The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has agreed to set up an international scientific advisory board to provide him with guidance on science-related issues, and enable him to provide advice to UN member states on such issues. The move was announced last Friday (22 June) at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) by Irina Bokova, the director-general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, was established over six decades ago to be the public diplomacy organization of the West, countering the influences and false promises of Communism.

Mexican mariachi music, Chinese shadow puppetry and poetic duelling from Cyprus were among the cultural traditions which have been identified by the United Nations as in need of protection. Such "living" practices, which bind communities together and provide them with a sense of continuity, are in danger of being lost, some more than others

...the outcome [Palestine's admittance to UNESCO] has obliged Washington, under U.S. law, to cut its $80 million annual financial contribution to Unesco, weakening an important vehicle of U.S. "soft power" influence through the projects supporting U.S. goals in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Monday's vote to admit Palestine as a full member of Unesco, the U.N. cultural arm, was a sharp reminder of just how limited Washington's influence -- hard, soft and smart -- has become in respect of the Middle East's most intractable conflict.

America's objections to the Palestinian move ring hollow across much of the world, and especially the strategically vital Middle East region. Its withholding of UN payments in response is nothing short of a combination of the absurd and the vindictive. As former Senator Tim Wirth has pointed out this will be sapping to America's soft power capacity.

Culture is the place to convert ugliness to beauty and separation to sympathy. We Iranians have always put culture on top during our thousands of years of civilization and have communicated with the world through our culture, read other part of the speech.

“In a world where soft power is so important, the United States is counterproductively compromising its position in a forum that really matters,” said Ronald Koven, who monitors Unesco for the World Press Freedom Committee, an American nongovernmental organization.