United States Withdraws From UNESCO
October 12, 2017
On October 12, 2017, the Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO. This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.
The United States indicated to the Director General its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education.
Pursuant to Article II(6) of the UNESCO Constitution, U.S. withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. The United States will remain a full member of UNESCO until that time.
A look back on articles:
Washington Times – 10/24/16 – by Ted Cruz – “America’s missed UNESCO opportunity…The United States should be leading the charge against anti-Israel bias at the UN, not trying to fund it”
“A demonstration of moral courage occurred two weeks ago in a most unlikely place: the UNESCO Executive Board meeting in Paris. During a contentious vote on the “Occupied Palestine” resolution, Mexico’s Ambassador to UNESCO walked out. Andrés Roemer reportedly decided he could not support a resolution that attempts to expunge thousands of years of
His audacity cost him his job—but it also focused attention on this resolution. Mexico decided to change its stance to abstention and intended to call for a re-vote to formally withdraw support. Brazil also indicated it had serious reservations and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Chairman of the Board Michael Worbs voiced concerns, raising hopes that another vote would allow countries to reconsider their support, or that final passage would be delayed. Italy’s Prime Minister subsequently criticized the text and added his country would encourage other European colleagues to oppose such measures in the future.
The Obama administration has attempted to explain that America was powerless to prevent the resolution’s passage because our laws have prohibited funding to UNESCO after it accepted “Palestine” as a member in 2011, and that the solution is to restore funding. But other UN entities have not followed UNESCO’s lead because they disagree on the Palestinian issue, but rather because they fear the loss of the US taxpayer dollars that pay their salaries—leverage America can and should exploit. Additionally, support for the Palestinians no longer seems to be an article of faith for a number of countries such as Mexico and Brazil, not to mention our NATO ally Italy, and they now might be inclined to join with the US in supporting Israel.”
CNS News – 11/03/2011 – by Patrick Goodenough – “Obama ‘Remains Deeply Committed to UNESCO’ Despite Vote to Admit Palestine”
The United States was re-elected to the Executive Board of the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Wednesday, two days after the agency’s admission of “Palestine” forced the Obama administration reluctantly to cut off funding in compliance with U.S. laws.
Although the administration announced Monday that it was halting funding for UNESCO, beginning with $60 million it had been intending to pay this month, the U.S. envoy to the agency, David Killion, stressed that continuing U.S. participation was not in doubt.
“President Obama has made strong multilateral engagement across the UN system – including at UNESCO – a top priority and a core aspect of U.S. foreign policy,” he told the General Conference shortly after it had voted by a large margin to admit “Palestine” as a full member.
The U.S. accounts for 22 percent of UNESCO’s operating budget and also makes voluntary contributions; A funding cut will save U.S. taxpayers a little more than $80 million a year.
Washington Free Beacon – 12/16/2015 – by Adam Kredo – “Congress Rejects Obama Move to Restore Funding for Anti-Israel U.N. Group”
“Congress has rejected a request by the Obama administration to restore U.S. funding for a United Nations organization long criticized for its anti-Israel bias, according to sources on Capitol Hill.
The Washington Free Beacon disclosed earlier this week that the Obama administration was pressuring lawmakers on Capitol Hill to restore around $80 million in annually funding to the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.”
It is about time that our country puts a foot down.
Obama did his best to pour our money into the UN directly and indirectly. I have no way of knowing nor finding I think a complete accounting of how much was shipped to the various divisions of the UN from Obama’s “so-called” right of executive privilege. A Heritage Foundation report in 2010 may give a starting point though.
According to OMB, total U.S. contributions to the U.N. system were more than $6.347 billion in FY 2009. This is more than $1 billion more than total contributions as compiled by OMB for FY 2005.
For instance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides funding to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Department of Energy provides funds to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services provides funds to UNICEF. The State Department had no authority to require other departments to report these funding activities; therefore, estimates by the State Department on U.S. funding of the U.N. system generally failed to take them into account.
I wonder how much funds were sent secretly through backdoors to UNESCO via individual executive agencies at Obama’s insistence. I doubt UNESCO would have been appeased and quiet if something were not padding their account from the US.