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PUTRAJAYA DECLARATION ON KNOWLEDGE AND MORALITY FOR THE UNITY, DIGNITY AND PROGRESS OF THE UMMAH THE 10TH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC SUMMIT CONFERENCE PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA 11 -18 OCTOBER 2003
We, the Kings, Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), gathered at the 10th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia on 16 – 18 October 2003, reaffirm our commitment and enduring faith in and adherence to the Purposes, Objectives and Principles of the Organization, as enshrined in its Charter, in our continuing efforts to promote Islamic unity, solidarity and dignity at a time of great challenge to the Ummah.

We note with concern the situation of the Islamic countries in the contemporary world and resolve to make every effort to enhance our role and influence in international affairs, commensurate with our strength in numbers, vast human and natural resources and our important contributions to international peace and security.

We recognise the need for the Islamic world to enhance its engagement and interaction with other cultures and civilisations, including the West, and to take the initiative to promote constructive dialogue and mutual understanding with them, particularly in the context of the global efforts against international terrorism.

We reaffirm that only through concerted efforts, good governance, increased unity and solidarity, economic development and social progress we will be able to increase our stature, prestige, dignity and credibility in the eyes of the international community.

We recognise the special needs of many OIC Member States for development assistance, including those from Africa, as well as the priority needs of the Least Developed Countries of the OIC.

We also recognise the special needs of OIC Member States emerging out of conflict for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of their countries.

We reiterate our conviction that the Ummah can make further valuable contributions to the development of human society. We therefore dedicate ourselves, our Governments and our institutions to achieve the goals and objectives of the Organization through constructive cooperation and collaboration in various fields of endeavour, particularly in the following strategic areas:

KNOWLEDGE AND MORALITY

We are inspired by the outstanding contribution made by Muslim scholars in the past who were leaders, pioneers and contributors in many fields of science, such as astronomy, medicine, physics, chemistry, engineering and navigation and several other areas of learning.

We affirm our belief in the essential importance of knowledge for the progress of human society and underscore its pivotal role in the restoration of the status, well being and dignity of the Ummah in our contemporary world.

We affirm the importance of ethical values and moral standards as essential foundations of knowledge through which we shall strive towards the betterment of human society.

UNITY AND DIGNITY

We reiterate the importance of unity and solidarity and the commitment of Member States to rejuvenate and revitalise the Organisation, particularly as it faces new challenges. We shall make every effort to promote our unity and solidarity as a community with shared values and focus on those elements that unite us and uphold our fundamental beliefs and principles in the interest of defending the dignity of our religion and the Ummah.

We are fully cognisant of the true role of Islam in promoting and upholding the dignity of women and their role in society. Therefore, our policies and actions must affirm their rights, status and dignity, as enjoined by our religion.

REVITALISATION OF THE OIC

We recognise that the challenge before us is to ensure the continued relevance of the O1C to its member states in the context of present-day realities, taking into account the increasingly complex world we live in.

We agree on the need to restructure and strengthen the Organisation on the basis of an objective review and evaluation of its role, structure, methodology and decision-making processes, as well as its strategic global partnerships, so as to ensure its continued relevance, efficiency and responsiveness to the needs of member states.

We also agree on the need to commit ourselves to translating our resolutions and decisions into concrete action so as to enhance the credibility and standing of the Organisation.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

We recognise the leading role of Science and Technology for the advancement of the Ummah and the need to bridge the gap within OIC Member States and between Muslim and industrialised countries. We also recognise the urgent need for Muslim countries to enhance cooperation among themselves and the role of the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH).

ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE UMMAH

We recognise that in the knowledge-driven society of today, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are powerful and indispensable tools for political, economic, and social development of nations and peoples. We resolve that OIC Member States mutually share such knowledge, including strategies that would allow us to leapfrog the ICT and development process.

ENHANCING TRADE AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION

We reaffirm our desire to increase our share of the global trade between Member States as well as with other nations. We therefore recognise the importance of infrastructure development, trade linkages and networking as well as creating a conducive environment for this purpose.

GOLD IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE

We believe that the Gold-based Trade Payment Arrangements (GTPA) could act as a catalyst in promoting trade, enhancing correspondent banking relationships and bringing about increased cooperation and greater integration among OIC Member States.

PLAN OF ACTION

In our efforts to realise the above-mentioned goals, Member States of the Organization have agreed to implement the following:

a. Undertake a review and analysis of the positions taken by the OIC on international issues, and draw up appropriate strategies with a view to strengthening the unity, cohesion and solidarity among Member States of the Organization, particularly at international fora. The Troika of the OIC Summit, with the assistance of the Friends of the Chair, will initiate this review.

b. Enhance dialogue among Muslims, particularly among scholars, intellectuals, jurists and policy makers and making use of existing Islamic institutions such as the Islamic Fiqh Academy. The Fiqh Academy and its general Secretariat should be restructured and mandated to examine all relevant issues under its terms of reference that would contribute towards creating better understanding and minimising differences among us as well as strengthening our unity and cohesion as a Community.

c. Undertake dialogue with other cultures and civilisations, including the West, and other international and regional organisations, so as to bring about enlightened moderation, mutual understanding and increased appreciation of Islam as a religion that promotes peace and harmony among mankind. The Troika of the OIC Summit and the Friends of the Chair will represent the OIC in this dialogue.

d. Complete the ongoing comprehensive review of the OlC General Secretariat by the current consultants, with a view to revamping its structure, methodology, improving its financial and human resource requirements, and ensuring a more focused, concise documentation, in order to make it a more effective, efficient and responsive mechanism for cooperation among its Member States. The review, which will be considered by the Ministers at the next Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, should also look into issues pertaining to the OIC Charter, including the question of strategic global partnerships.

e. Establish a Study Group to suggest ways in which Islamic education could contribute to enhancing peace, understanding, tolerance, economic development and modernization, including the advancement of the role of women in economic development.

f. Undertake coordinated, focussed and regular interactions and exchange of views and ideas among Muslim scholars, businessmen, entrepreneurs, industrialists and policy makers on important issues of concern to the Muslim Ummah in the fields of economics, business, research and development, particularly in the context of the rapid process of globalisation and liberalisation.

g. Undertake the development of Science and Technology among Member States through regular conferences of Muslim scientists, engineers, innovators and technologists for the purpose of exchanging views and research experiences among them, and encourage their activities by establishing a Special Fund of the OIC and an appropriate system of awards for outstanding achievements in this vitally important field, while taking into account existing Awards given by OIC bodies as well as Member States.

h. Take effective measures to address issues pertaining to the ecology which is of vital importance to the survival of mankind.

i. Establish programmes for the collaboration and cooperation of Member States in the deployment of ICT for Development based on the “smart partnership” principle wherein Governments, communities and the private sector will be fully engaged, and encourage OIC Member States to contribute, on a voluntary basis, to the proposed OIC Digital Solidarity Fund.

j. Improve existing mechanisms to assist OIC Member States emerging out of conflict.

k. Take practical steps to promote trade and investment through the sharing of database and establishing linkages in financial services, shipping and aviation among Member States and to encourage market accessibility for the products of the poorer countries of the OIC.

l. Consider the proposal on the Gold-based Trade Payment Arrangements (GTPA) amongst Member States as an alternative mechanism in international trade as a measure of trade settlement among countries of the Organization with the view to expanding trade and economic development.

We, the Kings, Head of State and Government of the Member States, participating in the 10th Session of the Islamic Summit, being aware of the many challenges facing the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, as well as the opportunities available to it, and committed to realising the abovementioned Plan of Action, hereby resolve to make every effort to strengthen the bonds that unite us, enhance our unity and cohesion, deepen and expand the scope of our cooperation in all areas and collectively be pro-active so as to ensure that we will not be sidelined but actively participate in the global decision-making process. Towards this end, we shall make every effort to galvanise the political will to translate our rhetoric into concrete action and ensure that our Organisation will be further strengthened, our unity and solidarity further promoted and our credibility, prestige and dignity further enhanced and respected. We shall endeavour to strengthen our national capacities and resilience and mutual support and cooperation, and make every effort to contribute to promoting the multilateral process, primacy of international law and the centrality of the United Nations.

17 October 2003

Source: Bernama news agency


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