Out of UNESCO: 

Out of UNESCO

Context

  • The U.S.’s decision to quit UNESCO is an attempt to reassert geopolitical influence in West Asia.
  • The U.S. withdrawal will become effective as of the end of December 2018.

What is the significance of UNESCO?

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris.
  • UNESCO is best known for designating World Heritage Sites
  • It was founded after World War Two to help protect cultural and natural heritage around the world.

Why did US decided to quit UNESCO?

The U.S, UN and Palestine

  • The key issue, as with many US-UN disputes, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • UNESCO declared the ancient and hotly contested core of Hebron, a city in the southern part of the occupied Palestinian territories, as a Palestinian world heritage site
  • In 2015, UNESCO adopted a resolution that criticized Israel for mishandling heritage sites in Jerusalem and condemned Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against freedom of worship.

What has happened so far?

  • In January,the Trump administration prepared orders to halt U.S. funding to global institutions that advocate membership for the Palestine Authority.
  • In February, Washington blocked the appointment, at the eleventh hour, of a former Palestinian premier to serve in a senior UN position.
  • The United States cut off about 22 percent of its entire budget for UNESCO, in reprisal for the organization’s acceptance of Palestine as a member.
  • In October 2011, UNESCO admitted the Palestinian territories to the organization as an independent member-state called Palestine.
  • The action taken by UNESCO triggered a US law which cut off American funding for any organization that recognized an independent Palestine.
  • The US had previously paid for 22 percent ($80 million) of UNESCO’s annual budget.

How will the US withdrawal from UNESCO impact either sides?

Loss of reputation  

  • International relations scholarship shows when a leader reneges on an international commitment, it undermines the nation’s credibility and therefore its reputation.

Diminished ability to lead

  • International organizations provide states with an important arena to project soft power.
  • Without a membership role in UNESCO, there’s less opportunity to share U.S. ideals and norms around the world.

Less issue-linkage potential

  • By withdrawing from UNESCO, the United States loses an arena that could be valuable for bargaining — not necessarily just for issues such as education and culture.

Longer-term market effects

  • The withdrawal could be international analysts as downgrade a state’s credibility.

What is the Israeli-Palestinian Issue about?

  • The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, primarily as a conflict over territory.
  • The origins to the conflict can be traced back to Jewish immigration, and sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine between Jews and Arabs
  • The Israeli–Palestinian conflict has its roots in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the birth of major nationalist movements among the Jews and among the Arabs, both geared towards attaining sovereignty for their people in the Middle East
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