Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), founded on September 25, 1969 at the conference of heads of Muslim countries in Rabat, is the largest and most influential official Muslim governmental international organization. At present, the OIC brings together 57 countries embracing the population of 1.5 billion people.
The main principles of the OIC are full equality, respect for the right to self-determination, non-interference in internal affairs of states, respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states, peaceful settlement of disputes between OIC member states through negotiation, mediation or arbitration, non-use of force or threat of force against the territorial integrity of member states, as well as against their political independence.
Kazakhstan became a full-fledged member of the Organization in 1995. On June 28-30, 2011, Astana hosted the 38th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Thus, Kazakhstan took over the chairmanship of respected international organisation. The meeting became a historic milestone as it was decided to rename the Organization of the Islamic Conference into the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. In addition, a Special Commission on Human Rights was established and the OIC Plan of Action for Cooperation with Central Asia was adopted for the first time in the history of the organisation.
The keynote address by President Nursultan Nazarbayev to the Muslim Ummah laid the foundation of the OIC Astana Declaration, which was the most progressive document of the Organization that proclaimed modernization and reform as the basic principles of development of the Islamic world in the 21st century.
The OIC ministerial meeting approved more than hundred resolutions, including those that promoted the initiatives of Kazakhstan in the fight against illicit drug production and trafficking from Afghanistan and rehabilitation of regions of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and the Aral Sea.
Kazakhstan consistently implemented its priorities which are reflected in the concept and programme of the chairmanship in the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in 2011-2012. In addition, the General Secretariat and OIC institutions in cooperation with the OIC member states implemented Kazakhstan’s initiatives put forward in 2011 at the 7th World Islamic Economic Forum and the 38th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the establishment of a mechanism for food security activities, support of small and medium sized businesses and ensuring the participation of the OIC in the G20 summits.
Against the backdrop of difficult geopolitical situation in the Islamic world, an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee of the OIC was held in order to discuss the crisis in Syria and Libya. The discussions focused on the issues of overcoming the humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia, fighting Islamophobia and preventing interreligious conflicts.
As part of a large-scale campaign carried out under the auspices of Kazakhstan’s OIC chairmanship, the organization managed to accumulate more than $ 500 million to help Somalia.
In addition, the United Nations approved three global initiatives of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, including the proposal to proclaim August 29 as the International Day against Nuclear Tests, the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, combating drug trafficking from Afghanistan, as well as strengthening cooperation between the OIC and the influential regional organizations.
Kazakhstan was also elected deputy chairman of the OIC Standing Committee for Commercial and Economic Cooperation (COMCEC), the main body responsible for the promotion of trade and economic interaction between member states of the organisation.
Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu noted the high level of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship and said that it will remain one of the most brilliant chapters in the history of the Organisation.
At present, the OIC continues to consistently support Kazakhstan’s initiatives in the international arena and contributes to their success. In particular, the initiative to convene the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions are reflected in the annual documents of the Organization. The OIC also recognizes the important coordinating role of Kazakhstan in the field of promotion of inter-civilization and interreligious dialogue, where Kazakhstan acts as a communicational bridge between the East and the West.
Another important area of cooperation between the country and the OIC is the development of interaction with its financial institutions, including the Islamic Development Bank - one of the largest investors in the Muslim world. The total investment portfolio of the IDB in Kazakhstan amounts to nearly US$ 700 million.
The OIC supports the creation of a special programme for Central Asia. The project provides support and cooperation with the Organisation in the promotion of trade, investment, industrial projects that are of mutual interest to both Central Asia and the countries of the Muslim community.