Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, Director-General (DG) of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), called for increasing investment in health and environment systems, promoting scientific research and innovation, capitalizing on the applications of information technology, and involving communities, especially the youth and women as key stakeholders in the response to health crises.
Dr. AlMalik made this statement in a pre-recorded remark he addressed at the opening of the First African Arab Forum on Innovation and Investment in Health and the Environment, held by Yenda Africa, in partnership with Qadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh, Kingdom of Morocco, Helite Group, and Ecologie Media Group. The Forum was held on Wednesday, 25 May 2022, at the headquarters of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ayyad University, under the theme, “Environmental and social stakes of health crises: Is health and environmental sovereignty in Africa and the Arab world possible?.” The Forum brought together the Ministers of Health of Mauritania and Benin, a host of senior officials, representatives of international organizations, professors and researchers in the fields of health and environment in Africa and the Arab world.
At the outset of his address, Dr. AlMalik commended the organizers’ choice to discuss the topic of environmental and social sovereignty in Africa and the Arab world in light of the environmental and social stakes of health crises, highlighting the importance of these discussions in promoting health, environment and development systems.
In addition, ICESCO DG stated that despite the challenges facing them, African and Arab countries have innovative experiences that are worthy of promotion and encouragement at the institutional and social levels. He added that the Program to Fight COVID-19 through promoting youth and women’s sense of initiative and innovation, which ICESCO implemented in partnership with Alwaleed Philanthropies, proved the importance of involving communities in dealing with health crises.
ICESCO DG concluded his address by calling for promoting international cooperation in fostering health and environmental systems through the exchange of expertise and best practices and the joint response to crises, stressing that environmental and health sovereignty in Africa and the Arab world is not a far-fetched goal.
The Forum’s opening session featured the remarks of several officials in the health sectors from the Kingdom of Morocco and several African countries.