Today the United States lost its vote in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference as a result of legislative restrictions that prohibit the U.S. from paying its dues. While these restrictions are motivated by concerns that we share, the loss of the United States' vote in UNESCO diminishes our influence within an organization that is looked to around the world for leadership on issues of importance to our country, including the rights of women and girls, Internet governance, freedom of the press, and the recognition and protection of cultural heritage. The Obama Administration has called upon Congress to approve legislative changes that would allow needed flexibility in the application of these statutory restrictions.
U.S. leadership in UNESCO matters. As such, the United States will remain engaged with the organization in every possible capacity, including attending meetings, participating in debates, and maintaining our seat as an elected member of the Executive Board until 2015.
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