These two will never see eye to eye but if you expect a full-frontal attack from Helen Clark on the President of the United States for withdrawing funding from her beloved UN, you will be sorely disappointed. Quietly nipping at Trump’s heels is the only indication of Clark’s annoyance.

In 2017 the United States was the largest donor to the United Nations, contributing more than $10 billion, roughly one-fifth of the body’s collective budget. Trump scrapped all US funding to UNRWA in 2018 saying the organisation consolidates the permanent refugee status of five million Palestinians used to prolong the conflict between Palestinian militant groups and Israel.

Helen Clark alluded to Donald Trump’s withdrawal of funding from the UN more than two years after his first UN funding cut. Trump’s first cut was to UN programmes that “provide sexual and reproductive health services in developing countries.” Clark raised the issue of women’s rights only this week at a major geopolitical conference in India.

Trump stopped funding the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), an agency that promotes family planning in more than 150 countries saying he could not fund abortion and sterilisation carried out under duress in China.

“The [US] state department says the agency supports or participates in a programme of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation in China.

But the UNFPA says this is an “erroneous claim”, and that its work does not break any US laws.

In total $32.5m (£26m) in funds will be withdrawn for the 2017 financial year.

This is the first of the promised cuts to US financial contributions to the UN by the Trump administration.”


The argument by the UNFPA that each member country is entitled to treat its citizens how it likes is, I suppose, valid. But why should other countries be forced to finance practices they abhor and outlaw at home?

 “The United Nations is under attack,” Miss Clark said. “The people doing it are not sympathetic to women’s rights agendas.” She didn’t name President Trump.”


How about the UN member states that are completely unsympathetic to their own women’s rights?

Many UN member countries have appalling human rights records, – particularly for women. These women cannot choose another religion outside what the state enforces and many are beaten, imprisoned and killed for even minor violations of the state-enforced religion.

“Women need to see the United Nations as an important place for hearing about the rights we’ve established.

A weak UN is not good for women.”

Helen Clark

In other words, a reduction in US funding has weakened the UN. Exactly what Trump envisaged when he made his first cut shortly after taking office. Many see a strong UN that has moved so far from the ideals it was set up to achieve, as a real threat to peace. This extract from a statement to the UN made in October 2019:

“[…]the regular budget has been facing severe liquidity issues in recent years, with a growing downward trend whereby, each year, the situation becomes more dire than the year before.

The cash deficits occur earlier in the year, linger longer and run deeper.

For the second successive year, we have exhausted all regular budget liquidity reserves, despite several measures we had taken to reduce expenditures to align them with available liquidity.”

Statement of the Financial Situation of the United Nations 11 October 2019

The UN has run out of money and like a car with an empty tank is running downhill on fumes.

“United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently distributed a memo informing senior U.N. staff around the world that an ongoing cash crisis prompted by the late payment of dues would result in certain privations.

Starting Oct. 14, official travel is limited to the “most essential activities,” according to the Oct. 10 memo.

In addition, no meetings can be scheduled after hours or on the weekend, air conditioning is being cut back, and the U.N. headquarters fountain will be shut off to save energy.

Dreams of happy hour at the Delegates’ Lounge will have to be put on ice, as the bar was ordered to close at 5 p.m., forcing delegates to travel across First Avenue for a drink at Trump World Tower or any other number of East Side saloons.”

Foreign Policy

Oh, the irony – drinks at the Trump World Tower for UN delegates!

Helen Clark will have to come up with another avenue for her protegee as it appears the UN is dying a slow death, which won’t come a moment too soon for many.

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