Jeddah: On 7-8 February 2024, at its headquarters in Jeddah, the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) holds a workshop on activating the recommendation of the 49th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) to establish the OIC Fund for youth training, employment and support in the Sahel region and the Lake Chad Basin within an integrated strategy to combat extremism and support the correct moderate understanding of the Islamic religion and promoting a culture of tolerance among young people, with the participation of officials and experts from Member States and the relevant OIC organs and institutions.
In his speech at the opening session of the workshop, the OIC Secretary-General, Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha, pointed out that the Sahel region and Lake Chad Basin have witnessed an increase in terrorist crime rates in recent years, especially against defenseless civilians, which led to the loss of lives, looting of property, displacement of thousands of families, suspension of thousands of schools, and the displacement of Millions of children, a matter that contributed to doubling other scourges such as human trafficking and drug smuggling. These incidents impede peace and stability and thus hinder development in the region, and the young people are the most affected by these terrorist acts.

The OIC Secretary-General also indicated that the workshop comes within the framework of the OIC efforts to support the endeavors of the Member States and the OIC organs and institutions in combating extremist ideology and terrorism among young people in the Sahel region and the Lake Chad Basin, noting that these goals represent main lines in the OIC-2025: Programme of Action, the OIC Youth strategy and the OIC resolutions in this regard. The Secretary-General explained that the workshop aims to discuss and enrich the draft Statute of the Fund in preparation for submitting recommendations to the Council of Foreign Ministers through a preparatory meeting of senior officials.

The Secretary-General emphasized that the most effective way to protect young people from joining terrorist groups and violent extremism that leads to terrorism is to provide them with job opportunities, and training, in addition to enhancing their role in the economic and social life of their communities. The Secretary-General urged Member States and the relevant OIC organs and institutions, especially the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), and the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF), as well as other OIC institutions that work in the field of youth capacity building alongside partner institutions, to support this mechanism, starting with the process of its establishment, and later on, close cooperation with it after establishment by providing it with all the necessary means and resources in order to be able to carry out the tasks assigned to it.

The Secretary-General extended his thanks and appreciation to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for its cooperation with the General Secretariat in following up on the implementation of the resolutions adopted by the Council of Foreign Ministers. He also extended his thanks and appreciation to the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chair of the Fifth Session of the Islamic Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers, for its firm and continuous support for the activities of the OIC General Secretariat.