ISLAMABAD: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will meet in Islamabad next week to finalise a strategy for implementation of the 10-year plan of action for the uplift of science and technology in member states.
The meeting will also discuss ways to generate $650 million for effective implementation of the 2016-25 plan aimed at making OIC member states capable of manufacturing and launching space satellites to introducing science and technology as subjects in primary education.
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The plan also deals with energy resources, high-powered computation, development of laboratory equipment, planning of smart cities and large-scale urban growth among other topics.
An official told The Express Tribune that the two-day meeting would start on Monday, December 11.
So far 12 member states – including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Egypt, Oman, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – have confirmed participation in the meeting while representatives from the OIC Secretariat and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) as well as experts are also expected to participate in the meeting.
The official said that an estimated $650 million of external funding was required for successful implementation of the plan, and the meeting would discuss how to generate the amount.
The IDB had initially announced a $100 million contribution to the fund, while COMSTECH (OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation) in Pakistan has sought $50 million from the Planning Commission of Pakistan for which a proposal has already been submitted to the Cabinet for approval, according to the official.
The amount was expected to be approved under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), he added.
COMSTECH prepared the 10-year plan after extensive thematic consultations with leading scientists and experts from 20 countries and various organisations of the OIC. The plan was already approved as the STI Agenda 2026 at the first OIC summit on Science and Technology held in Astana, Kazakhstan in September 2017.
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The plan has four major goals which include nurturing the mindset to build a scientific culture; making people employable through quality education and skills; ensuring security of water, food and agriculture; and, last but not the least, ensuring healthy life for all.
Most OIC member states are running out of usable land and water, which is further exacerbated by climate change and its impact on food security. The urgency of the issue calls for all measures to maximise outcomes from the least amount of water, as well as achieving universal and equitable access to safe drinking water.
It includes several exchange programmes for science students and professionals, and scholarships will be awarded in this regard.