UN and Organization of Islamic Cooperation strengthen ties on humanitarian affairs

14 November, 2011
Valerie Amos and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the UN and OIC.
Valerie Amos and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the UN and OIC.

The UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation agreed today to work together more closely to provide people with life-saving assistance during humanitarian emergencies.

The agreement was signed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The move comes as the rising number of humanitarian emergencies worldwide prompts calls for greater cooperation between aid agencies and other partners providing help.

“We greatly value the partnership we already have with the OIC and its Member States on humanitarian issues,” noted Ms. Amos. “This agreement formalizes our intention to work more closely together on relief coordination, fund-raising and preparedness, so that we can save more lives.”

“Together we can better respond to challenges like the desperate humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa,” said Dr Ihsanoglu at the signing ceremony. “The UN and OIC can play complementary roles, enhancing humanitarian operations and assisting people more quickly and effectively.”

The Memorandum of Understanding between OCHA and OIC also focuses on better information sharing and preparedness for emergencies, including through the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams (UNDAC), the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), and the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

“In countries like Somalia, aid agencies and NGOs from all over the world are working round the clock to save as many lives as possible,” said Dr. Rima Salah, the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF. “Working together means we can help many more children and prevent death and disease.”

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