At the close of the Eighth Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers (ICEM), held on 2-3 October 2019, at the headquarters of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), under the theme, “the Role of Cultural and Religious Factors in the Protection of the Environment and Sustainable Development”, a number of resolutions pertaining to the action plan for the next phase were adopted. The conference also elected the members of the Conference’s Executive Bureau for a two-year term.
The conference decided to hold the ninth conference session at ISESCO headquarters in Rabat, in October 2021, and invited the Member States willing to host the next session of the Conference to submit an official request thereon including the proposed organizational facilitations to ISESCO General Directorate in order to consult with the Conference presidency and inform Member States of the decision taken thereon.
As for the composition of the Islamic Executive Bureau for the Environment, the Conference elected the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as chair, and ISESCO as head of Secretariat. The Conference also elected the following countries as members in the Bureau: State of the United Arab Emirates, Republic of Tunisia, and Federal Republic of Somalia for the Arab region; Burkina Faso, Republic of Sierra Leone, and Republic of the Gambia for the African region; and Republic of Uzbekistan, Republic of Suriname, and Malaysia for the Asian region.
In addition, the Conference adopted the “Draft Strategy for the Activation of the Role of Cultural and Religious Factors in Protecting the Environment and Achieving Sustainable Development in the Islamic World”; called on Member States to devote more attention to cultural and religious factors when preparing national plans and strategies aimed to surmount socio-economic and environmental challenges, in such a way as to meet their needs and in line with their priorities; and invited ISESCO to draft an executive plan for the Strategy, in cooperation with the national, regional and international organizations and relevant institutions within and outside the Islamic world.
Likewise the Conference adopted the “Draft Guidance Document on Strengthening the Role of Youth and Civil Society in the Protection of the Environment and Achievement of Sustainable Development”, taking into consideration the observations of the Conference members, and in accordance with the criteria laid down by relevant decisions and resolutions governing rules of cooperation with the non-governmental organizations, adopted by OIC Summits and Ministerial meetings. In the same regard, the Conference called on Member States to promote the roles of youth and civil society in the implementation of national sustainable development plans and strategies, taking into consideration the peculiarities of Member States and meet their needs in a way that is consistent with the legislations, references, principles and orientations adopted and applied by Member States.
The Conference adopted “ISESCO Report on the Executive Action Plan for Natural Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in the Member States”; took note of the achievements made under the Pilot Programme for Capacity-Building in the Field of Natural Disaster Risk Mitigation and Management in Member States; and called on Member States to give effect to the measures and procedures to reduce natural disaster risks, and cooperate with relevant international and regional institutions.
The Conference also adopted the Report on the Programme of the celebration of the Islamic World Environmentally-Friendly Capitals; adopted the City of Agadir in the Kingdom of Morocco and the City of Nur-Sultan in the Republic of Kazakhstan as the Islamic World Environmentally-Friendly Capitals for the years 2020-2021; adopted the City of Kampala in the Republic of Uganda as the Islamic World Environmentally-Friendly Capital of Merit for the African region for the years 2020-2021; and adopted Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the Islamic World Environmentally-Friendly Permanent Capital.
In the same vein, the Conference entrusted ISESCO Director General to prepare a schedule for the celebration of Islamic World Environmentally-Friendly Capitals until the end of 2030, in the light of the nominations received from Member States in this regard, while taking into consideration the balanced geographical distribution among Member States and conformity with the terms of nomination and selection criteria of such capitals.
Moreover, the Conference adopted the “Report on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Award for Environmental Management in the Islamic World; reiterated thanks and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for the creation of the Award and for his kind approval as to expanding its scope to cover the Islamic world and entrusting its General Secretariat to ISESCO, in order to entrench the broad concept of environmental management and promote sustainable development in Member States; and hailed the coordination efforts exerted by ISESCO and the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the good preparation of the second edition of the Award.
As for the establishment of the Islamic Academy for the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Conference adopted the “Progress Report on the Creation of the Islamic Academy for the Environment and Sustainable Development”; thanked the Kingdom of Morocco, represented by the Ministry of Energy, Mining and Sustainable Development, for the progress made in the construction of the Academy’s headquarters, and the commitment to take the necessary technical and regulatory measures for its operation, in coordination with ISESCO in this regard.
By the same token, the Conference adopted the document on the “Project of the Establishment of the Islamic Network for Environmental Action and Sustainable Development”, within ISESCO; and called on relevant Member States’ government institutions and authorities, and parallel international and regional organizations to cooperate with the Network with a view to promoting joint Islamic environmental action and facilitating the sharing of expertise and best practices in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development.
Last, the Conference adopted “the Report on ISESCO’s Efforts in the Fields of Environment and Sustainable Development between the 7th and 8th sessions of the Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers”; extended thanks and appreciation to ISESCO for its efforts in the fields of environmental protection and sustainable development, and urged it to sustain coordination and consultation with the competent parties in Member States and national, regional and international competent authorities, in such a way as to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promote joint Islamic environmental action.