Drained of money and riven by rivalries, UNESCO seeks personality to revitalise fortunes


PARIS (Reuters) – When Israel’s attach� told UNESCO representatives final Jul that regulating a plumbing in his toilet was some-more critical than their latest ruling, it highlighted how querulous geopolitics are paralyzing a workings of a agency.

Whoever wins a competition to reinstate Irina Bokova as conduct of a U.N.’s informative and preparation physique subsequent week will have to try to revive a aptitude of an group innate from a remains of World War Two yet increasingly hobbled by informal rivalries and a miss of money.

Its triumphs embody installation universe birthright sites such as a Galapagos Islands and a ancestral tombs of Timbuktu — re-built by UNESCO after Islamist militants broken them.

But in a pointer of how poisonous family have become, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told universe leaders during a U.N. General Assembly final month that UNESCO was compelling “fake history”.

Like Israel’s plain-speaking attach� Carmel Shama Hacohen, Netanyahu was referring to UNESCO’s nomination of Hebron and a dual adjoined shrines during a heart – a Jewish Tomb of a Patriarchs and a Muslim Ibrahimi Mosque – as a “Palestinian World Heritage Site in Danger.”

Jews trust a Cave of a Patriarchs is where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their wives, are buried. Muslims, who, like Christians, also worship Abraham, built a Ibrahimi mosque, also famous as a Sanctuary of Abraham, in a 14th century.

Israeli-Palestinian hostilities, though, are usually partial of a minefield of quarrelsome issues on that a U.N. physique has to palm down rulings.

Japan, for example, threatened to secrete a 2016 impost after UNESCO enclosed papers submitted by China on a 1937 Nanjing Massacre in a “Memory of a World” program.

The Paris-based organization, that also promotes tellurian preparation and supports press freedom, convenes a executive legislature on Oct. 9 to start voting on 7 candidates.

Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, France, Lebanon, Qatar and Vietnam have put brazen candidates. There is no transparent frontrunner.

UNESCO’s struggles worsened in 2011, when a United States canceled a estimable budgetary extend in criticism during a preference to extend a Palestinians full membership. UNESCO has been forced to cut programs and solidify hiring.

“It’s an classification that has been swept divided from a charge to spin a sounding house for clashes that occur elsewhere, and that translates into domestic and financial hijacking,” pronounced a former European UNESCO ambassador.


All a possibilities have vowed a grassroots renovate and affianced autonomy from their home nations.

France and China, both permanent members of a U.N. Security Council, disagree a group needs ”strong leadership, that can usually come with a subsidy of a vital power.

Chinese claimant Qian Tang has roughly 25 years knowledge during UNESCO. His bid fits into Beijing’s soothing energy diplomacy, yet Western capitals tatter about China determining an group that shapes internet and media policy.

Former French enlightenment apportion Audrey Azoulay carries a support of France’s new immature president, Emmanuel Macron. But a final notation French candidacy has drawn a madness of Arab states, particularly Egypt, who trust it should be their turn.

The Arab states face their possess domestic tests. Their 3 entries underscore their possess disunity, something a Egyptian carefree Moushira Khattab has indicated stymie a Arab bid.

The predicament engulfing Qatar and a Gulf Arab neighbors, who have called Doha a “high level” unite of terrorism, duration might have harm a chances of former Qatari enlightenment apportion Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari.

Voting takes place over a limit 5 rounds. If a dual finalists are level, they pull lots.

Reporting by John Irish; modifying by Richard Lough and Richard Balmforth


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