First Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Science and Technology
At the 13th Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which was held on April 14-15, 2016, in Istanbul (Turkey), President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, proposed to host a Summit on Science and Technology, the first in the history of the OIC.
This initiative was unanimously supported by all Summit participants and was included in the text of the Final Communiqué of the Istanbul Summit titled “Unity and Solidarity for Justice and Peace.”
Because of its unprecedented nature, the Astana Summit promises to be a historic event for the entire Islamic world and, as a result, will help to establish a framework to hold Science and Technology Summits on a regular basis. Indeed, this event will mark the beginning of a new process aimed at rethinking the historical role of the Muslim Ummah in the area of scientific and technological modernization of the world community and, as a practical step, it will be marked by an approval of the OIC Science, Technology and Innovation Agenda 2026.
Clear understanding of the necessity to completely reduce scientific and technological gaps between Muslim Ummah and developed countries, will also contribute to the earliest implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promote the principles of cooperation and solidarity among all OIC Member States.
It is this strategic vector of the development of the Islamic world that undoubtedly meets its long-term economic and political interests, and is reflected in the title of the Summit – “Science, Technology, Innovation and Modernization of the Islamic World.”
For its part, Kazakhstan, which has great scientific potential and successful experience of implementation of major national and international projects, intends to actively participate in this process and, together with other OIC partners, contribute to the achievement of Astana Summit’s decisions.
To date, approximately 20 presidents and heads of government of the OIC Member States and observers, as well as a number of leaders of international, regional organizations and development institutions, have confirmed their participation in the Summit.
On the first day of the Summit, September 10th, an inaugural and first working session is planned, during which heads of high-level foreign delegations and international organizations will deliver their statements. On the same day, all heads of delegations will visit the official closing ceremony of the EXPO-2017 International Specialized Exhibition themed “Future Energy.” More than 100 countries and 30 leading organizations are demonstrating their advanced technologies in the framework of EXPO 2017 in Astana. This exhibition has already become the starting-point for the development of fruitful cooperation in the field of green economy, transfer of advanced energy-saving technologies, as well as the introduction of alternative and renewable energy sources among the OIC Member States.
As host, the President of Kazakhstan will present to the Summit participants his vision of the current state of affairs in the Islamic world in the field of science and education, and will also propose a number of new interesting initiatives. Today, initiatives on Islamic rapprochement and Islamic Infrastructure Integration have successfully launched on the initiative of the Kazakh leader, with the active assistance from the OIC Member States, as well as personal support from the Secretary-General and other relevant OIC institutions. As a clear demonstration of its commitment to achieve the SDGs, Kazakhstan is finalizing the works on establishing a unique OIC institution – the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), headquartered in Astana. All these initiatives are aimed at promoting inclusive economic growth and regional integration among all OIC Member States in order to promptly address important social and economic goals, which, in turn, is impossible without proper development of education, science and know-how.
The second and final day of the Summit, on September 11, will be devoted solely to searching new methods and tools to develop science and cross-sector international cooperation, in order to strengthen the technological capacity of the OIC Member States.
As a result of the Summit, two main documents will be adopted: the Astana Declaration and the Outcome Document “OIC Science, Technology and Innovation Agenda 2026,” which are at the final stage of approval.
The Astana Declaration is a political document, the adoption of which will be a clear sign of determination of the OIC Member States to support science and technology as a priority, including in the framework of the OIC 2025: Programme of Action and the Outcome Document of the Astana Summit. The declaration will reflect the importance of developing and implementing initiatives and programs, as well as inferential research in the field of education, professional skills, basic and applied sciences, primarily aimed at resolving urgent social problems.
The draft Outcome Document, before its final approval at the Summit, will be finalized at a meeting of the OIC ministers in charge of science and technology, which will be held on September 9. All invitations addressed to the Ministers of the OIC Member States in charge of science, technology and innovations were distributed by the OIC General Secretariat during the 44th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, which was held on 10-11 July 2017, in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as through the Embassies of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the OIC Member States.
Ultimately, the Astana Summit will allow the leaders of the OIC Member States to present their specific proposals on further joint activities in the development of science, technology, and innovation at the national and regional levels. Meetings of leaders and ministers of the OIC on science and technology will help to bond the strengths of the Muslim world and identify the frameworks of their application in solving severe and, at the same time, similar problems within the OIC and other international platforms.