Dr. Savaş Alpay, Director General of the SESRIC visited the Headquarters of the United Nations Development Programme, where he met Ms. Amat Al Alim Alsoswa, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director of the Bureau for Arab States, on 25 February 2010. Ms. Amat Al Alim Alsoswa welcomed and thanked Dr. Alpay for his kind visit.
At the outset, Dr. Savaş Alpay expressed his thanks for Ms. Alsoswa and her colleagues for their warm welcome, and talked about the activities of the SESRIC in the areas of research, statistics and training where SESRIC and UNDP could collaborate for enhancing their contribution to the development agenda of the member countries. In particular, he highlighted the recent initiatives and programmes of SESRIC with the aim of enhancing the Centre’s efforts to provide the necessary and up-to-date information and knowledge that would make the OIC member countries better informed of each other’s capacities and needs as well as challenges and potentials to facilitate their efforts to initiate and elaborate on cooperation projects and integration schemes.
In terms of enhancing opportunities for member countries, he especially emphasized the need to develop the human capital towards achieving knowledge-based economies. In this regard, Dr. Alpay informed about the new programme of SESRIC, Vocational Education Training Programme (OIC-VET), which was officially launched during the OIC Economic Summit in November 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey. SESRIC is the executing organ of the OIC-VET Programme, which aims to support the member countries in their efforts towards improving their human capital, and consequently increasing their competitiveness in the global arena.
Ms. Alsoswa expressed her appreciation to Dr. Savaş Alpay and SESRIC for the efforts in initiating such a programme, which would be very useful for the OIC member countries. She mentioned her interest about getting more information about the working mechanism of OIC-VET, and elaborated their intention for collaboration especially about the education of young and unemployed people.
During the meeting, Dr. Alpay invited UNDP to participate the “The Second Meeting of the Development Cooperation Institutions (DCIs) of the OIC Member Countries”. He acknowledged that the meeting would be a joint organization by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the General Secretariat of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), and would be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE on 3-4 May 2010. Dr. Savaş Alpay underlined the importance of this meeting for enhancing the impact of international development assistance in the least developed member countries, and stated that the experiences of UNDP would be highly valuable in this regard.
Dr. Alpay also offered an invitation for the UNDP to attend the “1st Meeting of the National Statistical Organizations of the OIC Member Countries”, being organised jointly by the SESRIC and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), in Istanbul on 22-23 March 2010.
On her part, Ms. Amat Al Alim Alsoswa highlighted the significance of statistics in general, and mentioned the data problems encountered in many countries around the world especially about segregated data, poverty, gender and e-governance issues. Ms. Alsoswa also mentioned that SESRIC could promote the enhancement of technical cooperation activities among the OIC member countries. She also expressed their expectations about a progress report about the status of OIC Member Countries towards achieving MDGs.
Having conducted a fruitful discussion, both parties agreed on increasing cooperation and collaboration in the areas of concern to the member countries. They also decided to establish a steady communication between SESRIC and UNDP so that the two institutions can identify and jointly implement projects in order to enhance their contribution to the member countries.
The meeting was also attended by Mrs. Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, Researcher at SESRIC, and Mr. Amin Sharkawi, Senior Programme Adviser, Mr. Adel M. Abdellatif, Chief of Regional Programme Division, Ms. Susanne Siao, Adviser at the Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP.