National Council on Canada-Arab Relations | Conseil National des Relations Canado-Arabes
|November 3rd , 2011 / 3 Novembre, 2011||Pour version française, cliquez ici|
|November 3rd, 2011 (Ottawa):The National Council on Canada-Arab Relations (NCCAR) is disappointed the Harper government voted to oppose the Palestinian request for membership in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Monday October 31st. The vote results were: 107 in favor, 14 opposed, 52 abstentions, and 21 absent.
While Canada will not be withdrawing its core funding for UNESCO, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has stated that “under no circumstances will Canada be contributing more money to cover any budgetary shortfall that may result from this decision. Those countries that voted in favour of the Palestinian proposal ought to have known the potential financial implications this would have. Canada has also decided that we are currently not considering any new funding proposals for UNESCO programs.”
Regrettably, the U.S. has decided to withdraw its core funding which accounts for 22% of UNESCO’s budget due to a U.S. law from the 1990s. A statement by the Director-General of UNESCO warns that the funding cuts will “immediately affect our ability to deliver programmes in critical areas: achieving universal education, supporting new democracies and fighting extremism…So I call on the U.S. administration, Congress and the American people to find a way forward and continue support for UNESCO in these turbulent times.”
NCCAR encourages the Harper government to reconsider its position by providing supplemental funding to UNESCO, on a temporary basis, until the U.S. finds a way to restore its funding. In addition, NCCAR believes that the punitive action of refusing to consider new funding proposals for UNESCO programs undermines and compromises UNESCO’s important work, a few examples of which are outlined below:
“We hope the government will avoid any withdrawal of current and future moral and financial support to UNESCO’s critical work,” said David Comerford. “Canadians of all backgrounds value and support UNESCO’s programmes as they are aligned with Canada’s values and interests.”.
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For more information, please contact:
Spokespeople are available in the following locations: Ottawa and Montreal.
The National Council on Canada-Arab Relations (NCCAR) is a charitable organization whose mission is to build ties between Canadians and people of the Arab World in order to develop stronger relations and cooperation between them as well as raise an appreciation of their common values. NCCAR is a member-driven organization supported by Canadians of diverse backgrounds across Canada.