December 11-12, 2017
Venue: COMSTECH Secretariat, Islamabad
COMSTECH, the OIC Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific & Technological Cooperation, hosted a high level meeting of representatives of OIC member states on 11th and 12th of December, 2017 for devising an implementation strategy for the Ten Year OIC Science, Technology and Innovation Agenda. This plan was approved as the ‘STI Agenda 2026’ at the First OIC Summit on Science and Technology held earlier this year in Astana, Kazakhstan, and COMSTECH was entrusted with the responsibility to prepare its Implementation Strategy.
The major goal of the Ten Year Plan is to develop the scientific manpower and capabilities of the Islamic countries. For this purpose, the Plan envisages a range of multinational Big Science projects as well as smaller collaborative and institutional support schemes. The Big Science projects include setting up of medium sized astronomical telescope, plant gene banks, high powered computation centers and small satellites. A guiding principle of the Plan is to nurture the thinking mind by promoting the culture of Science, Technology and Innovation. The 2-billion-dollar Plan will be implemented through contributions from Member States and the Islamic Development Bank.
In the meeting thorough discussions were held on different components of the Implementation Mechanism such as composition of the Steering and Expert Committees, identification of experts, nature and extent of national contribution from member states, determining priorities in implementation and the time lines etc. Participants included delegates from Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and representatives from OIC Secretariat and Islamic Academy of Sciences (IAS). The Chairman Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, Secretary of the Ministry of Science & Technology, Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation and some other senior scientists from Pakistan also participated in the meeting.
Among other highlights were announcements of substantial funding for the Plan. Initial pledges were made by Turkey and Egypt, while Uzbekistan has announced the setting up of a 4-meter astronomical telescope. Pakistan has already announced scholarships for OIC students as part of its commitment to the plan. Several other participant including Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have agreed in principle and will announce their contributions after consultations with their bodies. Other Member States would submit details of their contributions to COMSTECH, within three months of initial call.
It was decided that monitoring of projects will be carried out by COMSTECH through various Working Groups and Thematic Advisory Groups. The meeting agreed to constitute a separate cell at COMSTECH for the effective and smooth implementation of the agenda. The decisions made in this meeting will be shared with all OIC Member States for their input and finalization within the next three months.