Missing from the $1.1 trillion federal spending bill that passed Congress on Wednesday was payment to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for dues that could have paved the way for San Antonio’s Franciscan Missions to gain World Heritage Site status.
But that doesn’t automatically mean the missions will be passed over.
San Antonio’s historic Franciscan Missions could join the ranks of the Pyramids of Egypt and the Grand Canyon as the most cherished and visited landmarks on Earth. The missions are being considered as U.N. World Heritage Sites.
But a problem with Palestine, UNESCO and U.S. foreign policy is standing in the way.
In late October the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted to admit Palestine as a member state. The U.S., which has long opposed recognition, promptly stopped paying dues and subsequently lost its voting rights in the organization.
World Heritage Week began Saturday in San Antonio, and there are plenty of activities throughout the week from April 27 - May 4, including an opportunity for children to learn about the missions and earn a World Heritage Badge.
The plan to connect San Antonio’s Missions from the Alamo to Mission Espada has been ongoing since the mid-1990’s. This portion of the project--called package 4 and 5--will repair streets and add pedestrian and bike routes along Mission Road to Roosevelt Avenue.