The US is withdrawing from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, the US State Department announced on Thursday. The "Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the US decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
Trump claims the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO is over 'anti-Israel bias'. Israel, however, remains a member of UNESCO.
"This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO," she added.
What is UNESCO and why is it important?
UNESCO is a body of the United Nations that promotes international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication, though it is perhaps best known for its designation of "world heritage" sites -- locations with particular cultural significance. It was founded in 1945 as allied countries "were looking for ways and means to reconstruct their systems of education once peace was restored" in the wake of World War II, according to the organization -- which currently has 195 members and eight associate members.