Some of the programs that will be affected by the budget cut are education and literacy training to Afghans and Iraqis, special training for the Iraqi judiciary and news media, special literacy training to the Afghan police, and a partnership with the Iraqi National Water Council to create a database of the country’s underground water supplies.
George Papagiannis, an American who used to work at the UNESCO office in Baghdad, Iraq, said “the ramifications are serious.”
“The larger issue is how a law has undermined our capacity to deliver in a place very critical to American interests. We’ve invested gazillions of dollars in Iraq, and we can’t put a price on the lives of the Americans and Iraqis who died, and we promised to help build a new Iraq, something fresh and new in the Middle East, and then we hamstring ourselves,” he said.
The fund pays for 22 percent of the budget of all U.N. agencies, and losing it also meant funding cuts within the organization.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has already instituted a freeze on all spending, including hiring, travel and cancellation of some contracts of outside consultants for future savings. She hopes, however, that the budget cutoff will only be temporary.
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