International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt is urging fellow Cabinet ministers to back plans to withdraw the UK’s £11.1m funding from Unesco, according to reports.This article also gives an update on the current state-of-play regarding the plans of Israel and the United States to withdraw from UNESCO as of 31 December 2018.
“Mordaunt’s department ranks Unesco as its worst-performing multilateral agency,” says The Times. “She believes that its work does not meet her spending criteria for international aid.”
I hope this does not happen. Since Audrey Azoulay took over as UNESCO chief, she has been making a real effort to reach a better understanding with Israel and the U.S.A. But paradoxically, this new move by Secretary Mordaunt may strengthen Ms. Azoulay's hand, since it puts UNESCO under yet more pressure.
It would not surprise me if a deal emerges just before the end of the year which keeps all three countries in UNESCO. Let's hope so. But I think we'll be seeing some brinksmanship before that happens.
For background of the falling out of Israel and the United States with UNESCO, start here and follow the links.
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