Summary of contents Since 2011, the United States do not pay the

Summary of contents
Since 2011, the United States do not pay the membership fees of 22 per cent to the regular budget of
UNESCO. Since the US continue to remain member of the Organization, the right to vote at the 37th
General Conference in November 2013 is at risk. The Director-General established a Multi-Donor
Emergency Fund which didn’t overcome the financial crisis primarily due to the fact that the EU
Member States rejected to participate at all. The proposal of the author to establish a loan fund has
been ignored with silence. Therefore, since 2012 all budget plans had to be reduced by about 30 per
cent and all programme activities went down by almost 50 per cent.
But the financial crisis shows quite openly a structural crisis of the Organization as well. Klaus Hüfner
argues that the members of the Executive Board violate the provisions of the Constitution after the
changes of 1991 in the nomination process; therefore, the so-called increase of efficiency and
effectiveness cannot be claimed at all. Therefore, the author demands that the membership in the
Executive Board be reduced from 58 to 30 Member States, without the possibility of immediate reelection. Parallel and at the same level a Committee for Non-Governmental-Partners/Akademia
should be established, composed as well of 30 members of international NGOs. Both Boards should
be responsible upon demand of the General Conference and in mutual consensus for the mediumand long-term programming as well as for the implementation and evaluation activities in the
planning process.
The governing boards of the UNESCO Institutes should no longer be composed of governmental
representatives from Member States, but only of acknowledged experts. Because those Institutes
should act as “think lighthouses”, they should think as centres of excellence “against the stream” and
deliver impulses for innovative programme activities. Also, the committee on human rights issues
(CR Committee) must not be sacrificed because of increasing politicization, but changed into a
committee composed of acknowledged experts.
The author mentions a number of programme weaknesses, such as the huge number of activities
which strive for “more with less money” instead of “less with more money”. He also criticises how
the postulated interdisciplinary cooperation between the different Sectors of the Secretariat has
been violated in the case of the production of UNESCO World Reports. Furthermore, the book
contains a sub-chapter about the future of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World
Cultural and Natural Heritage.
Quite interesting is the proposal of introducing as a new ceiling of 10 instead of the present 22 per
cent in the assessment scale concerning the regular budget of UNESCO in order to be no longer
financially dependent upon one Member State. Furthermore, in the case of concrete projects to be
undertaken Hüfner proposes the introduction of fees from the participating Member States which
are based upon the assessment scale.
In his summary the author states: “The present financial crisis indicates many structuralorganisational as well as substantial problems of the Organization. Those who ask for comprehensive
structural reforms must also participate in the necessary activities. Silence can be deadly for the
Organization. The present crisis management by the Secretariat and the Executive Board is also not
sufficient. All efforts should be directed in such a way that UNESCO will be transformed into a think
tank of the UN system in all its fields of competence and that thereby the demands for
concentration, transparency and participation will be better fulfilled than before”.