Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen called on members states, relevant OIC organs and international organizations concerned with the culture sector to use their advanced experiences to find innovative solutions and effective strategies to overcome the consequences of COVID-19 crisis.
Al-Othaimeen said that with the continuation of the coronavirus pandemic, some OIC member states face another major challenge to preserve their cultural heritage, especially in countries affected by conflicts and wars, where terrorist groups pose a threat to the antiquities and cultural heritage.
The Secretary General made the remarks while addressing the Extraordinary Virtual Conference of the OIC Culture Ministers, organized under the theme “Sustainability of Cultural Action in the Face of Crises (COVID-19)” by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) – an OIC specialized institution.
The meeting was chaired by UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Noura Al Kaabi, in the attendance of the Culture Ministers of the OIC member states, alongside ICESCO Director General Dr. Salim Mohammed AlMalik and UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture Ernesto Ottone Ramirez.
In his addressed, Al-Othaimeen praised the support received by the OIC from Saudi Arabia – the headquarter state – led by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He also commended the role played by the Kingdom during the pandemics that sweep the world.
The Secretary General highlighted the repercussions of the novel coronavirus disease on the cultural sector, saying that “since the OIC countries have started taking precautionary measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, the cultural sector has been negatively affected, as the cultural institutions, museums and theaters were closed and many cultural activities were cancelled”.
Al-Othaimeen stated that today’s extraordinary meeting comes in continuation of cooperation and solidarity to confront the repercussions of this pandemic on the cultural sector – one of the most vital sectors – given its economic impact on the societies of the OIC countries. He emphasized the need to explore appropriate technical alternatives that would allow societies to pursue cultural activities and activate the use of cyberspace to promote cultural exchange.
The Secretary General also stressed the importance of starting the project of creating the “OIC Platform for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Muslim World”, within the context of implementing the recommendations of the 14th Islamic Summit held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah on 31 May 2019 and other ministerial resolutions that emphasized the need to create this platform.