The Trump Administration announced earlier this month that the United States is leaving a United Nations body tasked with promoting international collaboration on educational, cultural, and scientific endeavors. The U.S. will formally withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the end of 2018.
In a statement from the State Department, the administration stated that: “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.”
The U.S. stopped contributing financially to UNESCO about six years ago over concerns about the recognition of Palestine as an independent state. As a result, the U.S. lost its voting privileges four years ago.
UNESCO’s scientific programs include preservation of biologically diverse ecosystems. The international organization also weighed in on the preservation of museums and collections in a 2015 report.
UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova said that the U.S. and UNESCO have partnered on many meaningful projects, including “our interaction with the United States Geological Survey, with the US Army Corps of Engineers, with United States professional societies, to advance research for the sustainable management of water resources, agriculture.”