ISLAMABAD: President Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser Tuesday sought generous support from the member countries of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), development partners, humanitarian organizations and donors to successfully operationalize the newly formed Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund. He said the establishment of the Afghanistan humanitarian trust fund is a strong message of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. Since 76% of the Afghanistan population lives in rural areas, the primary focus of the fund would be to save lives by preserving rural livelihoods and integrated holistic approach is proposed to be adopted to ensure that the fund’s limited resources are deployed most effectively to maximise developmental impact, he said in his address at 48th Session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers here. He said the extraordinary meeting of OIC FMs held in Islamabad on December 19, 2021 asked the IDB to establish, operationalize, and manage the fund to channel humanitarian assistance through Afghanistan and partnership with the international and regional stakeholders. “I am pleased to update that the charter has been signed with the OIC. This is the first but very pivotal step that will take the way for operationalization of the fund”, he added. He said the IsDB was strongly committed to ensure strict guidelines to govern all of the fund’s activities. “Accordingly we guarantee utmost transparency, and all aspects of the fund’s activities and adherence to the relevant international standards and best practices.” Given the gravity of the challenges faced by Afghanistan today, Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser said there was consensus that the international community needed to collectively provide a holistic practical, sustainable and comprehensive solution learning from the lessons of the past and leveraging this strength of all stakeholders to address the daunting challenge in Afghanistan. He said since last December, the Bank had been engaged in its continued coordination and consultation with the OIC, development partners, humanitarian organisations and donors. “We have also consulted with countries supporting the Afghan people. We are committed to benefiting from all relevant experiences and exploring potential cooperation opportunities to ensure formulation of an impact for partnership to undertake collective efforts to achieve the fund’s objectives”, he added. The IsDB president said, “We are committed to working with all our partners to break the prevalent vicious cycles of poverty and initiate a cycle of hope and self-reliance in the country”. Depending on the fund’s amount and possible replenishment, the IsDB President informed that a comprehensive approach would be adopted to promote long term peace and stability. This could be achieved by enhancing agriculture productivity to ensure food security, ensuring access to quality education specially for females, provision of healthcare facilities to rural communities, women and youth empowerment as well as facilitating rural electrification. He said the fund in close coordination with partners was also actively exploring opportunities to leverage the private sector to support the humanitarian efforts specially by focusing and creating meaningful opportunities in the agro-business through supporting micro and small medium enterprises. “The IDB is also ideally positioned to provide the necessary platform for neighbouring and regional member countries to play a positive role by optimally leveraging the IDB South-South programme benefiting from the experience, expertise of several OIC and IDB member countries.”, he said adding that the IDB under the overall umbrella of the fund was keen to facilitate the capacity building in key sectors such as banking and finance, medicine and agriculture. “We also expect Islamic finances, particularly Islamic social financing such as Zakat to play an essential role in facilitating resource mobilisation and successful delivery of the programme,” he added.