Yesterday, the U.S. and Israel announced that they would be withdrawing from UNESCO, citing "continuing anti-Israel bias". The move comes as a major blow to the organization which is known for designating cultural sites around the world such as the Grand Canyon or ancient Palmyra in Syria.
The U.S. has been expected to pay the bulk of UNESCO's budget
for years and it cancelled its financial contributions back in 2011 in protest of Palestine's admission as a full member. In the years since, it has amassed significant arrears of over $500 million. This year, the UK, Japan and Brazil have all failed to pay their contributions so far, accrueing nearly $70 million of arrears between them.
This isn't the first time the U.S. has turned its back on UNESCO. The country also left the organization under Ronald Reagan in the 1980s before rejoining under George W. Bush in 2003. The latest withdrawal will come into effect at the very end of 2018.