Under the theme: “Promoting Islamic Solidarity through Food Security”, the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) holds today in Jeddah its Second General Assembly. The session features consultations and deliberations by ministers and senior officials in charge of agriculture, rural development and food security in OIC member states. In addition to participation by the thirty-three member states, which have so far subscribed to the Statute of IOFS, the session would be attended also by all the 57-member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which are potential member states of the new OIC specialised institution.
The agenda of the Session includes, among other issues, the elaboration of a 3-year Action Plan that will prioritize elaboration of a database on the state of food security in OIC member states as well as modalities for the creation of a Regional Food Security Reserve and the establishment of a Grain Fund with the aim of mainstreaming intra-regional cooperation of food security within the OIC space. Another key issue that has engaged the attention of ministers and technical experts is the enunciation of IOFS Investment Programme, which will seek to promote value addition and effective secondary and real sector activities among member states.
Considering the teething problems of post-harvest losses in its member states and the need to enhance intra-regional investment in agro-food processing, the meeting, which will last for three days, will also deliberate on activating a business to business cooperation among its member states and their private sector establishments, including the possibility of actualizing the recommendation on the establishment of an Islamic Food Processing Association.
The meeting will also review certain administrative measures, aimed at consolidating the structure of the Organisation. The latter include the consideration of the recommendations of the Executive Board on the election of a new Director-General for IOFS, the IOFS Work Programme for 2020, Organisational Structure for the Secretariat of IOFS, which is based in Nur Sultan, Republic of Kazakhstan and other general and financial policies.
Furthermore, the meeting will review submissions from several participating institutions on collaborative measures for cooperation among OIC, regional and global development, research and technical institutions, such as the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Statistical, Economic, Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), Islamic Center for Development of Trade (ICDT), Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA) and Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC).
The collaborating regional and global institutions include: Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP), Arab Organisation for Agriculture Development (AOAD), Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID), the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).
It would be recalled that the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers held in Conakry, Republic of Guinea on 11 December 2013 adopted the Statute, which created the Islamic Organisation for Food Security with headquarters in Nur Sultan, Republic of Kazakhstan. Foremost among the objectives of the Organisation is to provide expertise and technical know-how to its member states on the various aspects of sustainable agriculture, rural development, food security, and biotechnology, including addressing the problems posed by desertification, deforestation, erosion and salinity as well as providing social safety nets for their teeming population.
The ministerial meeting will be preceded by a two-day meeting of senior officials, which will prepare the technical details of the General Assembly. It is expected that more OIC countries would accede to the Statute of the Organisation during the General Assembly, while its resolutions shall provide a sound basis for joint Islamic action in the domain of food security in the coming biennium.