Jeddah, July 14 (BNA): The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) overall achievements, initiatives and efforts in serving Islamic causes and in fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been highlighted by the OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al Othaimeen at a virtual media forum.
The forum, in its first edition, was organized by the OIC Union of News Agencies (UNA) under the theme “The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and its organs in the post coronavirus era” and focused on the efforts in serving Islamic causes and confronting the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several OIC representatives, diplomats, officials and media figures took part in the forum that included an exhaustive lecture by the secretary-general and an open discussion with participants.
Al Othaimeen expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia, led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President of the Islamic Summit, and HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for the continuous support accorded to the OIC by the Kingdom, the host country.
Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of the Islamic Summit has given stronger impetus to joint Islamic action thanks to the Kingdom’s regional and international status as well as its spiritual centrality in the Islamic world as the home of the Two Holy Mosques, he said.
The considerable support, concerted efforts and solidarity of the member states have contributed greatly to elevating the status of the Organization and enhancing its role, Al Othaimeen added.
The Secretary General said the OIC rushed to hold a virtual emergency meeting of its Executive Committee at the level of foreign ministers on the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and joint response in April.
The meeting was held in coordination with Saudi Arabia in its capacity as Chair of the Islamic Summit and the OIC Executive Committee.
He stressed that the OIC accorded special attention to supporting the Palestinian people in fighting the pandemic, in coordination with the various relevant OIC organs, including the Islamic Solidarity Fund and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) which announced a $35.7 million aid package for the State of Palestine.
Al Othaimeen noted that the General Secretariat held a virtual meeting of the OIC Steering Committee on Health (SCH), in coordination with the United Arab Emirates, in addition to the Jurisprudence Medical Symposium, held by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), a subsidiary organ of the OIC, to discuss the Shariah provisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The General Secretariat endorsed the initiative launched by the Islamic Solidarity Fund, an OIC subsidiary organ, to set up a dedicated account to assist member states, especially the least-developed countries (LDCs) among them, in order to enhance their capabilities in facing the pandemic.
In May and June, some of the LDCs among OIC member states were presented with urgent financial grants to strengthen their capabilities to confront COVID-19, especially in the health sector.
Al Othaimeen appreciated the IsDB’s initiative to establish a $2.3 billion Strategic Preparedness and Response for the COVID-19 Pandemic. He also lauded the initiatives launched by the Islamic World Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), a specialized institution of the OIC, , including the “Societies We Want” initiative to spread knowledge and implement innovative programs to build healthy, safe, prosperous, resilient and sustainable societies.
With a membership of 57 states spread over four continents, the OIC, founded in 1969, is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.
Its OIC-2025 program, anchored in the provisions of the OIC Charter, focuses on 18 priority areas with 107 goals. The priority areas include issues of peace and security, Palestine and Al Quds, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism, investment and finance, food security, science and technology, climate change and sustainability, moderation, culture and interfaith harmony, empowerment of women, joint Islamic humanitarian action, human rights and good governance.
Dr. Al Othaimeen has been the Secretary-General of the OIC since November 2016. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Sociology from the American University in Washington D.C. (1986) and an Honorary Doctorate from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (2019).