US wants to rejoin UNESCO
Context: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) announced that the United States will rejoin it in July 2023. Background:
News Source: Indian Express
- In 2011, UNESCO inducted Palestine as a member. This led to the US halting the agency’s funding.
- Though Palestine is not recognised as a sovereign state by the United Nations it was included as a non-member observer State over Israel’s objections in 2012.
- Israel and the United States termed the inclusion of Palestine as example of anti–Israel bias.
- US laws, owing to the country’s historical ties with Israel, prohibit funding to any UN agency that implies recognition of the Palestinians’ demands for their own state.
- US accrued $600 million in unpaid dues in these years and became one of the reasons behind then US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw in 2017.
- The US has welcomed UNESCO’s efforts in addressing challenges, improving management, and reducing political tensions in recent years.
- The decision to return was due to China filling the gap left by the US in UNESCO policy making, such as in setting standards for artificial intelligence and technology education around the world.