Saturday, January 9, 2010

Waqf (Endowment) for Sustainable Development Initiative

Waqf (endowment) is an Islamic model by which one makes a voluntary, permanent and irrevocable dedication of a portion of one's wealth – in cash or kind, for a certain purpose for certain beneficiaries. Once assets are set aside for Waqf, they can never be gifted, inherited or sold. The idea is that the capital remains intact, and the yield of investment is used for the beneficiaries. Hence the concept of sustainability is ensured.
Sustainable funds available for long-term social and environmental conservation issues in the region are not growing in proportion to the growth in the scale nor the importance of the issues. Although there is considerable presence for international, assistance and cooperation organizations in the region, their main focus remains on social – economic development projects and direct charity work. Funds that are available for social development or environmental conservation are mostly for short-term projects that do not necessarily create marginal impact. Therefore major, durable and stable investments must be explored and applied to address these challenges.

The new initiative of IUCN ROWA (Regional Office for West Asia) for a regional Waqf Fund for Sustainable Development would both complement existing conventional development funds in the region and provide a more sustainable and innovative financing mechanism. The idea is that once the Waqf is created, the funds collected for the Waqf will be invested, and that the income generated from the investment is used for sustainable development. With time and the potential growth of the Waqf, more and more funds will be available for diverse regional development projects.

For more information please contact

Goshaenur Product: Ahkam-e-Waqf, Ghulam Abdul Haq Muhammad, Islamic Research Institute, Islamabad, 1999

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