CONCLUDING SESSION OF15th GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING OF COMSTECH, ISLAMABAD, IST JUNE 2016 FINANCE MINISTER’S SPEECH

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Ambassador M. Naeem Khan, Assistant Secretary General, OIC

Excellency   Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani,
Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation;

Your Excellency Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali,
President of Islamic Development Bank;

Rana Tanvir Hussain, Federal Minister for Science & Technology;

Diplomats/Excellencies;

 

Dr. Shaukat Hameed Khan, Coordinator General,COMSTECH;

Rapporteur General;

Distinguished Delegates;

 

Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen;

Media Friends

Assalam-O-Alaikum and Good Afternoon!

It is indeed a pleasure for me to be part of the Concluding session of the 15th - General Assembly of the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH). Your good wishes for successful surgery and speedy recovery for Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif were conveyed to him who asked me to convey his sincere thanks to you all.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

We are living in an era where new scientific discoveries and technological advancement continue to transform our lives, in ways not  known before, both in terms of their speed and import.  From the industrial revolution we have moved to the information revolution, which among other aspects, brought with itself unprecedented levels of connectivity between people and nations. This has completely transformed the way people organize their work and interact with each other. Today, we stand at the threshold of yet another defining era, where we are experimenting with artificial intelligence, new materials, neon-technologies, 3-D printing, new transportation systems, inter-stellar travel and new treatments based on stem cells and the decoding of individual genomes. These technological breakthroughs are anticipated to have a profound impact on the socio-economic scenario. This, therefore, is the age of both opportunities and challenges.

With the benefit of hindsight, one can say with a fair degree of confidence that nations at the forefront of these scientific and technological breakthroughs would be playing a leading role in the comity of nations, both in the political as well as the economic spheres. Unfortunately, the Muslim world has lagged behind discernibly in contributing to these scientific advancements. It is, therefore, imperative that we take collective cognizance of this situation and come out with innovative solutions to bridge this deficit. We need to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach for this purpose, where besides laying more emphasis on research and innovation per se, we also need to have a fresh look on the legal frameworks and institutional structures that are responsible for the promotion  of science, technology and innovation, in our respective countries.

Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates!

In this backdrop, the deliberations held in this Session of the General Assembly assume special significance.  It is, therefore satisfying to note that COMSTOCK has presented the 10 year Plan of Action, for the Development of Science and Technology in the member states, in this forum. I have been told that this Plan has been prepared in close consultation with eminent scientists from several member states. The Plan  envisages undertaking  collaborative efforts towards building Scientific and Technological capabilities in member states for meeting basic needs such as clean drinking water, health technologies, energy, agricultural productivity as well as some “big” science projects which are critical for the future advancement of Science and Technology in Member States. I congratulate COMSTECH on the preparation of this comprehensive document, which also includes a strategy for its implementation, through mutual collaboration amongst member states.

I am pleased to note that under the Ibne-Haitham Programme, named after the great Muslim scientist, whose pioneer work laid the foundations of modern optics, an endeavor is being made to increase the mobility of scientists between OIC member states, through offering  scholarships and research grants to young scientists, who wish to study in Centers of Excellence in OIC states. This programme is expected to build closer ties and better relationships between our people in general and the scientific community in particular and would lead to knowledge transfer and capacity building of less developed states. With a view to supplement this positive initiative by COMSTECH, I would like to announce here the award of 100 scholarships per year for students of least developed states for graduate studies in Pakistan in the fields of science, agriculture, engineering and medicine. Pakistan would further offer scholarships for training of technicians from  least developed OIC states in our training Institutes.

I would like to share with this august forum that currently we are planning to set up a Synchrotron facility for multidisciplinary research. In addition, we will be pleased to facilitate the establishment of a medium size astronomical telescope in Pakistan for common use of OIC scientists. It is my firm belief that the only way forward for us is to work together as a cohesive team and pool our intellectual and physical resources to build collective competence and capabilities in advanced fields of science and technology. We need to resolve to tap all available financial and human resources to execute the comprehensive 10 year S&T plan, formulated by COMSTECH, for the future progress and prosperity of our nations. This is a strategic imperative for our survival and progress.  I would avail this opportunity to re-iterate Pakistan’s commitment to support COMSTECH in coordinating the collective efforts of the Muslim Ummah to pursue this goal. This would also help us in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals agreed upon by member countries of the United Nations.

In the end I wish to thank all the delegates, especially those from abroad who have travelled to Islamabad to participate in the Conference to make valuable contributions. We are indeed grateful to all of you. Heartfelt facilitation to Federal Minister for Science & Technology, Secretary, Science & Technology and their team

I wish our honorable guests a safe journey back home and all the success in their future endeavours.

*****

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