Canada announced on Tuesday that it will not contribute more to UNESCO, AFP reported.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said his country will not give any more money to the UN’s cultural body to make up for a shortfall, after the U.S. cut its funding to the organization over its acceptance of the Palestinian Authority as a full member.
“Canada is deeply disappointed by the decision taken by UNESCO,” Baird was quoted as having told reporters. “As a result of this decision, Canada has decided to freeze all further voluntary contributions to UNESCO.”
Canada contributes about $10 million a year to UNESCO, and Baird explained that funding will not be withdrawn, but added, “The bottom line is there’s going to be a large hole in UNESCO’s budget because of the American law which withdraws funding and people at UNESCO should not look to Canada to fill that budget hole.”
He said, “They’ll have to go to the countries who supported this resolution, that caused this budget loophole.”
“Canada has also decided that we are currently not considering any new funding proposals for UNESCO programs,” Baird said.
Baird’s comments echo ones he made on Monday, when he said Canada will reconsider how much support it gives to UNESCO.
Baird said that he is not happy with the UNESCO’s decision and is examining options. He added he appreciates much of the work UNESCO undertakes but is having second thoughts.
On Monday, UNESCO accepted the PA as a member, with only 14 nations (including Canada, the United States, Israel and Germany) voting against the PA, while 107 favoring its entry and 52 countries abstaining.
After the vote, the United States was quick to announce that it is cutting off funding to UNESCO.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced at a briefing that the administration had no choice in the matter, and would not make its $60 million payment in November to the agency.
Nuland noted that a longstanding law that prohibits U.S. support for any United Nations-affiliated body that accepts Palestinian Authority membership precludes funding the international body.