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United Nations Reform: U.S. Policy and - page 15 / 38





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Kassebaum-Solomon amendment) was effective, and led to substantive changes in U.N. operations and programs.

Possible Instruments for Furthering U.S. Reform Policy

Congress’s influence over U.S. funding of the United Nations is a powerful tool for furthering U.S. reform policy at the United Nations. However, there may be other strategies for Congress to consider when advocating its reform agenda. These strategies have been widely used by many past and current Members of Congress and the Administration, and include, but are not limited to:


Resolutions — Members of Congress may propose and/or enact simple or concurrent resolutions expressing an opinion, fact, or principle in one or both chambers of Congress. Some Members of Congress have used these resolutions to voice an opinion about U.S. policy in the United Nations/or the United Nations itself.


Working with the U.N. Secretary-General — Some previous and current Members of Congress and Administrations have worked to earn the support of U.N. secretaries-general to help advocate their positions. Developing a relationship with the chief administrative officer of the United Nations can be valuable during some negotiations, where the Secretary-General can act as a bridge among member states that disagree on issues. In addition, U.S. citizens have also held key U.N. reform-related posts at the United Nations, which some Members of Congress believe may play a role in furthering U.S. reform policy interests.49 Most recently, Christopher Burnham served as U.N. Under-Secretary for Management.50


Collaborating with U.N. Member States — The United States may wish to continue to reach out to other U.N. member states to build

consensus and form partnerships on reform policies, either the framework of the United Nations or bilaterally.51

within Some

49 Article 100 of the U.N. Charter states, “In the performance of their duties the Secretary- General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organization.” A copy of the U.N. Charter is available at [http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/].

50 Under-Secretary-General Burnhamstepped down before Secretary-General Annan’s term ended in 2007. Prior to Christopher Burnham, the post was held by Catherine Bertini, also a U.S. citizen. The new U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Management for Secretary- General Ban is Alicia Bárcena Ibarra of Mexico.

51 In the 1970s and 1980s, for example, the “Geneva Group” was formed to encourage dialogue and cooperation among like-minded U.N. member states. It was composed mostly of Western countries that were the United Nations’ largest financial contributors. The group focused mainly on financial and budgetary issues, and some contend it was instrumental in bringing about budgetary restraint in some of the U.N. specialized agencies. For more


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