OIC Newsletter

  [Issue 28, July 9th, 2008]

The regular coordination meeting between the UN and OIC institutions began in Geneva on July 8, 2008 to evaluate the cooperation activities implemented over the period from July 2006 to July 2008, and to explore new projects of partnership for the years 2008 and 2009. The two-day meeting is part of the ten axes of cooperation which were identified by the UN and the OIC: human rights, good governance, development of science and technology, food security and agriculture, technical cooperation, human resource development, environment and health, education and eradication of illiteracy, protection and assistance of refugees, and dialogue among cultures and civilizations and cultural diversity.

Ambassador Ali Akbar Salehi, OIC Assistant General for Science and Technology, delivered a speech in which he pointed out that the OIC has adopted a new Charter and have decided to create a department for humanitarian affairs, both landmark developments, that would give a new impetus to the OIC's endeavors on the international scene. Amb. Salehi stressed that the OIC General Secretariat, together with the OIC Observer Missions in New York and Geneva, have intensified their contacts with the UN Secretariat, the EU High Representative, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the League of Arab States, in a bid to expand OIC's engagements in conflict-resolution.

Over and above political issues, Amb. Salehi noted that the OIC seeks to boost its cooperation with the UN in the field of science and technology and ensure that the OIC Member States could lawfully enjoy their inalienable right to research and development in nuclear science and technology and the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

Symposium on Asian Muslim Minorities Calls for Better Political and Social-economic Future for Them
The First Symposium on Muslim Communities and Minorities in Asia held in Seoul on July 4-6, 2008 by the OIC in cooperation with the Federation of Korean Muslims, recommended the implementation of a host of strategies likely to help build up a better political and social-economic future for Muslim minorities across Asia.

Highlighting major political conflicts affecting Muslim communities in some Asian countries, namely the Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka, the final communiqué appealed to the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to continue its efforts to resolve the lingering conflicts in this part of the world. The communiqué also lauded the efforts the OIC Secretary General, Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has invested in reactivating the peace process in Southern Philippines and the positive contacts he has initiated with the government of Thailand in order to reach a peaceful settlement to the dispute.

While calling on Islamic banks, Muslim businessmen and investors to invest in least-developed countries with Muslim minorities, the communiqué called for measures to be taken in order to alleviate the plight of Muslim refugees and internally displaced people. Furthermore, the communiqué emphasized the need to empower and motivate women to take on a more substantial role in the development of their countries through their communities.

Recognizing that lack of proper understanding of Da'wa activities in the region gives rise to conflicts, the Symposium called upon the OIC to uphold its engagement in inter-faith and intra-faith dialogue in countries with Muslim minorities.

The Symposium also pointed to the need to upgrade the education system in Asia and recommended that the OIC, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) to set up a modern university in South-East Asia. In the same vein, the communiqué called for greater networking to boost information exchange among Muslim communities in non-Muslim and Muslim countries.

D-8 Summit Endorse Boosting Food Production and Expanding Trade
The 6th Summit of the Group of Eight Islamic Developing Countries (D-8) endorsed joint ventures to boost production and a 10-year blueprint to expand trade cooperation. The Summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 7-8, 2008 with two issues topping the agenda, oil prices and the global food crisis. The Summit urged the international community to take action to tame spiraling oil prices and vowed to collaborate to develop alternative fuels and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The D-8, formed in 1997, is a forum to enhance cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, rural development, human resource development, science and technology, energy, agriculture and health to improve the economic status of member states. It groups Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey – all are member states of the OIC.

Workshop on Improving the Investment Climate in OIC Member Countries
The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), a body of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), is organizing a workshop on improving the investment climate in OIC member countries on July 22-23, 2008 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The workshop will gather representatives of the member countries, relevant institutions, as well as experts in the field in order to compile recommendations to be submitted to the 24th COMCEC Ministerial Session devoted to the exchange of views in October 2008. The main theme of the workshop is how to create an investment-friendly environment in OIC member countries that would give greater confidence to local and international investors.

ISESCO Executive Council Adopts the Draft 2010-2018 Medium Term Plan
The Executive Council of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), held its 29th session on July 3, 2007 at the permanent headquarters of ISESCO in Rabat, Morocco, and adopted the draft Medium Term Plan for the period 2010-2018.

This draft plan spells out ISESCO’s future orientations and sets the major strategic goals of its activities and coordination roles, in line with a vision that takes into consideration the civilizational and developmental challenges facing the Islamic countries and the world, namely: globalization impacts, the requirements of international peace and security, the rising phenomenon of cross-border terrorism, the increase of development-inhibiting social scourges, and the importance of alliance and joint action at the era of great regional coalitions.

- The OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is following with deep concern the on-going escalation between the different parties on the Iranian nuclear issue and its likely dangerous implications on the peace and stability of the region. While reiterating the right of all countries for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, he called for restraint and appealed to all those concerned to avoid further escalation. He urged them to resort to dialogue and negotiations with a view to resolving the issue peacefully.

- OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, received on July 8, 2008, the Ambassador of Sierra Leone to Saudi Arabia, Alhaji Ahmadu Tejan-Sie, and Mali, Mohammed Mahmoud Ben Labat, at the General Secretariat with whom he discussed respective countries’ activities as OIC member states.

- The Secretary General of the OIC , Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, strongly condemned the bomb attack in Kabul on July 7, 2008, which killed over forty people and wounded score of others. Ihsanoglu lamented the continuing attack on innocent persons, and stated that such criminal acts run counter to the teachings of the peaceful religion of Islam. He conveyed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the government and people of Afghanistan.

- The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) signed a line of finance agreement with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, at the ICD headquarters in Jeddah on July 6, 2008. The agreement envisages BADEA allocating $10 million “approved amount” for ICD to finance private sector companies in its African member countries and beneficiaries of the bank assisted sub-projects. ICD will approve financing to eligible sub-projects according to the conditions and criteria adopted by both parties as shown in the agreement.

- OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu urged India to exercise restraint in the unfolding situation in the Indian – occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Ihsanoglu stated that the OIC has been following closely the latest development in Srinagar, and appealed to Indian authorities to avoid use of force and to respect the human rights of the people. He further called for the immediate release of the detained persons.

- OIC chief, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, congratulated the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso, Djibril Bassole, on his appointment as the new joint UN and AU Chief mediator on the Darfur conflict. Ihsanoglu expressed satisfaction with the prompt and positive response of the Sudan on the appointment and its pledge to cooperate with him to push the Darfur peace process forward. He assured the chief peace maker of the continued commitment of the OIC to contribute in the building of lasting peace in Darfur.

- The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and the Faculty of Administrative Science -Kuwait University, are preparing to organize the First International Educational Technology Expo. The Expo aims to foster technical and educational relations between the countries of the Islamic world through raising awareness about the horizons of e-culture, learning about the latest educational software, disseminating, revitalizing and marketing educational techniques, facilitating their use, encouraging their design, production and localization, as well as adopting references resting on a comprehensive view based on the specificities and the Muslim communities and their developmental and civilizational expectations.

Calender of meeting
July 12-13: First Meeting of the Development and Cooperation Institutions (DCIs) – Istanbul, Turkey.

July 13: Islamic Union of Muslim Scouts (IUMS) First International Conference – Jeju, South Korea.

July 19-20: First Meeting of the Committee on the Dakar-Port Sudan Railways Line Project – OIC Headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

July 25-27: 2nd Tourism Fair for the OIC Member States – Beirut, Lebanon.

Aug. 15-17: 6th Meeting of the OIC Task Force on SMEs – Bangkok, Thailand.

Aug. 28-29: Senior Officials Meeting preparatory to the Forum of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Countries under the theme ‘One Common World: Progress through Diversity’ – Astana, Kazakhstan.

Sept. 6: 19th Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the American Islamic College (AIC) – OIC Headquarters, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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