Report: Palestinian territories - 
Article published the Friday 12 October 2012 - Latest update : Friday 12 October 2012

Unesco faces funding crisis after Palestine recognition

Irina Bokova, head of the Unesco

By Ruth Michaelson in Ramallah

The head of Unesco says that the organisation be financially “crippled”, following the decision to allow Palestine to become a member.

The UN cultural organisation, Unesco, is now facing what its boss, Irina Bokova, described Thursday as its “worst financial situation ever.”

Bokova stated that despite extensive fundraising efforts throughout 2012, the current situation is unsustainable and that unless a new way forward is found soon, the organisation could be “crippled”.

The United States pulled its grant to Unesco in November 2011, after the organisaiton gave full membership to Palestine. The decision slashed 22 per cent of its overall budget and creating a 116-million-euro deficit.

As well as having to freeze jobs, cut expenses and cancel projects, Unesco has also had to create an emergency fund through appeals to existing members.

Cuts have been made to programmes, including a Holocaust education programme linked to a wider human rights campaigns and a Tsunami research project, both of which had come direct from US funding.

Bokova criticised the current situation, saying that it is unfair for an institution to be implicated “in Middle Eastern conflict”.

The US risks being stripped of its voting rights within the institution for not paying its dues if it fails to review its position before next year.

tags: Palestine - Palestinian territories - Reports - Unesco - United Nations - United States
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