The Delegation of the European Union to Yemen

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

08/08/2016 - 17:43
Relations with International Organisations and Fora

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (formerly Organisation of the Islamic Conference) sees itself with its 57 members as the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the UN. It spreads over four continents and strives to be the collective voice of the Muslim majority world.

The OIC has undergone important changes during the last decade: it made advances in support of freedom of speech and freedom of religion/belief. It enlarged its cooperation to economic, cultural, development and humanitarian fields. 

The Islamic Summit, composed of Kings and Heads of State and Government of Member States, is the supreme authority of the Organization. It convenes once every three years to deliberate, take policy decisions and provide guidance. The Council of Foreign Ministers meets once a year. The General Secretariat, which is the executive organ of the Organization, entrusted with the implementation of the decisions of the two preceding bodies.

In order to coordinate and boost its action, align its view points and stands, and be credited with concrete results in various fields of cooperation among Member States, the Organization has created different committees, nearly all, at ministerial level, a number of which are chaired by Heads of State.

Mr. Iyad ben Amin Madani, the former Saudi minister for information, took office as the new OIC Secretary General on 1 January 2014.

Last OIC Summit mid-April took positions on situation from Libya, MEPP, Syria to Somalia, managed to bring together both the Saudi King and Iranian President for the first time and adopted a vast programme for the organization, with an important focus on terrorism and extremism. The Conference adopted the OIC-2025: Program of Action for the next decade.



The relations between the EU and the OIC started to develop under the initiative of Javier Solana on the occasion of the first Danish cartoons crisis in 2005.

Relations were also given a new impetus at EEAS services level in the follow-up to 2011 events: following an exchange of letters between the High Representative and the OIC Secretary General, a very first EEAS mission to Jeddah took place in December 2011. First informal staff to staff talks were held in Brussels in 2012. New round of technical talks took place in June 2014 in Brussels. EU-OIC Political Dialogue meetings are now held regularly during the UNGA week.

Among the successful initiatives between our both organizations there are the EU-OIC-UN and EU-OIC-LAS-AU joint statements in the wake of the various cartoons crisis, as well as the opening of an OIC liaison office in Brussels and the appointment of a full rank Ambassador). It was in this spirit that the HR/VP for the first time made an address at an OIC council in Djibouti in November 2012.

In order to facilitate the liaison with EEAS and other EU institutions and with the CoE human rights monitoring mechanisms, the EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights, Mr Lambrinidis invited the OIC's Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights for an exploratory visit to Brussels and Strasbourg in November 2014.

Former HR/VP Mogherini and Secretary General Madani on the occasion of their regular political dialogue meeting on 27 September 2015, in New York on the side-lines of the UNGA discussed bilateral cooperation and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two bodies.

In 2016 HRVP nominated Mr. Adam Kulach as the EU Representative to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – OIC, who is also Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the rank and title of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.


Human Rights

The adoption, by consensus, in the March 2011 session of the Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 (on 'Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, a discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief') marked a turning point in the relations between OIC and EU Member States.

While this is probably the best known topic of engagement with the OIC, it would be wrong to reduce the OIC agenda only to these issues. In fact, much of the thrust of the OIC Secretary General's line of work stems from the Ten year Strategic Action Plan adopted at the OIC Extraordinary Summit in Mecca in 2005, which laid the foundation for the overall renewal/restructuring of the OIC.  It emphasised for the first time in the history of the OIC, the need to counter violent extremism in order to fight terrorism and promote moderation and tolerance, promoting more openness and engagement with the international community to address common global challenges. It enlarged the scope of its interest to such important issues as human rights (the setting up of the OIC Independent Human Rights Commission as a method of self-scrutiny is an important example), women's rights and increased political participation. The declaration also mentioned the need for equality, civil liberties and social justice, transparency and accountability, fighting corruption in the OIC Member States.