America has decided to withdraw from Unesco, the United Nations programme responsible for corralling international cooperation on issues such as science and education and designating world heritage sites.

The State Department said the decision “reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at Unesco, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at Unesco.”

 The country plans to become “a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education.”

Travelers are likely to be most familiar with Unesco through its world heritage sites such as the Grand Canyon National Park and Yellowstone National Park in the US.