The world's largest peacekeeping mission has to make cuts and fast. That's the backdrop to the UN General Assembly meeting in New York with its mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the spotlight. Reuters Aaron Ross has seen documents eyeing a sharp fall in funding.
>> Code cables seen by Reuters between the peacekeeping leadership in New York and the mission heads in Kinshasa. There's a discussion of $93 million in cuts to this year's budget, and that comes mainly from the military side but also in various operating costs. However analysts caution that this is a particularly dangerous time to be cutting that money from the peacekeeping mission's budget at a time when Congo experiencing a political and humanitarian crisis like it hasn't seen in a long time.
>> Violence between the army and local militia in the country has displaced 1.4 million people in the past year alone. The UN's budget for the DRC is the biggest of any peacekeeping mission. This year it stands at $1.14 billion, that amounts to over 22,000 UN personnel. But budgets are likely to be axed for other missions.
As US President, Donald Trump, pursues a cost-cutting agenda.>> UN peacekeeping missions around the world are coming under pressure to reduce their budgets and this is largely due to a push by the Trump administration in Washington. About $600 million in cuts were agreed this year at the UN and after that was announced, the US Ambassador for the UN, Nicky Haley, said that they were just getting started.
Donald Trump's America first policy could overshadow this year's General Assembly. At it's core, a perception the US puts too much into international courses. The US is in many senses the paymasters for UN peace keeping. It forks out around 28%, the $6.8 billion put forward this year alone. Why so much?
Well, in the UN's own words, the fee is worked out by a complex formula. It's influenced by relative economic wealth. Security Council members also have to pay more, but in terms of people power the US doesn't pull as much weight. Of the 93,900 police and military personnel deployed by the UN just 74 are American.
In the argument of how to keep the peace, this year´s general assembly, could descend into a war of words.