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Scientific Policy Research Centre for OIC Countries Recommended to be Established in Pakistan
COMSTECH- IDB Workshop on the Establishment of Technology and Innovation Policy Research Centre for OIC Countries held in Islamabad, Pakistan. The top ranking delegates recommend to establish STI Policy Research Center in Pakistan.
By: OIC COMSTECH
Speaking as Chief Guest on the occasion of opening ceremony, Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman, the Coordinator General COMSTECH and Chairman HEC said, “OIC countries are endowed with rich natural resources; they contribute some 70 percent of the world’s energy resources and 40 percent of industrial raw materials. They comprise one quarter of the world’s population mostly young people. Despite this natural wealth, most OIC countries remain underdeveloped and heavily dependent on agriculture and other commodities or products based on natural extraction. The potential contribution of S&T for development has still not been recognized in most OIC countries. This is evident in their under investment in education and S&T sectors which results in the unequal distribution of resources and societal inequalities. The building of scientific capability that results in innovation is fundamental to the socio-economic development of nations. Scientific research creates new knowledge and generates new technologies both essential for attainment of economic growth and competitiveness. This fact has been widely recognized, but in most OIC countries even the knowledge that exists has not been used productively due to misconceived priorities and weak institutional structures.”
Addressing the multinational gathering, Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman said’ “We have established the COMSTECH Frontier Technology Centre. The CFTC has organized several training courses in the past two years mostly in the subject of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Through these workshops, where lectures are delivered by invited international experts, we have trained about 100 participants from other OIC countries and 157 from Pakistan. We also established a small Centre for Policy Research at COMSTECH. This Centre has published 3 studies and organized two training courses where scientists from 9 OIC countries participated. We wish to expand this Centre to a full fledged Policy Research Centre where OIC scientists will have the opportunity to research on science, technology and innovation policies of OIC countries, identification of policy gaps and recommending measures to address those gaps.”
“The proposal for the establishment of the COMSTECH STI Policy Centre was discussed and approved by the last General Assembly of COMSTECH. The proposal was also discussed in the IDB Advisory Panel on Science and Technology and in the Third World Academy’s Council meeting. At both forums there was general consensus in favour of the establishment of this Centre. With the establishment of this centre COMSTECH would be able to provide an institutional platform for OIC scientists to conduct research on common problems, share experiences of success and failures and formulate strategies to collectively face the challenges of poverty, disease, employment, environmental and natural disasters through effective STI policies.”, Prof Atta-ur-Rahman Informed the gathering.
The key note address on the need for National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy was delivered by Mr. Lee Yee Cheong, President ASEAN Academy of Sciences, Malaysia who also held the position of President of World Federation of Engineering Organisations (2003-2005). Scientific research creates new knowledge and generates new technologies both essential for attainment of economic growth and competitiveness. This fact has been widely recognized, but in most OIC countries even the knowledge that exists has not been used productively due to misconceived priorities and weak institutional structures. He said that it was a universal misperception that national development was possible only through investment in science and technology; it was rather more than that.” Policy makers in intergovernmental organizations like the UN, national governments, and the scientific and academic communities in developing countries, must realize that scientific knowledge per say does not create wealth and employment. It is the application and commercialization of knowledge, scientific or otherwise, into useful devices, installations, services and systems through engineering and technological innovation that create wealth and employment. Therefore a national STI policy must advocate a much more balanced resource allocation between science, technology and innovation in line with national needs.”, he added to his stance on the need for establishing Policy Research Centre.
Earlier, Dr. STK Naim, COMSTECH Consultant gave a briefing on the theme of the workshop and said, “In our view a multi-country, multi-disciplinary approach to issues, lies in providing a forum for OIC countries experts to be engaged in a process of policy learning, share experiences of scientific and technological developments, strengths and weaknesses, success and failures. We are aware of the fact that no one fit for all formula exists and an in depth analysis of resource endowment and policy coordination at the micro level will be required for the development of innovation systems in each country. Through the COMSTECH Policy Research Centre, member states will be helped in understanding national and global trends in the production and use of knowledge and development of appropriate STI policies. “The proposal for establishment of a Centre for Science Policy and Techno-Economic studies was approved by the Fourth Islamic Summit held in Casablanca in January 1984. Though we are late but still the time has not run out to establish such a centre for OIC countries.” added Dr. Naim.
” Islamic development bank as a valuable partner of COMSTECH has provided support to several of its programmes these include; providing scholarships to young researchers from OIC countries, support to the inter Islamic networks, The IDB Advisory Panel on Science and Technology meeting held on 06 November 2007 provided conceptual approval for establishment of this Centre at COMSTECH secretariat. The present workshop is the first step towards establishing a full fledge policy research center. I hope that deliberation during this workshop will result in a positive outcome for strengthening and sustainability of the Technology and Innovation Policy Center at COMSTECH.” She said further.
The workshop shall hold interactive sessions for three days in which The Islamic Development Bank shall be represented by Dr. Mohammed A. Baghdadi, Director S&T Office, IDB, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Razley bin Mohd. Nordin, Director General S&T department of Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) shall also participate. Top ranking delegates from Senegal, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, and Netherlands are participating for interactive discussions on the subject of the workshop.
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COMSTECH is Organisation of Islamic Conference Standing Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation. It has its main seretariate in Islamabad, Pakistan. COMSTECH is an international body which has 57 member countries.