The Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) concluded today its Second General Assembly, which was launched on Tuesday under the theme "Promoting Islamic Solidarity through Food Security ", concluded today. The session witnessed the participation of ministers and senior officials in charge of agriculture, rural development and food security 57-member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The General Assembly has taken new measures to support and promote rural development, eliminate the food gap, provide potential in agricultural production and efforts to combat desertification to improve the quality of life.
HE Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Chairman of the Second General Assembly of IOFS, Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. AlFadley said that the Kingdom attaches great importance to agricultural development, food and water security and environmental balances in its national policies and strategies in line with global goals including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
"The Saudi strategies and programs have been adopted to promote sustainable agricultural development, increase agricultural land, contribute to national, regional and global food security, and conserve natural and environmental resources.", AlFadley added.
AlFadley stressed the Kingdom's continued support to IOFS's efforts to achieve food security and promote rural development to eliminate the food gap, calling on member states to adopt a food security strategy and rural development programs to consolidate and sustain agricultural production, protect against reverse migration to major cities, increase vegetation cover and production rates, and protect the environment to improve the quality of life.
AlFadley announced that the Government of Saudi Arabia has provided financial aid amounting to $2 million to support the work of the IOFS.
For his part, the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Chairman of the First IOFS General Assembly, pointed out that IOFS aims to strengthen regional and global solutions to address the current major food security issues facing the member states,, as it is considering establishing a grain fund to meet the needs of Member States, and promoting the trade of crops, and providing humanitarian assistance to Member States.
He stressed that IOFS is also working to create conditions for experiences exchange, introduce new technologies, and deepen cooperation among its member states and their private sector establishments, pointing out the need for solutions to water scarcity in the agricultural sector through land reclamation, modern irrigation techniques, and developing transport and logistics infrastructure, and expanding and strengthening trade relations.
For his part, the Secretary-General of OIC, Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen explained that the current session is considered historic in several aspects. It is the first to be held after the IOFS Statute went into effect and represents the first step towards the actual launching of the IOFS. He added that while holding this session, the OIC is implementing a comprehensive policy for improving agricultural products and promoting intra-Islamic economic and trade cooperation in the food and agriculture sectors.
Al-Othaimeen expressed his appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan for their commitment to fund the administrative budget of the IOFS General Secretariat during the first three years. He also thanked the government of Saudi Arabia for the $ 2 million donations to support the work of the IOFS, hoping that other member states will follow its lead.
He urged the Executive Council and the IOFS Director-General to attach great importance to programs that would address the urgent priorities of our Member States in promoting agribusiness, developing infrastructure, research and development, and attaches great attention to food security reserves.
He stressed that agricultural development and food security are among highest priorities OIC, given that the economies of most of its member countries were based on agriculture, where this sector accounts for about 12% GDP, and occupies 29% of the agricultural lands in the world. Adding that 25 countries of which are among the top 20 countries producing major agricultural products globally, including coffee, cotton, cocoa, wheat, rice and maize, which are essential crops for global food security. Similarly, more than 53% of the total population of Member States live in rural areas and rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
Director-General of the OIFS Yerlan Baidaulet said that ensuring sustainable food security and maintaining the quality of halal foods at the national and regional levels is OIFS's objective, affirming its quest for consolidating the bonds of fraternity and solidarity among the Member States, as database was designed to analyze the potential of import and export among the Member States.
He pointed out that the OIFS is considering the establishment of the Islamic Common Market; to promote trade and investment cooperation, share Sharia-compliant finance, as well as enhance and develop science and technology and encourage research and cooperation among Member States in fields of agriculture and education. And fishing.
He also pointed out that IOFS expressed strong interest in collaborating with partners to develop unique plans for delivering food through humanitarian assistance programs for grains and sacrifices, calling for coordination with Islamic social institutions, such as Zakat, charity and endowment funds to cover part of the expenses.
Participants elected the office of the Second Assembly to be headed by Saudi Arabia. Also, Yerlan Baidaulet was appointed Director-General for this session. The board of directors was approved for the MENA region from Saudi Arabia and the UAE; for Asia from Afghanistan and Turkey; and for Africa from Burkina Faso and Gambia. The session also witnessed the adoption of an agenda and action plans, and the accession of several states to the IOFS Statute.