Is Britain set to pull out of UNESCO?

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Cornwall Mining Landscape © David Gill

The International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, has suggested that the UK should withdraw from UNESCO (Emily Thornberry, “UK withdrawal from Unesco would be historical and cultural vandalism“, The Guardian 13 November 2018). The UK (and its dependencies) is home to 31 sites inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The report reminds its readers of the economic value of UNESCO World Heritage status: “Britain makes a net gain from our membership of Unesco: we contributed £11m to the agency this year, versus £100m value added to our economy from its designation of our heritage sites”.

Heritage sites, indeed inscribed UNESCO World Heritage sites, form part of the UK Government tourism strategy to attract more visitors. Had Mourdant taken the time to understand the benefits of the UK remaining a member of UNESCO?

It is reported that Mordaunt’s proposal has been rejected by No. 10.

HeritageStonehenge48s-0

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Research Fellow at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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