The Islamic Conference of Ministers Responsible for Water was held in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey during 5-6 March, 2012 under the theme 'Working together for a water-secure future'. The Conference was hosted by the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs of the Republic of Turkey. Ministers, Deputy Ministers and high level officials from 28 Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), OIC Institutions, observers and international organizations participated in the Conference. The aim of the Conference was to enable the Ministers and Representatives of the OIC Member States to review and adopt the OIC Water Vision; a document which had been prepared by an Advisory Panel of Experts, composed of prominent experts from all of the OIC regions. The Conference also discussed the major issues and challenges related to the implementation of the OIC Water Vision.
The meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Prof. Dr Veysel Eroglu, Minister of forestry and Water Affairs of the Republic of Turkey. In his address, the Honorable Minister welcomed the participants and stressed the urgent need for cooperation and coordination at the national, regional and international level for promoting water related issues and addressing the challenges facing the OIC Member States. Dr Eroglu expressed the hope that the OIC Water Vision would provide the basis for cooperation and collaboration on water issues among the OIC Member States.
The inaugural statement of the OIC General Secretariat was delivered by H.E. Ambassador Abdul Moiz Bokhari, OIC Assistant Secretary General for Science and Technology, who thanked the government of Turkey for their hosting of the conference and warm hospitality. The OIC Assistant General underlined the need for a collective response to the challenges of reliable access to water for health, livelihood, and production, as well as management of unpredictable water-related risks, which are increasing due to population growth, depletion of resources, environmental degradation and climate change.
Dr Razely Nordin, Director of the OIC Science and Technology Department and Mr Fawzi Sultan, Chairman of the OIC Advisory Panel of Experts on Water Vision and Chairman of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, explained the background of the OIC Water Vision, its objectives, the preparatory process, major challenges discussed in the Vision and the way forward. Ministers Responsible for Water and Heads of Delegation from participating Member States then highlighted the water challenges facing their countries, their efforts to address those challenges and their expectations from the OIC Water Vision. After extensive discussion and deliberations the Meeting adopted the OIC Water Vision.
A roundtable discussion on the implementation of the OIC Water Vision was held on the 2nd day of the Conference. This discussion identified scope for cooperation in terms of exchange of experiences, best practices and capacity building activities. The roundtable also enabled discussions about the modalities and the means for cooperation and linkages among centers of excellence/national institutions with the OIC Member States in water science, policy, management and technology development.