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Thirteenth Session of COMSTECH General Assembly held in Islamabad, Pakistan
A splendid assembly of Ministers in-charge of science and technology and high-level delegates from a large number of Islamic countries held at Islamabad to deliberate improving status of science and technology across OIC Region.
By: OIC COMSTECH
The inaugural sessions started with the speech of the Chief Guest, Mr. Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan whereas the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Yousaf Raza Gilani spoke during the concluding session.
The General Assembly of COMSTECH is composed of the Chairman of the Standing Committee, the Ministers in-charge of science and technology in the member states, the Secretary General of Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Coordinator General of COMSTECH. COMSTECH General Assembly is charged with the responsibility of Implementing all decisions taken by the Islamic Summit in relation to promotion of science and technology within OIC region, it considers proposals from the member states for the development of science and technology infrastructure and makes deliberations over reports presented by the relevant organizations of OIC system for the purpose of coordination and cooperation. The meeting approved the program and budget submitted by its Executive Committee meeting of which was a day earlier at COMSTECH Secretariat building in Islamabad.
The main objective of COMSTECH is to promote cooperation and collaboration amongst the member states in the fields of science and technology. The strategy used to achieve this objective is to assist the member states to build science and technology systems and to create effective institutional structures in scientific research and high technology areas.
As a Ministerial Standing Committee, all the member states of the Organization of Islamic Conference are members of COMSTECH. Selected organizations of the OIC system and some international organizations that have a stake in development of science and technology were also invited to attend the Thirteenth General Assembly session of the COMSTECH. The provisional agenda for the thirteenth meeting of General Assembly was prepared by the COMSTECH Executive Committee during its twenty-fifth meeting held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman during 7-8 January, 2007 and during the recent (26th) meeting held on March 31, 2008 in Islamabad.
The General Assembly began with an open inaugural meeting. There were five plenary sessions in which the work of the meeting was transacted. A concluding session was held at the end of the meeting in which the report and resolutions proposed were adopted.
The Coordinator General, Prof Dr Atta ur Rahman, as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of COMSTECH, presented a report to the General Assembly on behalf of the Executive Committee. The report highlighted the work accomplished and initiatives taken by the Coordinator General on behalf of the Executive Committee since the Twelfth General Assembly meeting of COMSTECH. The report also presented his efforts on cooperation and collaboration with the OIC member states, OIC institutions and other international organizations. The report gave detail of program implementation by the COMSTECH Secretariat, works done and decisions taken by the Executive Committee in running affairs of the COMSTECH. Reports by different OIC organs and institutions were also presented in the meeting.
The General Assembly discussed budgetary matters as well and approved COMSTECH Programs and Budget for the biennium 2008-2009. Report and discussions on the implementation of OIC Ten-year Program of Action were also part of the 13th General Assembly of COMSTECH.
COMSTECH was launched by the OIC member states in 1981 during the 3rd Islamic Summit Conference held in Makkah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to achieve collective strength in science and technology for solving problems at national and regional levels. The main objective was to boost the indigenous capability of the OIC region through cooperation and coordination. COMSTECH has contributed to scientific and technological uplift of the member states in spite of lack of commitment of resources. It is a general consensus that paucity of finances and absence of indigenous expertise in planning a well-coordinated and forward-looking development plan is the major hurdle in the growth and development of scientific apparatus and a credible scientific infrastructure in the OIC region.
The General Assembly has so far held thirteen meetings i.e. in May 1983, December 1983 November 1986, May 1989, November 1991, September 1993, December 1995, December 1997, November 1999, February 2002, December 2003, February 2006 and April 2008. The COMSTECH Program for 2008-2009 has been planned to take into account the scientific weaknesses of the OIC region and then attempt to address those issues of fundamental importance to the development of science and technology infrastructure of the member states. In this regard, the Executive Committee meeting of COMSTECH recommended many actions which were approved by the General Assembly meeting.
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COMSTECH is a specialized body of the Organisation of Islamic Conference which is mandated to undertake follow-up-action and implementation of the resolutions of Islamic Conference and to study all possible means of strengthening cooperation among Members States in order to draw up programs and submit proposals designed to increase the capability of the member states in the fields of science and technology.