The United States and Israel have officially quit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on New Year’s Day.
The withdrawal is mainly procedural yet serves a new blow to UNESCO, co-founded by the US after World War II to foster peace.
The Trump administration filed its notice to withdraw in October 2017 and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed suit, accusing the UN agency of anti-Israel bias.
The Paris-based organisation has previously criticised Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and granted full membership to Palestine in 2011.
UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
It is the successor of the League of Nations’ International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.
UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members.Most of its field offices are “cluster” offices covering three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist.