The Fifth OIC Ministerial Conference on Food Security and Agricultural Development was held under the patronage of H.E. Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan, in Khartoum on 26-28 October, 2010. The Conference was attended by honourable ministers and delegates from 29 OIC member states and 3 OIC observer states. The Conference was also attended by the representatives of the OIC General Secretariat and its relevant institutions as well as representatives of some regional and international organizations. Mr. Mazhar Hussain, Researcher, represented the SESRIC in the Conference and gave a presentation entitled “Agricultural Development and Food Security in the OIC Countries: Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperation”.
The first two days (26-27 October) of the Conference were dedicated for the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) as preparation for the Ministerial Session, which was held on the third day (28 October). In the opening ceremony of the SOM, H.E. Dr. Abdalatif Ahmed Ijami, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Sudan, welcomed the participants of the Conference to Sudan. Furthermore, in his speech, he gave an overview of measures taken by his government to facilitate both public and private investment in agriculture sector. He also underscored the need for harmonization of the national legislation to promote sustainable agricultural development; cooperation among the development institutions in OIC member states in the area of agriculture and food security. In the same vein, H.E. Amb. Hameed A. Opeloyeru, Assistant Secretary General of the OIC for Economic Affairs, elaborated on the increasing activities of the OIC and its institutions on agriculture, rural development and food security in OIC member states. He urged the Meeting to determine specific actions and benchmarks for OIC cooperation in the area of agriculture development and food security.
During the first plenary session, the OIC General Secretariat presented a report on the OIC activities in the domain of agricultural development and food security. The report underscored the need for concrete actions to promote intra-OIC agricultural investment, food trade and natural resource management in the member countries. In the same session, SESRIC, IDB, and ICCI presented the findings of their reports on agriculture, rural development and food security in the member countries. The Meeting discussed the presentations made by these institutions in detail and appreciated their recommendations to help member countries to achieve the goal of food security and agriculture development.
During the second plenary session, delegates from the member countries made presentations on the various national programmes on food security and agricultural development in their respective countries and some successful examples have been highlighted. They also expressed their readiness to share their experiences within the OIC cooperation framework. During these presentations, special attention has been given to research and development, seed improvement and agricultural inputs, support to mechanization, agricultural investments and development of multi-stakeholder partnerships.
During the third plenary session, the Meeting discussed the formulation of the Framework for Intra-OIC Cooperation on Food Security and Agricultural Development. In this regard, the delegates recommended that COMCEC be seized with the task of preparation of the said Executive Framework and its implementation mechanism through the COMCEC Task Force on Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Security.
The Meeting also discussed and approved the draft resolution and the draft agenda of the Ministerial Session. The recommendations of the SOM were included in the draft resolution which together with the report of the SOM were presented to the Ministers in the OIC Ministerial Session. Among other things, the Meeting urged the member countries to:
- Give food security a high priority in their national development agendas and budgets as well as mobilize resources for implementing food security and agricultural development projects,
- Allocate a minimum of 6% of the national budgets to food security programs and create favourable conditions for attracting and sustaining foreign investments into the agricultural sector, food security and rural development,
- Formulate an Executive Framework for Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Security in OIC member states. The Framework must be actionable, result oriented, inclusive and comprehensive, including timelines and benchmarks,
- Redeem their respective pledges to ISFD and SPDA, and increase, or make new, contributions to the latter.
The Meeting also:
- Called on Islamic donor countries and financing institutions, particularly the Islamic Development Bank, to increase their funding for agricultural projects in member states with particular emphasis on empowerment of most vulnerable segments of population,
- Invited international development institutions and donor countries to increase their official development assistance and technical support in the agricultural sector of OIC member states for increased agricultural production, poverty alleviation, and food security,
- Called on the private sector to increase investment in the agricultural sector and develop partnership with national governments, and non-governmental bodies to promote food security and rural development in member states.
In the opening ceremony of the Ministerial Session on 28 October, H.E. Dr. Abdulhaleem Al-Mutaafi, the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Sudan welcomed all honorable ministers and delegates to Sudan. In his speech, he also underscored the need for some concrete proposals to solve the problem of food insecurity in the member countries. Speaking on the behalf of Asian group, H.E. Mr. Mehmet Mehdi Eker, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Turkey, emphasized the need for a strong political will to actively participate in various food security initiatives to achieve agriculture development and food security in member countries. Speaking on the behalf of the Arab group, H.E. Mr. Akram Musa Hakeem, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Iraq, emphasized the need for regional cooperation to help member countries increase agriculture productivity. Speaking on the behalf of the African group, H.E. Prof. Shiekh Ahmad Abdullah, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, underlined the need for a result-based and multi-stakeholders approach to solve the problem of food and nutrition insecurity in OIC countries.
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the Ministerial Session, H.E. Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the OIC, commended the patronage of H.E. President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir for various OIC activities. He emphasized the need for measures to investigate the impacts of huge food deficits on the member economies and urged the policy makers to adopt the recommendations of the SOM to enhance the intra-OIC cooperation and partnership for agricultural productivity, rural development and food security.
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the Ministerial Session, H. E. Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan, reaffirmed the Sudan’s continued support for food security initiatives of the OIC member countries by enhancing economic cooperation among the member states. He called upon the member countries to formulate long term policies for the promotion of agriculture, rural development and food security within the OIC cooperation framework, while urging the Conference to recommend to the next OIC Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in March 2011, the creation of an OIC Permanent Committee for Agricultural Development and Food Security. At the end of the opening ceremony of the Ministerial Session, H. E. President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir honoured H. E. Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the OIC with the Al-Nilain Medal (First Class) for his outstanding contribution to the objectives of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
During the Ministerial Session, the Ministers elaborated on various issues related to the realization of agriculture development and food security in the member countries and, consequently, they adopted the resolution and report of the Conference. The Conference also welcomed the offers made by the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Senegal to host 6th and 7th Ministerial Conferences on Food Security and Agricultural Development in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
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