The 32nd Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs (ICECS) was held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 4-6 April 2009. Following the Speech of the Representative of the Republic of Uganda, chairman of the 31st Session of the ICECS, at the opening session, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, His Excellency Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu also delivered his statement where he expressed his great honour in continuing to serve as the OIC Secretary General while noting that this meeting constitutes the first one since his re-election as OIC Secretary General. In the area of economy, His Excellency the Secretary General said that the Organization was trying hard to follow this contemporaneous logic and to create conditions to enhance joint Islamic action in the economic field by strengthening economic relations and mutual interests among the OIC Member States. He added that the current global financial crisis was a source of great concern to all Member States, the OIC General Secretariat and its institutions and expressed the hope that the Commission will closely monitor the phenomenon in collaboration with the OIC General Secretariat and the SESRIC, to study the impact of the crisis on the economies of the Member States, particularly as they relate to economic recession and restrictions on development assistance, especially to low-income countries.
The Committee commended the efforts of the General Secretariat and the Subsidiary Organs, each in their respective field of specialization, and particularly in strengthening cooperation among the Member States especially in the economic and commercial field with statistical indicators on intra-OIC trade showing that it is steadily increasing and the growth rate of the volume of intra-OIC trade increasing from 14.5% in 2004 to 16.67% in 2008. At this rate, the desired target of 20% will be reached well before the set date of 2015.
In the field of cultural and social affairs, the Committee commended the efforts exerted in combating Islamophobia, and considering the clear political dimension of this phenomenon, it decided to refer the issue to the Senior Officials Meeting. On economy, the Committee commended the efforts exerted by the General Secretariat and the Subsidiary Organs to develop cooperation among the Member States. On science and technology, the Committee commended the General Secretariat’s efforts to launch projects in the fields of science and technology health and environment and commended the Organization of the OIC Water Forum in Istanbul, given the importance of water as the source of life and one of the present and future challenges of the Muslim world.
The Committee discussed Draft Resolutions on Dawa, Cultural, Social, and Economic Affairs, and Science and Technology, and adopted them preparatory to their submission to the 36th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) held in Damascus, Syria on 23-25 May 2009.
The Joint General Assembly adopted general recommendations on the Subsidiary Organs, as follows:
- To commend the activities and studies carried out by the Subsidiary Organs, each in its respective field of specialization.
- To urge the Subsidiary Organs to exert greater efforts so as to publicize their activities and exhort the Member States to expand the scope and increase the prospects of their cooperation with the Subsidiary Organs by intensifying the effectiveness of their participation in the activities of the centres and providing them with the necessary data, with a view to building and publishing databases in all the Member States so as to achieve the greatest benefit, widest interaction, and deepest understanding amongst the peoples of the Muslim Ummah.