I bring you greetings from the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), His Excellency Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and his good wishes for the success of all your endeavors during your tenure of office. I congratulate you and, through you, your distinguished colleagues on the Bureau on your elections to these high offices and express our complete confidence that under your leadership, the seventeenth session of the High Level Committee will be very ably directed. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to your illustrious predecessors for steering the work of this august committee so well over the preceding two years.
We have reviewed the reports of the Administrator with interest, and I wish to congratulate, and thank, the able and amiable Director of the Special Unit for South- South Cooperation, Mr. Yiping Zhou, on the informative and analytical material provided in the documents before us.
The OIC, the second largest international organization after the United Nations, is truly a global South-South Cooperation undertaking as all its 57 member states, spread across all geographical regions of the World, are in the South. By promoting solidarity and cooperation among its member states, and between them and other states, in the political, economic, social, scientific, humanitarian, and related spheres, the organization, in many ways, is pursuing the principles and objectives, enunciated in the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, the Nairobi Final Outcome Document, and relevant decisions of this august committee.
In this vein, I am pleased and proud to recall the effective cooperation mechanism prevailing between the United Nations and its specialized agencies on the one hand, and the OIC and its specialized and affiliated institutions on the other, in areas of common interest.
A clear manifestation of this mechanism was noted at the last biennial meeting on coordination between representatives of the two organizations, convened in Geneva earlier this month.
Represented at the meeting were 25 offices, funds, programmes, and specialized agencies of the UN, and 13 offices and specialized and affiliated institutions of the OIC, which reviewed the progress of implementation of numerous joint programmes, projects and activities in the preceding two years, and identified 125 programmes and projects of cooperation in several fields of activity for the next two years.
Included among these, were 10 projects of cooperation between the Special Unit for South- South Cooperation and the OIC, and several of its specialized and affiliated institutions, in fields ranging from humanitarian issues to agro-industrial activity; from youth leadership training, to the expansion of railway networks; and from support to Somalia in the development of education, health-care and livelihood sectors, to the recovery and rehabilitation of flood-affected population in Pakistan.
I should emphasize that the close partnership between the OIC and the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation as reflected in these joint initiatives is not incidental but natural, signifying, as it does, the commonality of purpose among us. This has drawn strength from the importance our two Secretaries General accord to the concept of South-South Cooperation in compliance with successive directives of the General Assembly of the UN, and of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC, that call for cooperation among us in supporting the efforts of our common member states towards the attainment of their collective self-reliance in economic and social development.
Thus, while the OIC has benefited from the services and support of the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, it has also observed with interest and concern that, with the weight of expectations being placed upon the Unit under its current mandates, including those from the General Assembly, its status and capacity to comply effectively with those mandates remains constrained. In this context, we fully support the position of the Group of 77 and China, as articulated by the Group’s Chairman in his intervention today. We feel confident that, with the remedial measures being proposed by the Group of 77 and China, the situation could be corrected, bringing about very positive effects upon the enhancement of South-South cooperation in the development process.
At this juncture, allow me, Mr. President, to echo the Group of 77 ‘s position, voiced at UNCTAD XIII that South-South Cooperation, along with Triangular Cooperation, contributes to inclusive and sustainable growth and development. This includes addressing the persistent challenges whose solution has continued to be elusive, while affording developing countries, in particular LDCs, greater opportunity to overcome the new challenges to development.
I conclude, Mr. President, on a note of hope and expectation in the value of cooperation between our two organizations in all areas in which the interests of the peoples and governments of our common member states could be best served. The rewards are promising and the United Nations can count on the continued cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in fully discharging its role in this worthwhile and noble effort.