Ambassador Oliver concludes:
If the Executive Board is serious about using prizes to enhance UNESCO's visibility and prestige, it must reverse its earlier decision and reject the Obiang prize. It should also encourage Equatorial Guinea to spend the $3 million it has allocated for the prize on improving the lives of the suffering people in its own country -- which ranks near the bottom of the UN human development report, and where 20 percent of the children die before reaching the age of five.
Ms. Bokova is right: UNESCO's reputation is on the line. If the Executive Board does not reject the prize at its October meeting, it will forfeit the respect of the international community. This should be an easy one, but the Executive Board's tradition of consensus and collegiality will make taking a principled stand difficult. Will they do it? Don't hold your breath.