News / Europe

Without US Funds, UNESCO Struggling to Stay Afloat

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova delivering a speech, Paris, Jan. 30, 2012.UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova delivering a speech, Paris, Jan. 30, 2012.
x
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova delivering a speech, Paris, Jan. 30, 2012.
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova delivering a speech, Paris, Jan. 30, 2012.
Lisa Bryant
Washington's suspension of dues to UNESCO after Palestine became a formal member last year has left the U.N. agency grappling with a funding crisis, and the United States risks losing its membership.
 
UNESCO Secretary-General Irina Bokova describes the 2011 funding freeze by the agency's largest contributor as crippling, leaving it with a $152-million budget gap.
 
"And because the U.S. always pays at the end of the year, always, we have already spent this money in the expectation that the U.S. was going to pay," she said. "So it was very unexpected, drastic, and that is why I dare say it was the worst-ever financial situation for the organization."
 
Washington suspended payments last October, after the Paris-based U.N. agency voted to admit Palestine as its newest member. The event marked a watershed for Palestinian statehood efforts. The U.S. government is legally required to cut funds to any U.N. agency that recognizes a Palestinian state.
 
Bokova describes UNESCO as the victim of politics. 
 
"I think UNESCO was caught in the middle of this political turmoil of Middle Eastern conflict, and I think this is unfair because this is not the way some of the solutions of the Middle Eastern conflict could be found," she said.
 
Saudia Arabia, Qatar, Norway and many other member states have since boosted their contributions to help fill the hole, but Bokova called the funding situation unsustainable, as Washington's dues normally account for about 20 percent of UNESCO's budget.
 
The freeze has forced the agency to make drastic spending cuts to staffing and programs, including Holocaust education.
 
"It is important, not only because we fund Holocaust [education] per se — it is part of it, of course, but for us it is linked to genocide, it is linked to human rights," said Bokova. "For many countries, African and others, this is important work that has to be done."
 
Bokova has been lobbying U.S. politicians and other influential groups for a change in policy, explaining that it is not just about money.
 
"Because they will not only lose their voting rights, but they are losing their credibility," she said. "We have a lot of expectations that this message will be well understood by the United States."
 
The deadline for a change of heart is next year. Otherwise the United States will lose UNESCO membership for failing to pay its dues.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 13, 2012 3:07 PM
Bokova knew all the implications of the action before UNESCO went ahead to admit PLO. So should stop begging USA to continue funding you. It's a matter of policy in USA and there appears nothing you can do now about it until Congress restores again to empower its foreign policy otherwise. UNESCO is a baby of the UN and should have allowed it take the first step before jumping in to admit PLO. Please learn your lesson from this. I support USA to continue starving you of fund until you learn to behave well. Give respect to whom it is due.

by: Laura from: USA
October 11, 2012 5:52 PM
Thank God for the USA - for showing some backbone concerning these degenerate Arab Palestinians... let the "Arab World" take care of their own despicable scumbags. and that should apply equally to the Egyptians, Libyans, and all other assorted malicious scumbags in the region...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More