US 2019 Budget Proposal Shows Stable Funding For WIPO, WTO, WHO, ITU

While the Trump administration has taken aim overall at US contributions to international organisations since taking office last year, the budget proposal it put forward last week would roughly maintain last year’s lower levels for a range of Geneva-based agencies without making further cuts. Others did not fare as well.

The Congressional Budget Justification for the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs for fiscal year 2019 is available here [pdf].

The proposed budget undergoes congressional scrutiny and numerous changes in the months to follow. Last year, when President Trump took office, the administration proposed drastic cuts to several agencies, including nearly halving contributions to the World Health Organization (from about US$111 million to about $56 million), Pan-American Health Organization (from about $64 million to about $33 million), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (from $110 million to $58 million), and the International Labour Organization (from $83 million to $43 million).

For 2019, the administration would essentially maintain those levels, with WHO getting a slight increase to $58 million, PAHO remaining the same at $33 million, FAO dropping slightly to $57 million, and the ILO inching downward but still at $43 million).

The proposed budget would, however, cut funding for some other global health programs, including some organisations in Geneva, see here (Health Policy Watch, 13 February 2018).

For other related Geneva agencies, the World Trade Organization has been very slightly rising since Trump took over from $22 million to $23 million, the International Telecommunication Union has slightly increased, still just above $10 million, and the World Meteorological Organization dropped slightly from $15 million to $14 million.

The World Intellectual Property Organization, which is a unique case because it is mostly self-funded through fees for its services (like patent filings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty), would get a slight increase from $1.163 million to $1.168 million. The US assessment could be seen as almost symbolic, and in fact the US Congress used it to make a statement at the end of the Obama administration to withhold a portion of this already small amount out of concern for treatment of whistleblowers in the agency. The Trump administration does not appear to have carried that political statement forward.

Also housed at WIPO is the International Union for the Protection of Varieties of Plants (UPOV), which has been proposed a flat $275,000 [corrected] each year for 2017, 2018, and now 2019.

Another agency of some relevance to readers, in part because of its involvement in efforts to fight antibiotic resistance (as antibiotics are often given to livestock), is the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris, which would receive again a proposed $247,000 [corrected].

And the administration has also maintained the zeroing out of funding for the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which it pulled out of several years ago.

For regional organisations, the proposed funding for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held strong at just over $1 million, while the budget for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (also based in Paris) for either 2018 or 2019 is “to be determined.”

The proposed 2019 budget looks like this:


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