SESRIC - Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries

Economic Cooperation and Development Review Vol.2 No.2
Date : 14 October 2009

Though it is still a new semi-annual periodical where the first issue was just appeared in September last year, the Economic Cooperation and Development Review, a recent initiative by SESRIC, has been very well received and highly appreciated at all levels and by all measures. The first two issues of the Review have been circulated widely within the OIC community and elsewhere, particularly at the highest levels of the governments of the OIC member countries, including heads of states, ministers, senior officials, and academicians. This encouraging feedback will no doubt foster our enthusiasm to further developing this periodical as an effective instrument for enhancing the Centre’s efforts to provide the necessary and up-to-date information and knowledge that would make the member countries better informed of each other’s capacities and needs as well as challenges and potentials.

The third issue of the Economic Cooperation and Development Review appears in a time where the OIC and its subsidiary, affiliated and specialised institutions are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the OIC. In its capacity as an OIC subsidiary organ specialised in the areas of statistics, economic research, training and technical cooperation, the SESRIC has initiated new activities to be implemented during this year on the occasion of the 40th anniversary. In this context, our Centre has organised, in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the OIC and the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), the First Meeting of the Development and Cooperation Institutions (DCIs) of the OIC Member Countries in Istanbul on 13-14 May 2009. The delegates conducted very lively and rich discussions on new insights for supporting the efforts of the member countries towards achieving more progress in poverty alleviation and human capacity building. They also exchanged their experiences on effective development cooperation policies and practices and deliberated on different options for sound partnership. The Meeting was the first instrumental step towards establishing sustainable cooperation and collaboration mechanism among the development and cooperation institutions with a view to realising effective coordination in their operations and efforts towards achieving more significant and tangible results in the target member countries. SESRIC will organise this important meeting on an annual basis, and the second meeting of the DCIs of the OIC member countries will be hosted by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development in the United Arab Emirates in 2010.

As another important contribution to the development efforts of our member countries, our Centre, in line with its mandate, has developed a comprehensive programme to address one of the most salient developmental challenges of the OIC member countries: vocational education and training. The Vocational Education and Training Programme (OIC-VET) not only supports and supplements the activities of the OIC member countries, but also focuses on increasing accessibility and raising the quality of VET, and provides an opportunity for organizations involved in VET to build partnerships, exchange best practices, increase the expertise of their staff and develop their skills and competencies. The Programme will enhance the cooperation and collaboration among the OIC member countries to improve the quality and capacity of their vocational training systems, and develop innovative vocational training approaches. The OIC Vocational Education and Training Programme will begin with a two-year pilot application phase during which the proper implementation of the programme will be screened and examined by the Monitoring and Advisory Committee, and will be followed by a full implementation period.

The third issue of the Economic Cooperation and Development Review also appears in this time where many developed and developing countries are still suffering the negative impacts of the global economic and financial crisis in terms of continuous slowdown of economic growth and high unemployment rates. International, regional and national development organisations are still struggling to curb the adverse impacts of the global recession, and in particular, to reduce the burden of unemployment on the societies. In fact, during the early stages of the crisis, there was an almost international consensus on the dire need to work out measures for the transformation of the international financial architecture. Yet, although the need for restructuring the international financial system has been voiced by many world leaders, it seems that these voices have recently dwindled, and the momentum towards transforming the financial system has been lost. Without any doubt, failure to introduce fundamental changes in the financial system, will lead to repetition of financial crises in the future, making them regular as opposed to exceptional phenomenon. This will be the biggest burden of the financial crisis, worse than all the loss in economic growth and employment, and should be avoided at all costs. In this context, we have started, since May 2009, preparing a series of monthly reports on the current global financial crisis and its impacts on developing countries including the OIC members. The SESRIC Monthly Reports on the Current Global Financial Crisis aim at monitoring the developments related to the current global financial crisis and highlight the actions taken at the global, regional and national levels to contain the negative impact of the crisis. In particular, these reports attempt to present potential alternatives for a sound international financial system that would prevent future generations from facing the catastrophic impacts of the crisis. Among these alternatives, a financial system based on islamic principles (such as equity-based financing and real activity-based transactions), has attracted the attention of many. In such a financial system, the conventional financial instruments such as collateral debt obligations (CDOs) and credit default swaps (CDSs), which stand at the heart of the current crisis, are either not allowed or regulated very tightly, and many researchers come to argue that current global financial crisis could have been avoided if such a system had been in place.

In an effort to mitigate the adverse impacts of the global economic crisis on the member countries, the OIC Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) requested our Centre to undertake the task of preparing a comprehensive research project on developing concrete, feasible and practical proposals for enhancing cooperation in trade and investment among the OIC member countries. The ultimate aim of the project is to activate and enrich the Agenda of COMCEC annual ministerial sessions with a view to enhancing economic and commercial cooperation among the OIC member countries. This timely and important research project has been carried out based on a methodology that includes relevant data analysis, findings of academic research, special questionnaires and interviews and a brainstorming workshop on the theme “Enrichment of the Agenda of the COMCEC”. The final report will include concrete proposals for enhancing economic and commercial cooperation among the member countries, and will be submitted to the 25th Session of the COMCEC which will be held in Istanbul on 5-9 November, 2009 for consideration by the ministers of economy and trade of the OIC member countries. Moreover, our Centre will co-organise, in collaboration with the Central bank of the Republic of Turkey, a consultative meeting for the Central Banks of the OIC Member Countries to discuss possible means and ways of cooperation with a view to strengthening the economies of the member countries in the face of the global financial crisis. The meeting of Central Bank Governors will be held in Istanbul on October 3rd, 2009 parallel to the annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF.

This issue of the Review includes four articles by eminent personalities on issues of immediate concern to the OIC member countries. The President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, presents his very valuable views on “Impact of Global Financial and Economic Crisis on IDB Member Countries: IDB Group Response to the Crisis” whereas the Acting Governor of Bank Indonesia, Prof. Dr. Miranda S. Goeltom, presents her views on “The Impacts of Global Crisis on Indonesian Economy”. Articles by the President of the World Water Council, Mr. Loïc Fauchon, titled “In Favour of Water Diplomacy” and by Dr. Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO) titled “Addressing Non-communicable Diseases and Injuries in OIC Member States: Uniting Public Health and Development Agendas” include key messages in these important areas.

Online Electronic Version

Economic Cooperation and Development Review Vol.2 No.2 (English)