The United States of America has announced its decision to rejoin the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in July 2023, based on a concrete financing plan.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, announced this decision at a gathering of representatives of the Organization’s 193 Member States.
The U.S. Department of State made this development known through a letter sent to the Director-General, recognising how UNESCO had addressed in recent years emerging challenges, modernized its management, and reduced political tensions.
Audrey Azoulay, expressing her delight at this significant move, said: “This is a strong act of confidence, in UNESCO and in multilateralism. Not only in the centrality of the Organization’s mandate – culture, education, science, information – but also in the way this mandate is being implemented today.”
New initiatives have been launched enabling UNESCO to fully tackle contemporary challenges – such as the ethics of artificial intelligence or the protection of the ocean – while emblematic new field campaigns – including the reconstruction of the old city of Mosul, Iraq – have allowed the Organization to reconnect with its historical ambitions.
In addition, administrative reforms rolled out since 2018, have made UNESCO more efficient and financially sound.
The return of the United States was made possible by the agreement reached by Congress in December 2022 authorizing financial contributions to UNESCO. It had initially suspended its contributions in 2011 due to domestic legislation, before notifying UNESCO of its decision to legally withdraw on October 12, 2017.
The proposed financing plan will have to be submitted to the General Conference of UNESCO Member States for their approval. Some Member States have requested that an extraordinary session be held as soon as possible so a decision can be made.