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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 30th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

5th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers adopts the Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development

The 5th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers (ICEM) concluded with the adoption of the Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development. The Conference jointly organized by the ISESCO and the OIC was held from 17-18 May 2012 in Astana, Kazakhstan, under the High Patronage of His Excellency Mr. Karim Massimov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Conference  was inaugurated by Mr. Serik Ahmetov, First Deputy Prime Minster of the Republic of Kazakhstan and chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Nasser bin Abdul Aziz, President of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment of Saudi Arabia.

It was addressed by the Environment Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Director General of ISESCO and attended by Ministers of Environment of the OIC Member States, high-level officials, representatives of relevant OIC institutions and international agencies and organizations. The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the current Chairman of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers also graced the occasion.

The OIC Secretary General was represented at the Conference by Ambassador Abdul Moiz Bokhari, Assistant Secretary General. Delivering the Secretary General’s message, Ambassador Bokhari underscored the centrality of sustainable development to the overall agenda of the OIC which encompass, inter alia, economic development, poverty alleviation, trade enhancement, environmental protection and health. Referring to the OIC Ten Year Programme of Action and the corresponding transformation in the OIC to make it more relevant to the contemporary challenges, he drew the attention of the participants to the efforts of the OIC including the adoption of the OIC Water Vision 2025, preparation of the OIC Green Technology Blue Print and the establishment of a mechanism for regular consultations among OIC Member States on environment and climate change related issues.

The Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development adopted by the 5th ICEM reaffirms the commitment of the OIC Member States to the principles and objectives adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992.

It calls upon the international community to renew its efforts to meet the goals defined by the UNCED through strengthened international cooperation, more robust and effective institutional framework for sustainable development backed by the necessary financial and technical resources. It further calls upon the developed countries to honor their financial commitments for sustainable development and take concrete steps towards debt cancellation, easy access to markets, technology transfer and capacity-building assistance.

The Declaration cautions against narrow focus on specific technologies or prescriptions which could lead to the creation of new technology dependence, erection of trade barriers or conditionalities on development finance. It emphasizes the necessity for the developed countries to assume their responsibilities in terms of reduction of emissions in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.

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At the “Africa Day” ceremony Ihsanoglu: I dream of the day when I may see the Port-Sudan/Dakar railway project, a reality on the ground.

Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation indicated that the OIC was striving hard for the realization of the major project consisting in the railway line which would link the Sudanese city of Port Sudan in East Africa to the Senegalese capital Dakar in the west of the continent. This megaproject, he was to add, will be one of the greatest development projects in Africa and will change the face of economic life in the entire African continent. “This is a project I hold dear and I dream of the happy day when I may see it a reality on the ground”, he said.

During the ceremony organized in his honor by the Jeddah-based consuls of African states (24th May 2012) the Secretary General pointed out that the African Group was one of the most active regional groups of the OIC, for which reason the General Secretariat wished to appreciate and commend the African role in the OIC in general, a role that has recently become even greater and wider.

Ihsanoglu went on to say: “Since I came to office at the head of the OIC, I made a point of paying a visit to African Member States and attached special attention to African Islamic action aimed at achieving sustainable development and creating the necessary conditions for peace and harmony throughout the continent.”

He further added: “As we meet today on this happy occasion, the chairmanship of the OIC is assumed by Senegal since March 2008. The meeting of the OIC Ministers of Information was held a few weeks ago in Libreville, Gabon, and in a few months, Djibouti is expected to play host for the coming Council of Foreign Ministers. In addition, another African country i.e. Guinea, will host the next CFM after Djibouti, all of which is indicative of Africa’s focal position in the OIC’s action.”

The Secretary General also noted that by the end of 2011, the funding of OIC Africa Development Programme had reached US$.3.9 billion, mainly allocated to housing, health, food security, agriculture and education. As for the Islamic Fund for Development (ISFD) and the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF), their total funding had reached one billion US$ which were allocated to poverty alleviation programmes and to infrastructural  development, particularly in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

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Expressing Gratitude to Donor Countries, KSA and UAE, Ihsanoglu Calls for a Remedy to “Severe Shortage” in ISF Resources

Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), called for appropriate solutions to be explored to expand the sources of for the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF) which has been suffering a severe and unprecedented shortage in its resources for a number of years.

In an opening address delivered at the Fifty-sixth Session of Permanent Council of the Islamic Solidarity Fund (attached to the OIC), at the General Secretariat in Jeddah on 22 May 2012, the Secretary General said that a quick look through the Fund’s achievements and activities over the recent past, gives one pride and prompts us to gear up our efforts in favor of the ISF mobilizing further support and assistance, diversifying its revenues and assuming its tasks at all levels in the face of the events which some of the Islamic States are going through and whose management needs our enhanced cooperation.

The Secretary General went on to say: My communication with H.R.H. Prince Saud Al Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has born fruit, as the Kingdom has graciously responded with a generous gift to the ISF. Indeed I have recently learnt that the Kingdom has decided to allocate a plot of land for the ISF in the city of Jeddah, and this matter is now in its final process for submission to the high consideration of the Custodian of Two Holy Mosque King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz for approval.

Ihsanoglu extended his heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their generous donations in support of the resources of the ISF and its Waqf this year. He also extended his thanks to the Member States that made donations to the Fund over the past and expressed the hope that this support will continue such as to give the Fund access to diverse sources of revenue that would enable it to duly assume its tasks. The Secretary General closed his remarks by wishing the participants full success in their deliberations and noble action.

On his part, Ambassador Naser Abdullah Bin Hamdan Al-Za’aby, Chairman of the ISF Permanent Council, indicated that the Fund’s history is filled with achievements over the past 38 years and that it has extended assistance to 80 projects, which include, amongst others, a number of universities, assistance to the victims of the floods in Bangladesh, to the Eye Hospital in Gaza, and to the victims of the Washi typhoon in the Philippines.

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