On Thursday, 17 November 2016, the United Nations Security Council held a briefing on the cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, focused on enhancing the existing strategic partnership in the areas of countering extremist ideology. Attached is for your kind information the concept note of the meeting.
The concept note, which was circulated by Senegal about a week before the briefing, highlighted how the UN and OIC have worked together closely to restore peace and security in several countries on the Council’s agenda, including Somalia, Afghanistan, the Darfur/Sudan, Mali, Libya, Yemen and CAR, and noted that the OIC has opened offices in Kabul and Mogadishu. The concept note further stated that the two organizations worked together in reconstruction and development in several countries, and share common objectives in promoting and facilitating the Middle East peace process.
As the briefing was intended to reflect the best ways to enhance the strategic partnership in preventing and countering extremist ideology, the concept note outlined how the OIC had taken several initiatives to contribute to the fight against extremist ideology, which can lead to terrorism, and stated that the OIC was mindful that fighting terrorism required a comprehensive and inclusive approach, taking into account the realities on the ground. Thus, the meeting would have provided greater impetus for cooperation between the OIC and the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) as well as the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF).
Against this background, the meeting heard briefings respectively from HE Mr. Hameed Opeloyeru, OIC Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs, Mr. Miroslav Jenca, UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, and Dr. Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor and Chair of the Department of French and Romance Philosophy at the Columbia University.
Assistant Secretary General Opeloyeru described OIC and United Nations objectives as broadly similar, both organizations being devoted to the cause of international peace, security and development. He stated that the OIC was a natural partner of the United Nations in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism. Having adopted the Convention on Combating International Terrorism in 1999, the OIC had been among the first to formulate a clear and principled position against terrorism, he pointed out.
Among many such initiatives, he continued, the OIC was developing narratives to counter extremist ideologies by elevating credible and authentic religious voices supporting tolerance and non-violence. It had established the Centre for Dialogue, Peace and Understanding for that purpose and to expose the reality of terrorist groups claiming to belong to the Islamic faith. The OIC looked forward to further engagement with the United Nations in addressing the immediate and future challenges facing the Muslim world, he added.
Assistant Secretary General Jenca said that the magnitude and complexity of current challenges were too great for any one organization alone, adding that the UN Secretary General welcomed the OIC’s valuable support in a wide range of United Nations initiatives, particularly in the areas of conflict prevention and implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The United Nations had been working with the OIC for many years and the Department of Political Affairs had recently stepped up efforts to enhance that relationship. To be sure, there were challenges in the relationship, he said, emphasizing that the best way to harmonize goals and practices was to maintain direct contact between the leaders of the two organizations.
He went on to note that the respective Secretaries General of the two organizations had met during General Assembly sessions and on many other occasions. They held general cooperation meetings every two years, and the last one had taken place in May 2016. He described the cooperation between the two entities in the areas of mediation and election assistance, peace and security, economic cooperation and humanitarian issues; OIC activities in favor of a two-State solution to the question of Palestine; as well as conflict settlement and humanitarian assistance in Yemen, Afghanistan, Sudan, Mali and others. He called for further enhancement of the relationship between the United Nations and the OIC with the aim of fostering peace, respect for human rights and better opportunities for people in all regions of the world.