The 40th Executive Council of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), being held in Abu Dhabi, State of the United Arab Emirates, which enjoys the powers of ICESCO General Conference, adopted the Establishment of a Development Waqf Fund for ICESCO. This project was presented by ICESCO General Directorate to the Council so as to ensure sustainable and regular resources for financing ICESCO’s projects and programmes. The Council members expressed their strong support to this project while commending the idea.
In this regard, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director General, reaffirmed at the outset of today’s session, that the establishment of the waqf project for ICESCO is one of the solutions to face the growing challenges faced by the Organization, surmount the limited budget, and meet the requirements of the new vision.
Dr. AlMalik also highlighted that he noticed a great willingness from many donors to support ICESCO Waqf so as to achieve its objectives, underscoring that the fixed assets of the Fund will be invested in projects and programmes for the benefit of the donating countries.
Besides, Dr. AlMalik stressed that ICESCO Waqf will enjoy a great autonomy given that a special board will manage it while ICESCO Director General will be only a member of the council.
In addition, Dr. AlMalik called on the Executive Council members to support the Fund, consider themselves as members of it, and contribute to the achievement of its objectives.
The project aims to make of ICESCO a well performing organization in terms of sustainable development projects in its areas of action, influencing the orientations and choices, and meeting the field needs and sectoral priorities of its Member States. ICESCO, through this Waqf Fund, aims to ensure the sustainability of resources allocated to the programmes of education, science, culture and other relevant fields; and achieve its relative financial autonomy to ensure that programmes and projects are regularly funded.
The Organization also seeks to improve its capacity to compete with international bodies specialized in education, science and culture through sustainable quality programmes and projects; and recruit Member States’ qualified staff and outstanding experts under the programmes and projects funded by the Waqf. It also hopes that the Waqf will stand at 500 million USD by 2025. The funding sources will include fixed and non-fixed assets, donations by the Kings, Presidents and Emirs of Member States, government bodies, the private sector, businessmen, and philanthropies.
The Executive Council agreed to have Awqaf Sulaiman AbdulAziz Al Rajhi Holding Co., Ryadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the supporting institution to the establishment of this Waqf.
It is worth mentioning that Waqf (endowment) is an important tool of achieving social solidarity and a key source of development funding in the Islamic world. The waqf sector has witnessed constant growth in terms of allocated investment and the parties and institutions, which resort to waqf to fund their projects, most particularly in pivotal areas such as education, health, environment.