United Nations

A/53/430


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

24 September 1998

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH




                                                      A/53/430
       
                                                      Original: English
       

General Assembly       
Fifty-third session
Agenda item 26
Cooperation between the United Nations 
  and the Organization of the
  Islamic Conference


         Cooperation between the United Nations and the
             Organization of the Islamic Conference


                 Report of the Secretary-General


Contents         

                                                      Paragraphs   Page

  I.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1          3

 II.  Consultations between representatives of the 
      United Nations and the Organization of the 
      Islamic Conference and representation at meetings  2-9         3

III.  General meeting of the United Nations system and 
      the Organization of the Islamic Conference and 
      its specialized institutions . . . . . . . . . .  10-15        4

 IV.  Follow-up action on recommendations of the 
      meetings between the United Nations system and 
      the Organization of the Islamic Conference, 
      including cooperation in the field of economic 
      and social development . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16-39        5

      A.  Food and Agriculture Organization of the 
          United Nations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17-18        5

      B.  International Fund for Agricultural 
          Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19-20        5

      C.  International Labour Organization. . . . . .    21         6

      D.  United Nations Children's Fund . . . . . . .  22-25        6

      E.  United Nations Educational, Scientific and 
          Cultural Organization. . . . . . . . . . . .  26-28        6

      F.  United Nations Environment Programme . . . .  29-31        6

      G.  United Nations Population Fund . . . . . . .  32-33        7

      H.  United Nations Relief and Works Agency for 
          Palestine Refugees in the Near East. . . . .  34-36        7

      I.  World Meteorological Organization. . . . . .  37-38        7

      J.  Other departments and organizations of the 
          United Nations system. . . . . . . . . . . .    39         8


        I.     Introduction


1.   The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph
12 of General Assembly resolution 52/4 of 22 October
1997.


       II.     Consultations between
               representatives of the United
               Nations and the Organization of the
               Islamic Conference and
               representation at meetings


2.   On 2 October 1997, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs
of the States members of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC) held their annual coordination meeting
at United Nations Headquarters to discuss the agenda of the
fifty-second session of the General Assembly, in particular
those items of concern and interest to OIC.

3.   The Secretary-General of the United Nations
addressed the coordinating meeting of OIC Foreign
Ministers. It was the first time that a United Nations
Secretary-General had addressed such a coordinating
meeting. The Secretary-General of the Arab League also
addressed and took part in the meeting.

4.   The coordinating meeting, which unanimously
admitted Togo as the 55th member State of OIC, reviewed
the international situation, with specific attention to the
situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine;
Bosnia and Herzegovina; Jammu and Kashmir; Afghanistan;
Somalia; the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan; the
consequences of Iraq's occupation of Kuwait; and the
situation pertaining to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and
Security Council resolutions 731 (1992) and 883 (1993).
The coordinating meeting also discussed the issue of United
Nations reform. In response to an invitation from OIC,
senior representatives of the Department of Political Affairs
of the United Nations Secretariat attended the meeting.

5.   The Secretary-General of the United Nations attended
the Eighth OIC Summit, which was held at Tehran from 9
to 11 December 1997. During the Summit, the Secretary-General 
conferred with a number of heads of delegation and
other senior participants in the Summit, including OIC
Secretary-General Dr. Azeddine Laraki, as well as the new
Chairman of OIC, President Seyed Mohammad Khatami of
the Islamic Republic of Iran.

6.   At the twenty-fifth meeting of Foreign Ministers of
OIC, which was convened at Doha from 15 to 19 March
1998, the Secretary-General was represented by his Special
Envoy for Afghanistan, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi.

7.   During the period under review, cooperation on
political matters intensified between the United Nations and
the Organization of the Islamic Conference, in particular
with regard to ongoing peacemaking efforts. Regular
consultations were held, and information was exchanged
between the secretariats of the United Nations and OIC,
including on the situations in Somalia and Tajikistan.
Regarding the peace process in Tajikistan, it should be
recalled that OIC participated as an observer in the United
Nations-sponsored inter-Tajik talks that were concluded in
1997 with the signing of the General Agreement. OIC is a
member of the contact group established in connection with
the peace process in Tajikistan.

8.   A new dimension of cooperation between the United
Nations and OIC was added concerning the conflict in
Afghanistan. Following the twenty-fifth OIC Foreign
Ministers meeting, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy
for Afghanistan, Mr. Brahimi, and the Permanent Observer
of OIC to the United Nations, Ambassador Mokhtar Lamani,
conducted a joint United Nations/OIC peacemaking mission
to Afghanistan and a number of neighbouring countries.
This mission, which lasted from 20 March to 15 April 1998,
was followed by a series of meetings of the Afghan parties,
held at Islamabad under joint United Nations and OIC
auspices from 26 April to 3 May 1998. Despite the
inconclusive ending of these talks, the co-chairmanship by
the two organizations underlined the valuable potential of
concrete joint cooperation in the field of peacemaking,
which could be applied beyond the conflict in Afghanistan.

9.   On 28 and 29 July 1998, the Secretary-General of the
United Nations convened a high-level meeting of regional
organizations (including OIC) with which the United
Nations has cooperated in preventive diplomacy,
peacemaking and peacekeeping. The agenda of this third
meeting with regional organizations focused on the topic
of early warning and conflict prevention in the twenty-first
century, as well as the capabilities of the United Nations and
regional organizations in the field of early warning and
conflict prevention. It was agreed during this two-day
meeting that cooperation in this field between the United
Nations and regional organizations, including OIC, will
continue at the working level. An appropriate follow-up
meeting is already envisaged to take place later in 1998, in
which OIC is expected to take part.


       III. General meeting of the United
            Nations system and the
            Organization of the Islamic
            Conference and its specialized
            institutions


10.  Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 52/4 of 22
October 1997, a general meeting on cooperation between
representatives of the secretariats of the United Nations
system and OIC and its specialized institutions was held at
the United Nations Office at Geneva from 13 to 15 July
1998. Substantive preparations for this meeting were
initiated by the coordinating secretariats of the United
Nations and OIC. In accordance with the agreement between
the coordinating secretariats, the meeting adopted the
following agenda at its opening session:

               1.   Organization of work.

               2.   Review of cooperation in the political dimension.

               3.   Review of cooperation and appraisal of progress
                    achieved in priority areas of cooperation:

                    (a)     Development of science and technology;

                    (b)     Trade and development;

                    (c)     Technical cooperation among Islamic
                            countries;

                    (d)     Assistance to refugees;

                    (e)     Food security and agriculture;

                    (f)     Education and eradication of illiteracy;

                    (g)     Investment mechanisms and joint ventures;

                    (h)     Human resources development;

                    (i)     Environment;

                    (j)     Development of arts and crafts and
                            promotion of heritage.

               4.   Consideration of proposals for enhancing the
                    mechanisms of cooperation between the United
                    Nations system and OIC and its institutions.

               5.   Other matters.

               6.   Adoption of the final report.

11.  The meeting had before it working papers prepared
by the participating organizations, agencies and institutions
of the two organizations. The 10 issues listed under agenda
item 3 of the general meeting, "Review of cooperation and
appraisal achieved in priority areas of cooperation",
constitute the agreed priority areas of cooperation between
the United Nations system and OIC and its specialized
agencies. During the general meeting, which was held
concurrently with a meeting of focal points established for
the priority areas, informal working groups composed of
representatives of the United Nations system and OIC and
its specialized institutions were established. Based on the
discussions in these working groups, which centred around
the working papers prepared by the two organizations, the
general meeting, inter alia, reached agreement on a wide-ranging 
programme of cooperative activities to be
accomplished in the period 1998 1999. The conclusions
and recommendations of the meeting were contained in its
final report, which was unanimously adopted on 15 July
1998 (copies of the final report were made available and
distributed to all participants from the United Nations and
OIC immediately after the last session of the general
meeting on 15 July 1998).

12.  Representatives of the following departments of the
United Nations and other organizations and bodies of the
United Nations system participated in the meeting:
Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Department
of Political Affairs; Department of Public Information;
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD);
International Labour Organization (ILO); International
Telecommunication Union; Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees; United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF); United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development; United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP); United Nations Economic and Social
Commission for Western Asia; United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); United Nations
Industrial Development Organization; United Nations
Institute for Training and Research; United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA); World Bank; World Food
Programme.

13.  Representatives of the following organizations and
institutions of OIC participated in the meeting: Department
of Economic Affairs; Islamic Centre for Development of
Trade (ICDT); Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (ISESCO); Islamic Institute of Technology
(IIT); Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF); Islamic Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (ICCI); OIC general secretariat;
Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture
(IRCICA); Statistical, Economic and Social Research and
Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRTCIC).

14.  The increased political cooperation between the
United Nations and OIC was also confirmed during the
general meeting. The heads of the United Nations and OIC
delegations attending the general meeting conducted a 
wide-ranging and substantive exchange of views about
cooperation in the field of preventive diplomacy and
conflict resolution. The discussion was held on the basis of
a working paper prepared by the OIC secretariat. There was
broad agreement on the value of regular political
consultations between the two organizations, including at
the level of Secretary-General. It was noted that OIC was
planning to participate in the third meeting between the
United Nations and a number of regional organizations
scheduled for 28 and 29 July 1998 at United Nations
Headquarters.

15.  During the meeting, the OIC Assistant Secretary-General 
for Political Affairs, Mr. Ibrahim Bakr, expressed
appreciation for the enhanced level of cooperation in the
political field, especially regarding the peace process in
Afghanistan, in which OIC and the United Nations have
undertaken a number of common initiatives. It was agreed
that the United Nations and OIC would continue to
cooperate closely in the search for peace in Afghanistan.
The discussion also included exchanges of views on the
topics of Palestine, Tajikistan, Somalia, Jammu and
Kashmir, Armenia-Azerbaijan, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
and Kosovo. There was broad satisfaction about the
prospects of further cooperation in the political field, and
both sides were looking forward to the next round of regular
consultations in New York in early October 1998.


       IV.     Follow-up action on
               recommendations of the meetings
               between the United Nations system
               and the Organization of the Islamic
               Conference, including cooperation
               in the field of economic and social
               development


16.  Outlined below is a summary of contributions received
for the present report from entities of the United Nations
system.


        A.     Food and Agriculture Organization of the
               United Nations


17.  During the period June 1997 May 1998, FAO
continued its cooperation with some of the specialized and
affiliated institutions of OIC, namely the Islamic
Development Bank (IDB), SESRTCIC, ISESCO and ICDT.
Cooperation between FAO and these OIC institutions
focused on areas of common interest, such as rural
development and food security, training in agricultural
policy analysis, and the trade of fish products.

18.  The FAO Director-General attended the Eighth OIC
Summit held at Tehran from 9 to 11 December 1997.


   B.  International Fund for Agricultural Development


19.  The collaboration between IFAD and OIC was
formalized in 1983 through a cooperation agreement in
which the two organizations pledged to exchange
information and conduct periodic consultations to promote
joint programmes related to agricultural development and
rural poverty alleviation. The working partnership has taken
many forms. Of the 51 members of OIC, 47 are also
members of IFAD. They play a key role in framing the
Fund's policies and priorities, make up over 40 per cent of
all IFAD borrowers and have been, for a total of US$ 880.6
million, major contributors to the Fund's resources. In
addition, co-financing has been provided by IDB for 14
projects in 11 Islamic countries and by the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund in six
countries and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social
Development (AFESD) in eight. Technical assistance grants
totalling US$ 34.5 million have supported applied research
in fields of particular relevance to many Islamic countries,
while IFAD-initiated workshops and seminars have
facilitated the exchange of information and ideas between
OIC countries and the Fund.

20.  IFAD-designed and -supported projects in Islamic
countries have taken a variety of forms, although all share
the Fund's basic approach: targeting resources to the most
vulnerable of the rural poor, promoting the active
participation of the people in their own development and
striving to set the foundations for sustainable development.
A number have focused on pastoral management and
conservation of rangelands, sustainable patterns of land and
water resources use, combating environmental degradation
and assistance to drought-displaced persons. As the focus
is determined by local conditions and the needs of particular
target groups, so are the means employed. These include
credit for investment in productive on- and off-farm
enterprises, better access to improved technologies, services
and training in more effective farm and range practices, and
strengthening the capacity of national and local institutions
to serve the rural poor. 


        C.     International Labour Organization


21.  The relations between the ILO and OIC date from
1980, and have been further strengthened since the
inception of general consultations between the United
Nations system and OIC in 1993. ILO supports national
development efforts of individual OIC member States
through its technical assistance programme. It maintains
close working relations with pertinent regional and
subregional organizations, such as the League for Arab
States, the Arab Labour Organization and the Executive
Bureau of the Council of Ministers of Labour and Social
Affairs in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States. ILO
participates in the annual meetings of the Board of
Governors of the Islamic Development Bank. The
organization also attaches great importance to the
promotion of cooperation and the exchange of information.


        D.     United Nations Children's Fund


22.  In pursuance of the 1989 cooperation agreement
between OIC and UNICEF and the 1996 memorandum of
understanding signed between ISESCO and UNICEF,
children's issues continue to retain high visibility on the
political agenda in the Islamic world. This manifested itself
amply during the eighth OIC Summit at Tehran in December
1997, at which UNICEF conducted its advocacy at the apex
level.

23.  Reaffirming the provisions of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child and the Declaration and Plan of Action
of the World Summit for Children, the two organizations,
including the subsidiary organization ISESCO, rededicated
their efforts to ensure the survival, protection and well-being 
of children in the Islamic world, and adopted a
resolution on child care and protection in the Islamic world.

24.  In calling for a ministerial meeting to be convened on
the subject, the OIC Summit reiterated its commitment to
child care and child rights in Islam. At the country level,
member States of OIC translate global commitments
through in-country programmes and projects, in fulfilment
of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Year 2000
goals. In addition, ISESCO and UNICEF will be meeting
in 1998 to determine cooperation with respect to projects
relating to children with disabilities and girls' education.

25.  Meaningful implementation of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child and national plans of action by all OIC
member States still remain a challenge. This can be
achieved through the sharing of information, technical
resources, success stories and the harmonization of national
laws with the articles and provisions of the Convention.


        E.     United Nations Educational, Scientific and
               Cultural Organization


26.  UNESCO has continued its cooperation with the
Organization of the Islamic Conference and its specialized
institutions, notably ISESCO. UNESCO participated in the
biennial general meeting between the United Nations system
and the OIC system, which was held at Geneva from 13 to
15 July 1998. UNESCO is the focal point for the United
Nations on two of the priority areas agreed upon, namely
education and the eradication of illiteracy, and human
resources development.

27.  UNESCO continued, through the period under review,
to refine the modalities of cooperation with the OIC system
and to expand the areas of cooperation. Exchange of
information and visits between programme specialists and
frequent contacts at the highest level gave a particular
impetus to cooperation between UNESCO and the OIC
system, in particular ISESCO. The Joint UNESCO/ISESCO
Committee held its fifth session in Paris from 23 to 26
March 1998, and elaborated a programme of activities for
1998 1999. The programme was signed by the two
Directors-General in Paris on 17 July 1998. The
programme, which includes about 80 jointly financed and
executed projects, went beyond the priority areas mentioned
above to include science and technology, culture and
communication, as well as cooperation in the preparation
and convening of major UNESCO conferences on higher
education (1998), vocational training (1999), science (1999)
and communication (2000), and on transdisciplinary
programmes, such as the culture of peace.

28.  On 19 February 1998, the UNESCO Director-General
and the Secretary-General of OIC signed a special
agreement between the two organizations on assistance to
the Palestinian People and on safeguarding the cultural
heritage of Jerusalem. UNESCO continued to cooperate
with IRCICA and other subsidiary bodies of OIC, and to
provide assistance to OIC member States through UNESCO
participation programme.


        F.     United Nations Environment Programme


29.  Since the signing of the memorandum of
understanding with OIC and the cooperation agreement with
ISESCO in 1990 and 1996, respectively, UNEP cooperation
with OIC has progressed in several areas of mutual interest.
UNEP attended the General Conference of ISESCO
(Riyadh, 6 9 December 1997) and the twenty-first session
of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Social and
Cultural Affairs (Jeddah, 9 13 January 1998).

30.  A UNEP/ISESCO training of trainers workshop on
environmental education was held in Bahrain (12 19
October 1997) with participation from 10 Arab, Asian and
African Islamic countries. The Workshop focused on the
introduction of environmental education into the
educational programmes in these countries, and reviewed
and appraised the countries' experiences in emphasizing the
Islamic perspective in environmental education.

31.  Furthermore, a series of three topical seminars and a
conference on the theme "Environment and Islam: towards
an ethical environmental charter" was proposed by UNEP,
and is being pursued as a joint UNEP/ISESCO initiative
supported by the Islamic Development Bank and the Faysal
Islamic Bank. The first preparatory meeting for this activity
was convened in Bahrain on 10 December 1997, and the
proposal is now being circulated to other Islamic institutions
and potential donors for support. UNEP considers this
activity an extremely important event aiming at building
environmental protection work on the basis of the spiritual
and cultural values of the Islamic world.


        G.     United Nations Population Fund


32.  As in the past and in accordance with its mandate,
UNFPA has continued to provide technical assistance to
most member States of the OIC in which population
programmes and activities were funded. In addition,
UNFPA has continued to cooperate with OIC through the
funding of joint activities with ISESCO. In 1996, further to
signing a cooperation agreement with ISESCO, UNFPA
approved a project in the approximate amount of $194,000
to strengthen population education in ISESCO's action plan
and enhance the capacity of its member States to advocate
gender, reproductive health and reproductive rights issues.
Within the framework of this project, two symposiums, one
on the theme "Muslim women's education" and the other
on the theme "Human rights and reproductive rights in
Islam" were held at Al-Azhar University in June and
November 1997, respectively. Both symposiums benefited
from the technical assistance of the Amman-based UNFPA
country support team.

33.  For future cooperation, it was agreed at the last United
Nations/OIC general meeting at Geneva (13 15 July 1998)
that UNFPA will continue to work with OIC institutions in
support of population and reproductive health activities to
advance the implementation of the International Conference
on Population and Development Programme of Action in
the Muslim world. This would be done through workshops,
conferences, symposiums, expert meetings, printing and
translation of relevant materials.


        H.     United Nations Relief and Works Agency
               for Palestine Refugees in the Near East


34.  The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for
Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) continues
to maintain a cooperative working relationship with OIC.
UNRWA benefits from the ongoing support of OIC for its
efforts to provide essential services and humanitarian
assistance to Palestine refugees. Cooperation between
UNRWA and OIC is reinforced by meetings between
representatives of the two organizations, including with the
Commissioner-General of UNRWA. The Agency plans to
deepen contact with the OIC secretariat and with the Islamic
Development Bank, inter alia, by regularly providing
information on Agency activities.

35.  UNRWA has long-standing working relationships with
a number of OIC member States, in particular the
Governments of Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab
Republic, where the Agency is engaged in extensive
operations to provide services to 2.1 million Palestine
refugees. Those Governments, as well as the Governments
of Turkey and the Arab Republic of Egypt, are members of
UNRWA's Advisory Commission. UNRWA has also
established a close working relationship with the Palestinian
Authority in respect of services provided to the 1.3 million
Palestine refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

36.  UNRWA continues to benefit from the support of OIC
member States to the Agency's regular budget and special
assistance programmes. Since the relocation of Agency
headquarters to the area of operations in July 1996, the
Commissioner-General has paid official visits to several
OIC member States in the Gulf region and South-East Asia,
including Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Kuwait, Malaysia,
Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


        I.     World Meteorological Organization


37.  A number of technical assistance projects were and
are being implemented in OIC member States and areas such
as Algeria, Chad, Gaza and the West Bank, Guinea-Bissau,
the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali,
Morocco, the Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,
Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and
Yemen. These projects are financed through different
schemes, particularly UNDP and trust fund arrangements.
Most of these projects are aimed at promoting sustainable
development through the provision of meteorological and
hydrological services to agriculture, water resources
management and protection of the environment.

38.  In addition, a number of consultancy missions
financed through UNDP and the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) Voluntary Cooperation Programme
(VCP) were organized in a number of member countries in
Africa, Asia and the Arab States. Fellowships were awarded
in the fields of meteorology and hydrology to a number of
trainees in OIC members and financed through WMO-VCP
and the regular budget, in particular in Palestine. Within the
framework of WMO-VCP, equipment, expert services, spare
parts and consumables were provided to national
meteorological services of 10 OIC members during the
reporting period.



        J.     Other departments and organizations of
               the United Nations system


39.  A number of departments and organizations of the
United Nations system, including the Department of Public
Information of the United Nations Secretariat and the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
conveyed information to the United Nations Secretariat on
their programmes and activities in cooperation with OIC
and its specialized institutions.

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Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:05:30
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