US Shreds UN Document
The massive overhaul, prepared under newly-appointed UN ambassador John Bolton slashes the 38 page draft document, negotiated by UN member nations over the past 6 months, down to 3 pages. Bolton eliminates any mention of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and poverty reduction targets. The MDGs were adopted by all countries including the US at the 55th session of the General Assembly in 2000 and contains its blueprint for eliminating poverty within a generation.
The US amendments strike out references to the Kyoto treaty and any efforts to slow global warming. It removes any mention of the International Criminal Court and of nuclear disarmament. Also gone is the statement that donor countries should contribute 0.7% of their gross national product for official development assistance by 2015 (the US gives 0.2%; Norway plans to give 0.95%). The US version rejects the UN's maintaining a standing military peacekeeping capability.
Bolton's attempt to radically redirect the UN could result in failure by the General Assembly to reach an agreement. UN effectiveness and credibility may be undermined further when the final report on the Iraq oil for food corruption investigation is released shortly before the UN's top-level summit.
Currently, most news media worldwide are depicting the US as scuttling UN efforts to alleviate poverty. However, President Bush has stated that reduction of worldwide poverty is essential for combating terrorism. His administration favors free market reform over direct aid. To be sure, funds donated through official channels have more often than not fed corruption rather than hungry mouths, and outside interventions in developing nations have often caused disaster. The Center for Global Development (CGD) presents discussions of ways to help poor countries help themselves that have not been put forward by the US. Many CDG suggestions resonate with WILPF principles and may be worth promoting.
It remains to be seen if the US makes any promising proposals at the forthcoming UN summit to rid the world of poverty or whether its underlying intention is to rid the world of the UN.