On 22 March 2023, a technical virtual meeting was held between the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - IFRC represented by Dr. Hassan Esfandiar, Advisor, Humanitarian Diplomacy at MENA-Office of the Regional Director, and Ms. Krystell Santamarai, Disaster Risk Managment Coordinator for IFRC MENA Region, to exchange views on ways and means to develop their bilateral cooperation. The IOFS was represented by Dr. Zulfiqar Ali, Director of Programmes and Projects Department, and Mr. Abdula Manafi Mutualo, Advisor at Coordination & Cooperation Department.
The idea of establishing a Joint Action Plan in the field of humanitarian food assistance was the main common interest, and it formed most of the deliberations during the virtual meeting in which both Institutions agreed that it was high time to initiate an institutionalized cooperation towards implementing projects and initiatives in the field under reference.
Additionally, and taking into account that the recently held 49th Council of Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation ( OIC ) in Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, provided the IOFS with an additional mandate to implement the Africa Food Security Initiative (AFSI), the two sides agreed, in principle, that once formalized, their bilateral efforts are to also give priority to OIC Member States in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Another area that may merit consideration in the proposed Joint Action Plan is Afghanistan due to the ongoing dire and bleak humanitarian and food insecurity situation therein. Such cooperation would explore how the IFRC may assist the IOFS in the implementation of the Afghanistan Food Security Program (AFSP), which was adopted by the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the Situation in Afghanistan, held on 19 December 2021 in Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Additionally, views were also exchanged on the possibility for the IFRC to actively participate at the 2nd High Level Forum on Food Security to be held on 06-08 June 2023 in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as at the 6th IOFS General Assembly, scheduled for 02-03 October 2023 in Doha, State of Qatar.
It should be mentioned that the IOFS and the IFRC intend to continue consultations remotely and/or in-person towards consolidating their bilateral cooperation by contemplating the option of signing a Memorandum of Understanding in the nearest future.
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