137. The Conference noted, with appreciation, the launching of the final report of the Atlas of Islamic World Science and Innovation project during the 7thIslamic Conference of Ministers of Higher Education and Scientific Research held in Rabat on 18-19 December 2014 and encouraged the Member States to benefit from the findings and recommendations of the project for the strengthening of STI in OIC member states. It called for early finalization and operationalization of a project proposal for the COMSTECH Science Report programme, which will succeed the Atlas project in accordance with the relevant resolutions.

138. The Conference welcomed Tunisia’s hosting of the Islamic Conference of Education Ministers, in cooperation with the ISESCO, in October 2016 and invited Member States to cooperate with the host country to ensure the success of the Conference.

139. The Conference welcomed the offer of the Government of Kazakhstan to host the OIC Summit on Science and Technology in 2017 in coordination with COMSTECH Secretariat and OIC General Secretariat.

140. The Conference commended the increasing interest of the Member States in the ‘OIC Educational Programme: Solidarity through Academia in the Muslim World being pursued by the General Secretariat. It expressed appreciation for the public and private sector universities in the member states which have offered scholarships under the Programme. It invited Member States to generously support the initiative and actively participate in the Educational Exchange Programme which also involves faculty exchange, short term student exchanges, research collaboration and vocational training.

141. The Conference welcomed the resolutions and decisions adopted by the Islamic Conferences of Higher Education and Scientific Research, including the 7th Islamic Conference of Ministers of Higher Education and Scientific Research (Rabat, 18-19 December 2014) and welcomed the adoption of Terms of Reference (TOR) of the High-Level Quality and Accreditation Committee on the implementation of the document on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in the OIC Member States.

142. The Conference called upon all Member States to continue their efforts for quality education that promotes creativity, innovation and research and development and in this regard promote collaboration, academic interaction and exchange of knowledge between their academic institutions.

143. The Conference expressed support for the efforts by the OIC universities – the Islamic University of Technology (IUT), Bangladesh, the Islamic University in Niger (IUN), the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) and the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), for the development of quality education, human resources and physical infrastructure. It acknowledged the challenges facing the two universities in Africa and encourages voluntary financial assistance to these universities by Member States and other financial institutions.

144. The Conference commended the Government of Bangladesh for taking up the initiative of allowing female students in the IUT and commended approval of the first phase of the female dormitory project (four out of ten storeys) at its own funding contribution. It also expressed support for the second phase of the project and expansion of the academic scope of the University and upgrade its R&D and other facilities.

145. The Conference welcomed the adoption of the OIC Strategic Health Programme of Action 2014 – 2023 (SHPA) by the 4th Islamic Conference of Health Ministers held in October 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia, which provided a framework for more collaborative efforts and international cooperation for addressing various health challenges facing the OIC Member States. It called upon all Member States to take the necessary measures to implement the SHPA. The Conference expressed hope that the implementation of the SHPA will facilitate progress towards the attainment of SDGs.

146. The Conference urged the OIC General Secretariat to further strengthen its cooperation with the WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, and other international partners in areas such as immunization against infectious diseases, controlling epidemics, promoting self-reliance in the supply and production of medicines and vaccines, mother and child health protection, and developing inter-sectoral collaboration in health protection. The Conference took note of the contribution being made by the Global Fund in eradication of diseases and in health systems strengthening. It encouraged member states to extend financial support to the Global Fund for effective coverage of its health related activities. Considering the recent devastating effects of the Ebola Globally, affecting particularly some Member States of the OIC, and the fact that the disease still has the potential to resurface again, the Conference called for joint Islamic solidarity in the fight against Ebola and urged OIC Member States to support other Ebola affected Member States.

147. The Conference commended Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the three most affected countries of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the Mono River Basin in West Africa and the international community for resilience and efforts in eradicating the scourge, and expressed strong support for the joint post-Ebola Recovery Strategy to put the three countries on track for their socio-economic revival and called upon those countries that continue to impose travel restrictions on nationals of those countries to ease such embargoes which are deemed to be discriminatory.

148. The Conference reaffirmed that preserving the wellbeing and physical health of children is a duty of every parent and society as prescribed by Islam. It,therefore, appealed to the religious scholars and leaders to support the polio eradication campaign and encourage people to respond positively to it.

149. The Conference noted, with concern, the sharp rise in the burden of cancer among OIC member states and the fact that it is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It welcomed the Special Session on First Ladies’ Leadership on Cancer Control in Member States demonstrating strong leadership of First Ladies to showcase and discuss their individual involvement in the fight against cancer. The Special Session created and enhanced awareness on the increasing cancer burden in OIC Member States and ways to expand access to effective cancer prevention, diagnostics, treatment and care; and to identify ways and means through which First Ladies can further enhance their leadership role in effectively addressing the disease and saving lives.

150. The Conference welcomed the significant improvement in health care coverage and services in the OIC Member States leading to declining trends in child mortality rates from a higher base rate of 125 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 66 per 1000 live births by 2013. However, it expressed concern over the fact that about 130000 women died from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth in 2013, corresponding to 44% of world total maternal deaths. The Conference called on all OIC Member States to take appropriate measures to reduce the maternal mortality and child under five mortality.

151. The Meeting took note of the outbreak of Zika virus in some countries and urges the Member States for closer coordination with other international health organizations and stakeholders to develop an effective surveillance and response mechanism to contain the spread of Zika virus.

152. The Meeting took note of the Global Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) endorsed by 68thWorld Health Assembly in May 2015 and requests the Member States to effectively address the problem by strengthening their national public health and veterinary systems, and develop policies and programs in light of Islamic jurisprudence for combating the antimicrobial resistance.

153. The Conference welcomed Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s nomination of Dr. Sania Nishtar for the position of the Director General, World Health Organization.

154. The Conference acknowledged that challenges of environmental degradation and climate change have global consequences and significantly impact on the OIC Member States. Climate change poses a threat to the lives and livelihoods of billions of people and affects the development aspirations of developing countries.

155. The Conference welcomed the Paris Agreement and underscored the need for robust global cooperation in climate change action, especially for countries vulnerable to adverse consequences of climate change, including adequate financing and transfer of technology, capacity-building support from developed to the developing countries under the UN Convention on Climate Change.