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UNESCO, world heritage and the gridlock over Yemen

journal contribution
posted on 13.07.2020, 00:00 authored by L Meskell, Benjamin IsakhanBenjamin Isakhan
Since March 2015, the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen has had devastating consequences for the country, its people and its rich cultural heritage. This article traces the responses of the world’s foremost multilateral body concerned with heritage promotion and protection, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Drawing on extensive interviews, archival research and long-term ethnographic research on UNESCO itself and, more specifically, its responses to the war in Yemen, it documents UNESCO’s profound failures in protecting Yemen’s heritage and in confronting the Saudi-led coalition. To do so, the article utilises the framework of ‘gridlock’ to analyse how and why multilateral bodies such as UNESCO become hamstrung in confronting powerful member states in conflict. The article concludes by arguing that UNESCO’s failures in Yemen hold powerful lessons about the role of multilateral institutions in addressing conflict.

History

Journal

Third World Quarterly

Pagination

1 - 16

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

0143-6597

eISSN

1360-2241

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2020, Global South Ltd.