Earlier today, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted to admit the Palestinian Authority as a full member. The United States just announced that it will be cutting off funding to UNESCO, which is required by a ’90s-era law requiring funds to be cut off to any U.N. agency that admits the Palestinians. The funding cut would amount to $60 million that was due to be delivered in November, and this reduction would be even more severe because the United States backends its payments, meaning much of this year’s payment won’t be made in addition to future years. The U.S. funding cut also amounts to 22 percent of the agency’s budget.
The AP reports: “The U.S. will maintain its membership and participation in the body, Nuland said, though it wasn’t immediately clear how that would work if it was no longer paying its share of the costs.”
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova noted in the Washington Post last week that the agency is “helping governments and communities prepare for life after the withdrawal of U.S. military forces” from Iraq and Afghanistan and that it is “bolstering the literacy of the Afghan National Police and are leading the country’s largest education program.” Bokava added, “We target the causes of violent extremism by training teachers in human rights and Holocaust remembrance.”