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NEW YORK CITY – People in New York questioned the effectiveness of the United Nations and the amount of money it spends as the General Assembly convenes for its 77th session.
“I’m not a fan of the UN,” one man, Elias, told Fox News. “It’s a money-making corrupt organization.”
Giovanni, an Italian who moved to Brooklyn in 1977, made similar remarks.
“I’ll tell you the truth: I don’t know why they exist,” he said.
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Giovanni, from Brooklyn, told Fox News he doesn’t know why the United Nations exists. (Teny Sahakian/Fox News)
The UN, comprised of 193 nations, was formed after World War II to maintain worldwide piece and to develop friendly relations and coordination between nations, according to the United Nations Charter. World leaders gather at the annual General Assembly in New York to debate important issues facing the world.
“I wish they would do something,” one New Yorker, Steve, told Fox News. “I know there is a UN, I know the world leaders meet almost every year.”
“Unfortunately, they either have a very bad press secretary, because we don’t hear of anything that they’re doing, or they’re not doing nothing,” Steve said.
One man, Ronato, said he doesn’t think the UN is effective and that it should “do more.”
“I think it should be restructured in some kind of way,” a local, Brent, said.
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This year’s General Assembly will focus on the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, climate action and ending the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also include a special summit regarding issues such as equity, inclusion and quality in education.
“Maybe their goals are a bit pretentious,” Brent said. “Set some realistic goals and see what could happen with that.”
While the U.N. has carried out 71 peacekeeping operations since 1947, in recent years, the international body has put its energy behind social justice issues. It hosts an annual Climate Change Conference and adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes goals such as ending poverty, and ensuring equitable education and gender equity, according to its website.
World leaders convene at the United Nations headquarters in New York for the General Assembly’s 77th session. (AP)
“I think they could do a lot more than they’re doing,” one man, Michael, told Fox News. “They’re just sitting around telling people, ‘do this, do that,’”
“If they’re the United Nations, they can come and help out Ukraine a little bit more and not have the United States foot the entire bill for everything, whether it’s humanitarian aid or arms, etc,” he added.
The United States contributed $11.6 billion to the UN in 2020, making it the largest donor, followed by China, Germany and Japan.
“I don’t think it’s worth it,” Brent said of the America’s contributions.
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“As far as the amounts of money that are spent and what they’re able to produce, if it was a private enterprise, we’d have to do away with it,” he added. “They’d have to declare themselves bankrupt.”
Michael said: “I think we should be contributing. I don’t know what the breakdown is but like, Germany shouldn’t be paying a fraction of what we pay.”
Brent said the amount of money the United States contributes to the United Nations is “not worth it.” (Teny Sahakian/Fox News )
Organizations within the UN spent nearly $30 billion in 2021.
“I have not seen or heard where the UN gives back to the United States,” Jackson said.
Ronato added: “It’s not well spent. We should continue supporting the United Nations, no question about it, but we should also demand more activity, more intervention in whatever they do.”
Michael suggested the U.S. allocate some of those funds for domestic purposes.
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“You can fix the homeless crisis, you can fix paid maternity leave,” he said. “There are a million different ways that you can repurpose those funds.”
Brent, however, questioned the U.S.’s ability to use taxpayer dollars effectively.
“I have no doubt that if we weren’t spending it there, we’d find somewhere else to waste it here,” he said. “It’s not like we’re doing a very good job on our spending either right now.”
Teny Sahakian is an Associate Producer/Writer for Fox News. Follow Teny on Twitter at @tenysahakian.