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Joe Biden should not be swayed by unnecessary UN aid priorities


As the United Nations General Assembly meets this week, economist Bjorn Lomborg suggests that America keep its checkbook closed until the world body sets reasonable spending priorities.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres demands a “tripling” of global development aid – “at least $500 billion for the rest of the decade” – to trigger progress on the Sustainable Development Goals wish list of ONU.

The problem is that the list is full of fantasy and relative frivolity, with goals such as promoting lifestyles “in harmony with nature” and adding urban parks for people with disabilities, as well as utopian goals like ending the war.

This is a compilation of interest group demands, not a cost-effective list of realistic priorities: 169 “targets” in total.

Of course, the UN, and the world, ends up not achieving all of these goals – and will not achieve any of them by the 2030 target date.

A UN report, notes Lomborg, shows: “Based on current trends, only a third of countries will meet their poverty pledges by 2030, and 300 million children and youth will always leave school without knowing how to read or write. »

Even though Uncle Sam spends more than $60 billion a year on humanitarian aid to other countries, the U.S. private sector contributes another $30 billion.

And tripling that spending as Guterres is calling for wouldn’t be enough to reverse the trend – or even do much good if it were spent as he and his UN minions suggest.

The sad truth is that most aid between governments is wasted, due to corruption and the failure of policies such as reducing class sizes.

This does not mean spending nothing to help the rest of the world, but rather it means redirecting what America spends and not giving the UN a blank check.

American philanthropists – and Congress – could do far worse than focus their giving on the dozen cost-effective development policies identified by hundreds of economists and seven Nobel laureates for Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus.

Be generous, but not stupid.