8 November 2011
Cross-posted from EJIL:Talk!
On 31 October 2011, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) approved the bid of Palestine for full membership with the necessary two-thirds majority. Although 107 UNESCO States voted in favor of Palestinian membership, the approval also faced notable opposition by 14 States. The overall number of 173 votes cast included 52 abstentions. Among the States voting against the bid were the United States, Canada and several EU member States, including Germany and the Netherlands. While the diverging positions of EU member States thus reveals once again the lack of unanimity in EU external relations policy, the US disapproval of the Palestinian UNESCO membership may have more serious consequences at the level of US-UNESCO relations. For after the approval of Palestine’s membership bid, the US immediately announced that it would cut off its funds to UNESCO, which amount to 60 million USD annually. (more…)
31 October 2011
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) voted on Monday to admit Palestine as a member with the necessary two-third majority. The United States, Israel, and some EU Member States voted against the bid, revealing once again the lack of unanimity in European external relations policy. The approval of the bid is likely to cause the US government to cut off a substantial amount of its 60 million USD in annual funding to the body. The US has already threatened to withhold or actually withheld its contributions to UNESCO at earlier occasions and even withdrew from the Organization in 1984, rejoining only in 2003.
For a legal classification of the practice of withholding membership contributions to an international organization in light of the law of international responsibility see C. Ahlborn, ‘The Rules of International Organizations and the Law of International Responsibility’, ACIL Research Paper No 2011-03 (SHARES Series), in particular the discussion on countermeasures by member States of an international organization.