Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology Stanley Simataa has revealed that the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) financial muscles have continued to weaken.
Simataa who is also the president of the 38th session of the General Conference of UNESCO has laid the blame on member states that have failed to honour their dues to the UN body.
“UNESCO’s capacity to maintain its vintage leadership position in driving the SDG agenda in areas within its mandate, is severely threatened by its perpetual weakened financial position,” he said.
He said that it was regrettable that member states have to be continuously urged and reminded to honour their payments.
“I appeal to Member States to peel off this impregnable – this impermeable layer of indifference we seem to have adopted for our actions are perilously close to compromising our relevance!” he said.
He added that they “must snap out of the current comatose of denial and forthwith restore the financial viability and predictability of this great Organisation.”
He did not however reveal how much in funds was UNESCO short of.
“I stated then and still do so now, that we cannot and must not rely on the benevolence of extra-budgetary contributions to execute our basket of programs. Our Organisation has no doubt exhausted the much needed fiscal space to manoeuvre its programs,” he lashed.
UNESCO has also been dealt a blow by the United States of America which decided to opt out of the membership of the organisation, having had for a long time stood as a major contributor to the its funds.
He said in case the issue of funds is not redressed, UNECO risks “becoming a historical entity immersed in a sea of opportunities, yet running the risk of contaminating its mandate.”
He has pointed out that faced with escalating incidents of intolerance, rising global tensions and violence as opposed to peaceful settlement of disputes, UNESCO’s mandate of building peace has become more relevant.
Faced with such a task, he said the organisation must do away with disharmony and restore trust amongst member states.
African economies have however been dealt by low growth this year relative to the previous year with big economies like Angola, Nigeria, South Africa having been hit hard and their ratings compromised.
However, this year, growth has been realised in South Africa and Nigeria which both pulled out of a recession and countries like Botswana, Angola, Namibia expected to register better GDP numbers this year.