Jeddah:  The OIC General Secretariat, through the Department of Humanitarian, Cultural and Social Affairs, held a two-day open-ended meeting of the International Group of Experts at its headquarters in Jeddah on 21 May 2023 to discuss the OIC Plan of Action on the protection and integration of persons with disability.

The meeting reviewed the draft OIC Plan of Action on disability prepared by the Statistical, Economic Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), which had been presented to the 1st Ministerial Meeting on Social Development held in Istanbul in 2019. The process started in implementation of the resolution of the 42nd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers on cultural social and family affairs, held at Kuwait in 2015.

In his remarks at the meeting, the OIC Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian, Cultural and Social Affairs, Ambassador Tarig Bakheet, noted that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss, enrich and finalize the OIC Plan of Action on persons with disability ahead of its submission to and adoption by the 2nd ministerial meeting on social development which would be hosted by the Arab Republic of Egypt on 5 and 6 June 2023 and the next session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.

mbassador Bakheet asserted that the meeting was an opportunity for the participants to discuss the ways and mechanisms of implementing the Plan of Action, to exchange experiences and to review the challenges facing the Muslim world regarding empowerment and integration of persons with disability.

Ambassador Bakheet further explained that the OIC’s attention to social affairs alongside its political role was a reflection of the comprehensive nature of its work in addressing the various issues of the Islamic Ummah. This, he said, can enhance the various aspects of life of the peoples of the Ummah in achieving sustainable development, exactly as enunciated by communique of the 14th Islamic Summit held in Makkah in 2019.