The Trump administration announced its intention to withdraw from UNESCO on Thursday, the United Nations’ educational, scientific and cultural organization, due to mounting debts and a perceived “anti-Israel bias.”
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The United States cut payments to the organization in 2011 when it admitted Palestine as a member, pursuant to laws dating back to the early 1990s. At the time, the U.S. contributed about $80 million, or 22%, of the group’s budget, while Israel, which also cut off funding, gave about 3%.
The United States has participated as a member of UNESCO in the years since, however it lost its right to vote after two years of failing to fulfill payment obligations.
U.S. debts have surpassed $500 million, according to a Foreign Policy study released on Wednesday.
The U.S. is not the only major global power that has not paid its dues to the United Nations-sponsored group. Britain, Japan and Brazil have all yet to pay their financial obligations for the current year, according to Reuters. Behind the United States, Japan is the second-largest contributor to the United Nations’ overall funding, at nearly 10% of its complete budget. It is also one of the largest contributors to UNESCO.
The U.K. is the fifth largest contributor to the U.N.’s overall budget at more than 4%, followed by Brazil at more than 3.8%.