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United Nations Reform: U.S. Policy and - page 33 / 38





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Appendix A. Previous Reform Legislation

When considering U.N. reform issues, the 110th Congress may wish to explore the nature and effectiveness of past legislative approaches and how or if they may have influenced the adoption of reform measures at the United Nations. There is evidence that legislation such as the Kassebaum-Solomon Amendment and the Helms-Biden Agreement may have led, either directly or indirectly, to substantive changes in U.N. policies. The following paragraphs highlight selected reform legislation from 1986 to the present and note anysubsequent changes to internal U.N. policy.

Kassebaum-Solomon Amendment (1986-1987)119

In the mid-1980s, some Members of Congress expressed concern that U.S. influence over the U.N. budget was not proportionate to its rate of assessment. In 1986 Congress passed legislation, popularly known as the “Kassebaum-Solomon amendment,” which required that the U.S. assessed contribution to the U.N. regular budget be reduced to 20% unless the United Nations gave major U.N. financial contributors a greater say in the budget process.120 Subsequently, in 1986 the General Assembly adopted a new budget and planning process that incorporated consensus- based budgeting as a decision-making mechanism, thus giving member states with higher assessment levels a potentially greater voice in the budget process.

U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (1993)

In the early 1990s, some Members of Congress and the Administration were concerned with the apparent lack of oversight and accountability within the U.N. system. In 1993, as part of the FY1994 State Department Appropriations Act, Congress directed that 10% of U.S. assessed contributions to the U.N. regular budget be withheld until the Secretary of State certified to Congress that “the United Nations has established an independent office with responsibilities and powers substantially similar to offices of Inspectors General Act of 1978.”121 On July 29, 1994, the U.N. General Assembly established the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) which reports directly to the Secretary-General and provides “internal auditing, investigation, inspection, programme monitoring, evaluation and consulting services to all U.N. activities under the Secretary-General’s authority.” 122

119 For a more detailed account of the Kassebaum-Solomon Provisions, see CRS Report RL33611, United Nations System Funding: Congressional Issues, by Marjorie Ann Browne.

120 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, FY1986 and 1987 (H.R. 2608, P.L. 99-93), Section 143, August 16, 1985.

121 U.S. Department of State Appropriations Act, 1994 (H.R. 2519, P.L. 103-121), October 27, 1993.

122 More information on OIOS is available at [http://www.un.org/depts/oios/]. See U.N. document, A/RES/48/218 B, August 12, 1994, for a detailed description of its mandate.

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