Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank Senegal for organizing this briefing on the cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The holding of this meeting clearly demonstrates that the two organizations are more than ever willing to work together to address global and regional challenges. The magnitude and complexity of these challenges are simply too big for any country or organization to tackle alone. To be successful in preventing and resolving conflicts we need to join forces with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to devise joint strategies and draw on our comparative advantages.
In this regard, the Secretary-General has taken note of the OIC-2025 Programme of Action adopted by the Islamic Summit in Istanbul in April 2016 and its Ten Year Programme of Action, which identified conflict situations as a major challenge facing the Islamic Ummah in the 21st Century. The Secretary-General welcomes the Communiqué of the OIC’s 13th Islamic Summit and its support for the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and his Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
The United Nations has been working closely with the OIC for more than 20 years in promoting a culture of peace, tolerance and understanding. In the last years, the UN, in particular through the Department of Political Affairs, has stepped up its cooperation with this regional organization and has engaged with it to promote a deeper political dialogue.
There is no doubt that our cooperation has not been without challenges. Resources, capabilities and mandates vary, and our memberships, although overlapping, are different. The strategies of the United Nations and the OIC, at times, may also be different. The best approach to these challenges is to deepen our strategic dialogue to forge common approaches to emerging crises.
In that sense, cooperation between the UN and the OIC is reinforced through direct contacts between the secretariats of the two organizations and between the specialized agencies and bodies of the United Nations system and the OIC. The Secretaries-General of the two organizations meet during UN General Assembly sessions and on many other occasions.
The UN supports the OIC call for ‘strengthening its role in conflict prevention, confidence building, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitations in Member States as well as in conflict situations involving Muslim communities.’
The UN has taken a number of steps to institutionalize its relationship with the OIC by helping strengthen its capacity through mediation and electoral assistance, and by holding desk-to-desk talks with the OIC on areas of mutual concern, such as peace and security. The Secretariats of the UN and the OIC hold General Cooperation Meetings every two years, as mandated by the General Assembly. These meetings are attended by a large number of agencies from organizations and set objectives and matrixes of implementation for joint projects and activities. The 13th General Cooperation Meeting took place in May 2016 at the UN Office in Geneva.
The UN and OIC share common objectives in promoting and facilitating the Middle East peace process and the Question of Palestine. The OIC Extraordinary Summit on Palestine and Al-Quds al-Sharif in Jakarta adopted a resolution entitled “United for A Just Solution” which reaffirmed the positions of Member States and the Jakarta Declaration to pursue concrete steps in support of Palestine and the protection of the Holy Sites in East Jerusalem. Additionally, in the last Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East, the OIC reiterated the need to preserve the two-state solution and for Security Council to act on settlements.
On Yemen, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UK Department for International Development and the OIC co-chaired a high-level event on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. The meeting generated over $100 million in additional funding for the 2016 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan.
The UN appreciates the OIC’s support for a peace process in Afghanistan, whose realization is crucial for long-term growth and stability of the country. Despite some delays, the planned international OIC conference of Ulema on Afghanistan is a positive step towards constructive dialogue aimed at strengthening the foundations of peace and national reconciliation in Afghanistan.
In Sudan, the partnership between the UN and the OIC remains an indispensable part of the collective effort of the international community to bring peace, security and development to that country. In Darfur, the core of that partnership has been the support of the OIC, under the leadership of Qatar, for the signing and the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur. We need to continue this level of engagement to achieve an all-inclusive peace process which addresses the roots causes of the conflict and ensures durable solutions.
In Somalia, the UN and OIC maintain a critical partnership in state-building, as well as in promoting comprehensive peace and security. The challenge now is for the international community to harmonize its support to achieve comprehensive progress toward common objectives that include coordinated support to the security sector, preventing violent extremism, and community recovery and extension of basic services at the local level.
In Mali, the OIC was a member of the international mediation team during the 2014-15 inter-Malian dialogue and remains a committed member of the Agreement Monitoring Committee to this day.
During the electoral process in Central African Republic at the end of 2015, the OIC played an instrumental role in defusing tensions between rival political parties in the country. In agreement with Chad, the OIC successfully called on the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC) to cease hostilities in the Central African Republic and allow for the elections to take place in areas that were under its influence.
The UN appreciates the OIC’s support to the political dialogue process in Libya. We would welcome a greater role of the OIC in supporting the UN mediation efforts in the country and in encouraging OIC Members States to use their leverage with Libyan parties to make the compromises needed to fully implement the Libyan Political Agreement.
The OIC has played a key role in Sierra Leone’s recovery efforts since the civil war there and, more recently, in the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak. It is worth mentioning that the last meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Sierra Leone, which was held in New York at the ministerial level on 19 September, focused, inter alia, on progress made in Ebola recovery.
I would like also to note the continued importance of the still active OIC Trust Fund for Sierra Leone, which was established in 2002, to assist in the process of reconciliation and rehabilitation. And the UN is thankful to OIC members for their continued economic cooperation with Sierra Leone, particularly in the areas of agriculture, natural resources and energy.
The UN continues to collaborate and strengthen its electoral engagement with the OIC. This involves the training of electoral staff and observers and support towards the establishment of the database and institutional memory of the organization. In addition, the Electoral Assistance Division and UNDP provide technical electoral assistance to a number of OIC Member States.
Let us use this valuable Security Council meeting to reaffirm and deepen our common commitment to promoting peace, respect for human rights and offer of better opportunity for all the peoples of these regions and the world.
Thank you very much