Brett Schaefer: U.S. Humanitarian Aid Underappreciated

The Heritage Foundation’s Brett Schaefer provides the detailsrebutting U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland of Norway, who criticized the U.S. as “stingy” when it comes to humanitarian aid.

The U.S. is condemned for supposedly donating only .15 percent of our gross national income (GNI) in international development aid.

Schaefer’s Heritage Foundation WebMemo, published December 30, notes the following in rebuttal:

The U.S. is the world’s largest donor of such aid — $16.2 billion in 2003. Japan is second at $8.9 billion.

The .15 percent of GNI figure does not include private aid donated voluntarily by Americans, but is limited to funds donated by the U.S. federal government after being confiscated from Americans. Private voluntary international development aid donated by Americans in 2003 is estimated by the U.S. Agency for International Development to be $33.6 billion in 2003.

The U.S. government’s international disaster and humanitarian relief amount in 2003 was almost $2.5 billion. The governments of the entire rest of the world, combined, donated $3.4 billion.

The U.S. government donated nearly 70 percent of all the world’s international food assistance in 2003.

The U.S. is a huge donor to United Nations-affiliated humanitarian programs and pays for 22 percent of the United Nations’ overall budget.

Something Schaefer does not mention, but I will: Figures given for the U.S. government’s international humanitarian aid almost never include humanitarian aid and works provided by or in conjunction with actions by the U.S. military.

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