The 13th Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which concluded in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Friday, underscored its keenness and unveiled its program of action aimed at achieving sustainable development of member states in all spheres of life. In the final communiqué, issued at the end of the conference, over 50 heads of state and top officials from across the Islamic world have emphasized that access to affordable and clean energy is crucial for achieving sustainable development for the member states. They also acknowledged the importance of integrated water resources management, through conservation, prudent use, and bringing down of wastage to the minimum.
The summit welcomed the adoption of the ‘2030 Sustainable Development Agenda,’ which has 17 goals and 169 targets. The conference vowed its commitment to their successful implementation within the stipulated time frame, taking into consideration the role of national authorities in cooperation with international bodies.
Sustainable development finds a key place in the OIC Program of Action for the next decade (2016-2025). The summit called upon the member states, the OIC organs and institutions, international partners as well as other stakeholders to undertake all necessary measures for its effective implementation. The conference noted with satisfaction the successful conclusion of the Ten-year Program of Action (2006-2015), which provided the Islamic Ummah with a forward looking blueprint with a view to enhance Joint Islamic Action in various domains. The OIC reiterated its commitment to work together for a better tomorrow and enhance the well being of around 1.7 billion peoples in the 57 member states. It also affirmed commitment to address the shortcomings in the previous decade and to introduce the necessary improvements for the effective implementation of the new program of action.
The summit emphasized that culture must be used as leverage for a sustainable and inclusive development, along with Islamic values, the most significant aspect of which is to mainstream culture as a strategic tool for achieving OIC goals.
“The Muslim leaders commended the efforts of the OIC Secretary General Iyad Madani for his initiatives aimed at promoting and defending unified position on issues of common concern, including the dialogue among civilizations and religions; promoting interfaith harmony, tolerance and non-discrimination; and safeguarding historic and Islamic character of the holy places as well as Islamic heritage.
Madani has also won accolades for his relentless efforts aimed at promoting the advancement and empowerment of women and the welfare of the family in the member states, as well as to strengthen the status of children and safeguard their rights, enhance the role of youth, and promote the well-being and social security of the elderly and people with special needs.
The conference entrusted the OIC General Secretariat with the task of developing a strategy for the OIC in the field of childcare and well being in the Muslim world, which takes into account, among other things, the health, psychological and educational conditions of children and mothers in areas of conflict, and the issue of child marriage and violence against children. It reaffirmed that preserving the wellbeing and physical health of children is a duty of every parent and society as prescribed by Islam. The conference welcomed the significant improvement in health care coverage and services in the member states leading to declining trends in child mortality rates from a higher base rate of 125 deaths per 1,000 births in 1990 to 66 deaths per 1,000 births by 2013.
The OIC gathering stressed that the media, including the social media, is the most effective tool for spreading information and shaping public opinion. The summit recognized the decisive role it can assume in projecting the bright image of Islam as well as that of the member states to the outside world and achieving the objectives of Islamic solidarity.
The conference also called for investment in the development of media infrastructure, improving the professional capacities of media workers, facilitating easy access by the public to information, enhancing OIC media institutions and deepening coordination among them to advance Joint Islamic Action in all fields.
The Istanbul meet acknowledged the need for developing knowledge-based society through supporting research and technology for the overall development of the member states. For that purpose, it encouraged expansion and intensification of research and development activities in the institutions and centers of excellence including those in the OIC subsidiary and affiliated ones.
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