Environment Ministers from over 50 Muslim countries agree on “Declaration for Environmental Protection”

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The 6th Islamic conference of Environment Ministers held in Rabat, Morocco on 8 – 9 October 2015 (the largest convening of Muslim-world Environment Ministers), facilitated agreement amongst Environment Ministers on a number of steps to tackle climate change and challenges facing sustainable development.

The conference was organised by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in conjunction with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) under the patronage of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The two day event ended with a joint declaration on environmental protection and sustainable development, calling on renewed political commitment from member states to actively pursue sustainable development goals, energy efficiency, and poverty eradication.

The declaration called on all 57 OIC member states to:

– Pursue ‘green economies’ – where renewables and energy efficiency creates a new green wave of employment and income for societies.

– Work together to build synergy on water sustainability, food security and energy efficiency.

– Adopt a set of standards for sustainable governance good practices adapted to the socio-economic and cultural context of the OIC Member States

– Raise awareness about the importance of eradicating poverty using education, training, and capacity building amongst nations to achieve this.

– Work with industry and embrace technological innovations, renewables and energy efficiency mechanisms to create a ‘new energry operating system’.

OIC secretary general Iyaad Ameen Madani, said: “climate change is a serious threat, especially to the developing world. It is only through collective action that we will overcome one of the pressing challenges of our generation.”

Madani also emphasised that forums which bring together developing countries such as the OIC need to take a more holistic approach to environmental challenges: “sustainable development, having a diverse green economy, and eradicating poverty are at the heart of environmental well-being, and so it was very important that we achieved broad consensus on a wide array of issues ranging from water and food security to climate change”.

The conference also adopted a series of documents including the Islamic agenda for sustainable development, water resources management, environmental sustainability, and the establishment of an Islamic environmental academy.

The conference recommendations also included the establishment of a joint OIC Commission for Sustainable Development (OIC-CSD), on the lines of the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development, with mandate to steer cooperation for promoting sustainable development among the Member States and promote the vision of the Islamic world within the UN and other regional and international forums and conferences.