1 March 2013, Geneva, Switzerland - UNITAR and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 28 February 2013, which outlines plans to create and implement capacity development and research activities in the areas of international peace and security; economy, science and technology; and cultural and social issues.

Sally Fegan-Wyles (left) and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu signing the MoUProfessor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of OIC and Ms. Sally Fegan-Wyles, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Director ad interim, UNITAR, officialised the agreement, representing the continued strengthening of their partnership, at Thursday’s signing ceremony.

“We are very pleased to be here today and to sign this with you. We are already working with many of your member states but we would hope to work with more.”  said Ms. Fegan-Wyles, as she addressed the Secretary-General of OIC after the signing of the MOU.  She continued, “As you said, UNITAR was established to ensure that all of the countries that are members of the United Nations are able to play their role in international agreements, in conflict prevention, in making peace, in reaching global agreements that we can all then implement together, and making sure there is a level playing field for all member states.  We think that both the training of the diplomats and delegates to participate in forming the agreements and then the training of the key national actors in being able to implement those agreements at the country level is a very complimentary agenda with your own aim to help your countries to move upwards and to continue to thrive and prosper.”

The MOU activities will support OIC’s mission, comprised of a gathering of 57 Member States, who work collectively to provide a voice for the Muslim world in order to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim people, and to promote international peace.

Sally Fegan-Wyles (left) and Ekmeleddin IhsanogluThe partnership between UNITAR and OIC is an outcome of prior relations between OIC and the United Nations Secretariat and its agencies, who had discussions in May 2012 regarding key themes for cooperation between the two organizations.  During these initial discussions, the following areas for enhancement by the partnership were identified: to collaborate more closely on promoting peace and security in different contexts (from conflict prevention to peacebuilding, from peacekeeping to peacemaking processes in OIC countries); address urgent humanitarian needs in OIC countries affected by man-made or natural disasters or by violent conflict; more concerted efforts to mobilize resources for priority activities of both organizations; foster economic and social reforms; and promote intercultural dialogue.

UNITAR and OIC began partnering together to address the identified themes in 2012. OIC funded a joint seminar (between UNITAR and OIC) on sustainable development which took place in May in New York, and two workshops on sustainable cities which took place in June in Rio de Janeiro, in the framework of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Moving forward, the scope of work outlined in the MOU will include: the design and development of training, technical assistance and institutional capacity building activities of the public sector within OIC Member States; the strengthening of ties in areas of mutual interest; the conduct of research on the application of methodological tools and pedagogical approaches; the development of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms; the development and the establishment of partnerships with academies, centers of excellence and training institutions; and the exchange of knowledge resources.

Related link:

Press Release, 28 February, 2013 (PDF, 97KB)

Photo 1: UNITAR Director ad interim, Sally Fegan-Wyles (left) and Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, SG of OIC signing the MoU

Photo 2: UNITAR Director ad interim, Sally Fegan-Wyles (left) and Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu