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Friday, February 23, 2024

UNESCO approves US proposal to rejoin organisation

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The 193 member states of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) approved on Friday during an Extraordinary Session of the General Conference, the proposal submitted by the United States to rejoin the organisation.

After two days of discussions, 132 member states voted in favor and 10 against the return of the U.S. to the organization from which the U.S. has withdrawn twice, causing a negative impact on the organisation’s work.

The U.S. will fund the equivalent of 22 percent of the organisation’s regular budget, according to a press release from UNESCO.

Besides the progressive payment of the arrears, the U.S. will also make voluntary contributions to fund programs including those supporting access to education in Africa and the memory of the Holocaust, UNESCO said.

Speaking to the press after voting, Yang Jin, permanent representative of China to UNESCO, said that the U.S. should contribute to promoting the unity and cooperation of the organisation after its return, instead of engaging in confrontation and division.

“China urges the U.S., following its return to UNESCO, to fulfill its obligations and commitments, pay membership dues in full and on time, and pay off as soon as possible the dues owed to UNESCO for many years,” he said.

Yang also called on the U.S. to adhere to true multilateralism, respect the sovereignty and social systems of all countries, respect and maintain social diversity, refrain from ideological confrontation, and commit to promoting mutual understanding and cooperation among member states.

The United States pulled out of UNESCO twice, in 1984 and 2017. In June this year, the U.S. sent a letter to the director-general of UNESCO, proposing to rejoin the organisation as early as July based on a concrete financial plan, which includes a commitment to repay its estimated arrears of 619 million U.S. dollars.

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