The U.S. Owes UNESCO Half A Billion Dollars [Infographic]
The United States and Israel have announced that they are withdrawing their membership of the U.N.'s cultural agency, UNESCO, with Washington citing "continuing anti-Israel bias".
The United States and Israel have announced that they are withdrawing their membership of the U.N.'s cultural agency, UNESCO, with Washington citing "continuing anti-Israel bias". The withdrawal is a major blow for the struggling Paris-based organization, which is best known for designating heritage sites across the world including Palmyra in Syria and the Colosseum in Rome. UNESCO particularly angered Israel and the U.S. in July by designating Hebron's Old City and The Tomb of the Patriarchs Palestinian World Heritage sites. The latter is regarded as sacred by Jews, Christians and Muslims, resulting in Israel accusing the organization of political bias.
The U.S. decision to walk away from UNESCO is also due to desired budget cuts. The U.S. used to pay the lion's share of UNESCO's budget but it cancelled its financial contributions in 2011 in protest against Palestine's admission as a full member. Since then, it has amassed significant arrears of over $500 million. For various reasons, Britain, Japan and Brazil have also failed to pay their 2017 contributions, accrueing nearly $70 million of arrears between them. The U.S. also withdrew from UNESCO under Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and rejoined the organization in 2003 under George W. Bush. The latest withdrawal will take effect on 31 December, 2018.
*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)