The Director-General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, highlighted the importance of strengthening international cooperation in handling the damaging repercussions of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This is the substance of his address delivered at the opening session of the Global Web Forum organized by ASAN Network, under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on the theme “Governments Agile Response to COVID-19.” Dr. AlMalik further stressed that government responses should be all-inclusive in this critical moment, emphasizing equity and fairness, especially in health, financial and educational spectrums. Moreover, he urged the government to give priority to the most vulnerable communities in the development of policies as the crisis exposed the gap between regional and social categories.
“Government responses to the pandemic should focus on genuine dialogue and inter-disciplinary cooperation while drawing inspirations from the successful experiences of some governments in addressing emergencies. Despite growing tensions, governments should not lose sight of the fact that interinstitutional and external cooperation proves indispensable in the fight against any crises. Joint efforts and sharing of best practices between international partners can help overcome the grinding standstill of economic activities and the debilitating effect of social restrictions, Dr. AlMalik added.
ICESCO Director-General alerted the Member States to recognize the importance of culture and education as the future of humanity hinges on the preservation and protection of these fundamental societal spheres.
Then, Dr. AlMalik highlighted activities, programmes, and initiatives launched by ICESCO to support the efforts to help cushion the adverse effects of Coronavirus pandemic, particularly:
• ICESCO Prize for Fighting Coronavirus with a value of 200,000 US$ to reward anyone who discovers an efficient treatment or vaccine against the virus.
• Launch of the Comprehensive Humanitarian Forum to help the most affected developing countries and promote innovation and scientific research.
• “ICESCO Digital Home” which is a platform providing technological, educational, social, cultural, and awareness content for all age groups.
• Provision of technical and financial support for the production of sanitizers and disinfectants in several African countries.
• Provision of smart equipment and materials to 30 Member States to ensure the continuity of the educational process during school shutdown.
• “Societies We Want,” an initiative that seeks to disseminate knowledge and implement creative programmes for building healthy, safe, prosperous, and inclusive societies.
At the close of his address, ICESCO Director-General suggested that ICESCO launch “ICESCO-ASAN Award for the Management of Public Services in the Islamic World” to promote good governance, build capacities and provide good services in managing all the sectors related to education, sciences, culture, and social development.
Launched by ASAN Network, the Global Web Forum is an initiative of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It aims to discuss public service activities and ways to access them in times of epidemics and the role of innovations and smart solutions during and after COVID-19.