The General Conference of UNESCO has voted to accept Palestine as a Member State of the Organization. U.S. law requires that if a specialized agency of the United Nations accepts as a member an entity that does not meet the international standards to be considered a nation, then then the United States must withhold its contributions to that agency. It seems clear that the law was specifically intended to deny Palestinian membership in these agencies. Shortly after the vote, the United States government announced that in compliance with that law, the United States would withhold the final contribution for 2011 (some $60 million).
Here are some added materials on that situation:
- The speech by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova on the budgetary measures to be taken in response to the shortfall of funding (Video; the first part is in French without subtitles, the second in English).
- "State Still Making the Case for UNESCO Funding", Josh Rogin, The Cable (Foreign Policy blog)
- "UNESCO Approves Palestinian Membership Bid – A Case for US Countermeasures Against the Organization?", Christiane Ahlborn, European Journal of International Law
- "INTERVIEW: UNESCO-chief: We'll pull through - just - without US funds", Ralf E. Krueger, M&C News
- "US Funding Freeze Threatens UNESCO Science", Yojana Sharma, SciDev.Net
- "Sen. Gillibrand wrong on UNESCO", Laura Myerson and Cortlandt Manor, Lohud.com
- "Cutting Off Unesco, U.S. May Endanger Programs in Iraq and Afghanistan", Steven Erlanger, The New York Times
|UNESCO Water Specialist Casey Walther working on a project in Iraq|