JEDDAH: Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen, delivered a lecture on the overall accomplishments and efforts made by the OIC General Secretariat and its various organs in the service of Islamic agenda issues and in confronting the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This was part of the virtual intellectual forum of the OIC's Union of News Agencies (UNA) on the same topic that took place on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
Al-Othaimeen expressed sincere gratitude and appreciation to the government of Saudi Arabia, led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of the Islamic Summit, and the Crown Prince, HRH Muhammad bin Salman, for their continued support to the OIC. He indicated that such support has significantly facilitated the OIC's functioning and enabled it to carry out its tasks, especially in these exceptional circumstances the Islamic world is going through due to the outbreak of COVID-19. He added that the Saudi presidency of the Islamic Summit has added more impetus to the joint Islamic action thanks to its regional and international weight and its spiritual centrality in the Islamic world for having the Two Holy Mosques. Al-Othaimeen pointed out that the commendable support by Member States and their concerted efforts and solidarity have contributed significantly to elevating the OIC's position and enhancing its role.
The Secretary-General stated that immediately following the outbreak of COVID-19, the OIC held a virtual meeting of the Executive Committee at the level of Foreign Ministers in April 2020 on the implications of COVID-19 and the joint response to it in coordination with Saudi Arabia as Chair of the Islamic Summit and the Executive Committee.
With regard to following up the repercussions of the crisis on the Palestinian issue, the Secretary-General stressed that the OIC has accorded special attention to supporting the Palestinian people in facing the pandemic in coordination with its various organs, such as the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). The IsDB announced a US$ 35.7 million aid package for the benefit of the State of Palestine.
Al-Othaimeen mentioned that the General Secretariat held a virtual meeting of the OIC's Steering Committee on Health in coordination with the government of the United Arab Emirates. The International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), one of the OIC's subsidiary organs, also held a medical jurisprudence symposium on COVID-19 and related medical treatments and Shariah provisions.
In the same context, the Secretary-General indicated that the General Secretariat adopted the ISF's initiative to allocate a bank account to assist Member States, especially the least developed countries for the same purpose. He also valued the IsDB's initiative for launching a strategic program for preparedness and response to COVID-19 of US$ 2.3 billion and the valuable initiatives undertaken by the ISESCO, one of the OIC's specialized organs, including the “Societies We Want” initiative to spread knowledge and implement innovative programs to build healthy, safe, prosperous, resilient, and sustainable societies for everyone.