OIC Council of Foreign Ministers commends efforts of ISESCO and of its Director General and adopts ISESCO-relevant recommendations

Abu Dhabi: 02/03/2019

OIC Council of Foreign Ministers commends efforts of ISESCO and of its Director General and adopts ISESCO-relevant recommendations

At the close of the 46th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held on 2-3 March 2019 in Abu Dhabi, State of the United Arab Emirates, under the theme “50 Years of Intra-Islamic Cooperation: a Roadmap to Prosperity and Development”, the Council adopted the Draft Resolution No. 46/6 C on Specialized Institutions.

In this resolution, the Council commended the remarkable activities and programmes carried out by ISESCO in its various educational, scientific, cultural, communicational and social fields of competence; praised its Director General, Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, for his efforts to develop the Organization’s action and expand its scope; commended the contents and orientations of ISESCO’s strategic Medium Term Plan for 2019-2021 and the content of its future Draft Action Plan and Budget for 2019-2021; lauded ISESCO’s outstanding contribution to implementing the Ten-Year Action Programme  to Counter the Challenges of the Islamic Ummah in the Twenty First Century approved by the 3rd Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference; and expressed appreciation for the activities implemented by ISESCO under this programme. It also expressed support and appreciation for the continued efforts and contacts made at the regional and international levels by ISESCO Director General to urge the international community to exert pressure on Israel to abide by the international resolutions concerning the protection of religious landmarks, cultural and civilizational heritage, and educational, scientific and cultural institutions in Al-Quds Al-Sharif and counter its unilateral decisions in this regard in accordance with the relevant international resolutions.

The Council noted with appreciation the content of joint Islamic action strategies and their implementation mechanisms devised by ISESCO in the areas of education, science, culture and communication; and invited Member States to cooperate with ISESCO in implementing these strategies, in cooperation with the relevant regional and international organizations.

By the same token, the Council commended ISESCO’s efforts to improve higher education systems in Member States and establish the High-Level Quality and Accreditation Committee to ensure follow-up to the implementation of the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in OIC Member States; and expressed support and appreciation for the launch of ISESCO’s “Tafahum” Project of Student, Faculty and Researcher Exchange among Universities of the Islamic World and the establishment of the Pan-Islamic Research and Education Network (PIREN).

In addition, the Council thanked ISESCO for implementing a number of national, regional and international activities in the cities celebrated every year as capitals of Islamic culture and invited it to pursue such support; commended the efforts put by Member States in hosting capitals of Islamic culture for 2018, namely Muharraq, Nakhchivan, and Libreville; welcomed the selection of Al-Quds Al-Sharif as permanent capital of Islamic culture, and Bissau, Bandar Seri Begawan and Tunis as capitals of Islamic culture for 2019; and invited ISESCO and the competent parties to work on successfully implementing this key cultural programme.

Furthermore, the Council commended ISESCO’s efforts to coordinate with the competent authorities in the Kingdom of Morocco to follow up the necessary practical procedures to establish “the Islamic Academy for the Environment and Sustainable Development”; and commended the efforts of ISESCO to take charge of the General Secretariat of the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Award for Environmental Management in the Islamic World”, and the launch of the new category of the Award titled “Best Environmentally-Friendly Islamic City”, as an aspect of supporting joint environmental action in the Islamic world.

In the same vein, the Council commended ISESCO’s initiative to set up a number of specialized prizes in the fields of education, scientific research, human and social sciences, environment, communication and volunteerism; and thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for sponsoring a number of these prizes.

Furthermore, the Council praised ISESCO’s efforts to organize the Third Forum of Heads of Islamic Cultural Associations and Centers outside the Islamic World (Santiago, Chile, 29-30 October 2018), the 16th Meeting of the Supreme Council for Education, Science and Culture of Muslims outside the Islamic World which adopted the Ten-Year Executive Programme for Cultural Centers and Educational Institutions of Muslims outside the Islamic World for 2019-2027 and approved the Framework Memorandum on the functioning of these centers; and invited ISESCO to continue its efforts and intensify its engagement with the Islamic cultural centers and associations in Europe, Asia and Latin America to activate the Strategy for Islamic Cultural Action outside the Islamic World and its implementation mechanisms.

In another vein, the Council commended ISESCO’s efforts in the field of upgrading the professional skills of media professionals in Member States and the activities it performed in a number of European capitals as part of countering Islamophobia, hate speech and racial discrimination in Western media through legal, professional and human rights avenues in light of its reference documents namely “the Course for Training Journalists to Redress Stereotypes on Islam and Muslims in Western Media”, “the Scientific Study on Western Media Contents on Islam in Light of International Law” and “the Reference Framework on the Legal Procedures on Submitting Complaints and Grievances against the Promoters of  Speech of Hatred and Racial Discrimination in the Media” in cooperation with the OIC General Secretariat and the specialized Islamic and international institutions concerned.

Furthermore, the Council acknowledged ISESCO’s efforts and achievements in the field of the protection of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Member States; welcomed the work of the Islamic World Heritage Committee set up by ISESCO to safeguard, preserve and rehabilitate such heritage; and invited Member States to further endeavor to protect this heritage as part of the activation of ISESCO’s initiative on proclaiming 2019 year of Safeguarding of Heritage in the Islamic World.

In addition, the Council praised the efforts deployed by the Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World (FUIW) in establishing university chairs; devising plans and strategies; implementing activities, programmes and projects adopted by the  FUIW’s Seventh General Conference (Rabat, 13-14 February 2017) to promote higher education; and commended the FUIW’s role in developing partnership and cooperation ties with Member Universities and parallel organizations through its achievements and initiatives which have earned the FUIW its  special position as a leading player in joint Islamic higher education action.

Thereafter, the Council hailed ISESCO’s efforts in organizing the Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers (28-29 November 2018, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain) in cooperation with Bahrain Authority of Culture and Antiquities (BACA) and coordination with the OIC General Secretariat; welcomes its adoption of the “Bahrain Declaration on Safeguarding Human Heritage and Countering Extremism”; and invited Member States and specialized Islamic organizations and institutions to give effect to its contents and orientations.

It also reaffirmed previous resolutions and recommendations taken on ISESCO’s projects, programmes, activities, initiatives, declarations and reference documents and thanked the General Conference and the Executive Council, ISESCO’s two constitutional bodies, for their constructive efforts to promote ISESCO’s action and enable it to discharge its functions in the best possible conditions.

The Council then expressed sincere thanks, appreciation and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and to their Majesties, Excellencies, Highnesses the Kings, Presidents and Emirs of Member States, for their generous support to ISESCO and for financing several educational, scientific and cultural programmes and activities.

It also expressed sincere thanks, appreciation and gratitude to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his high patronage of ISESCO’s conferences and for the constant support the Moroccan government extends to it to fully discharge its mission.

At the close of its 46th session, the Council adopted the Draft Resolution 48/6 S&T on the Activities of the OIC Institutions Operating in the Field of Science and Technology, Higher Education, Health and the Environment.

In this resolution, the Council appreciated the efforts exerted by ISESCO in the field of science and technology, higher education, health and environment; acknowledged the efforts of ISESCO in building scientific, technological and innovative capacities in various important and vital areas directly related to the socioeconomic development of Member States; and welcomed the Organization’s efforts in promoting quality, accreditation, exchange and cooperation in the universities of Member States by  launching and implementing programmes designed for university education and resource exchange.

In addition, the Council took note with appreciation of ISESCO’s initiatives in various domains including space sciences to improve the use of earth observation systems and expand the scope of its applications  to the management of natural resources, early warning and risk management of natural disasters as well as to advance and promote sustainable agriculture, aquaculture, assessment of food vulnerability, food safety, market efficiency, desertification aspects, biotechnology and capacity building activities on natural hazards.

Afterwards, the Council reaffirmed his call for ISESCO to actively participate in the implementation of the OIC Strategic Health Programme of Action 2014-2023 (OIC-SHPA) by sharing lessons learnt from its action plans and joining in the implementation of priority activities related to health on the six thematic areas of the Programme. Then the Council acknowledged ISESCO’s continued support for Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) and Islamic University Niger (IUN) and urged to continue supporting them, in accordance with the plan submitted by ISESCO to the General Secretariat which includes actions for strengthening their academic programmes, assessing their performance, supporting their STI programmes, and building the capacities of faculty and promoting linkages with universities in Member States.

By the same token, the Council commended the efforts of the FUIW in promoting and advancing university education and establishing linkages and partnerships among universities across the Islamic world and calls upon the FUIW to take steps for establishing partnerships and linkages between IUIU, IUN and IUT in Dhaka and universities of good standing in Member States.

In conclusion, the Council took note of the projects and initiatives in the field of higher education and scientific research adopted by the 8th Islamic Conference of Ministers of Higher Education and Scientific Research, held in Bamako, Republic of Mali on 14-15 November 2016 and requested ISESCO to ensure their effective and timely implementation, in coordination with OIC General Secretariat and OIC institutions concerned.