The 26th Session of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (COMCEC), which is chaired by the President of the Republic of Turkey, convened in Istanbul, Turkey on 5-8 October 2010 with the participation of delegates from 45 OIC member countries, five observer countries, one invited country, 13 OIC organizations, and six international/regional organizations.
The Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) actively participated in the 26th Session of COMCEC Session’s important technical background reports and acted as co-organizer of the different preparatory meetings. SESRIC was represented thereat by Dr. Savaş Alpay, Director General, Mr. Mehmet Fatih Serenli, Director of Training and Technical Cooperation Department, and Dr. Murat Atlamaz, Senior Researcher.
The Senior Officials Meeting of the 26th Session of the COMCEC
The Meeting of the Senior Officials of the 26th Session of the COMCEC started on 5 October 2010 under the Chairmanship of Kemal Madenoğlu, Undersecretary of the State Planning Organization (SPO) of Turkey. Ahmet Yaman, Deputy Undersecretary of SPO, chaired the meeting in the afternoon of 6 October 2010.
During the Meeting, the delegations of the Member States and the OIC institutions considered and deliberated on a number of agenda items related to various issues related to enhancing economic and commercial cooperation among the Member States. The agenda items included the following issues:
- World economic developments in conjunction with the OIC member countries
- Review of the implementation of the OIC Ten-Year Program of Action and the Plan of Action to Strengthen Economic and Commercial Cooperation among the OIC Member States.
- Mid-term review of the OIC Ten Year Program of Action
- Evaluation of the Plan of Action
- Cooperation in the area of tourism
- Cooperation in the area of transportation
- Review of the activities of the Statistical Working Group
- Report by the Session Committee
- Intra-OIC Trade
- Trade Preferential System among the member states of OIC (TPS-OIC)
- Road map for enhancing intra-OIC trade
- WTO related technical assistance
- Trade financing activities
- Private sector cooperation
- Islamic trade fairs
- Private sector meetings
- Poverty alleviation and economic/technical assistance to OIC Countries
- Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) and Special Program for Development of Africa (SPDA)
- OIC Cotton Program
- Cooperation among development cooperation institutions of the member states
- Vocational Education and Training Programme for OIC Member Countries (OIC-VET)
- Food Security Program
- Financial cooperation among the OIC member states
- Cooperation among the stock exchanges
- Cooperation among the central banks and monetary authorities
- Exchange of views on “Agriculture and Rural Development”
- Development of the OIC halal food standards and procedures
- E-government applications and their economic impact on the OIC member states
The SESRIC contributed the following background reports and studies dealing with some major agenda items of the Meeting: (1) Annual Economic Report on the OIC Countries 2010; (2) E-Government Applications and Their Economic Impacts on the OIC Member Countries; and (3) Results of the Questionnaire Circulated by the SESRIC to the Member Countries on the Proposed Themes for the COMCEC Exchange of Views Sessions.
In addition to the presentations made by the Centre on these reports, the Centre also made presentations and briefed the Committee on the following agenda items: (1) Cooperation among the Central Banks and Monetary Authorities; (2) Vocational Education and Training Programme for OIC Member Countries (OIC-VET); (3) Review of the Activities of the Statistical Working Group; and (4) Cooperation among Development Cooperation Institutions of the Member States.
In their deliberations on the agenda items listed above, the Senior Officials discussed and considered the recommendations and policy implications of many technical and background reports prepared and presented by various relevant OIC institutions as well as those of some related international and regional organizations. They also prepared the Draft Resolutions on these issues for consideration by the Ministerial Meeting, held on 7 October 2010.
The Ministerial Meeting of the 26th Session of the COMCEC
The Ministerial Meeting of the 25th Session of the COMCEC was held on 7 October 2010. The Opening Ceremony of the Meeting was held under the chairmanship of H.E. Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey and the Chairman of the COMCEC.
In his inaugural address, H.E. Gül mentioned the importance of cooperation among the OIC member countries and emphasized on resilience to the global economic crisis. He said that the OIC member countries did not have their fair share of global prosperity despite being rich in natural resources and that the share of the OIC member countries in world GDP was only 7% in 2009 even though they accounted for 22% of world population.
H.E. Gül emphasized on the importance of poverty alleviation and political stability. He said that being a global community, the Islamic world should be aware that global problems could only be solved if there were a global mind and action. He also elaborated on poor agriculture productivity, low quality of production, and the lack of competitiveness in the tradable goods of the OIC member countries. Drawing attention to the fact that around 1 billion of the people who are under the hunger threshold live in the OIC member countries, he stated that the problem of food scarcity and insufficient nutrition should be resolved in no time. He also expressed his condolences to the Pakistani people who were struck by a natural disaster and called upon the countries to coordinate on humanitarian aid and to be generous in this respect.
H.E. Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu, Secretary General of the OIC, made a statement at the Opening Session. He pointed out the steady increase in intra-OIC trade and called upon the member countries to enhance their cooperation in trade through new regulations in their trade regimes.
Touching upon the importance of cooperation in agriculture and rural development, H.E. Prof. Ihsanoğlu said that strengthening of agricultural infrastructure would play a crucial role in enhancing competitiveness in the OIC member countries. He also emphasized that 41 out of 57 OIC member countries were faced with food scarcity and drew attention to the fact that the share of these countries from the Official Development Assistance was low. He stated that private sector investments were important in economic development. He also said that more than 100 multi-national companies investing in the OIC member countries controlled a business volume of 200 billion US dollars and that more investments should be attracted to the OIC member countries.
An award ceremony was held at the end of the Opening Session, where the “Islamic Solidarity Prize for the Enhancement of Trade among OIC Member Countries” was accorded to the Saudi Exports Promotion Center, an affiliate of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Also, an agreement was signed between H.E. Nihat Ergün, Minister of Industry and Trade, and the Acting General Director of the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) to establish the center of SMIIC in Turkey.
The Resolutions of the 26th Session of the COMCEC
For more information, please visit the official COMCEC website at: http://www.comcec.org