Will Withdrawal of U.S. UNESCO Funding Endanger World Heritage Sites?

A long-standing Congressional ban on U.S. funding for any U.N. agency that recognizes Palestine will mean a $60 million hole in UNESCO's budget in the wake of its decision to admit the nascent state.

The website Green Prophet, which covers environmental issues in the Middle East, warns that the loss of American funding will leave more than 50 world heritage sites with an uncertain future:

"The United States contributes 22% of UNESCO's budget and will withhold the pending November payment of $60 million, according to CNN. Slashing such a chunk of the organization's funding could have far-reaching consequences for no fewer than 50 world heritage sites throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean region, including at least 6 in Israel.

UNESCO's mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information, according to their website. The preservation of World Heritage Sites, which include threatened natural sanctuaries, falls under their purview. Without a large chunk of their budget, it remains to be seen how well the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Middle East region will fare."

Full Story: How Palestine’s UNESCO Membership Could Affect Middle East Heritage Sites

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