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United States and Israel formally pulled out of UNESCO

  • Category
    World Affairs
  • Published
    10th Jan, 2019

Recently, United States (US) and Israel have officially quit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Context

Recently, United States (US) and Israel have officially quit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

About

  • Both the countries alleged that the UNESCO behaved partially by criticizing Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and granted full membership to Palestine in 2011.
  • USA has pulled out from UNESCO in 1984 during the Reagan administration for the agency’s alleged soft corner towards erstwhile Soviet Union. Later it joined the agency in 2003.

What is UNESCO?

  • It is a UN organisation that seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture. UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030.

Why UNESCO?

  • Political and economic arrangements of governments are not enough to secure the lasting and sincere support of the peoples. Peace must be founded upon dialogue and mutual understanding. Peace must be built upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of humanity.
  • In this spirit, UNESCO develops educational tools to help people live as global citizens free of hate and intolerance.

When was it founded?

  • At the end of the United Nations Conference on for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF) convened in 1945, thirty-seven countries founded the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  • The Constitution of UNESCO, signed on 16 November 1945, came into force on 4 November 1946 after ratification by twenty countries
  • India was the founding member of the organisation.
  • With its headquarters in Paris the organisation is one of the specialised organisations of United Nations having 193 member countries.

What are the arenas of work and the mandate of the organisation?

UNESCO's aim 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"

  • Education: As every child and citizen has access to basic minimum education.
  • Promoting cultural heritage and the equal dignity of all cultures
  • Fosters scientific programmes and policies as platforms for development and cooperation.
  • Stands up for freedom of expression, as a fundamental right and a key condition for democracy and development.
  • Serving as a laboratory of ideas, UNESCO helps countries adopt international standards and manages programmes that foster the free flow of ideas and knowledge sharing.

How does UNESCO pursue its objectives?

  • UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences, culture and communication/information.
  • Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programs, international science programs, the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press, regional and cultural history projects, the promotion of cultural diversity, translations of world literature, international cooperation agreements to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage (World Heritage Sites) and to preserve human rights, and attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide.
  • It is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.
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