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Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, august-september 2002

October 25, 2010
Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, august-september 2002


United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development

Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development

The original draft of the first official Islamic statement was entitled, the “Jeddah Environment Declaration.” This statement was later renamed the “Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development.” This statement is included in the United Nations (UN) World Summit on Development (Johannesburg, South Africa) paper entitled, “General Framework of Islamic Agenda for Sustainable Development Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development : Background Paper No.5.”

United Nations
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Johannesburg, South Africa
26 August to 4 September 2002
General Framework of Islamic Agenda for Sustainable Development

Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development Background Paper No. 5
Submitted by the First Isl amic Conference of Environment Ministers

General Framework of Islamic Agenda for Sustainable Development

Based on the specialized studies examined by the First Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers held in Jeddah, which reviewed the major challenges faced by the Islamic world in the field of sustainable development, materialized mainly in the poverty, illiteracy, accumulation of foreign debts, degradation of economic and social conditions, disequilibrium between population growth and available natural resources, the weakness of technical capabilities, the lack of expertise and skills in environment management, along with the negative impacts left by regional conflicts, foreign occupation of parts of its la nd and despoiling of its resources, one may chart out the general framework of an Islamic agenda liable to help overcome these obstacles and lay down sturdy foundations for cooperation among the Islamic countries to achieve sustainable development, with a view to being submitted to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. The agenda revolves around the following axes which could be translated into field projects and activities, in cooperation with regional and international organizations

I-Economic growth

Achieving a level of economic growth enabling the Islamic countries to bridge the gap between them and developed countries by means of mobilizing the available energies, especially through :

  1. Stimulation of investment in highly profitable sectors.
  2. Capacity-building in the field of research and transfer of technologies in the following fields :
    a) Supporting the capabilities of academic and research centers in the Islamic countries, especially with regard to programme development and promotion of priority research facilities.
    b) Facilitating access to modem information and communication technologies which open new vistas for rationalization of Islamic countries’ resources.
  3. Achieving food security and promoting plant and animal resources in Islamic countries.
  4. Supporting new partnership for economic development of African countries.
  5. Developing control mechanisms to ensure flexible management of short-term capital influx, in compliance with the objectives of sustainable development in developing countries.

II- Poverty eradication

As part of endeavour to eradicate poverty in the Islamic world, the following programmes should be particularly supported, namely :

  1. Creating employment opportunities through encouragement of the establishment of small and medium-sized enterprises.
  2. Initiating programmes for vocational training and technical education to step up efforts of literacy and eradication of poverty.
  3. Promoting Islamic solidarity and mutual support.
  4. Facilitating access to small, preferential loans to fund local development projects and raise the income of poor families, especially in the countryside and the remote areas.
  5. Associating local community, and populations in general, in the identification of the needs and the drafting, implementation and evaluation of action programmes.

III- Population and urban development

Elaborating an integrated population policy striking fair balance between population growth and population characteristics and redressing the imbalances between the towns and the countryside, by means of :

  1. Drawing up and implementing strategies for countryside development focussing on the most disadvantaged areas.
  2. Preparing Agenda 21 Programmes and implementing them at the local level.
  3. Controlling indecent, random housing.
  4. Developing the infrastructure of the periphery, promoting them and adopting suitable approaches for appropriate development of population agglomerations.

IV – Health and environment

  1. Supply of food and adequate potable water.
  2. Treatment of sewage and hard wastes, and securing their safe recycling.
  3. Controlling the potential risks resulting from all types of pollution.
  4. Safe management of toxic, dangerous and radioactive wastes.
  5. Controlling the use of chemicals.
  6. Fighting propagation of epidemics and diseases and ensuring basic health care services

as part of the initiative of health for all.

  1. Generalizing assessment of environmental and health impacts of development projects.

V- Natural resources :

  1. Water
    a) Harnessing available water resources, drawing up programmes for their rationalization and exploring new water potentials, including rainwater and non¬conventional resources.
    b) Developing desalination techniques and generalizing them to reduce production costs.
    c) Enhancing the legal and technical aspects of water consumption rationalization.
    d) publicizing success stories in the fields of sanitation and safe processing and recycling of waste waters.

e) Setting up complementary projects among Muslim countries to he lp meet their needs in few years.
f) Securing fair management of natural and biological resources.

g) Adopting new measures to combat arsenic pollution of ground waters.
h) Adopting a common stand on water shares of lower river countries in international river waters.

  1. Forests and biodiversity
    a) Setting up an Islamic center for exchange of information on biodiversity.
    b) Taking out an inventory of all plant and animal species in the Islamic world.
    c) Managing joint natural reserves shared by the Muslim countries.
    d) Enforcing the laws on natural reserves and adapting them to fit the commitments

of the Islamic countries under relevant international agreements.

e) Initiating local development projects benefitting to populations residing in the vicinity of forests, to encourage them to rationalize forest resources.
f) Supporting Islamic countries to prepare and implement national and sub-regional

strategies and plans to preserve biodiversity and reduce desertification effects.

  1. 3- Combating desertification and alleviating drought effects
    a) Launching pilot projects on local development to reduce the effects of desertification.
    b) Setting up a comprehensive strategy for identification of sites threatened by desertification in the Islamic countries.
    c) Establishing joint geographical data bases and early-warning systems to monitor desertification.
    d) Supporting Islamic countries to prepare and implement national and sub-regional strategies and plans to combat desertification and alleviate drought effects.
  2. Energy and Climate Change :
    a) Developing strategies for the cleanest and most suitable energy production systems fit for energy consumption.
    b) Conducting a comprehensive survey on Islamic countries’ capabilities in terms of harnessing solar, water and wind energy.
    c) Establishing renewable energy projects in the Muslim world.
    d) Conducting a study on impact of green house effect on Muslim countries, especially on the health.
  1. Coasts and sea water ;
    a-Training manpower in emergency intervention in the event of sea pollution with hydrocarbons and chemicals.
    b-Conducting a study on fragile coastal areas in Islamic coastal countries and ensuring their safety.
    e-Developing plans to direct population concentration and economic activities to ward off adverse effects on fragile coastal areas.
    d-Preventing evacuation of untreated sewage and liquid industrial wastes into sea waters.

VI- World Trade and Globalization

  1. Training enterprises in the Muslim world to improve their competitiveness and penetration of world markets and promoting trade exchange among Muslim countries.
  2. Formulating a guide for Islamic countries to environment norms and quality standards to enhance the competitiveness and quality of Islamic countries’ products.
  3. Sustaining international efforts to reform the world financial system and make it more transparent just and comprehensiveness to help Muslim countries take an active part in the global commercial activity and face the challenges posed by globalization.

VII- Legal and Institutional Aspects of Environment

  1. -Conducting a comparative study on Islamic countries’ environmental laws and conferring an Islamic character on their contents.
  2. Making Islamic countries’ environmental laws consistent with their commitments

under related international conventions.

  1. Training human resources in environmental law enforcement.
  2. Strengthening and supporting the legal framework of governmental institutions in charge of environment.
  1. Creating environmental associations network to coordinate their activities and programmes.
  2. Supporting local and regional non-governmental associations operating in the field of environment protection.

VIII- Involvement of civil society

  1. Encouraging involvement of the civil society in the elaboration and imple mentation of strategies and plans destined to sustainable development and environment protection
  2. Encouraging the establishment of civil society organizations and drawing up legislations promoting their participation.

IX- Awareness-raising, education and information programmes

  1. Incorporating the component of environment from an Islamic perspective in general education curricula.
  2. Establishing coordination networks between Islamic countries’ universities and governmental institutions to exchange experience in environment and sustainable development-related training and scientific research.
  3. Exchanging radio and television programmes on environmental awareness in Islamic countries.
  4. Holding training sessions for literacy personnel to incorporate the environmental component in literacy programmes.
  5. Training media specialists in environmental awareness-raising.
  6. Organizing media campaigns to enhance population behaviour and attitude towards environment and health, capitalizing on Islamic teachings in this connection.

X- Achieving peace and security

  1. Developing programmes and plans to promote justice-based peace culture in the Muslim world, contributing thereby to the promotion of global peace.
  2. Formulating programmes to highlight the importance of terminating foreign occupation and establishing peace and security in the sustainable development process.
  3. Sustaining efforts to define terrorism and highlight its difference of resistance fighting of foreign occupation as admitted by international rules, regulations and customs.

Xl- Funding

  1. Developing environmental programmes likely to induce financing provided for in environment-related international conventions.
  2. Benefiting from opportunities offered by Islamic financing institutions and the Islamic Environment Fund to carry out environment-oriented programmes in the Muslim world, including institutional support programmes and capacity-building of environment protection authorities.
  3. Harnessing local financial resources with utmost rationalization and gearing them to specific priority objectives.

Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development The First Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers held in Jeddah, on 29 Rabia I -1st Rabia II, 1423 A.H. corresponding to 10-12 June 2002 A.D, Recalling Resolution 11/9-E issued by the 9th Islamic Summit Conference on environment from an Islamic perspective, whereby the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization- ISESCO-was mandated in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme and all relevant international and regional organizations- to prepare an action programme representing the Islamic perception of environment and development, to be presented at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, in 2002 ;

Having taken cognizance of the results arrived at by the First World Forum on Environment from an Islamic perspective, held in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 26-28 Rajab 1421A.I4/ 23-25 October 2000, and the Jeddah Declaration issued by the Forum, the Abu Dhabi Declaration on the Future of Environment Action in the Arab World (2001), the Rabat Declaration on Investment Opportunities for Sustainable Development (2001), as well as the Tehran Declaration on Religions, Civilizations and Environment (July, 2001) and the Resolution of Oman Forum on Environment and Sustainable Development (Muscat, December 2001) ;

Recalling further Resolution 11/28-E on Environment from an Islamic Perspective adopted by the 28th Islamic Conference of Foreign Affairs Ministers (Session of Peace and Development), held in Bamako, on 4-6 Rabia 11 1422 A.H/ 25-27 June 2001, which affirmed the afore-mentioned resolutions and tasked the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to make necessary contacts with OIC Member States and regional and international organizations with a view to holding the First Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers ;

Referring to the Arab Declaration on sustainable development issued by the Arab Environment Ministers (Cairo, October 2001), and the African Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Development (Nairobi, November 2001) as well as the Joint Ministerial Declaration by the Executive boards of the Arab and African Councils of Environment Ministers ; Committed to the Islamic approach built on promotion of man’s dignity and achievement of his lieutenancy mission on earth through good deeds that conduce to sustainable development, foster social solidarity, raise the care to orphans and the have-nots, induce edification of civilization without any plundering or dilapidation and affirm the organic relationship between man and the earth in terms of existence and development ;

Supportive of the regional and international efforts exerted to promote the standard of the life of all humans through sustainable development of all social, economic, cultural, environmental and health aspects, the ultimate purpose being to achieve a decent human life in a sound environment ; Keeping in line with the general orientations embedded in the comprehensive study prepared by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on environment, health and sustainable development, as part of contribution to the Earth Summit due in Johannesburg, on 26 August – 4 September 2002 ;

Proclaims the following :

Article 1 : Honour bestowed on man

Man is the lieutenant of Allah on earth. He is mandated to build civilization and held responsible for the harnessing and protection of environment. The Muslim, in particular, is duty-bound to take care of the environment, in the general acceptance of the term, and to make every personal and possible effort to achieve sustainable development for the general well-being of each and everybody.

Article 2 : Responsibility of man

Indeed, the most beloved by Allah are the pious and the charitable, and the most hated by Allah are the one who wreck havoc in earth. Charity is every good deed that benefits to people and takes care of the environment in which they live. It may be an act of social solidarity, a contribution to the restoration of peace and security or the eradication of poverty and unemployment, in a bid to achieve justice and equity through collective participation in the development enterprise, motivated by religious, cultural and humanitarian drives.

Article 3 : Environment from an Islamic perspective

The environment is a gift donated to man by Allah. Therefore, individuals and communities are, all, duty-bound to take care of it and promote all its natural resources, including air, climate, water, seas, flora and fauna, and refrain from any act likely to cause pollution or damage the eco-system or disturb the balance thereto.

Article 4 : Human right to environment

The right to education and to a decent life shall be recognized as well as the right to a sound, hygienic environment. The State and the soc iety shall secure these rights to enable the individual to fully enjoy his humanness and contribute to the sustainable development of his community. Women shall also be recognized as full partners in the sustainable development action.

Article 5 : Major constraints of sustainable development

Despite the significant progress made during the period of after the Rio Declaration, in the field of environment and sustainable development in the Islamic countries, there still exist some constraints among many of those countries in adopting sustainable development plans and programmes, chief among these constraints are :

  1. Poverty is responsible for many health and social, as well as psychological and moral problems. The local, national and international communities need to devise development policies and plans for economic reforms in order to address those problems, by offering job opportunities, ensuring natural, human, economic and educational development of the poorest and most underdeveloped regions, and eradicating illiteracy.
  2. Debts : Public debts, natural disasters, including drought, desertification and social backwardness resulting from ignorance, diseases and poverty all constitute the major constraints that stand in the way of successful sustainable develo pment plans and adversely affect poor communities most particularly and the international community at large. Everyone is duty-bound to be supportive, in order to surmount these difficulties and spare humanity these hazards.
  3. Wars, armed conflicts and foreign occupation, which have a harmful effect on environment and environmental safety and necessity to lay down legislation and commitments that forbid and penalize polluting the environment or cutting trees or exterminating animals ; and observing the principle of dignity in dealing with prisoners according to international law, and not maiming the death or destroying houses or civil facilities or water sources.
  4. Overpopulation, particularly in cities of developing countries and the deterioration of living conditions in shanty towns and an increase in the demand for resources, health and social services. e-Deterioration of natural resources basis and their continuous over-utilization to bolster local production and consumption patterns which add to the depletion of natural resources and hampers sustainable development in developing countries.
  5. Absence of modern technologies and technical expertise necessary for the implementation of sustainable development programmes and plans.
  6. Insufficiency of expertise necessary for Islamic countries to allow them to fulfil their commitment towards world environmental issues and to participate with international community in the efforts designed to work out solutions to those issues.

Article 6 : Twenty-first century challenges

  1. Secure funding sources necessary for sustainable development in developing countries and commit industrialized countries to stepping up support to developing nations (to stand at 1,5% of GNP).
  2. Elaboration of developmental, health and educational programmes for the least developed countries for state, local, regional and national communities, as well as relevant organizations share responsibility, albeit in varying degrees, in elaborating . They are also required to help care for childhood and motherhood, build infrastructure and facilities, by financing sustainable development programmes and by designing active political plans in this area. The qualification and competence of all those parties are gaged in the light of services they extend in these vitally important fields, as well as in the light of the consideration they give to developing programmes for developmental action at the governmental, community and institutional levels.
  3. Achieving complementarity and promoting internal and foreign investment by putting in place genuine partnership between advanced countries and developing countries and by offering better and greater opportunities for their products to compete in local and world market places through the World Trade Organization
  4. Finding out novel funding means to boost development efforts of the developing countries.
  5. Transfer of environment-friendly technology, encouraging research workers and scientific action as they constitute some of the prerequisites for enhancing developmental action, including raising greater awareness about scientific thinking and research in the fields of sustainable development, developing working means in this area and consequently helping society move to advanced levels of development and progress with greater speed and less cost.
  6. Preservation of the civilizational heritage given its cardinal role in sustainable development, for it contributes to entrenching the cultural identity, preserves its specificities, protects it from melting, helps shape an independent personality of individuals and groups, provides a powerful impetus to the developmental action to defend the national and religious personality and safeguard the common future, and stresses the spiritual and moral dimensions advocated by the heavenly religions has a positive impact in respect of pushing development towards the good, righteous deeds and social solidarity.
  7. Highlighting the prejudice caused to Islamic countries as a result of the measures taken by the international community to face world environment issues and the international community’s responsibility in providing assistance to affected Islamic countries. h-Securing full and effective participation of the developing countries in decision¬making and shoring up their presence at international economic institutions, rendering thereby the mechanisms of global economy more transparent, equitable and respectful of the rules and regulations in force, to enable the developing countries to take up the challenges posed by globalization.

Article 7 : Islamic perception of sustainable development Administrative and legal management :

  1. Achieve justice advocated by Islam between peoples and between all social categories through a just world system enabling regional and international institutions to discharge their responsibilities and allowing for equitable implementation of international resolutions, termination of foreign occupation and preservation of world peace and security.
  2. Building a world system for administrative and legal management to serve as a basis for countries to set up their national systems that promote active participation of all sectors of society in planning and achieving sustainable development.
  3. Achieving justice among peoples and promoting the role of United Nations agencies, and stimulating a climate suitable for the establishment of a genuine partnership between countries through a just system for world trade to replace the debt system that is depleting the resources of developing nations.
  4. Necessity for the international community to rein in the practices, policies and conducts that affect badly the environment and man, and hamper the development of individuals and groups ; and which include killing people, destroying houses, threatening natural resources, polluting the environment with deadly weapons, depleting water sources, deliberately breaching international laws and universally recognized customs, and utilizing the natural resources basis for the sake of promoting unsound consumption patterns.
  5. Educating righteous youth having a sense of responsibility towards the environment, and the preservation of religious and moral values that hold the family and society together and keep them away from extremism or discrimination on grounds of race, religion or culture.

This piece is taken from the website of Science et Religion in Islam.

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