The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Executive Committee convened today in Istanbul, Turkey in order to discuss the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Somalia, and the likely famine. The participating countries have pledged $350 million in aid to fight famine in Somalia at an emergency summit. With some 3.7 million Somalis at risk of starvation in the Horn of Africa country, HE the OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said he hoped the aid would soon reach $500 million and urged donors to improve drought-stricken Somalia's long-term food security by helping it rebuild infrastructure and agriculture. "All in all we have secured $350 million in pledges. We hope to raise the commitments to $500 million in a very short time," he told a news conference after the summit, held in Turkey's commercial capital during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan appealed for aid for Somalia. Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed said his country was unable to raise enough food and cattle, and faced militant attacks. The worst-hit areas are controlled by al Shabaab militants, who have prevented aid from getting to people.
The OIC Executive Committee adopted the following final communique at the end of the meeting.
Emergency Ministerial-Level Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee on Somalia Convened in Istanbul on Wednesday 17/8/2011
At the kind invitation of the Government of the Republic of Turkey an Emergency Ministerial-level Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee on Somalia convened in Istanbul, Turkey on 17th August 2011 to appraise the escalating humanitarian situation and to consider pertinent intervention measures to alleviate the plight of the famine-affected people in Somalia, under the umbrella of the OIC.
The meeting listened to the important speeches of H.E. the President of Somalia; H.E.the Prime Minister of Turkey, H.E. the Chairman of the Council of Foreign Ministers, and H.E. the OIC Secretary General, and interventions of participants, and was also briefed on the measures so far taken by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in coordination with its partners on the ground in Somalia.
The meeting was well briefed on the humanitarian crisis affecting 12 million people in the Horn of Africa, with over 4 million people in Somalia, and drew the conclusion that the vulnerable people in the region affected by the current drought, which has culminated into full-blown famine, are desirous of urgent joint humanitarian action humanitarian as any further delay will endanger the lives of thousands of people, especially children, and therefore called upon all OIC Member States, financial institutions, charitable organizations, and philanthropists to contribute generously towards the alleviation of the catastrophic humanitarian situation prevailing in Somalia.
The meeting affirmed that the humanitarian crisis in Somalia represents a huge challenge to all Member States and the international community at large, and called for taking urgent measures to alleviate the human suffering by providing food, and non-food items, water, shelter, healthcare and nutrition to the affected populations. Furthermore, the meeting urged all Member States, financial institutions, humanitarian organizations and philanthropists to generously contribute to the Somali Trust Fund created by the 38th Council of Foreign Ministers to contain the adverse effects of the famine, and to prepare for the recovery and rehabilitation period in the country.
The meeting highly commended the efforts made by the OIC General Secretariat since the beginning of this crisis and affirmed that the OIC has become an effective and trustable humanitarian player in Somalia. The meeting further welcomed the creation of the OIC Coalition for Somalia in Istanbul on 28th July 2011, and the appeal made by the OIC Secretary General to support the humanitarian efforts of the OIC in this regard. The meeting also called upon Member States, financial institutions, humanitarian organizations and philanthropists to offer generous voluntary contributions towards the success of the campaign.
The meeting further requested Member States, in coordination with the General Secretariat to carry out telethon fund-raising activities during the second part of the Holy month of Ramadan for the urgent benefit of the famine affected people of Somalia, and also requested Member States, to facilitate the opening of Bank Accounts by the General Secretariat to receive voluntary contributions from financial institutions, humanitarian organizations and philanthropists, for the famine-affected people in Somalia, as well as for the current and future humanitarian assistance campaigns to be conducted by the OIC.
The meeting expressed thanks for the contributions made and pledges announced so far by Turkey, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Gabon, Qatar, Bahrain. Algeria, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Senegal towards the alleviation of the famine crisis in Somalia and calls upon other Member States to follow suit.
The meeting called upon the UN, and international community in general, to mobilize all possible resources so as to collectively face the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, especially, Somalia and expressed the readiness of the General Secretariat and Humanitarian Coordination Office in Mogadishu, respectively, to cooperate accordingly.
In this context the meeting took note of the preliminary work undertaken in relation to the Somalia Task Force as envisaged by the İstanbul Conference on Somalia of May 2010, as a useful mechanism to ensure an effective coordination of efforts between the OIC and the rest of the international community.
The meeting decided to set up an Ad-hoc Task Force composed of Kazakhstan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and the General Secretariat so as to closely follow-up the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa, especially Somalia and to take appropriate action as deemed necessary.
The meeting called for strengthening cooperation with appropriate UN agencies, African Union, European Union, League of Arab States and IDB with a view to exchange ideas and draft an action plan on OIC food security system.
The meeting urged all rebel groups in Somalia to stop the fighting and allow humanitarian stakeholders to provide the much needed vital humanitarian assistance without hindrance, by facilitating easy access to all areas of the country. The meeting also solemnly called on all Member States and the international community at large to help in solving the crisis in Somalia by tackling the deep-rooted causes of the persistent civil strife ravaging the country for over two decades.
Noting the recurrence of crises and humanitarian disasters in Member States and the need to act collectively and promptly to address the urgent needs of the affected countries, the meeting called on the General Secretariat to expedite the establishment of the OIC Emergency Response Fund.
The meeting finally expressed their thanks to the Government of the Republic of Turkey for hosting and to the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan for chairing this vital meeting and to the OIC Secretary General for his initiatives towards reversing the unprecedented adverse effects of the crisis faced by the brotherly Somali people.
Istanbul, 17th August 2011