Resolution about UNESCO

2013 Midwinter Meeting 
Resolution on United States Funding and Participation in UNESCO
Whereas the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) focuses on the advancement of values that are in alignment with those of the American Library Association (ALA);
Whereas these values include promotion and advancement of education around the world, freedom of expression, including a free and open internet and media sector, the sharing of scientific knowledge, and cultural understanding through the preservation of world heritage and intercultural dialogue;
Whereas the United States has played a leading role in the creation and development of UNESCO, from the drafting of its constitution to the creation of some of its most successful programs;
Whereas ALA Policy 51 (Federal Legislative Policy) specifically recognizes the need for the United States to be a member UNESCO for the development of libraries in the United States and around the world;  
Whereas the American Library Association objected to the United States withdrawal from UNESCO in 1984 (CD 17.1, 1984), and commended President George W. Bush for returning the United States to full membership in UNESCO in 2002 (Press Release, October 2002);
Whereas Congress stopped funding UNESCO in late 2011 after the agency admitted Palestine into its membership, pursuant to US law that requires the United States to cut off funds to any United Nations agency that recognizes Palestine as a full member;
Whereas the cessation of United States funding has created a significant deficit in UNESCO’s budget, resulting in either canceling or jeopardizing countless programs that improve people’s lives;
Whereas the United States will lose its vote at the next General Conference of UNESCO in fall 2013 if dues are not paid; and
Whereas the State Department has made a request to Congress for a national interest waiver that will allow the United States to keep its vote in UNESCO and advocate for shared values globally through full participation in UNESCO projects; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA):
1. urges Congress to approve the national interest waiver so the United States can again pay its dues, and become a fully functioning member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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