UNESCO won't take on new projects this year By SARAH DiLORENZO - Associated Press | AP – Thu, Nov 10, 2011 PARIS (AP) - UNESCO won't take on any new projects until the end of the year, an official said Thursday, after the U.S. pulled itssubstantial contributions from the U.N. cultural agency to protest its acceptance of Palestine as a member. Any projects already committed to will be carried out, the official said. No decisions have been made about how the organization will proceed next year. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Theorganization has launched an appeal for members and outside organizations to fill the gap. UNESCO to set up fund to cover shortfall November 11, 2011. 10:30 am • Politics and the Nation The new fund is one of several measures announced by Director-General Irina Bokova in an address to the 36th session of UNESCO's General Conference that ended today in Paris. "UNESCO is facing a difficult situation," she told the agency's highest ruling body. "It's a test for our organization." Washington – which contributes 22 per cent of UNESCO's budget – suspended its dues after the agency admitted Palestine as a full member on 31 October. Ms. Bokova had warned that reduced funding will affect the agency's ability to carry out crucial programmes in education, support for emerging democracies and the fight against religious extremism. She said UNESCO now faces a budget shortfall of $65 million – the amount remaining to be paid by the United States for 2011. To cover the funding gap to the end of 2011, the Director-General said UNESCO has already begun a thorough review of all of its planned activities for November and December. "I have temporarily interrupted certain activities to revise their costs," she said.