Conclusion of the Work of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs

OIC Press Release

27 January 2000

Conclusion of the Work of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs

After five days of working sessions and deliberations, the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs concluded its 23rd session in Jeddah last Wednesday 19 Shawal 1420H (January 26, 2000). It adopted a series of recommendations representing a major part of what will be discussed at the coming 27th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM), due to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in June.

The Commission’s recommendations analysed and proposed solutions for the economic problems facing the Islamic countries, including the least developed (LDCs) and the land-locked. They are also aimed at enhancing the reform of the international monetary system and bolstering the multilateral trade system and eradicating poverty in the low-income member states. The recommendations stressed the necessity of strengthening economic relations among the member states in the light of the commercial transformations which the international economy was undergoing. Other recommendations called for economic assistance to a number of Islamic states and peoples to help them overcome the economic crises they went through as a result of numerous factors: political, social and relating to nature and the Environment. Likewise, the Commission adopted a recommendation underlying the importance of implementing the work strategy designed to foster the agreement for the promotion, protection and insurance of investments among member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Another recommendation was passed on cooperation among member states in the area of tourism. Two further recommendations dealt with the ways and means of effectively establishing the Islamic Common Market as well as the mechanisms needed by the Islamic Ummah to cope with the 21st century.

In the cultural and social sphere, the Commission’s final report on its deliberations referred to the situation of many Islamic universities, institutes, institutions and bodies in a number of Islamic countries. The Commission recommended that they be supported and financed by all possible ways and modes so as to enable them discharge the mission entrusted to them. It expressed its appreciation for the assistance lent to those establishments by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the World Islamic Philanthropic Foundation, Baitul Zakat in the State of Kuwait, the World Islamic Da’wa Society in Libya, the Islamic Committee of the International Crescent and other states and specialized institutions. The Commission also commended the constructive proposal put forward by the State of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to set up a Waqf for Islamic universities. It asked the OIC Secretary-General to prepare a comprehensive study on the would-be Waqf regarding the constitution of its capital and the participation mode therein with a view to submitting such a study to the next ICFM.

In yet another recommendation adopted by the Commission to examine the ways and means of implementing their Cultural Strategy and the Plan of Action for the Islamic World, the Commission evoked the resolution of the Second Islamic Conference of Information Ministers (ICIM), entrusting the Islamic States Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), in its capacity as the OIC organ specializing in this field, with carrying out the Cultural Strategy for the Islamic World and following up its implementation with competent authorities within the Islamic States, while observing the cultural, national and local specificity of their respective Muslim peoples.

The Dialogue Among Civilizations being the worldwide issue that enjoyed the states’ support at the UN in the sense that it should be conducted at the dawn of the third millennium — upon an initial proposal sponsored by the His Excellency the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Seyyed Muhammad Khatami, the Commission recommended to the Islamic inter-governmental group of experts which will meet in Jeddah the coming February to prepare the Draft Universal Declaration on Dialogue Among Civilizations and the Ten-Year Plan of Action. It demanded the Secretary-General to refer the outcome of the experts’ group meeting to the member states to elicit their views and gather their observations.

The Islamic Commission also passed other important recommendations on adopting a unified stance towards the disrespect of Islamic shrines and values, the role of women in developing Islamic societies, child care and protection in the Islamic world, Muslim youth education and vocational training, the preparation of a unified Hijri calendar for the beginning of the lunar months and the synchronization of Islamic feast, and others. Furthermore, it adopted a series of economic, cultural, scientific and social recommendations which it deemed proper to consolidate Islamic solidarity and enable the Islamic Ummah to tackle the new century with better potentialities and an improved state of affairs.

The Commission sent a cable of thanks and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Saud — Sovereign of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in which it expressed its profound gratitude for the utmost interest he constantly and generously vested in the affairs of the OIC and for his kind directives to host a large number of OIC meetings on the soil of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Commission also thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Harams for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to the delegations taking part in the Commission’s meeting. The conferees wishes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia more progress, welfare and prosperity under his wise leadership.