The United States of America confirmed on December 19 it would pull out of UNESCO at the end of 1984, saying that reforms of the Paris-based UN agency had not gone far enough.
DOLISIE, CONGO (ZAIRE), 1973 - MUTE (REUTERS - HERBERT RISZ)
GVs & SVs School under construction. Workers. Carpenters and Piggery. (3 SHOTS)
Background: The United States of America confirmed on December 19 it would pull out of UNESCO at the end of 1984, saying that reforms of the Paris-based UN agency had not gone far enough. The Reagan administration last December gave a year's notice of withdrawal from UNESCO - the United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organisation - but said it could reverse the decision if sufficient reforms were made. Announcing the withdrawal to reporters in Washington DC, US Assistant Secretary of State Gregory Newell cited budgetary mismanagement and politicisation of the agency as reasons for the decision. The pullout deprived UNESCO of 47-million dollars in US dues, about one quarter of its annual budget. UNESCO was founded in Paris in 1946 and its programmes included preservation or renovation of historic sites, media development and the administration of UN-funded pollution and education projects throughout the world. In 1974, the current director-general Amadou Mahtar M'Bow, was elected and accepted a peace prize on behalf of the organisation from Pope John in the Vatican City. The recent history of the agency has been marked by controversy. A decision to debar Israel from its European regional group for allegedly disfiguring holy places in Jerusalem with archaeological digs earned widespread criticism. The leadership of M'Bow, frequently accused of favouring under-developed countries in deployment of the agency's resources, also caused wariness among the Western member nations. In 1984, the Paris headquarters was set on fire and French police blamed arsonists. Following the US notice of withdrawal last year, other Western nations expressed concern over the running of UNESCO and the United Kingdom announced it would pull out unless further reforms were made by the end of 1985.