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The US May Withhold Foreign Aid from Poor Countries That Don’t Vote With It at UN

The United States is far and away the world’s biggest donor of foreign aid — at least for now. 

This aid — which has come in the form of economic, health, educational, climate, and other assistance — has helped millions lift themselves out of extreme poverty, while also furthering US interests in key strategic regions

But now, the generous foreign assistance packages doled out by the world’s largest economy are under threat for poor countries that fail to get in line with the US on UN votes, according to an internal State Department memo obtained by Foreign Policy

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“It is the opinion of the U.S. mission to the U.N. that all U.S. foreign assistance should be reevaluated to ensure that taxpayers dollars are spent to advance U.S. interests, not to fund foreign legacy programs that provide little or no return on investment,” the memo said, according to FP. 

Take Action: Sign The Petition To Stand For US Foreign Assistance

In all, 40 countries that frequently cast UN votes that differ from that of the United States, including Iraq and Egypt, could lose some or all US aid going forward, according to the report. Specific programs that face cuts, according to FP, include a job training program in Zimbabwe, climate change program in Vietnam, and a school construction program in Ghana. 

The memo comes months after just eight countries voted with the United States on its UN resolution declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel. 

After that vote, the US sent out ‘friendship’ invites to countries that either didn’t vote on the resolution, abstained, or voted with the US. 

“We will remember it when, once again, we are called up to make the world’s largest contribution to the U.N., and we will remember it when many countries come calling on us to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said at the time

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Read More: Richer, Safer, Healthier: 4 Ways Robust Foreign Aid Is Good for Americans

The memo, “America First Foreign Assistance Policy,” also falls in line with US President Donald Trump’s “America First” platform, which prioritizes “Americanism, not globalism.”

Although foreign aid makes up just 1% of all US spending, its impacts around the world are enormous — and enormously positive. Foreign aid has helped increase access to health care around the world, provide quality education to millions of children, and help communities become more resilient to climate change

Still, more than 800 million people still live in extreme poverty, and foreign aid can play a major role in helping them secure a better, more prosperous future.

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including goal number one, zero poverty — and is calling on the US to #StopTheCuts on US foreign assistance. You can join us and take action on this issue here.