ISSUED AT THE END OF THE VIRTUAL WORKSHOP ON DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL GENE BANKS IN OIC MEMBER STATES, DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Upon the gracious invitation of the Government of United Arab Emirates, we, participants at the Workshop on Development of National Gene Banks in OIC Member States, comprising experts from member states of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Islamic Organisation for Food Security and participants from relevant OIC and international organisations, convened in Dubai, United Arab Emirates through video conference on 5-6 July 2020.
We examined and elaborated on the various issues relating to the development, conservation and exchange of plant and animal genetic resources for food and agriculture in all their ramifications, with a view to promoting strong and resilient food systems in OIC member states and confront the various challenges confronting lives and livelihood of our teeming populations.
We elaborated on modalities for deepening intra-OIC cooperation as well as international collaboration towards mitigating the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and loss of bio-diversity on food security in our member states.
We underscored the importance of regional and international collaboration to ensure strong participation of OIC member states in the numerous international efforts to promote conservation and exchange of genetic resources for food and agriculture, including the utilisation of modern scientific methods for the promotion and development of a robust food value chain.
We emphasized the need to strengthen national and sub-national actions for the acquisition, conservation and sustainable utilisation and sharing of plant and animal genetic resources to enhance food production and agricultural development. In this regard, we called on all member states to update their national reports on plant and animal genetic resources, including supporting national awareness campaigns for wider participation of community-based organisations and the private sector.
In order to facilitate the creation of necessary infrastructure for seed and gene banks in our member states, we called for the utilisation of the traditional Islamic financial product of Wakf to finance the establishment of a Seed and Gene Wakf (Endowment Trust). The latter would promote research and development of new seed varieties that would be more pest and climate resistant and that can boost food supply in our member states. In this regard, we called on net-worth philanthropists and captains of industry in our member states to create endowment funds for this purpose.
We called on the governing organs of the Islamic Organisation for Food Security to adopt relevant resolutions in line with the outcome of this Workshop, including creation of a Technical Committee with membership from member states, private sector and national gene banks to oversee the regional cooperation on the development of Gene Banks in OIC member states.
While commending the role of the key partners of the Workshop, namely OIC General Secretariat, COMSTECH, IsDB, ICBA, ICARDA and FAO, we called on member states to leverage on their expertise for the development of their Gene Bank activities, including accession to the various international conventions and instruments for conservation and exchange of genetic resources.
We expressed our appreciation to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for hosting this event and for the excellent arrangements made to ensure its success. We acknowledged the central role, which UAE can play, in developing a regional action on the conservation of genetic resources within the OIC space.
We commended the vision of OIC Member States for establishing the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) as a specialised institution and acknowledged the greater contributions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the host country of IOFS since the inception of the Organisation. In this regard, we rejoice with the President, Government and people of Kazakhstan on today’s anniversary celebration of His Excellency, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the First President of Kazakhstan.
We equally commended the Director-General of IOFS and his entire staff for the successful organisation and coordination of the proceedings of this Workshop and for all efforts to ensure its fruitful outcome.
Finally, we expressed our appreciation to all resource persons and rapporteurs for the quality of their presentations, which contributed to the success of the Workshop.