United States Seeks to Rejoin UNESCO to Counter China’s Influence.

Spread the love

US Formally Applies to Rejoin UNESCO, Citing China’s Influence

After five years, the United States has officially submitted an application to rejoin the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The US argues that it needs to regain its seat at the table, where China has exerted undue influence on critical issues such as education and the future of artificial intelligence (AI). This move is part of President Joe Biden’s commitment to reverse his predecessor’s stance on various international bodies, including the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Positive Reception to US Reapplication at UNESCO

UNESCO headquarters in Paris welcomed the US decision to rejoin with resounding applause. Director-General Audrey Azoulay described it as an “historic moment” and emphasized the importance of multilateralism. She stated that the absence of the US in recent years had led to a loss of influence, both globally and in its own national interest.

Background of US Withdrawal and China’s Role

The US withdrew from UNESCO in 2018 following a dispute over the organization’s admission of Palestine as a member in 2011. The decision to recognize Palestine as a state sparked anger from the US and Israel, leading the Obama administration to halt funding due to legal restrictions. China has since become a significant funder of UNESCO, especially in the obligatory contributions segment. However, voluntary funding from China remains limited, according to UNESCO spokesman Matthieu Lamarre.

China’s Influence through UNESCO’s Vehicles

China has seized opportunities to exert its influence within UNESCO, particularly through bodies like the World Heritage Committee. This committee, responsible for designating and protecting cultural landmarks, wields considerable economic and tourism impact. Examples include designating controversial or disputed areas as World Heritage Sites, such as the recognition of the old city of Hebron in the West Bank as a Palestinian World Heritage Site. China’s role as chair from 2021 to 2022 also saw recommendations to place Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on the “in danger” list, causing concerns for the country’s tourism industry.

US Concerns over China’s Influence on AI and World Order

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the urgency of the US rejoining UNESCO due to its work on artificial intelligence (AI). UNESCO’s efforts in establishing rules, norms, and standards for AI have significant global implications. With China currently the largest contributor to UNESCO, Blinken emphasized the need for the US to have a seat at the table. There are concerns that China’s different approach to issues like democracy and human rights could shape AI regulations in ways that challenge US ideological interests. The US reapplication did not address the Palestine issue directly but expressed appreciation for UNESCO’s efforts to reduce politicized debates in the Middle East.

To rejoin UNESCO, the US has agreed to pay over $600 million in back dues and will face a vote by the organization’s 193 members, expected to occur in July.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Daily Post Nigeria

Views:1021 7
Website | + posts

Whether writing about complex technical topics or breaking news stories, my writing is always clear, concise, and engaging. My dedication to my craft and passion for storytelling have earned me a reputation as a highly respected article writer.

Spread the love