Partners in Population and Development (PPD) opened a new horizon and added a new impetus to the collaboration and partnership among its Member Countries and other developing countries by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the League of Arab States, as a result of extensive engagement by PPD Executive Director. This is the first MOU with another Inter-Governmental Organization (IGO) of great international standing, which indeed require no introduction internationally. The primary objectives of the MOU are sharing, exchange and transfer of knowledge, experiences, expertise and best practices, mutually attending and contributing to the events organized by both the organizations, undertaking multi-bilateral exchange visits, arranging consultation on common issues faced by the Arab States and PPD Member States and drawing lessons learnt, implementing joint projects and programs through South-South Cooperation, among others.
As envisaged in the MOU, PPD and League of Arab States virtually organized an international webinar titled Webinar on Islam and RH: Sharing Experiences and Best Practices on Islam and Reproductive Health on 27 July 2021. As established worldwide, the Arab States are predominantly Muslim Countries and the socio-economic sphere of lives is mainly regulated by the principles, tenets, culture and values of Islam. The oldest and most distinguished Al-Azhar University of Egypt, widely regarded as the undisputed authority in Islamic Affairs including Islamic Jurisprudence, provided a legal framework on the FP and RH in Islam. Most of the Arab States have strong population programs implemented within the framework of Islam, which is a matter of great interest worldwide. The League of Arab States wished to further strengthen the population programs of its Member States by sharing the successful experiences of PPD Member States under the framework of the MOU. This has led to the decision for organizing series of Webinars, the first one of which was held on 27 July 2021. The Webinar drew participation from all over the world including the member countries of League of Arab States and PPD.
The core objectives of the Webinar were discussing ways of transferring knowledge and exchanging experiences in population and development between and among the member countries of both the organizations; analysing reproductive health issues from an Islamic perspective and reviewing Islam’s position on them, and strengthening South-South Cooperation among the member states of the League of Arab States through its sister concern Arab Council for Population and Development and the Member States of Partners in Population and Development (PPD). Initially, it was agreed to examine the successful experience of Indonesia and Tunisia, two most successful PPD Member Countries in implementing FP and RH, for replication in the Member States of the League of Arab States.
Officially inaugurated by H.E. Mrs. Haifa Abu Ghazala, Under Secretary General and Head of Social Affairs Department of the League of Arab States, the Inaugural Session was addressed by Mr. Adnene Ben Haj Aissa, Executive Director, Partners in Population and Development (PPD), Dr. Louay Shabana, Regional Director, UNFPA Arab States Regional office (ASRO), Secretary of PPD Board and Chair of the Arab Council on Population and Development Prof. Habib Ghedira, President Director General of the National Board of Family and Population (ONFP).
Keynote speech on the Webinar Theme, Islam and Reproductive Health, was delivered by Dr. Jamal Abu Sourour, Director of International Islamic Center for Research in Population, University Al Azhar, EGYPT. Indonesian Experience on Islam and RH/FP was presented by Prof. Mohamed Rizal Damanik, Deputy for Training, Research and Development, National Population and Family Planning Board (NPFPB-BKKBN), Indonesia. Tunisian experience on Islam and Reproductive Health by Prof. Slim Ben Sheikh, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Tunisia.
This session was followed by presentation of the country situations of Jordan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Mauritania, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco and Libya.
A comprehensive report reflecting the salient findings of the Webinar is under preparation and will be made available at the PPD Website in due course.