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Ear to the Ground

U.S. Skips Dues, Loses UNESCO Voting Rights

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Posted on Nov 8, 2013

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, suspended U.S. voting rights in its organization after Washington failed to pay its dues. U.S. contributions make up about a fifth of UNESCO’s funding.

The U.S. and Israel stopped contributing to the organization after it gave Palestinians membership in 2011. Both countries called the admission an attempt to bypass the Middle East peace process—a remarkable claim, given Israel’s continued expansion into the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and the United States’ ongoing military activities in the region.

As part of the United Nations, UNESCO, with its 195 member states, was founded in the immediate aftermath of World War II with a mandate for international cooperation.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


Unesco’s loss of $80m (£50m) a year in US funding has forced it to pare back American-led initiatives, including Holocaust education.

The US has said it cannot legally contribute to a UN agency that implies recognition of a Palestinian state.

The American ambassador to Unesco, David Killion, told Reuters news agency: “We intend to continue our engagement with Unesco in every possible way.”

The Paris-based agency is charged with designating World Heritage sites, promoting education and supporting press freedom.

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