Charter of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), adopted by the Founding Conference (Fez, 1402H/1982) and amended by the General Conference at its Special Session (Rabat, 1407H/1986), Fourth Session (Rabat, 1412H/1991), Fifth Session (Damascus, 1415H/1994), Sixth Session (Riyadh (1418H/1997), Ninth Session (ISESCO Permanent Headquarters, Rabat, 1427H/2006), Tenth Session (Tunis, 1430H/2009), Eleventh Session (Riyadh, 1434H/2012), and the Twelfth Session (Baku, 1437H/2015).
The Governments of the Member States, Believing that Islam, a religion of peace and tolerance, represents a way of life and a spiritual, human, moral, cultural and civilizational force which made, and is still making, constructive contribution towards the shaping of the Islamic World and the development of human civilization; Responding to the expectations of the Member States and the hopes of the Islamic Ummah in achieving cooperation, solidarity, progress and prosperity within the framework of joint Islamic action; In anticipation of the challenges faced by the Member States in the educational, scientific, cultural and communication fields, and being aware of the importance of such fields in achieving development, progress and prosperity, without neglecting the Ummah’s glorious heritage; Being aware of the close bonds which unite the peoples of the Islamic World through the unity of civilization and the shared spiritual, moral and cultural values, and seeking to encourage civilizational interaction and promote these shared civilizational, cultural and intellectual bonds; Activating the principles of solidarity, mutual assistance and equality to reinforce cooperation among the Member States and thereby promote education, science, culture and communication through all appropriate means;
Lay down the present Charter :
Article 1 : Name and definition
- Name : The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It is hereinafter referred to as ISESCO.
- Definition : ISESCO is a specialized international organization working within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, specializing in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.
Article 2 : Headquarters
- ISESCO shall have its headquarters in Rabat, capital city of the Kingdom of Morocco. The Organization may, under a General Conference resolution and upon a proposal from the Executive Council of ISESCO, establish in any other country, centres, offices or institutions which are subsidiary to it or are under its supervision.
Article 3 : Languages
- The working languages of ISESCO shall be Arabic, English and French.
Article 4 : Objectives
- The objectives of ISESCO include the following :
- a) To strengthen, promote and consolidate cooperation among the Member States and consolidate it in the fields of education, science, culture and communication, as well as to develop and upgrade these fields, within the framework of the civilizational reference of the Islamic world and in the light of the human Islamic values and ideals.
- b) To consolidate understanding among peoples inside and outside the Member States and contribute to the achievement of world peace and security through various means, particularly through education, science, culture and communication.
- c) To publicize the correct image of Islam and Islamic culture, promote dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions, and work towards spreading the values of justice and peace along with the principles of freedom and human rights, in accordance with the Islamic civilizational perspective.
- d) To encourage cultural interaction and to support the aspects of cultural diversity in the Member States, while preserving the cultural identity and protecting the independence of thought.
- e) To consolidate complementarity and coordination among the specialized institutions of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture and communication and among the Member States of ISESCO, and promote cooperation and partnership with the similar governmental and non-governmental institutions sharing the same interest, inside and outside the Member States.
- f) To take further interest in Islamic culture, highlight its specificities and publicize its landmarks in intellectual studies, scientific researches and educational curricula.
- g) To work for establishing complementarity and correlation among the educational systems of the Member States.
- h) To support the efforts of the educational, scientific and cultural institutions for Muslims in non-Member States of ISESCO.
Article 5 : Means
- To achieve the objectives set out for it, ISESCO shall use the following means :
- To devise plans and support the appropriate projects in order to develop Islamic culture and publicize it, and to disseminate the teaching of Arabic to non-Arabic speakers all over the world, being the language of the Holy Quran.
- To help universities, research centers and specialized bodies to establish chairs, institutes and departments, develop programmes of action and executive plans and encourage active cooperation between them, in order to serve the objectives of the Organization and respond to the needs of the Member States.
- To develop the scientific and educational activities of individuals, organizations, associations concerned with the dissemination of the Islamic culture and its foundations and characteristics; support the efforts of Member States in developing programmes of education and technical and practical training; and encourage researchers and inventors from the Member States.
- To encourage the research work, studies and training needed for the development and upgrading of education in the Member States.
- To convene conferences, symposia, training sessions, seminars and workshops in cooperation with the Member States as well as national, regional and international bodies and organizations operating in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.
- To set up mechanisms appropriate for publicizing the true image of Islam and Islamic culture and their contribution to the human civilization.
- To hold educational, scientific and cultural competitions and forums in cooperation with the specialized institutions in the Member States.
Membership and Immunities
Article 6 : Active members
- Every full Member State of the Organization of the Islamic Conference shall become a member of ISESCO upon signing officially the Charter, and after it has completed the membership legal and legislative formalities and informed – in writing – the General Directorate of ISESCO. A State which is not a full member, or is an observer member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference cannot become a member of ISESCO.
Article 7 : Observer members
- Each Member State or observer member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which is not member of ISESCO, may enjoy the status of observer upon notification thereof to the Organization.
- International and regional organizations, bodies and federations may enjoy the status of observer member, after submitting a request to the Director General and presenting the same, together with the opinion of the Executive Council, to the General Conference.
- The General Conference shall lay down the observer status regulations and conditions thereof.
- Only the Member States of ISESCO shall have the right to vote at the General Conference.
Article 8 : Immunities
- ISESCO, its officials, personnel, premises, offices, documents and mail shall enjoy the protection, immunities and privileges enjoyed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference as well as those stipulated by the Headquarters Agreement signed between ISESCO and the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Governments of States hosting regional offices and delegations of ISESCO.
Organs of the Organization
- ISESCO is made up of the following :
- The General Conference
- The Executive Council.
- The General Directorate.
Article 10 :
- 1- Composition of the General Conference
- The general conference shall be composed of the ministers in charge of education, science,culture and communication appointed by their governments, or their represntatives.
- 2- Composition of the General Conference Bureau
- In each one of its sessions, the General Conference shall elect its President, three Vice-presidents, a rapporteur and the chairmen of the Committees set up by the Conference, who, in addition to the Chairman of the Executive Council, constitute the Bureau of the Conference.
- 3- Resolutions
- Each State shall be entitled to one vote only. Resolutions shall be adopted by a simple majority of attending and voting members unless otherwise stipulated in Article 20 of the Charter.
- 4- Meetings of the General Conference
- The General Conference shall meet in a regular session once every three years. It may meet in a special session in accordance with :
- A resolution of the General Conference;
- A request by the Executive Council of ISESCO;
- A request by at least two-thirds of the Member States;
- A request by the Director General of ISESCO, endorsed by the approval of at least one-third of the Member States.
- 5- Attendance at the General Conference
- The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or his representative, shall have the right to attend the General Conference.
- The members of the Executive Council shall attend the General Conference.
- The states, Governments, institutions and persons specified in the Observer Status Regulations may, without the right to vote, attend the General Conference as observers, in accordance with the provisions of Article (7) of the Charter.
- The Director General may, if he deems it necessary, invite any personalities to attend the General Conference.
- The Director General and the Deputy Director General of ISESCO shall attend the ordinary and extraordinary sessions of the General Conference.
- The Director General shall specify the staff who shall attend by virtue of their area of competence and functions.
Article 11 : Functions of the Conference
- The General Conference shall be the highest statutory organ of ISESCO. It shall be empowered to :
- Define the general policy of ISESCO action, supervise its action, as well as coordinate and evaluate all activities falling within its fields of competence, including specialized and sector-based ministerial conferences;
- Adopt ISESCO’s action plans, programmes, budget estimates, projects of their implementation and closing accounts;
- Discuss the reports and proposals put forward by the Member States as well as the recommendations issued by the Executive Council and take appropriate action thereon;
- Adopt the Financial Regulations of ISESCO and its Personnel Regulations, drawing on the regulations in force at the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference;
- Determine the relations of ISESCO with the Islamic, Arab and international organizations as well as the specialized governmental and non-governmental agencies, in accordance with the provisions of the bilateral agreements concluded to this effect;
- Set up ad-hoc committees to carry out specific duties;
- Determine the distribution of Member States among the geographical groups of ISESCO, upon a proposal by the Executive Council;
- Endorse the nomination of the members of the Executive Council of ISESCO, who, in addition to being versed in education, science, culture and communication, must have the necessary experience and capability for shouldering the tasks lying with the Council;
- Elect the Director General of ISESCO for a three-year renewable term, upon a proposal by the Executive Council;
- Adopt the Rules of Procedure of the General Conference;
- Consider all issues which do not fall within the competence of any other organ of ISESCO.
Article 12 :
- The Executive Council
- I- Composition of the Council :
- The Executive Council shall be made up of one representative for each Member State.
- The Member States shall nominate their representatives to the Executive Council who, in addition to being versed in education, science, culture and communication, must have the necessary experience and capability for shouldering the tasks lying with the Council. Every Member State may change its representative at any time.
- II- Attendance at the Executive Council :
The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, or his representative, shall also have the right to attend the meetings of the Executive Council.
- The President of the General Conference shall have the right to attend, ex-officio, the meetings of the Executive Council on an advisory basis.
- ISESCO’s Director General, or his representative, shall attend the meetings of the Council. The Director General shall also invite his assistants and representatives of the external bodies of ISESCO to attend these meetings in order to give explanations falling within their fields of competence.
- III- Functions of the Executive Council :
- To examine the Director General’s progress report on the Organization’s programmes and activities, to adopt it and submit it to the General Conference for approval.
- To examine the Financial Report of the Director General and Closing Accounts, Report of the Audit Company, Report of the Financial Control Committee and Report of the Director General on Member States’ Contributions to ISESCO Budget, to adopt them and submit them to the General Conference for approval.
- To examine the draft action plans and budget of ISESCO, to adopt them and submit them to the General Conference for approval.
- To draw up draft agendas for the meetings of the General Conference, upon a proposal by the Director General.
- To nominate the Financial Control Committee in accordance with the provisions of Article (19) of the Charter and Article (24) of the Financial Regulations of ISESCO.
- To select among three chartered auditors proposed by the Director General one external auditor specialized in accounting to carry out financial auditing.
- To examine the internal financial and administrative regulations of ISESCO and submit proposals thereon to the General Conference for approval.
- To take all the necessary measures allowing the Director General to efficiently implement ISESCO’s programmes, in accordance with the resolutions of the General Conference.
- To entrust one or several members, or form a commission, with the task of studying a particular subject, and to inform other members of the outcome of the study at least one month, if possible, prior to the convening of a meeting where he study shall be discussed.
- To examine nominations to the position of ISESCO’s Director General and submit proposals and recommendations pertaining thereto to the General Conference.
- To endorse the appointment, upon the proposal of the Director General, of the Deputy Director General for a three-year term, renewable once.
- To examine the distribution of the Member States among the geographical groups of ISESCO, and to make proposals thereon to the General Conference.
Article 13 :
- The General Directorate
First : Composition of the General Directorate
The General Directorate shall consist of ISESCO’s Director General and ISESCO’s official staff working at the Organization’s permanent headquarters and regional offices. The Director General shall determine the official list of ISESCO’s staff, along with their respective status and grades.
- The General Directorate shall be headed by a Director General, elected by the General Conference for a three-year term, renewable, upon a proposal by the Executive Council.
- The Director General shall be the head of the administrative setup of ISESCO and shall be accountable to the Executive Council and the General Conference. He shall have direct authority over the entire staff of the General Directorate.
- The General Conference shall endorse ISESCO’s organizational chart upon a proposal by the Executive Council.
- Second : Election of the Director General
- The Rules of Procedure of the General Conference shall determine nomination conditions and selection procedures for this position.
- In case of vacancy of the office of Director General as a result of resignation, disablement or any other reason, the normal running of the General Directorate and follow-up to the implementation of programmes shall be entrusted to the Deputy Director General. The General Conference shall then convene within six months at the latest to elect a new Director General.
- Third : Functions of the Director General
- To supervise the work progress in the Organization and see to it that its duties are performed under appropriate conditions, in accordance with its internal regulations and by virtue of the General Conference Resolutions and Executive Council Decisions, along with those of the relevant specialized conferences.
- To work towards the application of ISESCO’s general policy, by virtue of the Resolutions and Decisions of the General Conference, the Executive Council and the relevant specialized conferences, and follow up the implementation of the programmes and projects of the Organization as laid down in the Action Plan and Budget as well as in the joint cooperation agreements with national, regional and international bodies and institutions.
- To supervise the laying down of the Draft Agenda of ISESCO’s General Conference and Executive Council, and of the relevant specialized conferences, and submit the reports and documents pertaining thereto.
- To appoint ISESCO’s staff and see to the application of the provisions of the Personnel Regulations insofar as it serves ISESCO’s general interest.
- To represent ISESCO at Islamic, Arab and international conferences and meetings, and speak personally on behalf of ISESCO to the media, or entrust a spokesman with this function.
Article 14 :
- National Commissions and Bodies operating within the framework of ISESCO
- Member States shall set up National Commissions for Education, Science and Culture in charge of consolidating cooperation relations between ISESCO and Member States’ ministries, institutions and individuals.
- Institutions operating in the fields of education, science, culture and communication, may act within the framework of ISESCO. The General Conference shall determine the nature of the relationship between these institutions and ISESCO, along with its various organs.
- ISESCO may attend the meetings of the general assemblies of these institutions in order to ensure coordination and avoid conflicts between their activities and the policy and projects of ISESCO.
- Member States may appoint permanent delegates at ISESCO’s Headquarters according to each State’s means. The permanent delegates shall officially present their credentials to the Director General.
Article 15 :
- Non-governmental institutions
- ISESCO shall encourage non-governmental organizations and local community institutions to work in the fields of education, science, culture and communication, and shall support their activities and programmes within the available means.
Article 16 :
- The Budget
- The budget shall be prepared for three years and shall become effective each year as of January 1st up to the end of December of the same year. It shall be executed after its adoption by the General Conference, in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Regulations of ISESCO.
- The Director General shall prepare an annual report on the budget and the closing account, which he shall submit to the Executive Council at its following session subsequent to the end of the financial year. The report on the financial year shall include his proposals on the implementation of the budget as well as his observations on the closing account.
Article 17 :
- The resources of ISESCO shall include :
- Contributions of Member States according to their respective adopted shares, which shall be determined according to the percentage of each country’s contribution to the budget of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, until the General Conference decides to change them.
Resources secured from cooperation agreements concluded between ISESCO and other parties.
- Subsidies and donations provided by Member States, non-Member States, institutions, individuals or any other resources, so long as they are not incompatible with the objectives and regulations of ISESCO. In case the Executive Council decides to refuse these resources, its decision should be submitted to the General Conference at its following meeting, supported by all the relevant considerations so that the necessary measures relevant there to should be taken.
Proceeds of the sales of publications, products and services relative to ISESCO’s fields of competence.
Article 18 :
- The expenditures of ISESCO shall be incurred for such purposes as the following :
- Commitments resulting from previous contracts, resolutions or programmes of a binding nature for ISESCO.
- Subsidies and assistance to institutions and organizations under its supervision.
Commitments resulting from projects undertaken jointly with governmental or non-governmental partners.
- Obligations towards permanent and commissioned staff.
Article 19 :
- The accounts
- The Director General shall, under the supervision of the Executive Council, prepare the closing account and submit it to the General Conference in its regular session. The Council shall apoint a Financial Control Committee made up of representatives from five Member States, for a three-year period and on a rotational basis, to audit the accounts of ISESCO, and to ensure sound management of ISESCO Permanent Headquarters. The Committee may seek assistance from experts and specialized technicians, if need be.
- The Financial Control Committee shall have the right to examine all the relevant books and records and to request the Executive Council, the Director General or the officials of ISESCO to provide any information it deems necessary for the performance of its duties. Accounts shall be audited by the Financial Control Committee on an annual basis so as to verify the accuracy of the budget and the accounts.
- The Financial Control Committee shall submit its report to the Director General, who shall refer it to the Executive Council with his observations thereon. The Executive Council shall submit the report to the General Conference at its following session.
Article 20 :
- The Director General shall communicate the text of draft amendments to Member States at least six months before the text is to be submitted to the General Conference.
- The amendments proposed to this Charter shall become effective as soon as they are approved by a two-thirds majority of votes of the Member States participating at the General Conference. However, amendments resulting in basic changes in the objectives of ISESCO or in new obligations for Member States, must be further approved by two-thirds of the Member States before they may become effective.
- In the light of the preceding paragraph, ISESCO shall not be dissolved or merged with another institution except by a resolution of the General Conference carried by a two-thirds majority of Member States present. In the event a resolution to dissolve ISESCO is adopted, the General Conference shall establish a specialized technical body to liquidate ISESCO’s movable and immovable property, in accordance with the rules and procedures to be specified therefor by the General Conference.
- The General Conference shall have the right to adopt, through a two-thirds majority vote, the necessary regulations for the enforcement of the provisions of this Article.
Article 21 :
- This Charter shall be kept in the archives of the General Directorate of ISESCO, wherein it shall remain open for signature. New memberships shall become effective as soon as they occur in accordance with the provisions of Article 6 of this Charter.
Article 22 :
- The three languages of ISESCO shall be deemed equally valid for the interpretation of this Charter. In case of contention, the interpretation supported by two of the three languages, one of which being that of the original, that is Arabic, shall prevail.
- Any contention or dispute on the interpretation of this Charter shall be referred to an arbitration body to be set up by the General Conference.