NCCAR Communique on UNESCO's decision to admit Palestine


National Council on Canada-Arab Relations | Conseil National des Relations Canado-Arabes

Communiqué
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:

  • UNESCO works to develop and sustain free and competitive media in Iraq, Tunisia and Egypt.
  • To sustain the democratic spirit of the Arab Spring, UNESCO is training journalists to cover elections objectively.
  • In the Middle East, UNESCO’s Sesame Programme enables world-class research and builds scientific and cultural bridges between neighbouring countries, including Israel and Egypt.
  • In Afghanistan, UNESCO is teaching thousands of police officers to read and write.  UNESCO literacy programmes in other areas of conflict give people the critical thinking skills and confidence they need to fight violent extremism.
  • UNESCO is the only UN Agency with a mandate to promote Holocaust Education worldwide.
  • UNESCO puts science at the service of people.  UNESCO is leading a global effort to expand an ocean-based tsunami warning system.  In January, this system saved tens of thousands of lives when a tsunami hit Japan.

“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:

Imad Al-Sukkari
Operations Adviser
imad.alsukkari@nccar.ca
www.nccar.ca
Telephone: 613-983-4623

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.

Communiqué
NCCAR Logo About NCCAR: 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 an appreciation of their common values. NCCAR is a member-driven organization supported by Canadians of diverse backgrounds across Canada. www.nccar.ca

Le Conseil national des relations canado-arabes (CNRCA) est un organisme caritatif dont la mission est de tisser des liens entre les Canadiens et les peuples du monde arabe pour créer des relations et une collaboration plus étroites entre eux, ainsi que pour mieux apprécier leurs valeurs communes. Le CNRCA est un organisme dirigé par ses membres et appuyé par des Canadiens de diverses origines dans l’ensemble du Canada. www.nccar.ca

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