Permanent Observer Mission of the OIC to the UN in New York: Role, Achievements and the Way Forward
The Permanent Observer Mission of the OIC to the UN in New York was established following the adoption of the Resolution 3369 on October 10, 1975 by the 30th UN General Assembly (UNGA) Session granting the OIC an observer status. Today, thanks to the tireless efforts of the OIC Secretary General who has made it his priority to activate the OIC’s relationship with the United Nations, the US Government, the OIC Groups in New York and Washington DC, the US-based think tanks, opinion and policy makers, academics, media and mainstream Muslim communities in the US, the OIC Mission enjoys very high profile as a crucial bridge between the Muslim world and the UN as well as the United States. These initiatives of the Secretary General are in line with the goals outlined in the OIC’s new Charter, New Vision and the Ten Year Program of Action (TYPOA).
Role and Achivements of the OIC Mission
Activate relationship with the US Government, media and civil society:
The Mission has activated and enhanced its relationship significantly with renowned US-based think tanks, policy and opinion makers, academics, media and mainstream Muslim communities in the US to better project the OIC positions, concerns and interests. The Mission also works to keep the US executive and legislature up-to-date on the OIC's activities and priority action areas.
Further the OIC's excellent relationship with the United Nations:
Thanks in large part to the efforts of the OIC Secretary General, who developed a close personal rapport with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as was also the case with the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the relations between the two organizations have gone from strength to strength. This can be evidenced by the increasingly broader and more substantive nature of the OIC-UN cooperation resolutions, with 27 having been adopted by the UNGA since 1975. Partnerships abound on a range of developmental initiatives and the vigor instilled by the OIC Secretary General is maintained through constructive bilateral exchanges at the highest level. Such exchanges include the Biennial General Meeting on Cooperation between the UN and the OIC as well as - on the sidelines of the annual UNGA General Debate - consultations between the Secretary Generals of the two Organizations, bilateral exchanges with the Heads of States and Governments and delegation level talks with the UN's Department of Politial Affairs.
Enhance ties with the OIC Groups in New York and Washington DC:
The OIC Secretary General has, as one of his foremost objectives, aimed at the deepening of solidarity and cooperation amond the Muslim Ummah. To this end, he has engaged directly with the OIC Groups in New York at the UN and in Washington DC to facilitate an Islamic unity and constructive engagements with all the concerned. He has tasked this Mission to ensure that the Resolutions adopted by the OIC Summits and Conferences, particularly those that necessitates follow-up and implementation at the level of the UN, are acted upon by the OIC Group, which holds the consultations at the Ambassadorial, Executive Committee, Troika and Expert levels, including various Working Group. Efforts are also being made to realize the potential of the Ambassodarial Group in Washington DC in furthering the core objectives of the OIC.
Strengthen cooperation with all relevant regional and inter-governmental organizations:
The Mission has worked to deepen its partnerships with key regional and inter-governmental organizations and groups at the UN, including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Group of 77, African Union (AU), League of Arab States (LAS), and the European Union (EU), as part of its efforts to build consensus on issues of common concern. Given the Secretary General's prioritization of confronting challenges facing Islam and the West, this Mission has regularized dialogue with the EU in New York' the OIC-EU Troika meetings are held periodically to discuss and debate these issues and determine follow-up actions.
Execute the Annual Coordination Meeting (ACM) of the OIC Foreign Ministers:
The ACM is one of the most important annual gatherings of the OIC Member States, providing a platform for the representatives at the highest level to deliberate the key OIC priorities and positions as they pertain to the agenda of the UNGA and other key UN bodies. The OIC Secretary General has been taking a keen interest in the outcome of the ACM as its Final Communique serves as the OIC Group's principal guiding document on agenda items on the relevant session of the UNGA. The OIC Mission, under the guidance of the Secretary General, plays the lead role in coordinating and guiding negotiations on the text of the Final Communique, as well as in setting the agenda for the thematic debate of the ACM.
The Way Forward
The OIC Mission's key priorities include following-up and furthering the work in advancing a constructive relationship with the US government and civil society, including think tanks, policy makers, academics, the media and mainstream Muslim communities. At the UN, the Mission prioritizes the advancement of the positions of the OIC Group in the General Assembly, Security Council and other relevant UN bodies and follow-up on the constructive bilateral exchanges initiated by the OIC Secretary General. Additionally, the Mission prioritizes action on the Resolution 35/36-POL adopted by the Council of Foreign Ministers held in Damascus in May 2009, which calls for inputs from Member States on the future role of the OIC in maintaining security, peace-keeping and conflict resolution in the Member States. A future OIC role in this domain will substantially raise the profile of the Organization and pave the way for more productive interactions between the OIC and the UN.