Thirtieth Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs (ICECS)
Date : 03-05 March 2007 Venue : Jeddah - Saudi Arabia

Organization of the Islamic Conference The 30th Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs of the OIC was held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 3-5 March 2007 with the participation of delegates from thirty-seven member states and representatives of the OIC General Secretariat and its subsidiary, specialised and affiliated organs.

The Commission convened first in its capacity as the Joint General Assembly of the OIC subsidiary organs. As such, it reviewed the activities of these organs during the elapsed year and commended their efforts to strengthen economic cooperation among the member states, in particular their follow-up and implemenattion of the OIC Ten-Year Programme of Action. In this connection, the Commission noted the increase of intra-OIC trade to 15%, which means that the 20% target can be reached before the end of the Ten-Year Programme of Action.

The Commission also considered and took note of the proposed budgets and work programmes, as well as the audited final accounts of the subsidiary organs for the financial year 2006/2007, as adopted by their respective Boards of Directors, and recommended that they should be submitted to the 35th Session of the Permanent Finance Committee (PFC) in preparation for their submission to the 34th Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers for their approval.

The Commission then took up its technical agenda whereby it reviewed and discussed a number of issues of concern to the member states in the fields of economic, science and technology, cultural and social affairs. In this connection, the Centre presented five technical reports on prominent issues of interest and concern to the OIC countries, namely 1) annual economic report on the OIC countries 2006, 2) economic problems of the least-developed and landlocked OIC countries 2006, 3) basel II accord and its implications for the OIC countries, 4) international tourism in the OIC countries: prospects and challenges and 5) the possibility of establishing a free trade area among the OIC member countries. The commission expressed its appreciation of the work accomplished by the SESRTCIC and encouraged it to continue with its outstanding performance.

After the deliberations, the Commission adopted the draft resolutions on economic affairs, science and technology, cultural and social affairs and Dawa activities for submission to the 34th Session of Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

Within the framework of the implementation of the OIC Ten-year Programme of Action, adopted by the 3rd extraordinary Islamic Summit, the OIC General Secretariat organised a meeting of the heads of the OIC subsidiary organs, specialised and affiliated institutions in order to follow up the implementation of this Programme.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 30th Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs on 4th March 2007 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was chaired by H.E Prof Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the OIC and attended by all heads of the OIC institutions and executive staff of the General Secretariat.

In the opening session, statements have been made by H.E Prof Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the OIC, H.E. Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, the president of the IDB Group and some of the heads of OIC institutions. In his statement, the Secretary General noted with satisfaction the special interest that the OIC institutions are giving to the implementation of the Ten-year Programme of Action and requested all the OIC institutions to pursue their efforts in carrying out the implementation of the said programme.

Following the opening session, the participants discussed the progress and the planned actions for the implementation of various areas of the Programme of Action. During the discussion, Dr. Savas Alpay, the Director General of the Centre, made two presentations under two different agenda items of the meeting as follows:

Under agenda item “Supporting development and poverty alleviation in Africa”, Dr. Alpay briefed the meeting on the preliminary report titled “Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Situation in the OIC Member Countries” which has been recently prepared by the Centre as a preliminary contribution to the special programme for the development of Africa stipulated in the Ten-year Programme of Action. He informed the meeting that this preliminary report will be complemented with a series of publications by the Centre on the same subject. Together, they will constitute a significant contribution in attaining the targets of poverty alleviation in the African OIC member countries set by the Ten-Year Programme of Action.

Under agenda item “Action Plan for the OIC Cotton Producing Cooperation Development”, the Director General of the Centre presented the main findings of the paper titled “The Cotton Sector in the OIC Countries: Problems and Possibilities of Cooperation” which has been recently prepared by the Centre. In his presentation, the Director General highlighted the importance of cotton in the OIC member countries and the challenges facing the OIC cotton producing member countries, particularly those in West and Central Africa. He informed the meeting that the paper elaborates on some possible ways of cooperation among these countries in this important sector. It concludes with the recommendation of establishing an OIC Cotton Alliance among OIC cotton producers and traders to coordinate such cooperation.