Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, participated in the Extraordinary Virtual Conference of Culture Ministers of OIC Member States, held under the theme (Sustainability of Cultural Action in the Face of Crises (COVID-19), hosted by ISESCO, an OIC specialized institution, today Wednesday 17/06/2020.
The meeting was chaired by Mrs. Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development in the UAE, and was attended by Their Excellencies the Ministers of Culture of the Member States, Dr. Salem bin Mohammed Al-Malik, ISESCO Director General, and Ernesto Ottone Ramírez, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Culture.
The OIC Secretary General addressed the Conference, noting the support received by the OIC from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the host country, under the leadership the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul-Azeez, and the Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Prince Muhammad bin Salman. He also recognized the role it played in the light of the pandemic, which plagued the world.
The Secretary General highlighted the repercussions of COVID-19 on the cultural sector. “Since the OIC countries started taking precautionary measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, the field of culture has been negatively affected as cultural institutions, museums, and theaters were closed and many cultural activities were canceled”, he said.
Al-Othaimeen added that today’s extraordinary meeting was aimed at continued cooperation and solidarity in the face of the repercussions of this pandemic on one of the most vital sectors, namely culture, given its economic impact on OIC societies. He underlined the necessity of discussing appropriate technical alternatives that would allow them to pursue cultural activities, and to activate the use of cyberspace to enhance cultural exchanges.
The Secretary General also called on Member States and relevant OIC Organs, as well as international organizations concerned with the culture sector with advanced experiences, to find innovative solutions and effective strategies to overcome the consequences of this crisis.
On the other hand, the Secretary General said that with the continuation of the COVID-19, some Member States face another major challenge to preserve cultural heritage, especially in light of the threat of terrorist groups, in conflict and war-ridden countries, to destroy and distort the effects and cultural heritage.
Furthermore, Al-Othaimeen underlined the need to launch the project to establish an OIC platform to protect and preserve cultural heritage in the context of implementing the recommendations of the Fourteenth Islamic Summit, held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, on 31/05/2019, and other Ministerial Resolutions that underscored the necessity of establishing such a platform.—PR