Report Director General

Posted on 27/02/2014 12:51

 

 

 

 

THE FOURTH MEETING

OF THE TRUSTEESHIP COMMITTEE 

OF BAYT MAL AL QUDS AL-SHARIF AGENCY 

 

Report by Mr. Director General

 

 

Marrakech, January 17, 2014  

 

 

 

In the name of God,

 

Excellency Mr. President of the Trusteeship Council,

Excellencies Members of the Trusteeship Council,

Excellencies the Members of Delegations of Participating Countries in the Fourth Meeting of the Trusteeship Council of Bayt Mal Al Quds Asharif Agency

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is my pleasure to extend my deepest thanks and gratitude to His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Chairman of Al Quds Committee, for his continuous support to the Agency, his orientations to its work and direct supervision of its activities as well as for convening this meeting, which is a new opportunity to reiterate our commitment to carry on efforts at the service of Al Quds Asharif and its population.

 

I seize this opportunity to express my thanks also to His Excellency the Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas Abu Mazen, for his personal support and backing to all the Agency’s efforts.

 

Our thanks also go to His Excellency the Moroccan minister of foreign affairs and cooperation, chairman of the trusteeship council, for all the means made available by the Kingdom of Morocco to provide appropriate conditions for the success of this session.

 

I would also like to express my thanks to Their Excellencies the representatives of Member-States of the trusteeship council for attending this meeting, held in a context of intensification of the pace of systematic aggressions on the holy city, its religious landmarks and civilization, particularly the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque, the first Qiblah and site of ascension of our prophet, Peace be Upon Him.

 

Mr President,

Excellencies

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The Bayt Mal Al-Quds Asharif Agency is tirelessly continuing its efforts to achieve the objectives outlined in its statute and in the clear orientations of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Chairman of Al Quds Committee, as they were mentioned in the Royal message to the Director General on July 29, 2008. His Majesty King Mohammed VI underscored in this message the importance of lending to the Agency “a special social dimension, by carrying out social support projects on the field, with a concrete impact of the life of Al Quds population, alleviating the acute shortages and hard living that they endure, and backing their resistance to protect their identity, culture and legacy”.

 

The Agency is also endeavoring within the orientations of His Excellency the Palestinian president, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, who gave me the honor of meeting me on several occasions, in Ramallah and in Rabat. I appreciate his respect, support and backing to the Agency efforts.

 

Based on this reference, I was keen, since I was appointed Director General of the Agency by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, chairman of Al Quds Committee in April 2006, to draw a comprehensive work methodology covering the 2006-2014 period. The strategy and methodology embodies the option of field action which is based on conducting concrete projects that have a direct impact on Al Quds population.

 

To achieve this goal, the Agency laid down the foundations of what we call "civil policy" which is based on knowing the needs of Al Quds population and making use of the role of the civil society in Al Quds, with a view to meeting their needs according to set priorities, imposed by the Agency’s limited resources.

 

This regular action entailed concrete results in the sectors of education, health, housing and projects of women, youth, children and social assistance programs for social groups living in hard conditions.

 

Indeed, the Agency has succeeded in the 2006-2013 period in implementing a considerable number of projects for a value exceeding USD 30 million.

 

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Given the importance of its achievements, the Agency enjoys the esteem of Arab and Islamic institutions, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab League Council, and Al Quds organizations. Indeed, through its presence on the field, the Agency has given evidence to its ability to carry out a considerable number of projects, provided that it owns the means for it.

 

With a view to accomplishing the objectives outlined in its 2006-2014 strategic plan, based on knowledge on the situation of Al Quds on the field and the conditions of our brothers in the city, which I have visited several times as part of the mission entrusted to me:

 

1-      The Agency intensified contacts with its Arab and Islamic environment as well as with official, civil and private sides in all the member-states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and has conducted sustained endeavors to diversify sources of financing, in keeping with its statute, and opened up in 2010 for Arab and Islamic communities in Europe.

 

2-      In the last few years, the Agency has signed several cooperation and partnership agreements with various institutions to finance joint projects, particularly a memorandum of understanding signed with the Islamic Development Bank and another one with Al Hashemi Fund for Al Aqsa Mosque and the blessed Dome of the Rock.

The Agency also signed an agreement regarding the “Bayt Hanina” housing project in Al Quds with the Palestinian Housing Council.

Another cooperation agreement was signed to support cultural affairs with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), with the Palestinian National Archives which was supplied with the needed technical means to facilitate transcription, another agreement in the sector of education with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and a cooperation agreement in the sector of libraries and documentation with the Moroccan school of information sciences.

 

3-      In the same period, the Agency held several meetings and conferences on Al Quds, organized fairs to promote knowledge about the institution and its achievements and was keen, as much as possible, to participate in conferences with a view to maintaining contacts with the representatives of organizations and institutions to coordinate action in fund-raising and encourage them to finance Al Quds projects.

Efforts were not limited to communication, which held an important part in the Agency’s strategy, but we also sought to consolidate our presence on the field, by establishing a delegation in Al Quds in 2009, in a bid to secure permanent communication with Al Quds institutions, receive funding requests from various sides and follow up the implementation of projects in coordination with Ramallah office, which is supervised, since mid 2010, by the Assistant Director-General as a sign of the importance given by the Agency to its activities in Al Quds.

 

We have also undertaken to develop the Agency structure and reinforce the administrative staff with specialized executives as the need arises and within the limits of resources, in accordance with the Agency statute and the decisions of the Agency decision-makers.

In this context and in accordance with the recommendation adopted by the trusteeship council in its meeting held on March 10, 1999 and endorsed by the governing board in its first session held in Marrakech on February 14, 2000, the Agency follows in the organization and management of its staff the employee statute in force in the Secretariat General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

 

In parallel, and in accordance with the memorandum of the Moroccan ministry of foreign affairs and cooperation, dated February 12, 2013, in which it requests diplomatic missions, consular sections and delegations of international and regional organizations present in the Kingdom of Morocco to respect the Moroccan labor law for hiring local staff members, whether Moroccan citizens or foreigners living in Morocco, we should amend some provisions of the bylaws so as to be able to implement the “bylaws of the Agency staff members” for the core of the Agency’s tenured executives and employees, as well as the labor law in force in the seat country and in the countries where the Agency opens delegations or representations when hiring local staff members.

 

This amendment should concern the first article (1) of the first chapter of the bylaws, the third (3) and eighth (8) articles of the second chapter and the first paragraph (1) of the tenth article (10) of the third chapter.

 

Meanwhile, following the Kingdom of Morocco’s decision, upon orders of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, chairman of Al Quds committee, to grant a building in Rabat to the Agency where the Agency transferred its head office from Casablanca and following the official dedication of the new Rabat head office by His Majesty King Mohammed VI on May 1st 2007,

Given that the amendment of article two (2) of the first chapter of the Agency’s bylaws is no longer relevant in the version that was adopted by the 3rd session of the trusteeship council and endorsed by the governing board in its first session, regarding transferring the Agency’s head office from Rabat to Casablanca, we have to consider cancelling the said amendment and returning to the following original version of this article:

 

“The permanent head office of the Agency shall be located in Rabat, seat of the chairmanship of Al Quds Committee”

 

Given that article 16 of the third chapter defines the resources and assets of the Agency as follows:

a)      Voluntary donations by Member-States;

b)      Donations and contributions extended by public and private organizations, charity associations, Arab and Islamic communities, enterprises and individuals;

c)      Income and revenues of the Agency’s assets, properties, projects, shares and products.

 

Considering the conclusions reached as a result of the experience accumulated by the Agency during the last years on the need to guarantee a minimum level of funds to finance the increasing needs of our brothers in Al Quds;

 

Given the disruption of the Agency’s actions caused by the irregularity of funds;

The Agency proposes to consider a new version of this article, in a way that guarantees contributions of Member-States, on a regular basis, in financing the Agency’s projects in Al Quds, according to shares of which the governing board will set ceilings while keeping it open for all the Member-States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in accordance with the OIC’s laws.

 

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The efficiency of our action has become clear to everyone and the value of our achievements on the field have proved, beyond any reasonable doubt, that it is possible to deliver support to those who deserve it in secured means and ways.

 

Indeed, praise be to God, the Agency has succeeded in allocating significant financial amounts to projects for the construction and equipment of new schools and kindergartens, renovating and rehabilitating existing schools and improving teaching conditions, equipping hospitals, establishing modern medical centers and laboratory units, extending assistance to projects dealing with Al Quds women empowerment, youth associations, sports clubs, and developing social assistance programs that respect the dignity and pride of Al Quds population.

 

Likewise, the Agency has endeavored to ensure the respect of the dignity of impoverished persons, take care of orphans and the elderly, establish cultural and social centers, support youth and sports, extend scholarships to students and encourage reading activities, by establishing and equipping libraries, instituting, therefore, a new approach in addressing development projects in Al Quds based on valorizing Al Quds humans and developing their skills in various fields, for a budget of USD 30 million, broken down as follows:

 

  1. In the Sector of Education, the Agency carried out in the 2006-2012 period significant projects, worth USD 6.7 million. These projects concerned mainly renovating schools infrastructure and improving the quality of education as part of the “fine schools” program which included in its first stage 10 schools. The Agency also undertook to build 4 new schools and hand out scholarships for 106 excellent but needy students from Al Quds to enable them continue their higher studies in Palestine and Morocco.

 

  1. In the Health Sector, the Agency has acted to support and diversify the health services offer through major projects that included in the 2006-2012 period all of Al Quds hospitals. This effort comprised mainly the establishment of developed and modern units, equipping laboratories and examination departments and developing the medical and bio-medical equipment and health transportation, for a total value of USD 7 million.

 

  1. In order to contribute to addressing the Housing problems in Al Quds, and help Al Quds inhabitants own their houses, the Agency has invested over USD 3.6 million in projects aimed at supporting housing, renovations and property acquisition, rehabilitating the old buildings in the old city and preserving the city’s architecture legacy by rehabilitating "Azzawyia Al Maghribia" and renovating a number of mosques and Islamic cemeteries.

In cooperation with the Palestinian Housing Council, the Agency has financed programs to renovate houses of impoverished and marginalized people and an individual interest-free loan program for a number of Al Quds families.

The Agency has signed with the same council an agreement providing for the construction of 156 housing units in “Arribat” project in Bayt Hanina, for a value of USD 20 million. The Agency plans to carry out the project once the necessary permits are obtained, God willing.

 

  1. The sector of culture and legacy preservation, like other social sectors, is suffering from results of a severe siege which affects creativity, leads to the closure of Arab and Islamic cultural centers and limits the presence and the activities of artists in Al Quds and outside.

 

In this context, the Agency is cooperating with Palestinian institutions to carry out its program on culture in Al Quds, through renovation of cultural centers and clubs, equipping libraries and culture houses, supporting the publication of books and studies and promoting cultural activities in schools and educational institutions.

 

Supporting culture in Al Quds included contributing in the renovation of the “Yabous cultural center”, documents of the old city and supporting public institutions in Al Quds, with a value of USD 4.4 million.

 

In a bid to preserve legacy and collective memory of Al Quds population, the Agency established in its head office in Rabat in 2009 a library specialized in Al Quds and the history of Palestine. The library comprises copies of important and precious books and manuscripts obtained from sources in Al Quds and worldwide. The library is managed by state-of-the-art computer systems. It is open for students and researchers. A specialized scientific commission, meeting annually on a regular basis, has been set up to draw an action strategy.  

Furthermore, the Agency publishes a periodical titled “Echoes from Al Quds Committee” in English and Arabic. This publication is widely circulated in its paper and electronic versions to publicize activities of Al Quds committee and the Agency’s actions at the service of the holy city and its population.

 

In the same context the Agency’s website was revamped to consolidate its openness onto the pubic as a gate for surfers, presenting information on projects, both those implemented and those featured. The website also includes a voluntary donation service, a secured service for those wishing to make donations through the Internet from inside and outside the seat country.

The Agency has contributed to the festivities marking Al Quds, Arab capital of culture for 2009 with a number of major literary, cultural and artistic activities. It has organized an international contest for the best poem on Al Quds. The winning poems and selected poems sent to the contest jury were published in a collection titled “Diwan Al Quds”.

The “Moroccan cultural center” (Bayt Al Maghrib) project is one of the leading projects implemented by the Agency. It is a historic property purchased with entire financing from the Kingdom of Morocco, for USD 5.4 million. After the renovation works were completed, the building was designed in a way that showcases the Moroccan authentic know-how of woodwork, tiles and mosaic in harmony with Al Quds architecture. The purchase and decoration of this building cost around USD 2 million.

After being equipped, the center will host activities of Moroccan and Al Quds arts and culture and receive the creations of local associations in various cultural, through and artistic fields.

 

  1. A special importance was given by the Agency to the Sector of Women, Youth and Sports, given the central role played by these categories in Al Quds society. The Agency has, therefore, signed agreements under which it financed 10 women associations, in accordance with an approach consisting in organizing relations with institutions, organizations and associations active in the promotion of women, children, the elderly, handicapped persons, persons with special needs and other vulnerable categories.

In this context, the Agency financed the « kitchen » project for the teachers' village association and the “sewing academy” project, among others, with the aim of training women in their chosen area and giving them the needed skills to have access to the job market or to an income-generating project.

Through this relationship with women associations and youth and children associations, the Agency seeks to improve the levels of human development in the city of Al Quds, reduce poverty, increase the education level of women and children and improve the social services targeting them. The Agency’s projects in this field reached USD 3.6 million over the 2006-2012 period.

Important investments were earmarked by the Agency to equip youth centers, renovate stadiums, support sports teams, back summer camps in Al Quds, hold summer camps in Morocco for children aged between 11 and 14. This is a leading program that enjoys the personal care of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Chairman of Al Quds Committee. In 2013, the 6th summer camp of the kind took place.

 

  1. Social Affairs is another focus of the Agency, given the appalling hard situation in the city and the results of Israeli successive and continuous measures which entailed essential changes in the city, affected the Palestinian society and altered the demographic, architectural, historical and environmental features of the city.

The Agency has, therefore, granted special attention to groups which are most in need, such as needy and poor families. It launched in 2008, the "life in dignity" program under which 20 bread loaves are handed out on a daily basis to 1,000 poorest households, in a first stage, before the initiative was expanded to 2,000 households in a later stage. The project has cost to date USD 4.4 million financed by a benefactor from the sister United Arab Emirates.

The Agency also started on October 20, 2010 a program to sponsor 500 orphans from Al Quds. This program offers full sponsorship to recipient children who obtain a monthly grant, payment of school fees, school bags and uniforms, medical coverage as well as food assistance during the month of Ramadan and religious holidays for their family.

The Agency extends annually various forms of humanitarian assistance to 1,000 impoverished families, including food parcels for families of recipient orphans sponsored by the Agency for a cost of USD 300,000 and distributes clothes during religious holidays.

As far as elderly persons are concerned, the Agency has renovated and revamped "Bayt Arrahma" which hosts several persons to turn it into a shelter that guarantees conditions of dignity and comfort to residents.

 

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

If the pace of achievements has accelerated in the last years, it is the fruit of the Agency's success in becoming an essential partner for Al Quds population, enjoying their confidence and the confidence of their institutions, owing to its achievements on the ground which had a direct impact on the daily life of Al Quds inhabitants.

 

This outstanding performance would not have been possible without the significant support extended by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, chairman of Al Quds Committee, who personally supervises its work. The credit also goes to the funds earmarked by the Kingdom of Morocco to finance the Agency's program between 2006 and 2013. The Kingdom of Morocco is the largest contributor to the Agency, with USD 10.8 million, accounting for 80% of states' contributions, in addition to one million USD extended annually by the Kingdom of Morocco to pay for the Agency's equipment and operational expenses.

 

We fully acknowledge the adverse economic situation in several Arab and Islamic countries, which led to a decrease in the Agency's financial resources, despite our significant efforts to promote and expand communication with Arab and Islamic countries, social institutions, civil society organizations and charity associations.

Indeed, institutions' contributions, during the 2006-2013 period were limited to:

q  A charity organization from the United Arab Emirates to finance the "life in dignity" program with an annual amount of one million dollars since the program was started in 2008;

q  Contribution of the Islamic Development Bank, with an amount of USD 97,500.00 to finance some of the Agency's projects, as part of the memorandum of understanding signed with the Bank on August 9, 2006.

Contributions by sister countries were also limited in this period to the following:

 

q USD One million from the State of Kuwait;

q USD 861,930.18 from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia;

q USD 249,972.00 from the Kingdom of Bahrain;

q USD 100,000 from the Republic of Lebanon.

 

The Agency has not received any contribution from other states which we call, on this occasion, to bring help to the Agency in order to enable it continue to accomplish its duty and to carry out projects in Al Quds.

 

We do not need to remind that the Agency is adhering to all the initiatives to serve Al Quds Asharif and bring help to our brothers in this city. We have clearly expressed this in the conference held in June 2013 in Baku, capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the Palestinian plan for the development of vital sectors in Al Quds.

 

We would like to seize this opportunity to reaffirm our readiness to coordinate with all donors, specialized funds and the civil society organizations in the Arab-Islamic world our actions to implement projects entailing a direct and concrete impact on the life of Al Quds inhabitants, and to put at their disposition the Agency's experience and means.

 

As a conclusion, allow me to reiterate our thanks and gratitude to His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Chairman of Al Quds committee, for the continuous support extended by His majesty to the Agency which would not have been able to carry out in the last years the projects that yielded outstanding impact on Al Quds and its inhabitants.

 

Our thanks also go to the leaders of the Arab-Islamic Ummah for their blessed efforts to defend Al Quds, through the actions of governments and official and specialized institutions which have not spared any efforts to support Al Quds and its inhabitants.

 

We also warmly thank His Excellency the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen for his considerable backing to the Agency and for doing his utmost to facilitate its mission.

 

The Agency also thanks the states, institutions and individuals for their contribution in financing the Agency's programs and projects.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.

 

 


Share: