ICESCO Director-General: Covid-19 requires the adoption of innovative solutions to face crises
The Director-General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, reaffirmed that the current appalling health crisis around the globe triggered by Covid-19, with a more than two 2.5 million infections and over 165 thousand deaths, requires a swift and vigorous intervention. There should be a concerted effort to work harder to counter such pandemics by adopting innovative and effective methods, focusing mainly on raising awareness, training, capacity building, and the needed infrastructure.
As part of ICESCO Director-General’s address at the opening ceremony of a series of distance lectures on dealing with crises and catastrophes, which kicked off today and continues for two days, held by Naif Arab University for Security Sciences (NAUSS), in cooperation with ICESCO. Dr. AlMalik further stated that “specialized studies have confirmed that the frequency of catastrophes and crises has doubled in recent years, becoming more violent and destructive; earthquakes, volcanoes, tropical cyclones and other natural disasters cause heavy losses estimated by billions of dollars.”
Dr. AlMalik thanked NAUSS President, Dr. Abdulmajeed bin Abdullah Albanyan, for its cooperation with ICESCO in organizing these series of lectures on how to deal with crises and catastrophes amid Covid-19.
Moreover, the Director General stressed that being on top of the situation, ICESCO launched an ambitious programme for catastrophes risk management and reduction in the Islamic world for 2020-2024. It aims at Muslim countries to build their capacities in countering catastrophes by enhancing their preventive management skills, reducing risks and addressing their impact.
Dr. AlMalik added that to contribute to combating the spread of Covid-19 around the globe, ICESCO launched several practical initiatives in its areas of competence, most notably:
• Global Humanitarian Coalition initiative through which ICESCO seeks to build an international coalition to utilize the most efficient mechanisms in field intervention in countering Covid-19 and reducing its current and future impacts;
• ICESCO Prize for Fighting against Coronavirus, with US$200,000 in prize money, to be awarded to anyone who discovers an effective treatment or vaccine for Covid-19;
• ICESCO Digital Home which provides digital educational contents, social and cultural dialogue platforms, and awareness-raising family-friendly contents for all;
• Supporting the sectors of education in several Member States with technology equipment to ensure the continuity of the educational process during the lockdown by producing online digital contents;
• Distance learning initiative for non-Arabic speaking students of the Arabic language through video courses and interactive platforms;
• Providing programmes through the initiative of “Distance Culture” to develop talents and unleash the creative and technical capabilities of students and young people in the Islamic world, and grant incentive awards in the various creative fields;
• Supporting the establishment of factories for the production of low-cost sanitizers for the benefit of citizens in some Member States, and training groups from local communities to sustain this action.
Dr. AlMalik concluded that, through these initiatives and programmes, ICESCO reaffirms its leading role in countering the adverse effects of Covid-19. The Organization will continue with its commitment to closely follow-up the efforts to reduce the fallout of Covid-19 in educational, scientific, cultural, social, and humanitarian sectors and respectively provide the most efficient and effective ways to support in the Member states as the situation evolves.