Heritage Influences State Department Withdrawal From UNESCO


Heritage Influences State Department Withdrawal From UNESCO

Oct 19, 2017

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris, France. Philippe Wojazer/REUTERS/Newscom

Last week, President Trump called for the United States to pull out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a move that The Heritage Foundation has advocated for years.

“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

“We are delighted with the robust decision by the Trump Administration to withdraw from UNESCO over its blatant anti-Israel bias,” said Nile Gardiner, director of Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom and Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow.

Gardiner pointed out that Brett Schaefer, Heritage’s Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs, has maintained a constant drumbeat against U.S. participation in UNESCO, including several op-ed’ and reports.

In Oct. 2013, almost five years to the day of the State Department's announcement, Schaefer wrote a report titled “The U.S. Should Withdraw from UNESCO.”

“It is inappropriate for the U.S. to maintain UNESCO membership while simultaneously refusing to provide any funding. This leads to an accrual of arrears, creates budgetary uncertainty for UNESCO, and inappropriately leads the organization to believe that U.S. funding will be forthcoming,” wrote Schaefer.

This important commentary from Schaefer in The Daily Signal specifically called out UNESCO’s hostility towards Israel.

“Heritage has been the only major think tank to call for the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO and Brett has closely advised U.S. officials on the matter,” said Gardiner.

“Brett's work on UNESCO, and on so many UN reform issues, has been outstanding, highly influential and always years ahead of the curve.”

The withdrawal from UNESCO will take effect on December 31, 2018.