150 International Affairs:End Funding for the United Nations Development Program

Savings in Millions of Dollars
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • 2025
  • 2016-2020
  • 2016-2025


Savings are expressed as budget authority and were calculated using the FY 2014 estimated spending levels as found on page 17 of the “Fiscal Year 2015 Congressional Budget Justification: Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.” Spending levels have been increased at the same rate as discretionary spending for 2016–2025 according to the CBO’s most recent August 2014 baseline spending projections.


Technical Notes on Scoring

CBO Baseline

Unless otherwise noted, calculations for savings for each recommendation relies on the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline, as found in “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” published August 27, 2014, has been used.

Savings “Totals”

While totals for the five and 10 year savings are provided by section and for the complete set of recommendations, there are two reasons they should not be viewed as representing total savings for The Budget Book.

First, as noted in the introduction, The Heritage Foundation would recommend that the savings realized in the Function 050 Defense section would stay within the Department of Defense to strengthen the nation’s defense capabilities.

Second, the numbers cannot be deemed to represent the realized savings if every single recommendation were adopted because policy changes made in one program can impact spending levels in other programs.  Thus, the numbers in the table do not reflect any potential interactions between the various policy changes affecting spending or savings.


Heritage Recommendation:

End U.S. contributions to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). This proposal saves $81 million in 2016, and $863 million over 10 years.


Want to stop sending aid to Venezuela, Iran & NK? Cut UN Dev. Program funding & save billions.

The UNDP aid meant to assist suffering populations in many authoritarian countries inadvertently helps perpetuate that suffering. In Burma, for example, a human rights group accused the UNDP of funding state-controlled programs to “expand military control over the population while divesting itself of the cost of operating programs and simultaneously legitimizing its policies in the name of development.” ((Brett Schaefer, “Why Does UNDP Continue to Aid Repressive Regimes?” The Daily Signal, August 27, 2010.)) The UNDP has also funded improper activities in Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

In addition, UNDP management of resources is weak. A 2011 audit by the U.S. Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) identified numerous management and oversight failings and concluded: “Until these oversight and monitoring issues are addressed, there will continue to be concerns about the value of UNDP’s services needed to provide the expected quantity, quality, and timeliness of progress in establishing and maintaining a viable police force.” ((George Russell, “UN Agency Blamed After Hundreds of Millions Diverted from Afghan Fund,” FOX News, October 16, 2014, 
(accessed December 15, 2014).))

Correspondence in 2014 between SIGAR and UNDP indicate that these deficiencies remain and, more worryingly, UNDP “appears to downplay UNDP’s responsibility for overseeing LOTFA [Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan] and fails to acknowledge the problems that continue to plague this program.” ((Letter from John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, to Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, 
September 12, 2014, (accessed December 15, 2014).))

Want to stop sending aid to Venezuela, Iran & NK? Cut UN Dev. Program funding & save billions.

Contributing Expert

Brett D. Schaefer is the Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at Heritage's Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.

Schaefer analyzes a range of foreign policy issues, focusing primarily on the United Nations and affiliated funds and programs. He frequently speaks and publishes on issues related to the world body and its activities.

See publications by Brett D. Schaefer

Brett D. SchaeferJay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at Heritage's Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom

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