Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, Director-General (DG) of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), reaffirmed that overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic requires intensifying efforts, complementing roles, and exchanging expertise.
The DG also called on countries of the Islamic World to form a high-level team of specialized experts and distinguished researchers to address the current repercussions. He noted that ICESCO Center for Strategic Foresight, as well as competent sectors at the Organization, are willing to contribute to the preparation of the systematic approach of the mission and performance of the team.
The statement was part of Dr. AlMalik’s address at the 47th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which kicked off on Friday, November 27, 2020, in Niamey, Niger. The session was under the theme: “United against Terrorism for Peace and Development.” The Council concluded its proceedings last Saturday.
ICESCO DG thanked the government of Niger for the warm reception, and the OIC General Secretariat, which its Secretary-General represents, for the invitation to attend the session. The event was the first of its kind since the start of COVID-19 pandemic.
“This reflects the participants’ responsibilities to find the necessary solutions and measures to address the negative repercussions of this pandemic,” he added.
Dr. AlMalik explained that ICESCO, by virtue of its competencies and in light of its tasks, has taken the pandemic as an opportunity to consolidate its position on the international scene. ICESCO launched a set of strategic initiatives to support the efforts of Member States in mitigating the effects of the pandemic. These initiatives included:
- An international award for discovering an efficient treatment or protective vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic, with USD 200,000 in prize money.
- An integrated virtual learning program to link students with their teachers and schools, including a package of electronic materials, equipment, and software for the benefit of 30 of the neediest Member States.
- ICESCO Digital Home initiative, which contains rich materials, knowledge resources, scientific references, educational curricula, and educational media.
- Technical and logistical support to several Member States that the pandemic affected.
- The Societies We Want Initiative, which is part of ICESCO’s knowledge initiatives with a set of strategic studies on the future of the Islamic world, the future of Africa, and the ethics of Artificial Intelligence.
- ICESCO also held videoconferences of education ministers and culture ministers, in addition to dozens of forums and international conferences, meetings, and lectures on educational, scientific, and cultural issues related to the impact of the pandemic.
- In a bid to ensure the cohesion of all these efforts, ICESCO established the Comprehensive Humanitarian Coalition to mobilize competencies and unify the efforts aiming at confronting the pandemic.
ICESCO DG called on the participating countries to further support the Comprehensive Humanitarian Coalition to achieve its objectives in the upcoming period.
“The Coalition’s operational program includes a set of field projects and specialized activities. Several Member States and regional and international organizations have already joined it. Besides, the leaders of many Member States commended this Coalition,” he concluded.