REPORT

REPORTS OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

The Review of the Economic Situation in the Islamic States.

Economic Assistance to Some Islamic States

Activities Under the Auspices of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation Among Islamic Countries (COMCEC)

Status of the Signing and Ratification of the Statutes and Agreements

Activities of the OIC Subsidiary organs, Specialized and Affiliated Institutions; Involved in the Economic Field

Establishment of a Islamic Common Market

Preparing the Islamic Ummah for the 21st Century

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

ECONOMIC SITUATION IN THE ISLAMIC STATES

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers reviews the Economic Situation of the Islamic States under nine sub-heads. The Report of the Secretary General provides background information under each of these nine sub-heads:

(a) Economic Problems Facing the Member States:

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, Member States of which are developing countries, closely follows the developments in the world economy and their effects on the OIC Member States. The issue is mooted at the sessions of the Islamic Summits as well as the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

The Statistical Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRTCIC) and Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT) submit in-depth studies on this subject. Appropriate resolutions are recommended by the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs for consideration of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

At its 22nd session, the Islamic Commission recommended a resolution in this regard which was adopted at the 25th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

The Eighth Islamic Summit Conference held in Tehran adopted resolution No. 1/8-E (IS) in this respect reiterating the need to take serious steps to ensure economic integration among the OIC Member States with the ultimate objective of establishing an Islamic Common Market or any other form of economic integration, on a step-by-step and regional basis, among OIC Member States, in order to help overcome difficulties arising from the formation of global economic groupings. It also urged Member States to pursue efforts aimed at strengthening economic cooperation among them so as to maximize the complementaries in their economies and avoid further marginalization.

The Eighth Islamic Summit deliberated on the issue keeping in mind the volatility in the global and regional financial markets which has imposed severe strains on the economic and financial systems of several countries, including members of the OIC.

The Summit noted that while the maintenance of sound, consistent and transparent policies was important to enable countries to cope with the challenges of globalisation, the speed of the contagion effects, even to States with sound fundamentals, underscored the need to better understand the dynamics of globalised capital and currency markets in an environment of instantaneous financial and information flows.

In its resolution No. 1/25-E the 25th ICFM, inter alia, noted with concern the extraterritorial application of domestic laws which adversely affects the foreign investments in other countries, including the Islamic States and rejected all coercive measures which may target Member States intending to expand further the area of cooperation in economic and commercial fields.

b) Implication of the Establishment of Regional and International Economic Groupings for the Islamic World, including the introduction of a Single European Currency, the EURO.

While reviewing the issue at its 20th session held in Jeddah from September 14-18, 1996, the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs felt that in view of the emergence of several new international and regional economic groupings on the world economic scene, the scope of this agenda item should be expanded to cover all international and regional economic groupings and not just the single European market. The Commission recommended to keep the issue under close observation.

In line with the practice followed in the past, the effects of the establishment of a single European Market on the Islamic World was reviewed successively by the Eighth Islamic Summit Conference, the 22nd Islamic Commission and the 25th ICFM which urged the Member States to stimulate trade exchanges among themselves and also appealed to the developed countries to give preferences to OIC Member States. The Ankara and Casablanca centers were requested to continue to undertake studies on the effects of the international economic conglomerations, on the economic conditions of the OIC Member States and make appropriate recommendations on the same with a view to safeguarding the national interests of the member states. They also called on the European Union to honor its commitments towards members of OIC.

c) Economic Problems of the Least Developed and Land-locked Member States.

According to the latest (1998) UNCTAD LDC report, the encouraging growth performance of LDCs recorded in 1996 continued during 1997. As a group, LDC growth averaged at 4.7% during 1997. Some 34 LDCs recorded an increase in per capita income. Twenty five LDCs have now maintained per capita growth for 3 or more years underscoring the economic recovery which began in the 1990s. However, this performance was not strong enough relative to the rest of the world to prevent a continuing decline in the LDC’s share of the world production and trade. The international economic environment and the weather conditions were not favourable to the LDCs in 1998 which could lead to a disappointing outcome to their continued reform efforts. The LDCs are likely to face a slowdown in growth. Furthermore, the fragile nature of the LDC economies render the recent recovery in performance vulnerable to external shocks. The contagion effects from the Asian financial crisis will make themselves felt.

The Report stressed that the flow of private foreign investment in LDCs has remained low. The average savings and investment rate in the LDCs has been much lower than that of other developing countries and it remains at well below the level needed to stimulate or sustain strong economic recovery. LDCs are often least capable of taking advantage of the opportunities that globalisation presents. Many of the LDCs are becoming marginalised from the mainstream of the world economy. Marginalisation is the consequence of the combination of developments in the global economy that have not been favourable to weaker economies, such as the LDCs.

According to the UNCTAD Report, globalisation may lead to an increase in inequality in these countries. liberalisation has been termed as a good servant but a poor master of economic development.

The OIC has remained concerned for the economic situation of the LDCs and landlocked states, as over twenty, out of the 48 Least developed states of the world are among its members. Besides, some of the OIC member states also fall in the category of landlocked states.

The Eighth Islamic Summit Conference reviewed the situation and adopted a resolution in this regard appealing to the international community, and particularly to the developed states to fully and efficiently implement the 1990 Plan of Action in this regard and the provisions of other UN resolutions, in particular those contained in UNCTAD VIII. The developed countries were also urged to increase their contributions within the framework of the International Development Strategy and follow the example of States which converted the debts contracted by the Least Developed Countries into grants in order to facilitate the implementation of the structural adjustment measures undertaken by these states.

The Islamic Summit also urged upon both the landlocked developing states and their transit neighbours, in the spirit of South-South cooperation, to implement measures to strengthen further their cooperative and collective efforts in dealing with their transit problems.

The 25th ICFM, while reviewing the issue, welcomed the UN decision to convene the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries at a high level in the year 2001 and called upon all Governments, inter-governmental and multilateral institutions to take appropriate steps to convene the Conference and to participate effectively in the above-mentioned preparatory meetings.

d) Eradication of poverty in the Least Developed and low-income OIC Member States.

This item was incorporated in the agenda at the 21st ICFM (1993). The issue was also deliberated upon at the Seventh Islamic Summit held in Casablanca in 1994. Appropriate resolutions were adopted in this respect.

The Eighth Islamic Summit Conference in Tehran deliberated on this subject and adopted Resolution 4/8-E(IS) declaring that the complete eradication of poverty in all Member States before the end of the next decade is considered a common objective of OIC Member States. The Summit also called upon Member States and the international community to take specific measures for the fulfillment of the commitments made at the World Social Summit, held in Copenhagen, so as to enable the Least Developed Member States to attain this objective. The Summit also appealed to developed countries to increase their aid programmes in order to attain 0.7% of the GDP in official aid to development, as fixed by the UN.

The 25th ICFM, in its resolution (4/25-E) noted that Micro-Credit programmes by providing access to small capital, contribute towards eradication of poverty through generating productive self-employment, ensuring social and human development, and promoting participatory processes in the societies. The conference also encouraged consideration of incorporation of micro-credit schemes in the strategy of poverty eradication and implementation of related recommendations as reflected in the Plan of Action adopted in the Micro-Credit Summit held from 2-4 February 1997 which launched a global movement to reach 100 million of the world’s poorest families for self-employment and other financial and business services by the year 2001.

e) External Debts of African and other Islamic Member States of the OIC.

The problem of the external debt of developing countries, especially heavily indebted low income countries, has remained the source of great preoccupation of the international community. As many as six, out of the top twenty Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) identified by the recently introduced joint IMF-World Bank HIPC debt relief initiative, are OIC Member States. The magnitude of the debt burden of the OIC Member States can be measured by their debt service ratio. Since a large number of the OIC Member States are low income countries, the crippling burden of external debt has remained a source of great concern for the OIC as a whole.

The introduction of the HIPC and launching of the HIPC Trust Fund are generally considered a welcome initiative. Forty one countries, of which twenty are LDCs, have been identified as heavily indebted poor countries, and are, in principle, eligible for consideration of additional relief under the HIPC initiative. By April, 1998, nine countries had been reviewed for eligibility for additional relief under the HIPC scheme. Uganda, an OIC member state, was the first HIPC to reach decision point, in April, 1997. Eligibility was also confirmed for Burkina Faso and Mozambique, while Benin’s external debt burden was deemed sustainable without further assistance. Decisions on Guinea-Bissau and Mali are expected to follow. Debt sustainability analysis to determine eligibility for assistance and the required amounts of additional debt relief with respect to Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mauritania and Togo are expected to be taken up next.

The progress in completing the eligibility process has been rather slow and it seems that only three LDCs will reach completion point before the end of the year 2000. It appears therefore that few LDCs will benefit form the HIPC initiative over the short or even medium term.

The resolution adopted by the Eighth Islamic Summit Conference in Tehran, amongst other things, appealed to the international creditors to continue adopting every necessary measure to cut down the debt of OIC Member States, in particular through staggered settlement of debts, deferred amortisation, reduced or favorable interest rates and swapping debts for various development projects. It also urged that actions on debt settlement should cover all types of debt, including multilateral debt, and all indebted developing countries, and incorporate measures aimed at a once-and-for all reduction arrangement to reduce their debt burden to a scale that would allow them to resume their economic growth and development.

In its resolution (No. 5/25-E), the 25th ICFM expressed its appreciation for the international initiative for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) and reaffirmed the urgent need for effective, equitable, development-oriented and durable solutions to the external debt and debt-servicing problems of developing states, and to help them exit from the rescheduling process.

f) Need for enhancement of economic relations among Member States in the light of the current changes in the world economy.

The current changes in the World economy are having far reaching impact on the economic trends in the OIC member states. Though it is claimed that implementation of the agreements under the Final Act emanating from the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations would increase the income of the developing countries by US $ 60-100 billion annually, the magnitude of gains of the OIC member countries actually will depend on how the agreements are implemented. It will also vary from case to case. The OIC Member States now enjoying privileged access to the markets of the European Union as a result of the Lome Convention, would lose this facility as they will face greater competition in exporting to the European Union.

Certain OIC member states also stand to lose in the area of trade in food products since the relevant agreement requires elimination of subsidies which will make products of the OIC member countries uncompetitive in the world market.

It is also equally disturbing that some developed states are increasingly linking labour related issues such as collective bargaining, use of child labour and environmental standards to the right to benefit from trade liberalization provisions contained in the Uruguay agreements. There is concern among the developing countries including the OIC member states, that these issues could be used by the developed states for protectionist purposes.

As far as the private capital flow is concerned, there is growing doubt about the sustainability of private capital flows to developing states. Most private capital flows are channelled to a few countries in South East Asia and Latin America. Very little private capital finds its way to the bulk of the OIC member states, particularly those in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Against this backdrop, the need for a qualitative leap in economic relations among OIC member states has assumed greater urgency.

The Eighth Islamic Summit Conference addressed the issue and adopted Resolution No 6/8-E(IS), inter alia, urging member states to take necessary steps on a progressive basis with a view to harmonizing the legal framework of their economic policies in order to adapt them to the new trade rules provided for within the WTO framework and encouraging thus a quick development of trade between Member States, so as to attain the target of 20% by the end of the decade. It also invited Member States to revitalise their actions in order to increase their share in the world economy notably by a sustained improvement of their international competitiveness at the level of the goods and services exports.

The resolution also invited member states to endeavour to reinforce sub-regional and regional markets and re-launch the existing economic integration projects among Islamic states, with a view to methodically prepare the establishment of an Islamic Common Market or any other suitable form of economic integration among themselves.

The Conference expressed deep concern at the tendencies among some developed countries to link labour and environment related issues with trade deals and emphasised that such trends are detrimental to the evolution of a just, free and fair trading environment.

g) Economic problems of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian Territories, of the Syrian citizens in the Syrian Occupied Golan Heights and of the Lebanese citizens in Occupied Southern Lebanon and Western Bekka:

The economic problems of the Arab people in the occupied Palestine, occupied Syrian Golan and of the Occupied South Lebanon and Western Bekka remain as grim as ever. The situation has further been aggravated due to the intransigent and oppressive policies of the Israeli authorities.

The Eighth Islamic Summit Conference in its Resolution No.7/8-E(IS) addressed an urgent appeal to Member States and the international organizations to extend every necessary assistance to these people and urged all States and all concerned institutions to expedite the extension of the envisaged necessary assistance to help the Palestinian people to establish their national economy; to act for the consolidation of their national institutions and to enable them to establish their independent State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

Member states and international organizations were also urged to extend every necessary assistance to the Lebanese population in the occupied South Lebanon and Western Bekka which are exposed to Israeli aggression causing material losses and resulting in social hardship which paralyse almost permanently, the economic activities of the region.

h) Assistance to Member States stricken by drought and natural calamities:

In view of the continual nature of the problem of drought and natural calamities in Member States, this item has remained under review of the Islamic Summits and Islamic Conferences of Foreign Ministers as well as the COMCEC for a couple of years. The Eighth Islamic Summit in Tehran in its Resolution No. 8/8-E(IS), inter alia, called upon Member States and OIC institutions to extend assistance to the OIC states of Inter-Governmental Authority for Development and the Campaign Against Drought (IGADD) and Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) to enable them to overcome the difficult situation which is threatening them.

The 25th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers also adopted a similar resolution (No. 8/25-E) on the basis of the recommendation of the 22nd Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs held in Jeddah from 23-26 January, 1999.

Since the 25th ICFM a meeting of Donor Countries and national and Regional Financial Institutions was hosted by Kuwait in June 1998 to consider appropriate mechanisms for financing the new programme. An amount of US$30 million was pledged by Kuwait in the form of soft loans for development. The Islamic Development Bank will provide US$20 million for the new programmes. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has embarked upon the implementation of its new programme for the control of drought and desertification in the African Sahel Countries.

i) Economic and Social Losses for Great Jamahiriya as a result of the Security Council Resolution No. 748/92 and 883/93.

Taking note of a draft resolution presented by the delegation of the Great Socialist Peoples libyan Arab Jamahiriyah on the negative effects of the sanctions imposed upon the Jamahiriyah by UN Security Council Resolutions Nos. 748/1992 and 883/1993, the 24th ICFM adopted a resolution reaffirming the importance of paying due attention to this issue with a view to alleviating the suffering of the libyan Arab people.

The Eighth Islamic Summit in Tehran adopted a resolution in this respect noting the negative effects on the libyan Arab Jamahiriya of the sanctions in the economic, cultural and social fields.

The 25th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers also adopted a similar resolution.

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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE TO SOME ISLAMIC COUNTRIES

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

In view of the particularly difficult economic situation obtaining in a number of member states, resolutions on assistance with respect to several countries have been adopted in different OIC meetings. The Eighth Islamic Summit adopted a series of resolutions pertaining to several Member States renewing calls made to all member countries on earlier occasions to extend necessary assistance to Lebanon, Bosnia-Harzegovina, Somalia, Republic of Guinea, Republic of Sierra Leone, Republic of Albania, Afghanistan, Republic of Uganda, Republic of Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic, Kashmiri people, Republic of Yemen, State of Palestine and Republic of Mozambique, Tajikistan, Sudan and Djibouti.

The 25th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers also adopted resolutions appealing to member states and international institutions for extending assistance to several member states.

The operative paragraphs of Resolutions of the 25th ICFM relating to Economic Assistance to the above mentioned Member States are reproduced below for ready reference:

(a) Economic Assistance to Republic of Lebanon

1. Expresses deep appreciation for the assistance extended by some Member States and relevant OIC bodies.

2. Condemns the recurrent Israeli acts of aggression against Lebanon, seeking to destroy the process of national reconstruction which the Government of Lebanon is engaged in, and also condemns the continued Israeli occupation of parts of Southern Lebanon and of the western Bekaa Valley.

3. Reaffirms previous Resolutions on the provision of financial, economic, and humanitarian aid to Lebanon to meet its economic, technical and training needs.

4. Reiterates the appeal made by the Twenty-second ICFM to the international community calling for a generous contribution to the International Fund for the Reconstruction of Lebanon so as to render it effective.

5. Renews its invitation to the Member States of the OIC and all international and regional organizations to provide all forms of urgent financial and in-kind assistance to Lebanon that it may rebuild what the Israeli occupation has destroyed and reinforce the resistance of the Lebanese people in the area occupied by Israel.

6. Requests the Secretary General to follow up and report on the matter to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(b) Economic Assistance to Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina

1. Expresses deep appreciation for the assistance extended by Member States and OIC relevant bodies.

2. Commends the contribution of the OIC Member States at the Donors Conference for the Rehabilitation of Bosnia which was held in Brussels in April 1996.

3. Appeals to Member States, Islamic institutions and other donors to make generous donations as well as provide financial aid to enable the early implementation of the IDB Programme aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to the Government and people of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the reconstruction of the country.

4. Expresses its appreciation for the assistance provided by the OIC Member States and for the commendable efforts of those Islamic and other international humanitarian bodies in providing relief and assistance to the victims of the aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

5. Urges upon the International Community to take efficient measures to ensure the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

6. Demands that the sovereignty, territorial integrity and the political independence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina be safeguarded and protected along its internationally recognized borders, and support the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is open for the participation of the Bosnian Serbs and which represents a solid basis for a just and lasting solution by being a catalyst for restoring confidence among its peoples.

7. Requests the OIC Member States, at the same time members of the Peace Implementation Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Coordination Committee to seek directing the biggest part of international assistance for reconstruction of Bosnia to the regions inhabited by Muslims of Bosnia.

8. Requests the Secretary General to submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(c) Economic Assistance to Republic of Somalia

1. Expresses appreciation for the assistance extended by some Member States and OIC relevant bodies.

2. Urges OIC Member States, to provide material and other assistance on an emergency basis to Somalia to end the human suffering in this Muslim country.

3. Commends those Member States that have already provided aid and assistance to the people of Somalia.

4. Requests the Secretary General to submit a report thereon to the Twenty- sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(d) Economic Assistance to the Republic of Guinea in the face of the influx of refugees from liberia and Sierra Leone

1. Makes an urgent appeal to the international community and Member States to provide the Republic of Guinea with a substantial financial and material assistance to enable it to overcome this difficult situation resulting from the presence on its national territory, of hundreds of thousands of refugees due to the armed conflict in liberia to Sierra Leone and the increasing influx into Guinea of refugees whose majority are Muslims.

2. Underlines the necessity for such assistance in order to enable the efficient organization of the eventual return of refugees to their respective countries.

3. Appeals to the Islamic Development Bank to extend financial assistance in the form of grant or soft term loans to the Republic of Guinea to enable the latter build the required social infrastructure for these refugees while reducing the degradation of the environment resulting from the presence of so many refugees.

4. Requests the Secretary General to submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(e) Economic Assistance to the Republic of Sierra Leone

1. Appeals to the Member States and international community to urgently extend substantial financial and material assistance to the Republic of Sierra Leone so as to enable its people to undertake the much needed process of rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of returnees and displaced inhabitants of about 1.5 million.

2. Requests the Secretary General to use his good offices to accelerate the approved process for projects already identified for Sierra Leone.

3. Requests the Secretary General to submit a report thereon to the 26th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(f) Economic Assistance to the Republic of Albania

1. Expresses deep appreciation for the assistance extended by some Member States and OIC relevant bodies.

2. Expresses its strong support to the people of Albania beset by major economic difficulties at the present phase of their transition towards a market economy.

3. Urges OIC Member States, Islamic Institutions and International Organizations to grant generous economic assistance to Albania so that the Government of Albania may successfully implement its development programme.

4. Requests the Secretary General to submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(g) Economic Assistance to Afghanistan

1. Expresses deep appreciation for the assistance extended by some Member States and OIC relevant bodies.

2. Urges the Member States to provide assistance to Afghanistan to solve its problems.

3. Requests the Secretary General to submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(h) Economic Assistance to the Republic of Uganda

1. Invites Member States, Islamic institutions and international organizations to grant urgent financial and economic assistance to Uganda so that it may cope with the refugees problem and other related consequences as well as implement its economic, social and cultural programmes.

2. Requests the Secretary General to follow-up the matter and submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(i) Economic Assistance to the Republic of Azerbaijan

1. Appeals to the Member States and Islamic institutions to make available to the Government of Azerbaijan the much needed economic and humanitarian assistance with a view to alleviating the suffering of the Azeri people.

2. Calls upon the international organizations to continue to grant humanitarian, financial assistance to Azerbaijan.

3. Requests the Secretary General to follow up the question and submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(j) Economic Assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic

1. Expresses deep appreciation for the assistance extended by some Member States and OIC relevant bodies.

2. Appeals to all Muslims and Islamic financial institutions to be generous and to contribute to the process of overcoming the economic difficulties experienced by Kyrgyz Republic either on bilateral basis or through multilateral and regional organizations so as to enable Kyrgyz Republic to fulfil its economic programme.

3. Appeals to the Islamic Development Bank to increase its financial and technical assistance to Kyrgyz Republic.

4. Requests the Secretary General to follow up this matter and submit a report to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(k) Assistance to the Kashmiri People

1- Appeals to Member States and Islamic institutions, such as the Islamic Solidarity Fund and Philanthropists, to grant generous humanitarian assistance to the Kashmiri people.

2- Also appeals to Member States and the Islamic institutions to grant scholarships to the Kashmiri students in different universities and institutions in the OIC states.

3- Requests the Secretary General to follow up the matter and submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(l) Economic Assistance to the Republic of Yemen

1. Expresses its appreciation for the efforts of Yemeni Government in overcoming its economic difficulties and the implementation of the Comprehensive Programme of Administrative and Financial Reform and the success achieved in that regard.

2. Also expresses its appreciation for the assistance extended by some of the Member States and by the relevant organs of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

3. Renews its call to the Member States and all regional and international organizations to extend all kinds of economic assistance to the Yemeni Government to support its efforts aimed at implementing the Comprehensive Programme of Administrative and Financial Reform and at wiping out the ravages suffered by Yemen as a result of the floods as well as alleviating the heavy burden of sheltering large number of refugees from neighbouring African countries.

4. Requests the Secretary General to follow up the matter and submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(m) Economic Assistance to the State of Palestine

1. Expresses deep appreciation for the assistance extended by some Member States and OIC relevant bodies.

2. Commends the efforts made by the Palestine National Authority in the Palestinian Self-Rule regions in order to reconstruct what occupation had destroyed, as well as the efforts exerted to build up and consolidate the Palestinian national economy.

3. Expresses great appreciation for the assistance provided by some Member States to the Palestinian people in order to build up the national economy in the Palestinian Self-Rule regions in the West Bank and the Gaza-Strip.

4. Urges the speedy granting of the required and approved assistance by the concerned Member States and OIC bodies, with a view to helping the Palestine National Authority and the Palestinian people in the building up of the national economy and the consolidation of their national institutions.

5. Reaffirms the previous resolutions advocating the provision of all forms of support and assistance as well as economic, technical, material and moral assistance in support of the Palestinian people and the Palestine National Authority and Urges that preferential treatment be accorded to Palestinian products as regards importation and exemption of taxes and customs duties.

6. Urges businessmen and investors of Member States to contribute to the implementation of economic, industrial, agricultural and housing projects in the Palestinian Self-Rule regions, with a view to building up the national economy and enabling the Palestine National Authority and its national institutions to implement their development programs, during the coming transitional period, in the various economic, social and health fields.

7. Appeals to Member States, in view of the obstacles raised by Israel in the face of the Palestinian labour force, to provide work opportunities to this Palestinian labour force, with a view to enhancing the socio-economic status of the Palestinian people and putting an end to unemployment.

8. Urges the Member States to conclude bilateral agreements with the Palestine liberation Organization and its National Authority in the economic, commercial and social field, with a view to enhancing the socio-economic status of the Palestinian people on their national soil.

9. Requests the Secretary General to follow-up the matter and submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(n) Economic Assistance to the Republic of Mozambique

1. Calls upon all Member States to continue their support to the implementation of the programme of reconstruction of Mozambique.

2. Appeals to the Islamic Development Bank and all Islamic Institutions to provide the necessary financial assistance for the reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes of Mozambique, particularly those needed to ensure the social reintegration of returnees and internal displaced persons and demobilized combatants as for the demining programme in course in that country.

3. Requests the Secretary General to follow up the and submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(o) Economic Assistance to Republic of Tajikistan

1. Expresses deep appreciation to the assistance extended by some Member States.

2. Appeals to all members and Islamic financial institutions to make their generous contributions to the process of overcoming the economic difficulties experienced by Tajikistan either on bilateral basis or through multilateral and regional organisations so as to enable Tajikistan to fulfil its rehabilitation programmes.

3. Urges the Islamic Development Bank to increase its financial and technical assistance to Tajikistan.

4. Requests the Secretary General to follow up the matter and submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(p) Alleviating the effects of floods and torrential rains in Sudan

1. Commends the Member States which have already extended prompt relief, namely: the State of Qatar, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

2. Urges Member States to respond to this humanitarian appeal by extending the necessary assistance.

3. Requests the Secretary General to follow up this matter and submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

(q) Economic Assistance to the Republic of Djibouti

1. Makes an urgent appeal to the Ummah and the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to provide substantial financial and material support to the Republic of Djibouti for the consolidation of peace, the reconstruction of the country and the implementation of its structural adjustment programme.

2. Calls on the Islamic Ummah and the General Secretariat of the OIC to assist the Republic of Djibouti in its struggle against the disastrous consequences of the recent flood at both the social and economic level.

3. Requests the Secretary General to follow up this matter and submit a report thereon to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

ACTIVITIES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE FOR ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL COOPERATION AMONG ISLAMIC COUNTRIES (COMCEC)

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

This agenda item is to be discussed under the following eleven sub heads. The Secretary General’s report provides relevant background information under each of these sub-heads:

    1. Implementation of the Plan of Action to Strengthen Economic and Commercial Cooperation Among Member States.
    2. Cooperation for the Promotion of Economic Cooperation in different areas.
    3. Cooperation in the area of Food Security and Agricultural Development.
    4. Cooperation in the area of Industry.
    5. Cooperation in the area of Transport.
    6. Cooperation in the field of Telecommunications.
    7. Cooperation in the field of Energy.
    8. Cooperation in the field of Infrastructure and Public Works.
    9. Cooperation in the field of Labour and Social Security.
    10. Cooperation in the field of Tourism.
    11. Technical Cooperation.

a) Implementation of the Plan of Action to Strengthen Economic Cooperation Among Member States.

The Sixth Islamic Summit entrusted COMCEC to draw up and implement a new strategy for the Plan of Action to Strengthen Economic and Commercial Cooperation Among OIC Member States, taking into consideration the changes that took place in the world since the adoption of the Plan of Action in 1981. After a series of meetings organized under the aegis of COMCEC, a revised Plan was drawn up which was approved by the Tenth Session of COMCEC held in November 1994. This document, together with the Strategy approved earlier by the COMCEC, was submitted to the Seventh Islamic Summit Conference, held in Casablanca in December 1994. The Summit endorsed these documents through Resolution 8/7-E(IS).

The Seventh Islamic Summit, inter alia, noted that the economic cooperation strategy adopted by the COMCEC allowed for cooperation among sub-groups of member countries and was based on the principles putting emphasis on the private sector, economic liberalization, integration into the world economy, respect for the economic, political, legal and constitutional structures of the member states and their international obligations. It further noted that the Plan of Action was a general and flexible policy document open for improvement during its implementation in accordance with the provisions stipulated in its chapter on Follow-up and Implementation. The Summit agreed on the need to urgently implement the Plan of Action and called upon the member states to host, the inter-Sectoral Expert Group meetings envisaged in the chapter on Follow-up and Implementation of the Plan of Action.

During deliberations on the Follow-up and Implementation Mechanism, at its eleventh meeting, the COMCEC Follow-up Committee considered the technical and organisational issues related to the holding of an inter-sectoral meeting that would cover all the ten priority areas of the Plan of Action. In this context, the Committee recommended that, instead of holding one inter-sectoral meeting to start the implementation of the Plan of Action, a more practical approach would be to hold more than one meeting to deal either with one area or a number of inter-related areas at a time, on a priority basis. The Eleventh COMCEC accepted the recommendation of the Follow-up Committee and invited the Member States to host both sectoral and inter-sectoral meetings.

Under the envisaged implementation mechanism, sectoral expert group meetings are to identify specific cooperation projects in respective priority areas of the Plan. Subsequently, “project committees” will be formed with Member States, interested in particular project(s) of their choice. The responsibility of implementing any project will remain with the concerned project committee(s).

So far the following Expert Group Meetings have been held in three priority areas:

i) Expert Group Meeting on Money, Finance and Capital Flows (Istanbul, 1-3 September 1997).

ii) Expert Group Meeting on Foreign Trade (Karachi, 24-25 October 1997).

iii) Expert Group Meeting on Technological and Technical Cooperation (Istanbul, 6-8 May 1998).

Several project proposals and project ideas for implementation through joint collaboration of interested Member States emerged from these meetings which have been transmitted to all Member States requesting them to indicate the project(s) in which they are interested so that their names can be forwarded to the states which originally proposed the project(s) in question. Responses received from the Member States in this regard are being forwarded by the General Secretariat to the proposing country(s) for the setting up of specific project committee(s).

The government of the Arab Republic of Egypt which has offered to host Expert Group Meeting on Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and on Transport and Communication has not yet indicated any dates for these two meetings which were postponed at the last moment in September, 1996 on the request of the host government. The government of the Republic of Indonesia, on the other hand, has officially withdrawn its offer to host the Ministerial and Expert Group Meetings on Tourism regretting its inability to host these meetings for budgetary constraints.

The government of the Republic of Sudan has offered to host Expert Group Meetings on "Energy & Mining" and "Human Resources Development." The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has offered to host an Expert Group Meeting in the area of "Health and Sanitary Issues" while the State of Palestine has offered to host an Expert Group Meeting on "Labour and Social Issues" and a Workshop on "Environment on Population." The Republic of Burkina Faso has offered to host a regional Workshop on Industry for East, West and Central African OIC Member Countries. The Republic of Gabon has offered to host a sub-regional Seminar for the OIC Member Countries of Central and East Africa on the "Role of IDB in the promotion of the private sector."

b) Cooperation for the Promotion of Trade Among OIC Member States.

During the first COMCEC Session held in November 1984, the Trade Ministers of OIC member states got together for the purpose of exploring ways and means for strengthening cooperation in areas falling under their responsibility. The Ministers identified a number of priorities in the field of trade and adopted a resolution on the “Implementation of the Short Term Programme for the Promotion of Trade Among OIC Member States”, which includes recommendations for the preparation of a number of projects/schemes.

At its first Session, COMCEC discussed and approved the proposals to draw up three multilateral financial schemes aimed at enhancing trade among Member States, namely, a Longer-term Trade Financing Scheme, an Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit, and a Multilateral Islamic Clearing Union. The progress achieved in the establishment and operation of each of these schemes as well as the other efforts for the enhancement of Intra-Islamic trade is summarised below:

(i) Export Financing Scheme (EFS) formerly known as Longer Term Trade Financing Scheme (LTTFS)

The project had been initiated by COMCEC which approved the scheme and entrusted the IDB with its implementation. The Longer-Term Trade Financing Scheme was approved by the Tenth IDB Annual Meeting, held in Amman, Jordan, in March 1986. The title of the Scheme has recently been changed to Export Financing Scheme (EFS).

This Scheme, which became operational in 1408 aims at promoting exports of non-conventional commodities among OIC member states by providing the necessary funds for periods ranging between 6 and 60 months for exports from the member countries of the Scheme to any other OIC member state. Up to the end of 1418 H, the Scheme comprised 23 member states. In each member state which participates in EFS there are one or more national agencies for the Scheme. The role of the national agencies is to coordinate the promotion of the EFS export financing in their countries.

The total subscribed capital by the member countries of the Scheme up to the end of 1418 H was ID 315.5 million, out of which ID 132.7 million is paid up. The IDB has contributed to the Scheme a sum of ID 150 million, half of which has already been paid up.

Originally the scheme was conceived to finance exports from one member country to another. However, in order to expand its scope and promote exports of member countries, in 1417H, the Board of Executive directors amended the scheme to allow for export to OECD member states. By widening the scope of the scheme, it is expected that the market for exports from member countries will be much larger than previously.

In 1418 H the net approvals under the scheme amounted to ID 27.25 million (US $ 37.00 million) for 8 operations in 5 exporting member countries as against 13 operations in 5 exporting member countries in 1416H amounting to ID 39.30 million US $ 55.76 million).

From its inception to 1418H, the EFS has approved 126 net financing operations in 12 exporting member states amounting to ID 306.00 million (US $ 429.00 million).

(ii) Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC).

Another important project introduced in the field of the promotion of trade exchange, is the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit. At COMCEC’s request the IDB undertook a feasibility study and prepared the Agreement for the establishment of the said Corporation. The scheme was approved by COMCEC in October 1991. Subsequently, the IDB Board of Governors approved this agreement and appealed to member states to subscribe to the capital of the Scheme. 50 percent of the authorised capital; ID 100 million (about US $ 150.00 million,) has been subscribed by eighteen OIC/IDB member states and the IDB has subscribed and paid up the remaining 50 per cent.

The objectives of the Scheme are to increase the volume of transactions and the flow of investments among member states. The services, however, will be limited only to the signatory states of the Agreement that will have ratified it, submitted their ratification instruments to the Bank and paid up their shares.

The ICIEC commenced operations in July, 1995 and provides export credit in insurance to cover the non-payment of export receivables resulting from commercial and non-commercial risks, in accordance with the principles of Shariah. The ICIEC also plans to offer investment insurance against country risks, mainly risk of exchange transfer restriction, war, civil disturbance and breach of contract by a host government. Three types of policies have already been launched. A comprehensive risk policy, a supplements Medium Term Policy, and the Bank Master Policy.

(iii) Islamic Multilateral Clearing Union

This is another scheme designed to ensure trade promotion among OIC member states. The IDB undertook a study of this project at the request of COMCEC.

The 8th COMCEC Session, held in 1992, had noted with appreciation the finalisation by the IDB of the “Agreement on the Multilateral Islamic Clearing Union” as well as its submission to the 8th Meeting of the Governors of the Central Banks and Monetary Authorities of the member states held in Cairo, Egypt, in 1990. The same COMCEC Session approved, in principle, the proposed Agreement and endorsed the recommendation of the Governors of the Central Banks and Monetary Authorities of member states regarding this scheme.

The Tenth COMCEC Session held in Istanbul, October 22-25, 1994 had, inter alia, invited member states to consider working out clearing arrangements among themselves, provided that these agreements be flexible in the goods covered and that joining them be on a voluntary basis, provided also that clearing agreements be concluded among sub-groups of member states willing to join, with the ultimate goal of setting up a multilateral Islamic Clearing Union.

iv) Establishment of a Trade Information Network (TINIC)

The First COMCEC Session, held in 1984, adopted a resolution on the “Short term implementation Programme for trade promotion” recommending the setting up of a Trade Information Network for Islamic Countries to facilitate the collection, treatment, analysis and propagation of trade information for the benefit of users. The Islamic Centre for the Development of Trade (ICDT) was requested to prepare a feasibility study on the modality of such a network, in cooperation with the concerned OIC institutions and other international organisations.

Consequently, the ICDT submitted a feasibility study to the second COMCEC session. A study group was set up to revise that study with a view to developing a “database system” for collecting and propagating, inter alia, maximum trade information within OIC member states, eliminating duplication and ensuring an optimal utilization of means already existing in member countries.

The Tenth COMCEC Follow-up Committee Meeting held in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey, in May 1994, noted with satisfaction that the first meeting on TINIC Focal Points jointly organized by the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT) and the IDB was held from 19 to 21 April 1994 in Casablanca to examine cooperation problems among Focal Points and set up the required databases.

The Committee requested the ICDT to pursue its preparations for establishing a database in close cooperation and coordination with TINIC Focal Points and the IDB and to submit a progress report on the issue to the 10th COMCEC Session.

The conception of ICDT’s data bases is finalized, all the modules are completed and operational except for the module “Regulations”. It is practically identical to the OICIS-NET basic model accepted by the Islamic Development Bank and made up of the following modules:

- Tables and parameters: management of all static tables (countries, languages, products, activities, unit of measures,;

- Statistics: acquisition and Processing of all annual statistical data and economic indicators for each country;

- Events: Trade events data acquisition and processing;

- Business Opportunities: treatment of business opportunities;

- Operators: all information concerning intra-OIC import/export regulations;

- Query and reports: tools that give users facilities to extract and sort data directly on all the system tables;

- Economic indicators.

Information dissemination is carried out through the usual means (mail, fax, Tijaris). It is also possible on CD-ROM as well as by remote inquiries through Internet or the communication system of the OICIS-NET to be used as soon as it is operational. It is worth mentioning that I.C.D.T. is already provided with an internet site on the following address www.icdt.org.

v) Establishment of a Trade Preferential System among OIC Member States (TPSOIC)

In pursuance of the relevant decisions of the First and Second COMCEC Sessions, the ICDT carried out a study on a trade preferential system within OIC member states. The documents of this system were approved by the Sixth COMCEC Session held in Istanbul from 7 to 10 October 1990 which requested the General Secretariat to pursue the implementation of the system in question.

COMCEC requested the OIC General Secretariat to contact member states to expedite the formalities of their joining the Framework Agreement and urged member states to start in the meantime, bilaterally or through COMCEC, exchanging lists of respective offers of concessions and initiate informal consultations on them as a prelude to the future negotiations on the said concessions.

Taking into account the latest signatures, number of countries which signed the Framework Agreement on Trade Preferential System now stands at 22. The number of ratifications, however, remains at 5. Number of ratifications required for the Agreement to enter into force is 10.

vi) Harmonisation of Standards

During the first session of COMCEC it was decided to prepare a methodology aimed at harmonising the norms in force in member states with a view to eliminating the obstacles in the way of trade promotion among OIC countries. The Turkish Standardization Institute (TSI), which now plays the role of Coordination Committee, was requested to prepare the project document.

The draft Statute of the Standards and Metrology Organisation for Islamic Countries (SMOIC) was circulated among the member states for their views and comments thereon. Following the decision of the Eleventh Session of COMCEC, the text of the Draft Statute was re-circulated among the member states. The draft was also sent to the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry for its views and comments.

The views and comments on the draft Statute received from the member states were examined by an Expert Group convened for the purpose in Istanbul in September, 1996. The final draft of the Statute was prepared taking into account the views of the member states. The draft statute on the Standards and Metrology Organisation for the Islamic Countries was presented to the 12th COMCEC (Istanbul, November 12-15, 1996) for adoption. The COMCEC, however, decided to change the title of the Statue as “Statute of the Standards and Metrology Institute for the Islamic Countries”, and requested the General Secretariat to circulate the Draft Statute among the member states for their approval, and submit it to the 13th session of the COMCEC. Accordingly, the General Secretariat circulated the Draft Statute among the Member States.

At the 13th COMCEC the General Secretariat submitted a resume of comments and observations received from the Member States. The COMCEC felt that the draft Statute needed to be reviewed from the legal and technical point of view. Accordingly, the Turkish Standards Institute organised the 8th Expert Group Meeting for the purpose in Ankara, from March 24-26, 1998. The revised draft was presented to the 14th Session of the COMCEC (Istanbul, November 1-4, 1998) which adopted the Statute with some modification in the article dealing with subscription from members. In adopting the draft Statute, the COMCEC invited Member States which are willing to participate in the activities of the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) to sign and ratify it.

vii) Organization of Islamic Trade Fairs

The Eleventh COMCEC Session held in Istanbul, from 5 to 8 November 1995 noted with satisfaction that the Fifth Islamic Trade Fair was successfully held from July 16-21, 1994 in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Twelfth COMCEC Session having taken cognizance of the report of the Secretary General of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the subject, noted with satisfaction that the Sixth Islamic Trade Fair was successfully held in Jakarta, Republic of Indonesia from 22 to 27 October 1996 concurrently with the Third Private sector Meeting. It also welcomed the offer of the government of Lebanon to host the 7th Islamic Trade Fair in 1998, in cooperation with the ICDT, the ICCI, the IDB and other relevant institutions.

The Seventh Islamic Trade Fair was hosted by the government of the Republic of Lebanon in the Rashid Karami International Exhibition Centre, Tripoli, Lebanon from October 13-18, 1998. The Fair was organised in collaboration with the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT) and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). The 8th Islamic Trade Fair will be hosted by the Government of the State of United Arab Emirates in the year 2000. The Republic of Senegal has offered to host the 9th Islamic Trade Fair in the year 2002 and the Republic of Guinea offered to host the 10th Islamic Trade Fair in the year 2004.

viii)Cooperation Among the Private Sectors of the OIC Member Countries.

Development of private sector in the Islamic world is one of the major preoccupations of the COMCEC. The Ninth session of the COMCEC, agreed that a flexible approach be followed regarding the possible role of the private sector in the overall activities of the COMCEC and where necessary, during the Islamic Trade Fairs. Decision to hold Private sector Meetings regularly on annual basis prior to the COMCEC sessions is an important measure in support of the private sector in the member states. Annual Private Sector Meetings are being held regularly before the COMCEC Sessions.

The 14th Session of COMCEC, held in Istanbul from November 1-4, 1998 expressed appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Lebanon and the ICCI for organizing the Fifth Private Sector Meeting (Tripoli, Lebanon 12-14 October, 1998) in collaboration with the Federation of Lebanon Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture. The Tripoli Economic Declaration which was issued on conclusion of the Fifth Private Sector Meeting, contains 22 recommendations.

The Republic of Cameroon has offered to host the Sixth Private Sector Meeting in Yaounde in 1999.The Seventh Private Sector Meeting will be held in Sharjah, State of the UAE in the year 2000. The Republic of Guinea has offered to host the 8th and 11th Private Sector Meetings in 2001 and 2004 respectively while Republic of Senegal has offered to host the 9th Private Sector in the year 2002.

ix) Exchange of Views Sessions during the annual sessions of the COMCEC

The Tenth Session of COMCEC agreed that a separate item allowing delegates to exchange views on current world economic issues of interest to Member States be put on the COMCEC agenda in its subsequent sessions.

Since then Exchange of Views Sessions have been held on the following topics during the Eleventh (1995), Twelfth (1996), Thirteenth (1997) and Fourteenth (1998) Sessions of the COMCEC:

Implications of Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations and the Establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the external trade of the OIC Member Countries: (11th COMCEC),

Privatisation Experiences of the OIC Member Countries” (12th COMCEC),

Implications of Regional Economic Groupings, especially the European Union for the Economies of Member Countries” (13th COMCEC),

Intra-OIC Trade and Investments, Economic Stabilisation and Structural Reforms in Member Countries” (14th COMCEC).

In preparation of the Exchange of Views session of the 14th COMCEC, the ICDT and SESRTCIC jointly organised a workshop (Casablanca, September 30 – October 2,1998) in collaboration with the IDB on “Intra-OIC Trade and Investments, Economic Stabilisation and Structural Reforms in Member Countries”.

Human Resources Development for Sustained Economic Growth and Progress in Member Countries has been chosen to be the theme of Exchange of Views Session of the 15th COMCEC.

c) Cooperation in the area of Food Security and Agricultural Development.

Food Security is one of the top priorities in the OIC Plan of Action. However, the problem of food security remains unresolved in a number of OIC member states, particularly in Africa.

The General Secretariat, in cooperation with the IDB, the African Development Bank and the Government of Senegal, organised a symposium on Food Security in the Islamic countries in December 1991, in Dakar, Republic of Senegal, in conjunction with the Sixth Islamic Summit Conference. The Sixth Islamic Summit adopted a declaration on “the Food Security Decade” in OIC Member States.

The Sixth Islamic Summit Conference, having considered the report of the Dakar Symposium, requested member states and all financial, economic and technical organizations of the Ummah to assist the African States concerned to ensure effective implementation of the recommendations of the Dakar Symposium. It also appealed to member states to extend additional resources to the relevant financial institutions so that they may increase their assistance to OIC African member states for the speedy and effective implementation of their national strategy for food security.”

An Ad-hoc Follow-up Committee of the Symposium, established during the Symposium and chaired by the Minister for Rural Development and Hydrology of the Republic of Senegal, is doing its best to implement the recommendations of the Dakar Symposium on Food Security in African OIC member states. Two meetings at expert level and two at senior official level have already been held. A mission comprising the Government of Senegal, the Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank, has already visited a number of states to evaluate their respective programmes in the area of food security.

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran hosted the Fourth OIC Ministerial Conference on Food Security and Agricultural Development in Tehran from 14 to 16 January 1995. The meeting was well attended and the Declaration issued by this Conference emphasised the need to explore ways and means to increase agricultural production in high potential areas, and decided to periodically review the situation of food security in all OIC member states which are importers of food, in attaining a higher degree of food self-sufficiency. It also expressed firm determination and political will to expand cooperation among the concerned member states in developing food security and agriculture.

d) Cooperation in the area of Industry

A series of Ministerial Meetings on Industrial Cooperation among OIC Member States have been held over the past few years.

Several Joint Venture Projects have been identified, studied and approved for member states in cooperation with the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Industrial Development Programme (UNIDO).

The General Secretariat, subsidiary organs and affiliated institutions, in collaboration with the relevant UN institution (UNIDO) continue to work together to strengthen cooperation among member states in the field of industrial development and joint investment.

In pursuance of the decisions of the Third Ministerial Consultation on Industrial Cooperation held in 1987, a meeting of the “Task Force for the Promotion of joint Ventures” was convened by the IDB in Jeddah in November 1987, which considered in detail the mechanism for the promotion of joint ventures among Member countries as outlined by the Ministers.

The Ninth COMCEC Session held in Istanbul on 01 to 04 September 1993 invited member states that had not yet done so, to examine recommendations of the Task Force on the proposed mechanism and communicate their views and comments thereon to the OIC General Secretariat so as to facilitate their consideration by the Fourth Ministerial Consultation, and appealed once more to member states to host the Fourth Ministerial Consultation in order to finalize the scheme.

e) Cooperation in the area of Transport

The First OIC Ministerial Meeting on Transport was held in Istanbul, September 7-10, 1987, concurrently with the Third COMCEC Session. The Ministers, during the meeting, expressed their conviction that transport is an important element of the development of commercial and economic cooperation among Islamic states and, among other things, decided to cooperate in the development of the following sectors:

(a) Road Transport,

(b) Maritime Transport,

(c) Railway Transport, and

(d) Training in the field of Transport.

The General Secretariat is in close contact with the member states and concerned agencies for the implementation of the decisions of the Ministers of Transport.

The Eleventh Session of the COMCEC, held in Istanbul, from 5-8 November 1995 urged member states and the OIC organs concerned to take measures needed for the implementation of the resolutions of the First Meeting of the Ministers of Transport of Member States, and appealed to member states to host the Second Meeting of Ministers of Transport.

The Organisation of Islamic Ship Owners’s Association is pursuing its efforts for the establishment of an Islamic Shipping Company in the private sector. The formal launching of the Company is expected soon.

The Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt offered to host the Expert Group Meeting on Transport and Communication in Cairo from September 22-24, 1996. Subsequently at the request of the host Government, the meeting was postponed. New dates of the meeting are expected shortly.

f) Cooperation in the field of Telecommunications

The First Ministerial Meeting on Telecommunications was held concurrently with the Fourth COMCEC Session in Istanbul, Turkey, in September, 1988 and the Second Ministerial Meeting on Telecommunications was held in Bandung, Indonesia, from November 5-8, 1991. The Tenth COMCEC Session, held in Istanbul, from 22 to 25 October 1994 called upon member states and the relevant OIC organs to take the measures needed for the implementation of the resolutions of the First and Second Ministerial Meetings on Telecommunications.

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran hosted the Third OIC Ministerial Meeting on Post and Telecommunication in Tehran from July 8-11,1996. A 25-point resolution was adopted by the meeting identifying areas of cooperation and made specific requests and recommendations for action by the member states with a view to further cooperation among them in the field of posts and telecommunications. Some of the important actions suggested by the meeting include, setting up of a Data Bank for Post and Telecommunication Experts within the OIC-ISNET member countries; defining a mechanism enabling member states to benefit from the studies and researches already undertaken by other member states in the field of PTT; preparing an updated list of experts in technical field of PTT; preparing an updated list of technical cooperation and training activities available in the member states and compilation of member states’ specific needs and capabilities with implementable project ideas and proposals or activities and encouraging joint investments for development and manufacture of telecommunication equipments.

The meeting decided to establish a Follow-up Committee to monitor the implementation of the Third OIC Ministerial Meeting on Post and Telecommunications. It also decided that expert group meetings, seminars and symposiums be held annually even if at regional level and including the private sector. It was also decided to hold the ministerial meeting on posts and telecommunications more frequently, once in every three years.

The Twelfth COMCEC noted with appreciation the successful convening of the Third OIC Ministerial Meeting on Posts and Telecommunications in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran and adopted its report. The Government of the Republic of Sudan has offered to host the 4th OIC Ministerial Meeting on Posts and Telecommunication.

g) Cooperation in the field of Energy

Energy is one of the priority areas of the Plan of Action. It was in Istanbul, Turkey, from 3 to 6 September, 1989 that the First Ministerial Meeting of the OIC Member States on Energy was held concurrently with the Fifth COMCEC Session.

The Ministers of Energy of member states, recognising that energy issues are important elements of cooperation in various fields among the member states and that the development of energy resources and power networks will lead to progress and contribute to the general welfare of the Islamic countries and to their mutual interest, the OIC Energy Ministers adopted a comprehensive resolution on this subject.

This resolution recommends, inter alia, that member states improve the performance of energy installations, speed up technology transfer among themselves in the energy sector, encourage research in new and renewable energy resources and establish inter-linked regional networks in the field of electric energy.

The Tenth COMCEC Session held in Istanbul on 24 and 25 October, 1994 called upon member states and the OIC organs concerned to take the measures needed for the implementation of the Resolutions of the First OIC Ministerial Meeting and appealed to member states to host the Second Ministerial Meeting on Energy.

h) Cooperation in the field of Infrastructure and Public Works.

The First OIC Ministers of Infrastructure and Public Works Meeting was held from 6 to 9 October, 1991 in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey, concurrently with the Seventh COMCEC Session,

Noting with satisfaction that Islamic countries had considerable potentialities and cooperation prospects in the field of infrastructure and public works capable of meeting the present and future needs of OIC member states.

The Ministerial Meeting, inter alia, urged member states to use all ways and means to enhance their cooperation and requested that a separate section of the budget be devoted to public works and infrastructure among the priority sectors of the "Plan of Action to Strengthen Economic Cooperation among Member States". It also recommended the development of existing potentialities and projects within the OIC System in this field.

The Tenth COMCEC Session, held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 22 to 25 October 1994 having taken note of the Resolutions adopted at the First Ministerial Meeting on Infrastructure and Public Works, held in Istanbul from 6 to 9 October, 1991 called upon all concerned to take the measures needed for the implementation of the resolutions of the First Meeting of the Ministers of Infrastructure and Public Works. It also took note of the proposals made by the Republic of Indonesia pertaining to cooperation in the area of urban infrastructure and rural development for incorporation in the Plan of Action.

i) Cooperation in the field of Labour and Social Security.

The Second Experts Group Meeting on Labour and Social Security, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in October, 1994 set up two Working Groups – one for finalising the “Draft Bilateral Agreement on Social Security” and the other for the “Draft Model Bilateral Agreement on Labour and Manpower Exchange”. The Working Group on Social Security met in Amman, Jordan, in 1985 and finalised the Draft Agreement. The Meeting of the Second Working Group on Labour and Manpower Exchange was held in Istanbul, Turkey from 27 to 29 May 1989. It also finalized the Draft Agreement.

The General Secretariat, in forwarding the Reports of the Working Group on Labour and Manpower Exchange along with the Draft Agreement to member states informed them that the two Draft Agreements would be submitted to the Third Expert Group Meeting on Labour and Social Security for their consideration.

The Twenty-first ICFM expressed satisfaction for the offer made by the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to host the meeting of the working group on Employment and Manpower Exchange.

However, the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt has, since informed the General Secretariat that it was no longer in a position to host the Expert Group Meeting on Labour and Social Security.

j) Cooperation in the Field of Tourism

The Twenty-third Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, held in Conakry, Republic of Guinea, from 9 to 13 December 1995 adopted a resolution to strengthen cooperation among OIC Member States. The Conference stressed that tourism constitutes a main pivot in economic development and rapprochement between nations. The Twenty-fourth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Jakarta from December 9-12, 1996 recalled that tourism has been identified as a priority area for cooperation in the Plan of Action and requested the Secretary General to convene as soon as possible, an Expert Group Meeting in the field of Tourism within the framework of COMCEC and the Plan of Action to Strengthen the Economic and Commercial Cooperation Among OIC member states.

Meanwhile, the Conference also invited the member states to cooperate in the following areas:

- provision and exchange of publicity and advertising materials on tourism in different languages.

- organising special tourism weeks and popular art exhibitions in the Islamic world.

- production of documentary films on main archeological landmarks in the member states which are to be exchanged,

- organizing group travel among Islamic countries to strengthen bonds among member states,

- encouraging tourist investments in member states and directing investors to realise tourist projects in these states.

- facilitating contacts among experienced tourist offices in member states

The Government of the Republic of Indonesia had offered to host the Expert Group Meeting on Tourism to be followed by a Ministerial level meeting on the same subject. All preparations were completed by the host country and the General Secretariat to hold these meetings in Jakarta from November 8-11, 1997. However, these meetings had to be postponed at the last moment due to lack of adequate response from Member States.

Meanwhile, the government of Indonesia officially communicated its decision to the General Secretariat to withdraw its offer to host the aforementioned two meetings due to budgetary constraints. The decision has been transmitted to all Member States.

k) Technical Cooperation among OIC Member States

The First Ministerial Meeting on Technical Cooperation was held concurrently with the Sixth Session of COMCEC in Istanbul, Turkey, October 7-10,1990. Five National Focal Points Meetings for Technical Cooperation among Member States were held in Istanbul between 1990 and 1994, thanks to the funding of the Turkish Government.

The above meetings reviewed the state of technical cooperation among OIC Member States and adopted recommendations aimed at strengthening this cooperation. The meetings stressed the need to promote the administrative and financial capabilities of national focal points on technical cooperation. During bilateral contacts, cooperation programmes were updated and new ones drawn up.

The Twenty-First ICFM and Ninth COMCEC recommended that member states strengthen their technical cooperation with special emphasis on training in the economic, cultural and social fields as well as on the training of instructors.

The Tenth COMCEC Session held in Istanbul from 22 to 25 October 1994, inter alia noted with satisfaction that the Meetings of Focal Points for Technical Cooperation (FOPTCIC) were being held annually on a regular basis, in Istanbul and thanked the Republic of Turkey for hosting them. It also appreciated the ongoing support extended by Turkey and by OIC institutions such as the IDB, SESRTCIC, ICDT, IIT and IFSTAD which contributed to the success of these meetings.

Tenth COMCEC also called upon member states and the OIC organs to implement the resolutions of the First Ministerial Meeting on Technical Cooperation held in Istanbul from 7 to 10 October 1990. It noted with satisfaction that the Fifth Focal Points Meeting on Technical Cooperation (FOPTCIC-V) was held, May 13-16, 1994, in Istanbul.

The Republic of Turkey hosted the Expert Group Meeting on Technological and Technical Cooperation in Istanbul from May 6-8, 1998. The project proposals emerging from the Expert Group Meeting have been transmitted to all Member States for necessary action under the Follow-up and Implementation Mechanism of the Plan of Action. The responses received from some interested Member States have been transmitted to the government of the Republic of Turkey as per the provision of the follow-up and implementation mechanism with a view to the eventual setting up of the project committee(s) to initiate implementation activities.

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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

STATUS OF THE SIGNING AND RATIFICATION OF STATUTES AND AGREEMENTS

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

The General Secretariat submitted latest position on the signing and ratification of the following OIC Statutes and Agreements to the Twenty-fifth ICFM and 14th COMCEC, held respectively in Doha and Istanbul in March 1998 and November 1998 .

i) General Agreement on Economic, Technical and Commercial Cooperation Among Member States.

ii) Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments Among Member States.

iii) Framework Agreement on Trade Preferential System Among OIC Member States.

iv) Articles of Agreement on Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit.

v) Statute of the Islamic Telecommunications Union.

vi) Statute of the Islamic Civil Aviation Council.

vii) Statute of the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC).

An updated table summing up the situation regarding the signing and ratification of the Agreements/Statutes is enclosed with this report.

i) General Agreement on Economic, Technical and Commercial Cooperation.

The General Agreement on Economic, Technical and Commercial Cooperation was approved by the Eighteenth ICFM in 1397H (1977). The Agreement aims at encouraging capital transfer and investment, exchange of data, experience, technical and technological skills among Member States and at facilitating the implementation of a fair and non-discriminatory treatment among these countries while giving special attention to the least developed member states. Up to now the agreement has been signed by 41 countries and ratified by 27. It became effective from 28 April 1981.

ii) Agreement on the Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments.

The Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments among member states was adopted by the Twelfth ICFM in 1401H (1981). The Agreement lays down the basic principles for the promotion of capital transfer among member states and protects their investments against commercial risks while guaranteeing the transfer of capital and its proceeds abroad. Up to now, the agreement has been signed by 28 member states and ratified by 18. After having been ratified by more than 10 countries, the agreement came into force in February 1988.

 

iii) Framework Agreement on Trade Preferential System.

Twenty-two member states have so far signed the Framework Agreement including Federal Republic of Nigeria which signed it during the Fourteenth COMCEC. Six member states have so far ratified it. At least ten member states need to ratify the Agreement so that it can enter into force.

iv) Articles of Agreement on Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit.

This Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit has come into force from 21 July, 1995. The Corporation has started functioning as a subsidiary institution under the aegis of the Islamic Development Bank.

The Articles of Agreement of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit have so far been signed by 31 member states and ratified by 18. The authorised capital of the Corporation is ID 100 million (about 150 million US dollars). The IDB has subscribed to and paid up 50 per cent of the capital while eighteen OIC/IDB member countries have subscribed to the remaining 50 per cent of the capital.

v) Statute of the Islamic Civil Aviation Council.

The Statute of the Islamic Civil Aviation Council has been signed by 13 member states and ratified by 4 only.

vi) Statute of the Islamic States Telecommunications Union (ISTU)

The Statute of the Islamic States Telecommunications Union (ISTU) was approved by the Fifteenth ICFM in 1405H (1984). The Statute has been signed by 13 and ratified by 9 Member States. The Statute has not yet entered into force for lack of required number of ratifications.

The 14th Session of the COMCEC has urged member states that have not yet signed and/or ratified various Statutes and Agreements in the field of economic cooperation drawn up or concluded within the framework of OIC, to do so as early as possible. This appeal was also renewed by the 8th Islamic Summit and the 25th ICFM held in December 1997 and March 1998 in Tehran and Doha respectively.

vii) Statute of the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC).

In compliance with the decision of the 13th COMCEC, the draft Statute of the SMIIC was reviewed from the legal and technical point of view at the 8th Expert Group Meeting convened for the purpose in Ankara, from March 24-26, 1998. The revised draft was presented to the 14th Session of the COMCEC (Istanbul, November 1-4, 1998) which adopted the Statute with some modification recommended by the 14th Meeting of the COMCEC Follow-up Committee in the article dealing with subscription from members. In adopting the draft Statute, the COMCEC invited Member States which are willing to participate in the activities of the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) to sign and ratify it. The General Secretariat has notified all Member States about the opening of the Statute of the SMIIC for signature and ratification.

————–

liST OF MEMBER STATES WHO SIGNED AND RATIFIED THE DIFFERENT AGREEMENTS AND STATUTES ON ECONOMIC, COMMERCIAL AND TECHNICAL COOPERATION AMONG OIC MEMBER STATES

General Agreement on Economic, Technical and Commercial Cooperation

Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments

Framework Agreement on Trade Preferential System

Statute of Islamic Civil Aviation Council

Statute of the Islamic States Telecommunic-ations Union

NAME OF MEMBER STATES

Adopted as per Res. No 1/8-E of the 8th ICFM

Tripoli/libya

16-22/5/1977

Adopted as per Res. No 7/12-E of the 12th

ICFM

Baghdad/Iraq

1-5/6/1981

Adopted as per Res. No 1 of the 6th COMCEC Istanbul/Turkey

7-10/10/1990

Adopted as per Res. No 16/13-E of the 13th ICFM

Niamey/Niger

22-26/8/1982

Adopted as per Res. No 17/15-E of the 15th

ICFM

Sana’a/Yemen

18-22/12/1984

Sign

Ratify

Sign

Ratify

Sign

Ratify

Sign

Ratify

Sign

Ratify

Afganistan

Algeria

20/5/80

Albaniae

15/11/96

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

21/05/80

30/08/80

Bangladesh

05/12/77

18/04/78

04/11/97

4/11/97

10/9/83

16/4/88

Benin

Brunei Darussalam

Burkina Faso

23/12/85

19/5/92

14/9/93

Cameroon

23/01/78

02/08/83

25/10/94

25/10/94

Comoros

28/04/78

16/01/81

Kyrgyz Republic

Kazakhstan

Djibouti

21/04/79

25/08/82

Egypt

08/11/77

06/06/78

16/12/78

15/11/96

11/6/87

7/5/88

United A.Emirates

29/12/77

1979

12/02/89

14/01/89

30/5/89

21/3/89

30/5/89

21/3/89

Gabon

23/01/78

Gambia

21/05/80

04/09/93

08/11/95

8/11/95

8/11/95

Guyana

Guinea

26/12/77

10/02/81

08/11/95

05/09/93

8/11/95

8/11/95

Guinea-Bissau

Indonesia

30/04/79

08/01/80

01/05/83

3/12/83

04/02/92

Iraq

02/07/78

1978

Iran

08/11/95

07/11/95

08/11/95

15/9/94

08/11/95

12/5/93

8/11/95

4/9/93

6/10/93

Jordan

29/12/77

10/05/79

04/11/98

01/02/93

21/12/98

25/10/94

12/3/88

8/4/86

Kuwait

05/12/77

10/05/80

18/11/81

12/4/83

libanon

15/11/96

15/11/96

15/11/96

libya

05/12/77

15/04/78

25/10/94

13/2/96

05/11/92

2/11/92

4/1/89

Malaysia

18/05/78

14/01/81

30/09/87

Maldives

17/12/77

Mali

27/04/78

08/08/81

24/5/82

Morocco

23/01/78

16/04/79

02/11/80

07/5/90

29/9/93

30/12/85

                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Agreement on Economic, Technical and Commercial Cooperation

Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments

Framework Agreement on Trade Preferential System

Statute of the Islamic Civil Aviation Council (ICAC)

Statute of the Islamic States Telecommunic-ations Union (ISTU)

NAME OF MEMBER STATES

Adopted as per Res. No 1/8-E of the 8th ICFM

Tripoli/libya

16-22/5/1977

Adopted as per Res. No 7/12-Eof the 12th

ICFM

Bagdad/Iraq

1-5/6/1981

Adopted as per Res. No 1 of the 6th Session of the COMCEC

Istanbul/Turkey

7-10/10/1990

Adopted as per Res. No 16/13-E of the 13th ICFM

Niamey/Niger 22-26/8/1982

Adopted as per Res. No 17/15-E of the 15th

ICFM

Sana’a/Yemen

18-22/12/1984

 

Sign

Ratify

Sign

Ratify

Sign

Ratify

Sign

Ratify

Sign

Ratify

Mauritania

08/11/77

09/05/79

Mazambique

Niger

18/05/78

07/08/78

8/12/84

Nigeria

4/11/98

4/11/98

4/11/98

4/11/98

4/11/98

Oman

15/04/80

28/04/81

25/10/94

10/12/94

Uganda

08/08/78

26/11/78

10/2/78

05/09/93

Pakistan

14/01/78

1978

20/12/81

10/7/82

25/10/94

11/10/93

1989

30/4/86

Palestine

28/04/78

18/03/80

15/03/82

15/3/82

10/09/92

22/5/83

3/01/87

11/11/86

Qatar

24/09/78

09/09/80

Saudi Arabia

14/01/78

27/06/79

23/9/85

17/9/84

10/09/92

Senegal

25/12/77

28/02/79

17/6/87

30/6/94

01/9/91

30/6/94

17/6/87

4/2/89

17/6/87

4/2/89

Sierra-Leone

Somalia

24/12/78

19/12/83

25/11/84

Sudan

14/01/78

20/12/81

13/5/92

4/9/93

4/9/93

Syria

04/06/78

15/07/80

Suriname

Tajikistan

04/11/97

04/11/97

Tchad

27/04/78

14/1/92

Togo

Tunisia

27/01/79

13/04/80

10/06/82

11/11/83

21/1/93

6/1/83

11/11/83

8/11/95

Turkey

29/12/77

02/07/82

16/07/87

09/2/91

23/9/91

28/11/91

Turkmenistan

Uzbekistan

Yemen

29/12/77

12/06/82

25/10/94

25/10/94

TOTAL

41

27

28

18

22

6

13

4

13

9

————-

 

 

 

 

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

ACTIVITIES OF THE OIC SUBSIDIARY ORGANS, SPECIAliSED AND AFFIliATED INSTITUTIONS ACTING FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL COOPERATION AMONG MEMBER STATES

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

This report provides a bird’s eye view of activities of the OIC Subsidiary Organs, Specialised and Affiliated Institutions working in the field of economic and commercial cooperation among Member States. Detailed information can be obtained from the individual reports expected to be submitted by the institutions concerned.

A common problem being faced, especially by the subsidiary organs of the OIC, is non-payment of mandatory contributions by a large number of member states. The Eighth Islamic Summit urged these member states to honour their regular mandatory contributions to the budgets of these bodies and to settle their arrears at their earliest convenience in view of the current financial difficulties being faced by these organs which made them unable to fulfil their responsibilities and threatened their very existence.

(a) Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRTCIC), Ankara.

The Statistical Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRTCIC) was founded in Ankara, Turkey in pursuance of Resolution No. 2/8-E adopted by the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, held in Tripoli, in May 1977. The Centre, more commonly known as the Ankara Centre, started operations from June 1, 1978 as a subsidiary organ of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

The Centre has been active in the implementation of many of the provisions of the OIC Plan of Action to Strengthen Economic Cooperation Among Member States, which was adopted as an adjunct to the historic Makkah Declaration on Joint Islamic Action by the Third Islamic Summit Conference in January 1981. Furthermore, the Centre was involved in the technical work relating to implementation of the Sixth Summit Resolution, adopted in Dakar in December 1991, on the formulation of the New Strategy for Strengthening Economic Cooperation. The Centre also undertook the preparation of the revised OIC Plan of Action to Strengthen Economic and Commercial Cooperation.

In addition to the regular implementation of its mandated activities, the Centre also undertakes extensive assignments to prepare and present background documents and reports to the OIC meetings in the areas of economic and technical cooperation, held every year at various levels.

b) Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT), Casablanca.

The activities of the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT) can be broadly categorised under the following headings: (a) undertaking various studies in the field of promotion of trade among Islamic states and on the implication of various developments in the world economy for the economies of the OIC Member States; (b) running various training programmes, organising seminars and workshops; (c) undertaking trade promotional activities like organising Islamic Trade Fairs, developing trade information networks; (d) bringing out publications, e.g. Tijaries (ICDT’s quarterly magazine on Inter-Islamic and International trade); OIC Exporters’ Guide and Roster of Experts in international trade available within the OIC Member States, and (e) providing technical assistance to member states.

(c) Islamic Institute of Technology (IIT), Dhaka.

Since the 21st Meeting of the Islamic Commission, the activities of the Islamic Institute of Technology (IIT) as well as the number of students and trainees have increased. During 1997, 1,099 nominations from 21 Member States were received but only 263 could be selected for admission into different programmes due to lack of accommodation available. To cope with the increasing number of students, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has granted an amount of US $ 2.50 million as Loan for the construction of a new residential hall and construction of an additional (4th) floor on the existing Dormitories and Academic building to accommodate about 600 more students. The construction work is in progress.

In order to conduct research and to disseminate specialised technical know-how in the demanding fields of the day, Energy and Environment Centre (EEC) and the Department of Research, Extension, Advisory Services and Publications (REASP) have been opened and two Senior Professors of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering Department have been appointed as Heads of these newly opened Centre and Department. Besides the academic programme, the Institute has also organised different extra-curricular activities like Annual Indoor Games Competition, Sports and friendly matches and Socio-Cultural Programme like Arabian Night, Bangladeshi Night, African Night and Pakistani Night represented by different groups of student in IIT, religious programmes like Qirat Competition and religious discussion meetings throughout the year.

IIT as the focal point in the priority area of Human Resources Development for the OIC Member States have, so far, successfully organised 26 Seminars, International Seminars, Workshops and Short Courses, including 4 Short Courses/Seminars which were conducted in the later part of 1997. The Institute, with the cooperation of the Government of Bangladesh and the Islamic Development Bank, had finalised all preparations for holding an International Seminar on “Human Resources Development for Sustained Economic Growth and Poverty Alleviation in the Member States of the OIC” in Dhaka on 11-13 October 1998. The Seminar had to be postponed till February 1999 at the last moment due to the unprecedented flood in the host country. The IIT has planned another four seminar/short courses on “Administration of Technical and Vocational Education”, “Refrigeration and Air-conditioning”, “Computer Applications” and “Electrical Machines and their Controls”. In the last UN-OIC Meeting held in Geneva from 12-15 July 1998, IIT developed cooperation programmes with UNESCO, UNEP, IFAD, UNIDO, DESA, UNFPA, UNITAR, ITU and UNCTAD in the area of Human Resources Development.

The Institute held its Twelfth Congregation (Convocation) Ceremony on 11 October 1998 which was attended by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina as the Chief Guest.

(d) Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Jeddah.

The Islamic Development Bank has always worked closely with other specialized agencies, affiliated bodies and subsidiary organs of the OIC. The working relationship concerns areas such as the exchange of data and information, the undertaking of joint studies, meetings and assignments in special task forces/committees.

The OIC Information Systems Network (OICIS-NET) forms another major project undertaken by the IDB/IRTI, under the auspices of both COMCEC and COMSTECH. The Network is to facilitate the collection and dissemination of information among OIC member states and its specialist organizations through inter-linking national, regional, and sectoral focal points specialising in different sectors or subject areas. The Network is under implementation through a Pilot Scheme, where nine member countries are covered with their national focal centres. Coordination meetings of focal points are being held to consider the practical steps to implement the scheme in respect of priority sectors, particularly trade.

At the request of the various OIC bodies, the IDB, in collaboration with other relevant OIC bodies, prepared and finalised various Statutes/Agreements/Schemes in the field of economic cooperation among the OIC member states. The latest in this respect is the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC). The IDB also provides technical assistance in successfully organising a number of activities undertaken by the various institutions under the aegis of the OIC.

As per the decision of the 13th COMCEC, the IDB has been organising coordination meetings of the delegations of the OIC member states attending the WTO Ministerial Meetings. Following the decision of the 8th Islamic summit, the IDB has organised several meetings of the task forces comprising the relevant OIC bodies to work out modalities of implementation of various ideas contained in its document on preparing the Ummah for the 21st Century.

(e) Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Karachi.

The Islamic Chamber Commerce and Industry (ICCI) continues to pursue its programme of economic and commercial cooperation among the private sector of the OIC member states. Within this framework, it is implementing various projects and programmes, which have been formulated under its Three-Year Plan of Action (1995-1997). This Plan of Action was made within the guidelines of the strengthening of economic cooperation among member countries as emphasised by the OIC Plan of Action. The preliminary assessment of the implementation of the first phase of the Action Programme was held during the 30th Executive Committee and the 15th General Assembly Meetings of the ICCI, held in Sharjah in February 1998. The outline of the second phase of the Action Programme was also presented at the above meetings.

Since 1995, the ICCI has actively pursued its programme for the private sector and has held five private sector meetings in Turkey (1994), Egypt (1995), Indonesia (1996), Pakistan (1997) and Lebanon (1998) . The recommendations of these meetings have been submitted to the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Sessions of the COMCEC for consideration. The Private Sector Meetings have proved to be a useful meeting place of entrepreneurs, businessmen and representatives of financial institutions to discuss future avenues of cooperation and to find new markets for their products.

To foster greater interaction among the businessmen of the Islamic Countries, the ICCI has sent Economic Delegations to some of the African Countries. The first such Delegation went to Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali while the second went to Guinea, the Gambia, Sierra Leone and Senegal. The Third Delegation will be visiting some of the Central Asian Republics sometime in 1999.

The ICCI also cooperates with the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade, in organising the Islamic Trade Fairs. In addition, it also arranges for small exhibitions at the time of the private sector meetings.

As part of its services for its member chambers, the ICCI has undertaken a programme of holding Seminars and Workshops. The first such Seminar on support Services for Small and Medium Enterprises, was jointly held with the cooperation of the Islamic Development Bank in Karachi in December 1996. The second such Seminar was held in Mali in 1998 for the benefit of the francophone countries.

The Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry is also organising the following seminars and training programmes in collaboration with the IDB and related UN Agencies:

Seminars

1. Micro enterprises and development of Handicrafts of Surinam.

2. Need to enhance capacities to meet ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 standards.

3. Development of Cooperation and Integration Towards Forming Great Arab Free Trade Zones and its extension to the rest of the Islamic Countries.

Training Programmes

1. Training for Managers of Small and Medium Enterprises.

2. Training for staff of member Chambers from less developed and Central Asian Republics.

3. Technological and Management Training for the private sector in sectors of textiles, leather, pharmaceuticals etc.

In this rapidly evolving age of Information Technology, the Islamic Chamber is putting emphasis on the development of a well integrated data base. This data base contains information on the OIC member countries with particular reference to trade, economy, commerce, industry, trade fairs and other relevant information.

The Islamic Chamber is also working on, strategies to increase cooperation with Regional Organisations, such as the Economic Cooperation Council (ECC), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). These regional organizations have their own programmes for development of trade among their member countries. Islamic Chamber proposes to collaborate with these regional organisations to undertake trade expansion projects under specific regional system.

The Islamic Chamber has started recently to arbitrate, for any trade disputes that arise between the private sector of OIC countries. Besides, the ICCI in collaboration with the ICDT is organising Islamic Trade Fairs. The ICCI is also developing its own data base, which contains information on OIC countries, with particular reference to trade, industry, expertise available and other relevant information.

In order to foster intra-Islamic trade and industry, the Islamic Chamber has signed Memorandum of Understandings with various institutions, such as the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), ICDT, Singapore-Malay Chamber, Export Promotion Bureau of Pakistan and will also sign an MOU with the GCC Arbitration Council.

(f) International Association of Islamic Banks (IAIB), Jeddah.

The main objectives of the International Association of the Islamic Banks are i) promoting the philosophy and principles of Islamic Banking; ii) establishing parameters for cooperation and coordination amongst Islamic Banks and also amongst Islamic Central Banks; and iii) maintaining a database for all Islamic Financial Institutions.

Recent activities of the International Association of Islamic Banks can be summarised as under:

1- Providing since 1993 a high standard of professional database for all Islamic Financial Institutions. The ’96 directory of Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions span – inter alia:

a) Analysis and survey of more than 160 Islamic Financial Institutions including paid-up capital, total assets, total deposits, reserves and net profits;

b) Investment quota of every sector (trading, agriculture, industry, services, real estate) financed by these Institutions and Modes of Financing (murabaha, musharaka, mudaraba, ijara);

c) General information including Type of Institution. Date of Incorporation, Shariaa Board/Advisor, Number of Branches and Number of Employees;

d) Charts showing – by regions and geographical dispersion – percentage of these financial indicators.

2. Strengthening existing cooperation with Harvard University in the field of collecting data base on Islamic Financial Institutions:

a- A delegation from center for Middle East Studies (Harvard Islamic Finance Information Program – HIFIP) paid a visit to the Association to seek IAIB help in elaborating their scientific study on horizons and fields of funding through Islamic banks.

b- The Centre is also creating with the help of IAIB a wide data base on Islamic finance using most recent techniques to link it with the international database network.

c- IAIB Secretary General has been recently appointed as Member of the HIFIP’s Operating (and Advisory) Board which meet periodically at Harvard University to review the progress of the Program.

3. Building-up a framework for cooperation between Central Banks and Islamic Financial Institutions:

A 10-Member Central & Islamic Banks Common Committee has been formed by IAIB 10th Expert-Level Meeting of Central and Islamic Banks (Doha, Qatar – 10-11 Jumada II, 1418H – 12-13 October 1997).

4. Covering important relevant issues world wide and briefing Islamic Financial Institutions on their developments:

Latest issue of IAIB monthly Information Brief is being dedicated to the recent economic crisis in South East Asia.

(g) Islamic Shipowerns’ Association (ISA), Jeddah.

The Islamic Shipowners’ Association (ISA) had been established by a decision of the Third Islamic Summit Conference held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah in 1981 as an affiliated organ of the OIC for serving the Islamic Ummah in the area of maritime transport. Thirty-one Islamic States have joined the ISA represented by over fifty five Islamic shipping companies contributing to the budget of the ISA according to the tonnage of each company. The Islamic Shipowners’ Association commenced the necessary steps for setting up of the Cooperative Information System which would be

attached to the General Secretariat of the ISA in Jeddah for serving the member companies used on the members’ ships and also the P&I Clubs they belong to, insurance on hull and machineries, type of vessels whether passenger or general cargo vessels, vessels carrying hydrocarbon materials, ports called on regularly, ships of member companies and names of agents, vessels that require chartering and place of their availability so that members can utilize the same without brokers etc.

The Islamic Shipowners’ Association had carried out a feasibility study for the establishment of an Islamic shipping company in the private sector. All necessary steps for setting up the company have been completed. The proposed company under the name the Bakkah Shipping Company will have an authorized capital of US Dollars one hundred and fifty million and a paid up capital of US Dollars fifty million. The Company will run on purely commercial basis based on profit and loss.

The Eighth Islamic Summit held in Tehran in December, 1997 welcomed the preparation aimed at the setting up of the Company and called upon Member States, companies, the private sector and individuals to contribute to the capital of the Company and treat its vessels in the same way as they treat the national vessels in the ports of the Member States (Resolution No. 32/8-E(IS). Following registeration, its stocks will be communicated to the member states.

The company has since been registered with Headquarters in Jeddah.

————-

 

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

ESTABliSHMENT OF AN ISLAMIC COMMON MARKET

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

The Eighth Islamic Summit Conference held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran from 9-11 December 1997 adopted a resolution on the establishment of an Islamic Common Market which, inter alia, urged related bodies and institutions, in the OIC, concerned regional and national institutions, and public and private sectors in Islamic Countries to study implications of establishing an Islamic Common Market among Member States, and requested the Member States to provide the necessary information for making such studies.

It also requested the Secretary General to set up an Expert Group from Member States to study the implications of establishing an Islamic Common Market, to follow-up this question and submit a report thereon to the next session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

The Twenty-fifth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in its resolution (No.33/25-E) on the subject requested related bodies and institutions of the OIC to prepare studies in their respective areas of competence taking into consideration the Plan of Action within the framework of COMCEC which would serve as Working Paper to facilitate deliberations of the Expert Group that will be established by the Secretary General as per Resolution of the Eighth Islamic Summit to study the implications of establishing an Islamic Common Market as an ultimate objective.

The General Secretariat has initiated the process of consultation with the Member States in order to establish the aforementioned Expert Group . Some Member States have indicated their wish to participate in the work of the Expert Group. More responses are expected.

—————

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

PREPARING THE ISLAMIC UMMAH FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

 

As per decision of the Thirteenth Session of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC), a document prepared by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) containing some perception for preparing the Islamic Ummah for the 21st Century was presented at the Eighth Islamic Summit Conference. The Summit adopted a resolution in this regard calling upon the IDB in consultation with other OIC Organs and relevant Islamic institutions to draw the needed implementation modalities to translate the recommendations of the IDB document into practical programmes with qualitative and quantitative objectives in the areas of human resource development; expansion of trade and investment among Member States; securing basic needs such as health, education and food; in a coordinated manner. Participation of public and private sectors and utilisation of facilities of the competent international organisations and institutions could have contribution towards these objectives.

The Twenty-fifth ICFM also adopted a resolution (No.34/25-E) on the subject which, inter alia, requested the OIC Standing Committees and called upon the OIC institutions to explore the challenges of the 21st century each contributing to its respective field of competence, and to delineate possible responses by the Ummah for these challenges.

Two consultation meetings have been held under the chairmanship of the Islamic Republic of Iran and meetings of Task Force on four priority areas: expansion of Trade, Training, Health and literacy, have been organised b y the IDB.

In addition to IDB, these meetings were attended by the OIC General Secretariat, SESRTCIC, ICDT, ICCI, and ISESCO. The Islamic Republic of Iran, in its capacity as the current chairman of the Summit, also attended these meetings.

a) With regard to the expansion of intra-OIC trade, the meeting decided that the share of intra-OIC trade to total OIC trade should be increased from 10% to 13%. To meet this target, a task force, comprising IDB, ICDT, ICCI and SESRTCIC, was formed to undertake the necessary effort and to mobilise the resources needed to achieve the specific target.

b) The Task Force on Training endorsed a short-term programme that would achieve the target of increasing training programmes of various OIC organs in their respective fields of competence by 30% over the coming three years, by making use of available training opportunities within the OIC member countries and with international organizations. The Task Force studied the options of financing the training programme which include the establishment of a Training Fund under the auspices of the IDB or the mobilisation of resources for the programmes directly by the Training institutions themselves (from private sector through cost sharing basis or provision of local logistic support, or by marketing their programmes). The next meeting of the Training Task Force is scheduled to be held in Shawal 1419H (January 1999).

c) The Task Force on Health identified three major priority areas: (i) setting the necessary structures; (ii) health education and awareness, and (iii) disease controls and medical self-reliance. However, IDB recommended one programme that stands the best chance of success, which is "Self-Reliance in Vaccine Production in the Islamic World".

Consequently, it was decided that IDB will establish a special team to look into the feasibility of implementation and contact all organizations with knowledge and resources in vaccine production so that a concrete implementation plan could be developed for implementation.

d) The Task Force on literacy resolved that it will endeavour to realise the following in the coming three years: (i) survey the literacy situation in OIC member countries; (ii) assess the needs of technical assistance in literacy programmes in countries which have national plans; (iii) assess the needs for technical assistance to prepare literacy programmes in countries which have not yet established national plans. The Task Force also decided to compile a database on literacy statistics from all member states and then to call for an OIC Conference to discuss the prospects of reducing literacy rates among OIC member states.

—————-