UNDEF held up as model in expert testimony to US House Committee on Foreign Affairs

The following is an excerpt from testimony by Ted Piccone, Deputy Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, to the hearing on "Reforming the United Nations" held by the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on 3 March:

"You are familiar with the data on the cost efficiencies of UN peacekeeping operations, such as the GAO study that shows it would have cost the United States eight times as much as it cost the UN to respond to the earthquake disaster in Haiti last year.  Let me give a similar example from the field of democracy promotion, a topic of particular interest at the moment.  In 2005, with the leadership of President Bush, the United States succeeded in establishing a new UN Democracy Fund to support civil society’s efforts to build democracy and promote human rights at the grassroots level.  In the first five years of operation, the United States’ cumulative contribution of $33.3 million has leveraged an additional $88 million in donations from a wide variety of countries such as India, Qatar, Sweden, Japan, Korea, Romania, Ecuador and Israel.  Among other things, this fund has made grants of nearly $19 million to civil society groups throughout the Arab world for projects to promote women’s rights in Egypt and Yemen, youth empowerment in Lebanon and Jordan and parliamentarian capacity in Bahrain.  This is precisely the kind of value added the UN can provide that serves our interests in fostering credible democratic transitions in that part of the world."

For full testimony, please click here.