How the UN’s Global Poverty Plan Robs the Poor


The United Nations Millennium Development Goals were ushered in with global fanfare and media hoopla in 2000. It is nothing short of an ambitious renovation of the political, social, and economic structures of the world. Of course, it’s not billed as Development of a Planetary Parliament; it is presented to the world as an “historic” moment, a “blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries . . . .”

The first of the eight Millennium Development Goals is to “eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.” If the phrase is vaguely familiar, thank Barack Obama, who sponsored the Global Poverty Act (Senate Bill 2433) that is currently enjoying concierge service from Sen. Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Obama bill specifically ties S.2433 to the United Nations Millennium Declaration (2000).
The Global Poverty Act thus submits the citizens of the United States to the UN’s demand for 0.7 percent of our GNP, or $845 billion — $2,000 from every man, woman, and child in the United States. The current U.S. foreign aid contribution of $300 billion does not count toward the $845 billion demanded by the United Nations by 2015.
While certainly motivated by a noble impulse, a global goal to eradicate poverty is a recipe for a web of greed, graft, bribes, kickbacks, cronyism, and all manner of nefarious abuse. Some local “administrators” will use the money to influence political outcomes, while others will abuse their UN-sponsored influence to punish enemies. Some despots will simply accept the world’s largesse on behalf of their poor and plunder it for their gilded toilets, as Saddam Hussein did. History shows that the poor will be robbed of the money intended to relieve their distress.
The billion-dollar UN “Oil for Food” scandal of 2004 is Exhibit A. Make that $22 billon, if you include the $21 billon Saddam skimmed from the program from 1996 to 2003. And let’s not overlook his ingenious payout of oil chits to Russia, a hefty insurance policy for Russia’s favor at the UN Security Council.
The massive Global Poverty Program that the UN seeks to control requires thousands of functionaries to oversee the supposed distribution of funds: managers, procuring agents, brokers, accountants, vendors, inspectors, auditors, monitors, “poverty consultants,” and local officials. In short, the program is simply too large to be sustainable without significant loss to fraud. There were supposed safeguards in place for the Oil for Food Program, but there is no effective mechanism within the UN for self-regulation — nor any true motivation for internal reform. Iqbal Riza, special assistant to Kofi Annan, was caught shredding papers that allegedly incriminated top UN officials in the Oil for Food scandal. As punishment for this dastardly deed, Riza has a new job: special adviser to the new UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon.
Americans will be asked to pony up over $800 billon to a UN whose idea of good management is to seat Syria and Sudan on the Human Rights Commission, despite the horror of genocide in Sudan. Incidentally, Sudan also sits on the UN’s Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) executive committee.
Worse, the implementation of a program as massive as the Millennium Development Goals lays a foundation for the cherished UN peace plan to institute some form of global governance. The Millennium Declaration understands the UN’s role as “the indispensable common house of the entire human family, through which we will seek to realize our universal aspirations for peace, cooperation and development.” This “common house” may well imply a world council, a kind of planetary parliament whose members administer and enforce the goals. How else could such a sweeping renovation of social and economic structures be accomplished?

Mary Jo Anderson


Mary Jo Anderson is a Catholic journalist and public speaker. She has been a frequent guest on "Abundant Life," an EWTN television program, and her "Global Watch" radio program is heard on EWTN radio affiliates nationwide. She writes regularly for Crisis Magazine. More articles and commentary can be found at Properly Scared and at Women for Faith and Family. Mary Jo is a board member of Women for Faith and Family and has served on the Legatus Board of Directors. With co-author Robin Bernhoft, she wrote "Male and Female He Made Them: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions," published in 2005 by Catholic Answers. In 2003 Mary Jo was invited to the Czech Republic to address parliamentarians on the Impact of Radical Feminism on Emerging Democracies.

  • BDK

    Mary Jo,
    I certainly understand that all aid and development packages have their problems due to fraud and abuse, but you simply out of hand dismiss the UN for no good reason. Didn’t our Holy Father just visit the UN and obviously sees the value of such global cooperation.

    You also put a title on this post that in no way is addressed in your article. You don’t explain how the poor are “robbed.”

    The Gospel mandates us to care for the poor. If you disagree with this particular approach, that is consistent with Catholic teachings ONLY if you have another approach that you truly believe is more effective.

    What’s your solution?

  • joe

    The Gospel and Catholic teaching enjoin us to care for the poor. They do not, quite clearly, enjoin us to engage in feel-goodisms and window-dressing.

    At their very best (i.e. rarely if ever) the sorts of things which the U.N. sponsors are no different than those of the hypocrites who go around blasting trumpets to announce each almsgiving.

    Christ commands us to individually care for the poor, the hungry, etc. This means two things:

    1- That compliance with Christ’s command implies result.
    2- That compliance with Christ’s command implies individual committment and action. Our Lord told us to “feed the hungry” not to “advocate for policies that will minimize the impact of…”

    It is, in my view, injudicious to assume the U.N. is being unfairly maligned. After all, the history of all the U.N. “relief” efforts is riddled with corruption, malfeasance and every sort of variant on the seven capital sins that we might wish to compute. It is one thing to say the Holy Father highly values international cooperation and quite another to say he regards the current institutions as ideal vehicles therefor.

    The solution to global poverty is simple (not easy, but simple) and that is to ensure that God-given Free Will may be exercised by all people in the realm of economics and commerce.

    There will never be economic justice until there is economic liberty.



    P.S. The Jesuits figured this out 100 years before Adam Smith, so it’s hardly a secret. 🙂

  • mj anderson

    The Title of the post is addressed specifically in paragraph #4.

    We must be good stewards. To give money intended for the poor to a bloated, corrupt United Nations is not good stewardship. Worse, the funds that do trickle down to the poor come at a high moral and cultural price–frequently abortion and contraception.

    You make two good points.

    First, the Holy Father did just address the U.N. However, he is not impressed with the U.N. –if you read the transcript of his remarks you’ll see that he is subtle but he does remind them to put their house in order. He recalled them to their origin in the context of Human Rights–many of which they violate as a matter of policy such as abortion.

    The Holy Father works with the U.N. as it is the only institution with both a global financial and an administrative reach, other than the Catholic Church.

    Second good point that you mentioned is that the Gospel instructs us to provide for the poor. True. Yet, I find no scriptural reference that indicates that Jesus or the apostles pressed governments to provide for the poor. Jesus told His OWN followers to provide for the poor. (“Feed them yourselves”)

    The truly CATHOLIC approach is based on personal charity and the principle of subsidiarity. Many people want to abdicate their own Christian obligation to care for the poor–abdicate their obligation to some faceless bureaucracy so that they can feel “charitable” with other people’s resources, and/ or be clinically removed from “the poor” in their own communities. Can this be what Christ had in mind?

  • Jessa


  • BDK

    Mary Jo,
    Thanks so much for the response. One area that we diverge in our understanding of Catholic teaching and the Gospel mandate to care for the poor is if have solely a personal or communal responsibility. It is my belief that all of the social encyclicals since Rerum Novarum have called us to both personal and communal responsibility.

    And the second place we diverge is in the motives of people who support government or collective agency strategies to address poverty. I do not feel most of these people, including myself, are abdicating our responsibility. I feel that collective action either by a government, NGO, or the UN must be utilized to effectively care for the poor.

    It is wrong to believe that we can attain great wealth through the policies of government and collective action, but only have a responsibility to act as individuals to care for the poor.

  • mj anderson

    Thanks to Joe and Jessa for their comments. Very salient points.

    BDK, on the matter our possible divergence on a communal approach, let me underscore that subsidiarity is in fact the communal approach.

    Today’s headlines include the tragic story of the victims of the cylcone in Myanmar (Burma). The corrupt government there refuses to permit aid workers (Doctors Without Borders, UN Food Program) to distribute humanitarian goods. The government insists aid agencies leave the supplies and they the government will see to the distribution.

    This is one example of how aid intended for the poor is often diverted to serve political ends.

  • mcmlxix

    …the Holy Father says that Christian love and concern for the poor should be through charity (individual or collective I presume) and not worldy stratages, ideologies, or Marxism.

  • Joe H

    I don’t take issue with criticisms of the UN, or what are clearly bureaucratic solutions to the problem of poverty.

    I do however take issue with a certain notion I find oft-repeated by conservative or “right-leaning” Catholics: that charity is a purely individual responsibility.

    In the excellent articles featured on this blog that criticize left-leaning Catholics who oppose abortion “personally” but also oppose its illegalization, we are reminded that those who reduce the scope of their morals and actions to the individual rarely step up and do anything positive about it.

    Where precisely does Christ say anything about individual, as opposed to collective responsibility? The dichotomy between individual action and state action is a false one. Communities also exist, comprised of individuals and distinct from the state. Catholics celebrate the Mass together as a community, and there is no reason why charity should not be thought of as a collective effort as well. Staunch individualism is not the only or even the best answer to inefficent bureaucracies or institutional corruption.

    • Steve

      We cannot simply count on the good will of those who collect the money. We are obligated to be good stewards of the goods we have received. We tend to do that best when we provide the money directly rather than voting to give away other people’s money.