over their implementation. This would be a cost effective tool in advancing the new administration's national security objectives.

In a broader sense, the new Secretary General's commitment to UN reform and the new President's foreign policy reforms offer the potential of a marriage of convenience.

We at UNA-NCA have to make the case. There are many examples of how US leadership at the UN serves the Administration's foreign policy objectives. US active engagement at the UN Human Rights Council has lessened the obsessive focus on Israel and raised important issues about human rights in North Korea, Syria, Sri Lanka, and China. This is effective US diplomatic leadership at work shaping the UN agenda. Member states that may resent US lecturing on human rights will listen when the United Nations speaks for the global community. Many in Congress understand this, and with strong advocacy, Congress will maintain the funding levels for diplomacy, the United Nations and bilateral and multilateral foreign assistance. US leadership at the UN has never been more important. We encourage our members and supporters to take action now!

-Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Retired)
President, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area

Please see document  prepared by the Better World Campaign and UNA-USA explaining the potential impacts of the Administration's proposed cuts on UN peacekeeping, humanitarian, and global health programs.

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