Norway cuts support for UNESCO after battle for top job

Nikolai AstrupMinister of International Development Nikolai Astrup (Conservative Party).Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

A war of words has broken out between Norway and UNESCO after a battle for a top job in the UN organization had left the Norwegian candidate bereft.


The Norwegian candidate, Gry Ulverud, was surprisingly beaten in the struggle for a United Nations top job in Paris. Instead, UNESCO’s French Secretary-General, Audrey Azoulay, chose to appoint Italian Stefania Giannini to be the Deputy Director-General for Education.

The UD marked its dissatisfaction by cutting support for the UN organization by NOK 20 million wrote Aftenposten newspaper.

Development Minister, Nikolai Astrup of Høyre (H) confirmed that Norway has cut this year’s support for UNESCO from NOK 80 to 60 million.

‘’International organizations can not take Norway’s support for granted.Our support must be based on the fact that we are pleased with the organizations in every way and that they deliver according to the goals they have set themselves, that they are effective, and that they have good and open practices and processes.When we find that they do not have them, it must be legitimate for Norway to react’’ he said.

He also showed that it was not only Norway that protested, but that the Nordic countries made a total criticism of UNESCO’s decision.

“Our reaction is not about the fact that the Nordic candidate was not chosen but that we experienced the process as closed and untidy.Therefore, there was reason to react’’ Astrup added.

Gry Ulverud herself would not comment on the dispute to Aftenposten.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today