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Globalization: The Promises and The Perils, U.S. and Asian Responses

Informatics Creative Commons photo-patchwork. (musha68000/Flickr)

Informatics Creative Commons photo-patchwork. (musha68000/Flickr)

Question and Answer Session

1. Mr. Obud : I'm Calvin Obud, a member of the Asia Society. As I understand it, one of the reasons that the US Congress balked at meetings its obligations to pay its dues to the UN was the population control issue. The Clinton administration, as I understand it, reached an agreement with Congress. I was wondering how that agreement would effect your hopes for social investment and so forth? Thank you.

Dr. Sadik : That's a very interesting question because when the US had that clause, the Mexico City clause, as its called, on the UN arrears, it approved funding for UN FPA, the same Congress. We got money from the US Congress, while at the same time, the UN was not getting its funding. As you know, then finally Mr. Clinton agreed to accept some modified language on what is called the Mexico City language. The Mexico City languages, in fact, prohibited US organizations from supporting abortion, even from resources that they have collected from other sources. If they promoted abortion, they would not get any US funding. That's called the Mexico City Policy. The refinement that Mr. Clinton accepted was that the limit of that would be fifteen million dollars. The discontinuing of funding the UN FPA happened in 1985 when President Reagan was the President. In 1985, the US made the largest contribution to the UN FPA. In 1986, when they decided to stop funding UN FPA until Mr. Clinton came into power, that was because of the program in China. They wanted a small program in China to change all China's human rights - which, of course was not absolutely possible - and to change the China policy on abortion and so on. It was very clear from all the general accounting office inspections, a follow up program and many congressional reviews that went to examine our program in China, that our program itself did not support abortion or the one child family policy.

Nevertheless, because China policy was so linked with human rights and so on in the Congress, that many in the Congress were opposed to any funds going for population programs in China. Since President Clinton became President, UN FPA's funding has been restored and we've been getting funding every year except for 1999 when the Congress passed a bill again somehow de-funding UN FPA for one year. President Clinton accepted it in exchange for the IMF funding.

What they said was something had to be given up in order to get what was the highest good and at that time, bail out of the East Asian countries. Therefore, the IMF got its funding and UN FPA didn't.