05/03/2012 05:52 pm ET Updated Jul 03, 2012

What Voters Want: A Strong US-UN Relationship

These days, it is becoming increasingly clear that voters don't agree on much. So when a whopping 83 percent of polled Republicans, Democrats and Independents are together on the same page of an issue, it stands out as more than simply a consensus -- it's a mandate.

A new poll released today by the United Nations Foundation and its sister organization, the Better World Campaign, finds that more than eight in 10 voters want the United States to maintain an active role in the United Nations. What's more, more than nine in 10 voters say it is important for the U.S. to maintain an active role in the World Health Organization -- the coordinating authority for health within the United Nations -- particularly in efforts to track and control the spread of disease and improve women's health.

There are a myriad of good reasons for this fervent agreement, but ultimately it boils down to creating a safer, healthier world for our children. Let us consider just a few examples of how a strong U.S.-U.N. relationship facilitates that goal.

When U.N. Peacekeeping efforts put boots on the ground to maintain peace and security, reform judicial systems, train local law enforcement, and disarm and reintegrate former combatants, to name only a few, it means a more security for us all -- both at home and abroad. That's why three-quarters of voters value U.S. funding to U.N. peacekeeping operations.

When WHO programs provide vaccinations to protect against many of the world's most pervasive, yet often preventable diseases -- such as hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, maternal and neonatal tetanus, polio, rubella, whooping cough, yellow fever, and diphtheria (the list goes on) -- it means a healthier global community for all our children. That's why 89 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should be supportive of U.N. programs that improve access to vaccines and maternal health care.

And when U.N. programs safeguard the educations, livelihoods, and rights of women and girls across the globe, it means a more equitable future for women and girls everywhere. That's why four out of five Americans think it is important for the U.S. to be involved in efforts to stop child marriage in poor, developing countries. It's also why 79 percent believe the U.S. should be supportive of U.N. programs that provide voluntary family planning services, such as information about access to contraception.

American voters have spoken, and their message is clear: The United States can and should play a leading role in resolving these important issues, and the stage for that role continues to be the United Nations. Now is the time for Congress to take note and reaffirm its support for the U.N. With these figures in mind, let us all take action and remind our leaders that, in addition to this mandate of support, the majority of polled voters also favor the U.S. paying its dues to the U.N. on time and in full.

When it comes to peace and security, the promotion of global health, and the empowerment of women and girls -- particularly ending child marriage -- the stakes are too high to ignore.