World Bulletin / News Desk
UNESCO is in its "worst ever financial situation" after its biggest contributor the United States froze funding last year, the director general of the United Nations' cultural agency said on Thursday.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation was plunged into crisis in October 2011 when Washington, an ally of Israel, cancelled its grant in protest at the body's decision to grant the Palestinians full membership.
THe U.N. body had been forced to slash spending, freeze job hires and cut programmes after losing the U.S. funding, which had made up 22 percent of its budget, UNESCO's Irina Bokova told reporters.
The organisation, which designates World Heritage sites, promotes global education and supports press freedom among other tasks, had started the year with a deficit of $150 million out of $653 million for its budget over 2012 and 2013, Bokova said.
"It's crippling our capacity to deliver," she added.
"We are coping in very difficult circumstances. We're fundraising this year, but it's not sustainable on a long-term basis. We're not closing UNESCO, but member states will have to rethink the way forward. UNESCO will be crippled."
As a result of the vote on the Palestinians, the U.S. administration, which pays its dues at the end of the year, immediately withdrew its funding to the Paris-based agency.
Among projects to be hit by the change in U.S. policy were a Holocaust education programme that is linked to wider campaigns on human rights and genocide and a Tsunami research project, both of which had been directly financed by Washington.
Bokova said it was in U.S. interests to be part of UNESCO and hoped Washington would review its position before next year when it would be stripped of voting rights for not paying its dues.
"There is money in the world, but it's not just about money," Bokova said. "We need the United States to formulate common policies and to debate common values."
Bokova, who took her post three years ago, said the deep cuts UNESCO had been obliged to make were affecting the way it did business. It did not replace 336 jobs amounting to about 15 percent of its total workforce, cancelled projects and slashed expenses.
To compensate for the shortfall, UNESCO created an emergency fund to obtain cash, primarily from other members, that is allocated to projects as it wishes.
The 60-year old former Bulgarian foreign minister said she had managed to raise $69 million, including $20 million each from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as smaller donations from countries including Turkey, Indonesia and Algeria.
It has also received specific project funding from countries that have particular interests in certain fields. On Thursday it is due to sign a $20 million agreement with Norway for education and sustainable development programmes.
"It fills gaps, but not in the long-run. We need a predictable budget," she said. "I think UNESCO was caught in between the political turmoil of the Middle Eastern conflict. I think it's unfair."
Imam Harun’s fight against racism has deep repercussions not only in South Africa but also in the rest of the continent.
İsmail Gaspıralı, the leading thinker, journalist and politician was born in Bahçesaray, a Crimean town in 1851
Millenial work by Ibn Sina were published in Turkish as a five-volume collection
In Turkey 121 verses poem, assumed the longest, found during an archeolgical research among the remains of inscriptions
The footages have offered significant insights about the socio-economic and political atmosphere of that time
One of the most important African specialists Ali Mazrui passed away in USA
After successfully ledding the independency movement, when Malaysia got independent in 1957, Abdurahman got the title of founding father of the country and became president.
The Vikings, of Scandinavian origin, made successive raids on Britain from the 8th to the 11th centuries, burying their valuables for safe-keeping
The first silent movies to be shot in the powerful pre-WW1 Ottoman Empire are to be screened in a new cinema exhibition in Turkey's largest city
Five leaves of rare Quran became a part of Yildiz Holding Art Collection
40,000 year old cave paintings in Sulawesi are same age as European daubings
Modiano's works have centred on memory, oblivion, identity and guilt that often take place during the German occupation of World War Two.
Gilan, located 15-min far away from Doburçan, a Turkish populated village welcomed many thousands of tourists who wants to see some historical artifacts
Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency gives €150,000 to restore burnt archives
Iraq's heritage already suffered a major blow in the lawlessness and looting that followed the toppling of President Saddam Hussein by U.S.-led forces in 2003
Researchers ound different geometric shapes created using stones or sculpting on the ground - including squares, rings, crosses and swastikas - ranging from 90 to 400 meters in size.