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UNESCO launches emergency donations appeal

The UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has launched an emergency appeal for donations to help fill a $65 million funding shortfall resulting from dues withheld by the United States. A special Multi-donor Emergency Fund has been established by UNESCO which anyone can contribute to through an online donation site. Donations are being sought from individuals, Member States, institutions, corporations and foundations.

Donations can be made online at

The appeal was launched after the United States announced the withholding of their dues after the admission of Palestine as a UNESCO Member State on 31 October. The US was required to do so by national laws dating back to the 1990s. This leaves UNESCO with an immediate shortfall of US$65m to the end of 2011, and a further gap of 22% in its US$653m budget for 2012-2013. Israel has also followed suit and withheld its contribution of US$1.5m, representing 0.3% of UNESCO’s budget for 2012-2013.

The news provoked an unprecedented wave of support for UNESCO from citizens, associations and private corporations from across the globe.

I see these expressions of support as clear recognition of the good that UNESCO does in the world.”

Irina Bokove during the closing session of the UNESCO General Conference on 10 November.

To cover the funding gap to the end of 2011, the Director-General told the General Conference that UNESCO had already begun a thorough review of all of the Organization’s activities planned for November and December. “I have temporarily interrupted certain activities to revise their costs,” Irina Bokova said. “I am well aware that this situation is also an opportunity to accelerate reform,” she continued. “I am absolutely ready to completely revise our action, working methods and structures within the Secretariat.”

Written: 30/11/2011 , last modified: 30/11/2011

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