Spotlight: US Decision To Withdraw From UNESCO Triggers Calls For Multilateralism

Last update: 13/10/2017

NEW YORK, Oct 13 (Bernama) -- The US decision to withdraw from UNESCO, the UN cultural agency, has triggered worldwide calls for supporting multilateralism amid world challenges, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

After the United States informed UNESCO on Thursday about its withdrawal on Dec 31, 2018, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said it would be a loss to the United Nations and "a loss to multilateralism."

She said that UNESCO needs the leadership of all states "at the time when the fight against violent extremism calls for renewed investment in education, in dialogue among cultures to prevent hatred."

According to the US State Department, one of the reasons for its withdrawal is the "continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO."

The United States stopped funding UNESCO after the organization voted to include Palestine as a member in 2011, but has maintained a UNESCO office at the organisation\'s headquarters in Paris to weigh in on policy.

"It is unfortunate when international organizations that serve useful humanitarian purposes become politicised," said an American expert on international relations, referring to the prolonged Israel-Palestine conflict.

Avery Goldstein, David M. Knott Professor of Global Politics and International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, said the decision of withdrawal continues a trend in US policy towards UNESCO put in place under former US President Barack Obama.

"It is more a matter of continuity than change," he told Xinhua in an email interview.....