Thursday, November 19, 2015

UNESCO Says No to Membership for Kosovo

Last week (before the terror attacks in Paris) a vote was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Most of those voting favored membership for Kosovo, but the final vote fell two votes short of approving  membership for Kosovo.  The vote was 92 "yes" votes, 50 "no" votes, and 29 abstentions.  Kosovo needed two-thirds of those voting, or more than 94 "yes" votes. 

The defeat for Kosovo was seen as a victory for Serbia and Russia, which had lobbied against membership for Kosovo.  Reports are that Kosovo will try again to join UNESCO at the next general conference. Matthew Brunwasser, UNESCO Rejects Membership for Kosovo, N.Y. Times, Nov. 10, 2015, at A5.

UNESCO was created in 1945 to respond to the firm belief of nations, forged by two world wars in less than a generation, that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. Peace must be established on the basis of humanity‚Äôs moral and intellectual solidarity.

UNESCO strives to build networks among nations that enable this kind of solidarity, by:

  • Mobilizing for education: so that every child, boy or girl, has access to quality education as a fundamental human right and as a prerequisite for human development.
  • Building intercultural understanding: through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity. UNESCO created the idea of World Heritage to protect sites of outstanding universal value
  • Pursuing scientific cooperation: such as early warning systems for tsunamis or trans-boundary water management agreements, to strengthen ties between nations and societies.
  • Protecting freedom of expression: an essential condition for democracy, development and human dignity.

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