The General Conference of UNESCO is to approve a program and budget for the next biennium when it meets in October. The table above provides the draft budget for the Organization.
It is difficult to understand budgets, and the UNESCO Draft Program and Budget for the biennium runs to 359 pages. Still, it is clear that the budget is tiny in comparison to the challenges facing the world in education, science, culture and communications, or indeed to the needs of an intergovernmental organization such as UNESCO.
- The 2009 operational budget of my local school system (Montgomery County, Maryland) is $2.07 billion;
- The research and development budget of UCLA in 2005 was $786 million, and it was fourth in the United States that year (NSF data);
- The budget of the Smithsonian in 2007 was $999.6 million;
- The Microsoft Corp. announced revenue of $13.65 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2009.
Of course it does not make sense to put funding into programs where it will be used inefficiently, and the budget suggests that overhead may be high in UNESCO with respect to programmatic operations. Still, assuming that UNESCO can continue to improve its administration and the efficiency of its activities, it seems obvious that increased funding is appropriate for the organization.
(The opinions expressed in this posting are the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Americans for UNESCO.)