Friday November 11, 2011 07:57:22 PM, IANS
New Delhi: UNESCO Friday launched an emergency multi-donor fund to overcome a shortfall caused by the US witholding its dues. The African nation of Gabon immediately donated $2 million to the fund, a UNESCO statement said Friday.
The US withheld its contributions following the admission of Palestine to UNESCO Oct 31, leaving it with an immediate shortfall of $65 million to the end of 2011, and a further gap of 22 percent in its $653 million budget for 2012-2013.
Israel followed suit and withheld its contribution of $1.5 million for 2012-2013.
The US announcement provoked an unprecedented outpouring of support for UNESCO from individuals, associations and private corporations from all corners of the globe.
"I see these expressions of support as clear recognition of the good that UNESCO does in the world. These are very concrete indicators of success," UNESCO director general Irina Bokova said.
She urged member states to support an immediate increase in the organisation's working capital fund for 2012-2013 from $30 million to $65 million.
South Sudan and Palestine were admitted to UNESCO as member states, and Curacao and Sint Maarten as associate members. This brings the total number of member states to 195 with eight associate members.