UNESCO begins cuts amid American funding shortfall
The United Nations' cultural organization UNESCO said Thursday that its financial situation was "difficult," after the United States stopped paying following UNESCO's recognition of Palestine as a member state, dpa reported.
"The situation is difficult, but we won't stop our programmes," spokesman Eric Falt told dpa.
The comment came a day after UNESCO chief Irina Bokova said that all their activity was on hold.
"I have interrupted all our engagements. I have suspended the implementation of all our programmes during this revision period until the end of the year," Bokova said according to a transcript circulated Thursday.
She also aired plans to set up an "emergency multi-donor fund" for states, companies and individuals to contribute towards UNESCO's core programmes.
The organization is 65 million dollars in the red this year, Bokova said, adding that it would run a 143-million-dollar deficit in 2012 without US payments.
By cutting back on non-essential items such as publications, conferences or staff travel, UNESCO estimated it would be able to save around 35 million dollars.
The US - UNESCO's largest donor - had earlier warned UNESCO of congressional legislation blocking it from funding UN bodies that recognize the Palestinian state. Israel has also suspended its contributions.