UNESCO member states have approved the return to the US since 2017

“With this return, theUNESCO It will be stronger to fulfill its mandate. It’s a big day forUNESCO and to multilateralism. “Strengthened by its renewed momentum in recent years, our organization is moving toward universality with a return to the Americas,” declared Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.UNESCO), headquartered in Paris.

On June 8, 2023, the United States sent a letter to UNESCO’s president proposing to rejoin the organization from July based on a firm financial proposal, including a commitment to repay their dues. Estimated at $619 million.

UNESCO’s 193 member states met on Thursday in an extraordinary session of the General Assembly to examine the proposal. On Friday afternoon, they accepted the US motion with a very large majority (132 votes to 10).

Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, during his visit to Ukraine.

A strengthened budget to implement its mandate

The United States will provide funding equivalent to 22% of UNESCO’s regular budget. This will include the gradual payment of their dues and, from 2023, voluntary contributions to funding programs dedicated to access to education in Africa, the memory of the Shoah and the protection of journalists.

UNESCO will benefit from a larger budget to implement its programs for education, culture, science and information. It can accelerate its action on two of its strategic priorities, Africa and gender equality.

Audrey Azoulay, who was elected head of the organization in November 2017, has held mediations to ease political tensions and find consensus on critical issues such as the Middle East. UNESCO said in a press release.

“UNESCO’s mandate – education, science, culture, freedom of information – is absolutely central to the challenges of the 21st century. It is this centrality, the easing of political tensions within it, and the initiatives launched in recent years that have led the United States to mobilize for this comeback,” said Ms. Azoulay.

UNESCO has launched new initiatives such as the ethics of artificial intelligence and conservation of the oceans. In line with its historical ambitions, it has also turned to symbolic field campaigns, such as the reconstruction of the old city of Mosul in Iraq.

In a letter to the Director-General of UNESCO in early June, the United States cited these reforms and these efforts as reasons for their return.

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