Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Fans and players react online to Arsene Wegner's club departure

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Syria alleged chemical attack: Gunfire delays deployment of weapons inspectors

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Cashing in on local French currencies

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Life on the canals of northern France

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

What lies ahead for Cuba after the Castros?

Read more

#TECH 24

Discovering and harnessing the power of the sun

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Can France bid 'adieu' to popular weedkiller glyphosate?

Read more

#THE 51%

Harmful for your health: When gender bias affects medical diagnosis

Read more

REPORTERS

Africa’s donkeys slaughtered for Chinese ‘miracle elixir’

Read more

United Nations

French and Qatari candidates face off in final vote for top UNESCO job

© Jacques Demarthon, AFP | The logo of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris on October 12, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-10-13

The United Nations’ cultural agency will elect a new chief on Friday, seeking someone who can revive UNESCO’s fortunes after the United States and Israel pulled out.

Whoever gets the job will need to restore relevance to the agency whose mission to protect the world’s cultural and natural heritage has been hobbled by regional rivalries and a lack of money.

After five days of secret balloting at UNESCO’s Paris HQ two former culture ministers, Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari and France’s Audrey Azoulay, face off in the final vote of the 58-member Executive Board, scheduled for Friday evening.

If the two finalists are level, they draw lots to decide who leads the agency for the next four years.

“More than ever UNESCO needs a project that rallies the member states, re-establishes trust and cuts through the political divisions for the sake of UNESCO,” French foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne said ahead of the vote to replace Irina Bokova, a Bulgarian who has led the body since 2009.

The United States is meant to provide a fifth of UNESCO’s funding, but had already been withholding that since 2011 when the body admitted Palestine as a full member. It announced its departure on Thursday accusing UNESCO of anti-Israeli bias. Israel itself followed.

“Unfortunately, this venue has become politicised, undermining the work of UNESCO across its mandate. It’s become a venue for anti-Israel bias, and unfortunately we are taking the decision to withdraw from UNESCO at this time,” U.S. charge d’affaires at UNESCO, Chris Hegadorn told Reuters.

With a Qatari and an Egyptian earlier vying for the job, the election has been troubled by the standoff between Doha and several of its Arab neighbours that have severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties, accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism, something it denies.

The Qatari, Kawari, who has been the subject of barbs from Egyptian officials over the last week and been subjected to online abuse said on Thursday night he was confident he would win and wanted to reunite the member states.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2017-10-13

  • USA

    US, Israel withdraw from 'biased' UNESCO

    Read more

  • FRANCE - QATAR

    French, Qatari candidates neck-and-neck in race for UNESCO chief

    Read more

  • CULTURE

    Diplomatic wrangling mars race for UNESCO’s top job

    Read more

COMMENT(S)