Abu Dhabi Declaration Of The 2Nd Oic Summit On Science And Technology “Science, Technology And Innovation: Opening New Horizons”

Abu Dhabi Declaration Of The 2Nd Oic Summit On Science And Technology “Science, Technology And Innovation: Opening New Horizons”

Abu Dhabi (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th April, 2021)

1. We the Kings, Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation gathered virtually under the chairmanship of Government of United Arab Emirates on 16 June 2021 corresponding to 6 Dhu al-Qi'dah 1442 for the Second OIC Summit on Science & Technology to review the implementation of OIC STI Agenda 2026 and reaffirm our commitment to take all necessary steps and reforms for creating an enabling environment for the advancement of science, technology and innovation in the OIC Member States.

2. We acknowledge the efforts made by the leadership of the Republic of Kazakhstan in its capacity as Chairman of the First OIC Summit on Science & Technology for increasing Islamic Solidarity and cooperation in various fields, particularly for the scientific and technological progress of the OIC Member States.

3. We also appreciate the leadership of H.E. Arif Alvi the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Chairman of COMSTECH for promoting intra–OIC scientific and technological cooperation , coordinating the efforts of Member States and relevant OIC institutions for the implementation of OIC STI Agenda 2026 and advancement of science, technology and innovation in the Member States, especially the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

4. We reaffirm our commitment to the principles and objectives enshrined in the OIC Charter, particularly to enhance and develop science and technology and to work for revitalizing Islam’s pioneering role in the world while ensuring sustainable development, progress and prosperity for the peoples of Member States.

5. We recognize the centrality of the OIC as a platform to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation between its Member States in the fields of science & technology, innovation, health, education, environment, employment, women empowerment and other areas.

6. We are aware that knowledge and critical thinking of which science, technology and innovation are the most visible symbols, are the principle drivers of change, not just in terms of accelerating the pace of economic development, improving productivity and competitiveness, but in all human endeavors, which includes creating change and managing the tools for change.

7. We acknowledge that promotion of science, technology and innovation is crucial for addressing the contemporary challenges of development, poverty eradication, environment, education for all, climate change, human health, and energy and water resources.

8. We recognize that technological transformation holds the key to the accelerated growth and development of the Member States, particularly least developed countries, which shall strengthen their capabilities in the field of science, technology and innovation by creating enabling policy environments that inter-alia include regulatory and governance frameworks, incentives for all stakeholders, and rules for balanced and effective intellectual property rights protection.

9. We recognize the importance of increasing intra-OIC as well as regional and international links to strengthen institutional capacity and human resource development in the Member States through targeted capacity-building and financial assistance so that the Member States can benefit from the technological advances and subsequently create, comprehend, adapt and use science, technology and innovation for the sustainable development of their people.

10. We recognize that technology transfer and development of indigenous technological capabilities are important for the Member States, particularly least developed countries, to develop national and regional innovation ecosystems. We call on COMSTECH in collaboration with General Secretariat and other international partners to develop a comprehensive roadmap for establishing Technology Transfer Mechanisms amongst the OIC Member States.

11. We support the proposal of Government of Kazakhstan to hold in 2022 the first session of the Senior Officials Committee and the meeting of the ministers of the “OIC-15 Group” responsible for education, science, and technology, and entrust the OIC General Secretariat and COMSTECH to start preparatory work in coordination with the concerned OIC Member States.

12. We note that the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of global cooperation to ensure that the world community adopt solutions, which are based on scientific evidence when dealing with other complex global issues such as health emergencies and climate change. We agree to promote Open Science policies and open innovation as a new innovative resource to strengthen the science-policy interface to support informed decision-making processes at national, regional, and OIC levels.

13. We appreciate the role of the UN Technology Bank for the LDCs, established by the UN General Assembly Resolution 71/251 in facilitating access to and implementation of digital technologies, as well as in assisting the digital transformation of LDCs in their sustainable development; and also recognize the important role to be played by the Bank in narrowing the digital gap between LDCs and developed countries; We invite Member States to provide voluntary financial contributions and technical assistance to ensure its full and effective implementation, and to support, in a coordinated manner, the activities of the Technology Bank, while respecting the relevant provisions of the intellectual property rights-related agreements.

14. We commend the OIC Member States for their proactive and timely actions to prevent the spread of the pandemic and their initiatives to respond to the situation and address the effects of the crisis in the health, economic, education, financial, social, and humanitarian fields. We also hail the efforts of all frontline health workers and others striving to render essential services to the people. We encourage the Member States to provide the necessary facilities to the health workers enabling them to perform their duties diligently. The Member States stress the need to use the lessons learned during the Covid-19 pandemic for future cooperation between research, development, and innovation institutions at the national, regional, and international level in the areas of common interest during any future global pandemics. In this regard, The Member States further assert the need to consider the final communiques of the virtual emergency meetings of the OIC Executive Committee held at the level of Foreign Ministers as well as OIC Women’s Advisory Council to discuss the impact of Covid-19 for adopting a joint response.

15. We appreciate the support extended by Member States and relevant OIC institutions to the most vulnerable countries including OIC Least Developed Countries (LDCs) either bilaterally or through generous contribution to the existing international initiatives and urge them to continue their support aimed at enabling all countries to have unhindered, timely access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable diagnosis, screening, preventive, therapeutics and vaccines, and essential health technologies, as well as equipment, for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

16. We note that in the context of the ongoing pandemic, it is important for Member States to work together to reduce intellectual property related barriers to timely access to affordable medical products including vaccines and medicines.

17. We acknowledge that sharing of real-time information and knowledge will lead to improved strategies and actions for preventing, responding and controlling future health emergencies, and pandemics. We further acknowledge the need for establishing an effective information-sharing, and capacity building platform for improving collective OIC response to public health emergencies and threats.

18. We call on the General Secretariat to coordinate with Member States, relevant OIC institutions and international partners to put in place necessary arrangements for the operationalization and upgrading of the OIC Health Portal to establish an institutional mechanism consisting of national experts and policy makers in the relevant fields with an aim to strengthen the capacities and preparedness of public health institutions of the Member States to better forecast, detect, prevent and control health emergencies as well as to share best practices in detecting the virus, containing the number of infections, treating infected people and researching on the disease .

19. We note, with concern, that some OIC Member States have insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical industry and medical devices; and local industry covers a small fraction of domestic demand of pharmaceutical and medical devices, thus making them to rely heavily on imports. We see promising development in the vaccine research studies carried out by the OIC Member States against the Covid-19 and appreciate the progress they have achieved. We hope that these vaccine research studies will be in the common interest of all Member States and humanity. We also believe that these studies will expand the areas of cooperation among relevant scientific and health sectors to increase the capacities of the Member States in coping with COVID-19 and future pandemics.

20. We encourage innovation and the development of domestic industries in the area of medicines and vaccines, as well as preventive measures and treatments for the communicable and non-communicable diseases, consistent with applicable international laws and standards while ensuring commitment to the ethics and integrity of scientific research, especially during pandemics. To this end, we call on General Secretariat in collaboration with the Member States, relevant OIC institutions and international partners to work for strengthening technical cooperation and capacity building programs in the production, supply and effective regulation of Vaccine and Medicines, and Medical Devices to support better health and welfare of our people.

21. We recognize that effective national medicine policies, and their implementation under good governance are essential to ensure access to affordable, safe, effective, and quality-assured essential medicines. To this end, we encourage further strengthening ongoing cooperation amongst the OIC National Medicine Regulatory Authorities to build their regulatory capacities.

22. We note, with concern, that despite eradication of many infectious diseases, the world, including a significant number of OIC Member States, still faces rise in pathogenic resistance to antimicrobial drugs and the threat from newly emerging or mutating pathogens. We urge Member States to participate in the development of new methods of treatment based on basic research into the origin of antibiotic resistance and applied research devoted to developing new antibiotics.

23. We further call on Member States to ensure continued support to strengthen the health system in all relevant aspects, in accordance with the OIC Strategic Health Programme of Action (SHPA) 2014-2023 by putting particular emphasis on health emergencies, communicable, non-communicable and neglected tropical diseases, mental health, and mother, new born and child health to promote improved nutrition for women and children. To this end we recognize the importance of increased domestic financing and development assistance to achieve universal health coverage;

24. We note with concern the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the education systems in the Member States that has not only reduced the educational opportunities for many of the children and youth, but also put additional burden on the Member States to meet financial and organizational costs for reopening the educational institutions safely and effectively. We encourage Member States to allocate additional resources to ensure the continuity of the education as well as the wellbeing of the students by investing in making the infrastructure in line with public health protocols.

25. We acknowledge the importance of universal access to education up to the secondary level and the need for modernizing and investing in the development of skills and vocational training for the youth to meet market demands as well as to provide decent employment opportunities to them. To this end, we reiterate our call to the OIC member States to provide all possible support for the effective implementation of OIC Technical and Vocational Education and Training (OIC- TVET) and other similar programmes, which aim to increase intra-OIC cooperation for developing the professional skills of the labour force of OIC Member States.

26. We are determined to scale up investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels and to ensure that it is accessible for all, particularly to the women and girls.

27. We are determined to promote networking and linkages within OIC and with leading world universities for joint multi-stakeholder research partnerships and sharing of knowledge by mobilizing existing scientific and research development resources, facilities and equipment of the Member States. To this end, we appreciate the efforts of the General Secretariat and COMSTECH to identify leading institutions and scientists of the Member States and to map their science publication profiles. We call upon COMSTECH to establish links among these with the goal of promoting exchange of knowledge and expertise among these institutions.

28. We emphasize the importance of promoting intra-OIC collaboration and partnerships for further increasing academic interaction and exchange of knowledge among the academic institutions through provision of scholarships, exchange of students, faculty and researchers. To this end, we encourage Member States to allocate more scholarships for the students of other Member States, particularly Least Developed countries, enabling them to pursue their education. We also emphasize the need for establishing a platform for sharing information to facilitate accreditation, recognition and equivalence of educational qualifications, which is an important pre-requisite for facilitating the mobility of students among the Member States.

29. We emphasize that cross-border labour mobility and recognition of skills among the OIC Member States are important instruments for creating an enabling environment that can contribute to the transfer of knowledge, nurturing of science, innovation and dissemination of technologies at all levels, increased economic productivity and employment creation. To this end, we encourage Member states to conclude bilateral agreements in accordance with national priorities, local market needs and skill supply based on relevant OIC framework agreements such as OIC Agreement on Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) of Skilled Workforce ; OIC Standard Bilateral Agreement on Exchange of Manpower ; and OIC Labour Market Strategy.

30. We are determined to promote sustainable agriculture, rural development and food security in OIC Member States by encouraging the use of science, technology and innovation for addressing challenges such as inadequate agricultural mechanization; water scarcity and lack of modern irrigation systems; climate change and consequent drought, flood, sand and dust storms, soil erosion and land degradation. To this end, we call for increased public and private investments in the development of new farming techniques and use of advanced information technology to share recent innovations in agriculture and food supply chain management. Special focus will also be made on strengthening of Plant biotechnology and Biodiversity by developing new seeds for food and cash crops varieties that are salt tolerant and drought and flood resistant.

31. We encourage Member States to increase intra-OIC cooperation on the conservation, management and sharing of plant and animal genetic resources for food and agriculture, including the establishment and operationalization of national and regional gene banks. To this end, we commend the efforts of COMSTECH for forging multinational cooperation on varietal development, preservation and integration into the seed system. We also commend the outcome of the Workshop on Development of National Gene Banks in OIC Member States, organized by Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), under the chairmanship of the Government of the United Arab Emirates in July 2020.

32. We emphasize the need for an efficient and integrated food safety management system, disease control and prevention as well as addressing the challenges of food contamination and antibiotic resistance to food-borne microbes. We appreciate the on-going collaboration within the OIC towards implementing the OIC Halal Food Standardization, accreditation and certification regime and also acknowledge the efforts of SMIIC in this regard, and Call on all relevant OIC institutions in the health, trade and food security sectors to concert efforts towards promoting safe, sustainable and healthy food systems in an era of accelerated climate change.

33. We stress the importance of enhancing the activities of the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) through the development of new projects, as well as the practical implementation of the already approved plans and projects of this Organization. We encourage the IsDB and the OIC Member States to explore the possibility of providing the necessary financial and technical support for IOFS projects.

34. We recognize that efficient water-use, better water infrastructure, access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation services is important for improving the living standards, human health and social wellbeing of all. To this end, we underscore the significance of creating partnerships at the national, regional and global levels, as appropriate, among the OIC Member Stets, other stakeholders from the public and private sectors, members of civil society and academia for the implementation of the OIC Water Vision. We stressed the need for collaborative research, knowledge and experience sharing, expeditious expansion and popularization of modern technologies and institutional capacity development to address water–related challenges in the OIC Member States.

35. We acknowledge the importance of providing reliable and sustainable supply of clean and affordable energy as a precondition for combating poverty, and ensuring food security, provision of clean water and sanitation, health, education, and overall economic development. We reaffirm the need to develop an OIC cooperation framework in the field of energy with a view to facilitating the exchange of information, sharing know-how, technology, and best practices among OIC Member States with regard to developing and utilizing different energy resources. To this end, we request the Secretary General to consider the possibility of organizing a ministerial level forum to discuss intra-OIC cooperation in the field of energy.

36. We encourage the Member States to increase national support for research, innovation and development activities in energy efficiency and technologies, including renewable energy, hydrogen and other enabling technologies, and bring together government, academia, private sector and civil society to take part in these activities from basic research to implementation and commercialization.

37. We recognize the vulnerabilities of many Member States to the impact of climate change. Thus, we encourage Member States to engage in the R&D of clean technologies, which can reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. We also encourage the use of clean technologies across all sectors to protect the environment.

38. We encourage Member States to take necessary steps for the creation, development and diffusion of new technologies by strengthening information and communication technology infrastructure, building human resource capacity for the new skills and increasing affordable access to the Internet and digital connectivity within our countries as well as with other countries. In addition, we recommend that Member States cooperate on setting standards for Advanced Technologies and 4IR technologies to optimize supply chain processes, reduce digital barriers and improve efficiency and productivity to facilitate trade.

39. We are determined to strengthen infrastructure and human resources in biotechnology and nano-technology, which can provide relevant solutions in medicine, pharmaceuticals, livestock, environment, agriculture and other related areas. We encourage Member States to establish National and Regional centers in Biotechnology and nano-technology including modern plant and animal research facilities with requisite bio-safety and containment facilities, and preclinical and clinical translational research facilities.

40. We encourage all Member States to form national digitalization policies and roadmaps, and to develop support programmes and initiatives within the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). We emphasize the importance of digital transformation by using the smart systems, including digital integrations, IoT, automation, robotic technologies, cyber security, big data, and acting in close cooperation in these fields as OIC Member States. We also are aware of the importance of urging Member States for a circular economy and increasing the capabilities and innovation capacities of our economies to be ready for an inevitable, so-called twin (green and digital) transition in Fourth Industrial Revolution era.

41. We encourage Member States to put in place regulatory framework, and policies to attract and support private investment and innovation for the development of digital ecosystems. We also recommend that Member States to co-operate on setting standards for 4IR and associated advanced technologies to allow rapid adoption and productivity gains by improving efficiency, and optimizing supply chain processes to facilitate trade.

42. We are aware of the opportunities and challenges presented by the new and emerging technological changes to the Member States, in particular to the Least Developed countries. We encourage COMSTECH in collaboration with other relevant OIC institutions and international partners to explore ways and means of conducting regular technology assessment, measurement and foresight exercises to analyze and evaluate their development potential and mitigate possible negative effects and risks for the Member States.

43. We welcome the participation of the Member States in EXPO 2020 Dubai , to be held in 2021, under the theme of “Connecting minds: Creating the Future”, the first World EXPO to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. We encourage participation of all Member States to leverage EXPO 2020 Dubai’s unique platform as the world’s most impactful global incubator of new ideas and technologies to build partnerships and drive advancements, leaving behind a strong social and economic legacy.

44. We note with satisfaction that Member States have made good progress and achievements in various priority areas of OIC STI Agenda 2026, particularly in the domains of scientific research and innovation as the numbers of scientific publications and articles, highly cited researchers, number of patents from the Member States have demonstrated significant increases. At the same time, we are concerned that progress is slow in many areas.

45. We resolve to further intensify our efforts to fulfil the goals and targets of the OIC STI Agenda 2026 through a series of focused initiatives and programs to be proposed by COMSTECH in coordination with General Secretariat and other relevant OIC institutions. To this end, we call upon the Member States who have the resources, to consider providing necessary financial and technical support to COMSTECH and General Secretariat to carry out these initiatives.

46. We acknowledge the important role of public and private funding, including venture capital funding, in research and technological development. We encourage all Member States to increase budgetary allocations for the advancement of science and technologies and set-up innovation funds at national level to support large, medium and small sized innovative enterprises in the priority areas particularly during research, development, demonstration and operational phases.

47. We appreciate the role of General Secretariat, COMSTECH and other relevant OIC institutions in the coordination and implementation of the OIC STI Agenda 2026 and call upon COMSTECH to organize high level review meeting involving member states and all relevant OIC institutions and organs with a view to assess the progress made in carrying out the programs and activities towards the realization of the approved goals and objectives of OIC STI Agenda 2026.

48. We congratulate the Government of United Arab Emirates for assuming the chairmanship of 2nd OIC Summit on Science and Technology and convey our thanks and gratitude for holding the OIC Summit virtually for the first time.