Last fall the Trump administration announced it would withdraw from UNESCO, the cultural organization of the United Nations that is known to travelers for its list of World Heritage sites.
The withdrawal is scheduled to go into effect at the end of 2018. There are 23 World Heritage sites in the United States, including Grand Canyon National Park, Independence Hall, Yellowstone National Park and the Statue of Liberty.
If the United States withdraws from UNESCO, it would remain a state party, having signed and ratified the World Heritage Convention. “There is one consequence only,” said George Papagiannis, the chief of media services at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, about the U.S. withdrawal. “The U.S. cannot be elected to the World Heritage Committee,” a managing committee made up of elected representatives from 21 countries. The committee is in charge of allocating financial assistance and determining what sites are included on, or removed from, the World Heritage List.
The World Heritage program, which began in 1972, includes a list of 1,073 sites “that are of outstanding universal value to humanity,” and should therefore “be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy,” according to UNESCO’s website.