Organisation of Islamic Co-operation approves Abu Dhabi Declaration to promote science

The summit pledged to encourage innovation, develop local industries in pharmaceuticals and support STEM education in schools

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - April 19, 2021: HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, attends in an online lecture titled “Spirit of a Nation: Community of Many Faiths”, during the online series of Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed. 

( Hamad Al Kaabi  / Ministry of Presidential Affairs )
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Member states of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) approved the Abu Dhabi Declaration – a mission statement affirming their commitment to adopt all necessary measures to create an environment conducive to achieving progress in science, technology and innovation.

Leaders of the OIC committed to "enhance and develop science and technology, revive the leading role of Islam globally, and ensure sustainable development, progress and prosperity across the member states", the entity said in a statement, during the Second Organisation of Islamic Co-operation Summit on Science and Technology on Wednesday.

OIC members also agreed that achieving progress in science and technology could help overcome challenges such as poverty and climate change, while fostering growth in under-developed economies.

"We look forward to building on the achievements of the first summit and to proceed together in developing a road map for the most important initiatives and future projects to achieve the goals of the 10-year plan. It is not enough to define goals and develop action plans, but we have to motivate our peoples to lead the innovation process," Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, said.

The UAE, which takes over the presidency of the summit from Kazakhstan, has been a frontrunner in achieving scientific milestones. The Emirates became the first Arab country to send a spacecraft into the orbit of Mars, earlier this year. It also became the first country in the region to use nuclear energy to generate 25 per cent of its power needs, through its Barakah plant.

As part of the Abu Dhabi Declaration, the leaders pledged to encourage innovation, develop local industries in pharmaceuticals and vaccines and adopt preventive measures and treatments for infectious and non-infectious diseases, in line with international laws and standards.

The document also touched on the importance of science and technology to open up more opportunities for younger generation. It discussed the importance of increasing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at primary, secondary and university levels, and how such a move could help advance science in these countries.

Members committed to support agriculture, rural development and food security among OIC member states, in an effort to increase solidarity among the states and eliminate poverty.

The Abu Dhabi Declaration also urged members to exchange knowledge, expertise and technology in energy, while bolstering local support for research and development activities in power technologies to improve access to energy.

In addition, the summit urged members to strengthen infrastructure and expertise in the fields of biotechnology and nanotechnology, which can provide solutions in medicine, pharmacy, agriculture and other fields.

The declaration highlighted the importance of digital policies. It urged countries to support the Fourth Industrial Revolution and emphasised the importance of digital transformation.

"In the past two years, during the pandemic and what it has caused, the world has witnessed an unprecedented transformation," said Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology.

"Without technology, we would not have been able to continue our lives normally. We all hope that we will see better co-operation and integration in scientific and technological fields among the organisation's 57 members, and that the Muslim world will become more developed and sustainable," she said.