At the kind invitation of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the 38th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (Session of Peace, Cooperation and Development), was held in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan, on 28-30 June 2011.
Following a recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an, the Meeting was opened by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Tajikistan who delivered a statement in his country’s capacity as Chair of the 37th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM). He reviewed the enormous efforts that his country made during its chairmanship of the CFM last year. The Meeting was then addressed by H. E. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Meeting then unanimously elected H.E. Yerzhan Kazykhanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan as Chairman of the 38th Session of the CFM. The composition of the Bureau was also approved as follows: United Arab Emirates, Republic of Mali, and the State of Palestine as Vice-Chairs, and Republic of Tajikistan as Rapporteur. The Meeting listened to a welcome address by H.E. Kazykhanov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan who expressed his gratitude for the election of his country as the Chair of the 38th CFM and reaffirmed the determination of Kazakhstan to use its chairmanship to promote peace and development of the Islamic Ummah and strengthen solidarity and cooperation among OIC Member States.
The State Minister of Senegal delivered a statement on behalf of the current Chairman of the OIC Summit. The representatives of the three geographical groups, Malaysia for the Asian Group, Sultanate of Oman for the Arab Group and the Republic of Gabon for the African Group thanked Kazakhstan for hosting the Meeting and for its generous hospitality. They also pledged the full cooperation of their respective regional groups for the success for its chairmanship. The Council adopted the report of the preparatory Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) for the current session, held in Jeddah from 15-17 May 2011. It also adopted the Draft Agenda and Work Program submitted to it by the SOM as well as the reports of the Islamic Commission on Economic, Social and Cultural Affairs. The Council adopted a draft resolution relating to the change of the name for the OIC which will henceforth be known as the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation. Another resolution was also adopted pertaining to the new emblem.
A wide range of issues of interest to the Member States were discussed by the Council leading to the adoption of resolutions on various issues, including the Cause of Palestine and the Middle East; Political Affairs; Ten-Year Programme of Action; Statutory, Organic and General Matters; Legal Affairs; Conditions of Muslim Minorities and Communities in non-OIC Member States; Information Affairs; Administrative and Financial Affairs; and Humanitarian Affairs. The Council also adopted the draft resolution on the establishment of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission and decided that it should start its operation within the OIC General Secretariat, until a decision on its headquarters’ location is taken at the 39th Session of the CFM. The Council also elected the 18 members of the Commission for a mandate of 3 years.
The Council adopted the Rules governing the Observer Status at the OIC which will permit eligible non-OIC Member States to apply for Observer Status. The Council also adopted a Cooperation Agreement between the OIC and the African Union which will allow the strengthening of cooperation between the two Organizations. The Council commended the OIC Islamophobia Observatory for its Annual Report on Islamophobia and urged the Member States to support the Observatory in its efforts to combat the phenomenon of Islamophobia. The Council adopted the resolution on the Responsibilities and Strategic Objectives of the OIC Humanitarian Affairs Department (ICHAD). The Council welcomed the signing of the OIC Charter by Guyana, Benin, Kyrgyz Republic and Suriname as well as the signing of the Statute of the OIC Women Development Organization by the United Arab Emirates during the Session.
The Council commended the Government of Kazakhstan for organizing special brainstorming session on the theme of “Consolidating Political Stability and Economic Development in the Muslim World”, with active participation of the Member States. It appreciated the Secretary General for his initiative and the rich concept paper he presented to the session which served as a basis for a thorough discussion. The participants highlighted the vital linkage between the need for the Member States to ensure political stability and socio-economic development. In this regard, they recognized the importance of accelerating the implementation by OIC Member States of the relevant provisions of the OIC Charter and the Ten-Year Program of Action dealing with the numerous challenges facing the Ummah, specially in the fields of political reform, good governance, human rights, rule of law, democracy, inclusive political participation, education reform, women and youth empowerment as well as employment and job creation, eradication of poverty and economic reform.
The participants stressed the need for the OIC Member States to demonstrate the necessary political will for collective and concerted action and cooperation, strengthen the role of the OIC in the areas of mediation, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict peace building. They further emphasized the importance for the Member States to sign, ratify and implement the various OIC legal instruments that seek to enhance the Joint Islamic Action, boost intra-OIC trade, regional integration, economic cooperation and further raise the visibility of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The detailed report of the session is hereby attached.
The Council unanimously adopted the “Astana Declaration” which addressed major issues affecting the Muslim world. The Conference hailed the sincere efforts made by Tajikistan during its chairmanship of the 37th Session of the CFM. The Council took note of the offers made by the Republic of Iraq and the Republic of Djibouti for hosting of the 39th Session of the CFM. In the absence of the consensus, the Council voted to give the hosting of the 39th CFM to Djibouti. The Council then took note of the offer by the Republic of Guinea to host the 40th Session of the CFM.