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OIC to hold its first leaders’ summit on science and technology in September

OICJeddah : The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is gearing up to hold its first summit dedicated exclusively to science and technology.

Leaders of the OIC member states will meet in Astana, Kazakhstan next month to discuss the critical role played by science and technology in addressing contemporary challenges of development across multiple dimensions including poverty alleviation, health, environmental preservation, and ensuring security of food, water, and energy.

OIC Assistant Secretary General for Science and Technology Ambassador Mohammad Naeem Khan said: “The Summit is first of its kind which would set OIC Science, Technology and Innovation Agenda over the next ten years. It would set priorities with achievable targets and timelines in STI. The leaders would affirm their support for embedding these priorities into their national policies and development strategies.”

The expected output document of the summit would propose a mechanism for building collective competence in a wide array of themes ranging from water, food and agriculture to energy, the basic and applied sciences, and large multinational projects, in addition to strengthening international linkages with the best in the world.

The OIC accords high priority to the development of science and technology in the OIC member states. There has been an increasing awareness among member states to support the OIC’s agenda in the domains of science and technology, higher education, health and environment. During the past decade, the OIC and its institutions have considerably strengthened their activities in science and technology through programs for strengthening R&D, conducting STI foresight studies, and promoting emerging technologies such as nanotechnology and biotechnology.

The 10th OIC Summit Conference held in Malaysia in October 2003, adopted the OIC Vision 1441H for Science and Technology. The Vision contains recommendations for advancing science and technology with a view to enhancing the socioeconomic well-being of the Muslim Ummah. Likewise, the OIC Ten Year Program of Action (TYPOA), adopted by the 3rd Extraordinary Summit held in Makkah in December 2005; and OIC Plan of Action: 2025, adopted by 14th OIC Summit in Istanbul in 2016, emphasize the centrality of knowledge, science, technology and innovation for the long-term prosperity and socio-economic development of the member states.

Recognizing the importance of adopting clearly defined measures to promote scientific and technological development and innovation in the Muslim world, the 12th Islamic Summit Conference, held in Cairo in 2013, mandated the OIC General Secretariat and Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) Secretariat to take necessary measures to organize an Islamic Summit on Science and Technology.

Accordingly, COMSTECH Secretariat prepared an OIC STI Agenda 2026 with the valuable inputs of more than 120 scientists in various disciplines from several member states, which is the document to be presented to the leaders at the summit for approval.

—SM/IINA

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