Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 27th June, 2023: The 1st Extraordinary Session of the General Assembly of the Organisation of Educational Cooperation (OEC) opened in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Tuesday 27th June 2023 with a call on countries of the Global South to work together to amplify their voices and push for creation of systems that are inclusive and balanced, and built on the principles of equality and solidarity to generate prosperity for their peoples.
Speaking at the opening of the Ministerial Session, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen who assumed the Chair as the inaugural President, said that the existing global governance architecture is unable to serve the interests of the countries of the Global South and that there is urgent need, not only to reform them, but to transform them.
He said that creating an inclusive, fair and effective global system that responds to the legitimate demands of the Global South should be top of the international agenda.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that Ethiopia has always been a strong advocate and champion of genuine multilateralism, and that it was against that background that the country joined the OEC.
In his address, the Secretary-General of the OEC, Manssour Bin Mussallam stated that since the inception of the Organisation at the Founding Summit in Djibouti in January 2020, and in spite of the devastating two year Covid-19 lockdown, a provisional headquarters was established and inaugurated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 18th May 2023 and core staff recruited–setting the Organisation on the executive phase of implementing the Collective Programme of Member States.
The Secretary-General outlined the main priorities of the Organisation’s work programme with emphasis on accompanying member States to implement balanced and inclusive education systems through the establishment of the OEC Institute and strengthening the ties between youth and peoples, simultaneously making education more relevant, through the Framework to Reinforce Exchanges Between Youth and Regions through Education (FREYRE).
The Secretary-General also informed the Assembly that the Organisation, is working to ensure greater access to academic and endogenous knowledge, as well as ensuring the greater representation of ideas and of research from the Global South at the international level, through the Greater South Information System (GreSIS)- a digital platform granting institutional access to the latest in transdisciplinary research and endogenous knowledge databases to Member States and Associate Members.
The Ministerial Session was animated by a vibrant policy debate on the theme: Building the Organisation We Deserve: Shaping the Multilateralism We Need, during which speaker after speaker pointed out the significance of the principles of equity, equality and solidarity as a basis for international cooperation.
The cross section of speakers said that the OEC provides a timely framework for the collective actualization and proposition of solutions to the pressing challenges of debt, exclusion, un fair trading systems, climate change, food and energy insecurity faced by countries in the Global South.
The Ministers appreciated the Secretary-General for consolidating the establishment of the Organisation and providing solid leadership that has put the newest international Organisation on the map. During the next three days, a number of resolutions and decisions, critical to the future work programme of the Organisation will be discussed.