The biennial UN-OIC General Meeting on Cooperation commenced in Istanbul today at the IRCICA (Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture) under the co-chairmanship of Ambassador Hameed Opeloyeru, Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Ms. Cihan Sultanoglu, Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Program.
At the outset, conveying the fraternal greetings and sincere compliments of His Excellency, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, Secretary-General of the OIC, Ambassador Opeloyeru stressed that ever since his assumption of duty in January this year, Secretary General Madani underscored the need for constant coordination between the OIC and United Nations, considering both Organizations’ common vision and purpose for a peaceful, secure and stable world.
In his statement, delivered by Ambassador Opeloyeru, OIC Secretary General Madani noted that the UN and the OIC have made strident efforts in consolidating their consultations, coordination and collaboration mechanisms. He stated that in the identified sectors of joint action, the two Organizations have held regular meetings, seminars and workshops aimed at developing the capacities of the personnel in their respective General Secretariats, as well as subsidiary, specialized and affiliated institutions.
In the political sector, he recognized the copious support of the United Nations for the establishment and take-off of the OIC Peace and Security and Mediation Unit, while the OIC’s election-monitoring outfit has also benefited from the training programs conducted by the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division.
In the similar vein, OIC Secretary General noted, the training programs and seminars dedicated to showcasing the cause and welfare of the Palestinian people have boosted our advocacy for the restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. The recent admission of Palestine as a state member of the United Nations is indeed a welcomed development that will increase OIC-UN interaction on this very important dossier in the months ahead, he said.
In the socio-economic field, Secretary General Madani said that the UN and the OIC have moved relatively faster in their joint projects with the UN South-South Office on post-recovery human development programs for the Somalia people. He expressed that the two Organizations’ joint efforts at funds mobilization have received recognition of OIC Member States, as the two begin to strategize on how to consolidate on the gains so far realized in this regard.
Furthermore, the UN-OIC joint action on counter-terrorism and combating incitement to religious intolerance and other forms of ethno-cultural has been on the upswing, and both are committed to stay the course in the interest of common endeavors, he said.
With respect to the post-MDG agenda, Secretary General noted that the OIC priorities remain the mainstreaming of our numerous indigenous and community-based financial, trade and social products, so as to bring on board the multitude of the OIC member states who are still on the fringe of modern economic framework.
Finally, OIC Secretary General recalled that during the last meeting, the UN and the OIC approved a Matrix of Activities, which had hitherto guided the Organizations’ follow-up actions. This meeting would need to revise this Matrix and devise practical methods towards ensuring that the adopted programs are realized in a timely fashion, he said.
In his message to the meeting, delivered by Ms. Sultanoglu, UN Secretary General noted that the cooperation between the UN and the OIC has further strengthened since the last UN General Meeting on Cooperation, held in Geneva in 2012.
Recalling the UN Security Council’s first ever meeting on the role of the OIC in maintaining peace and security, UN Secretary General stressed that the joint work of the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation encompasses mediation support, electoral assistance, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the regulation of conventional arms. Secretary General stated that the UN family is also working with the OIC member states to promote sustainable development and poverty reduction, ensure the protection and promotion of human rights, enhance South-South cooperation, as well as advance reproductive, maternal and child health.
Moreover, in his statement, Secretary General Ban mentioned that as the world shapes a common development agenda for the post-2015 period, the OIC’s attention to the rights of migrants, interfaith harmony and gender equality could help ensure that these issues are properly reflected.
Underlining the common concern of the UN and the OIC on addressing a number of peace and security challenges, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed that the OIC could play a critical role in supporting peace efforts in the Middle East and in helping create an environment of trust and understanding. The UN position on the illegality of Israel’s settlements is well known, he reminded. Urging for the need to ease the plight of the people of Gaza, Secretary General pointed that deteriorating conditions for the civilian population remain a source of deep concern.
In addition, referring to the alarming situations both in Syria and the Central African Republic, Secretary General Ban encouraged further cooperation and partnership of the UN and the OIC, especially given that military action only is not a solution to either conflict. Similarly, recalling that both the UN and the OIC are closely watching the situation in Myanmar closely, Secretary General Ban encouraged the Government of Myanmar and the OIC to engage constructively on the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.