Science academies in member states of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) have agreed to establish a formal network to provide each other with mutual support and to discuss the scientific aspects of problems of common concern.
The decision to establish the network was taken at a two-day meeting held in Islamabad, Pakistan, earlier this week, organised with the support of the Third World Academy of Sciences, and attended by the presidents of science academies of OIC countries.
Organisations from 15 nations — including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Tajikistan and Uganda — as well as the Arab Academy of Sciences and the Islamic Academy of Sciences, have already signed up to join the initiative, to be known as the Network of Academies of Sciences in OIC Countries (NASIC).
It supporters argue that the network could help to build a unified approach to capacity building in science and technology within OIC member states.
The first president of NASIC will be Atta-ur-Rahman, who is Pakistan's federal minister of science and technology, and the coordinator-general of COMSTECH, the OIC's standing committee on scientific and technological cooperation.
COMSTECH will provide the organisation's secretariat, which will be located at the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. The Academy's secretary-general, Khalid Mahmood Khan, has been appointed secretary-general of NASIC
NASIC is intended to be an autonomous, non-governmental, non-political and non-profit organisation. Its tasks will include developing scientific research collaborations between members of the network; promoting cooperation between academies in OIC countries; assisting in building the capacities of academies in OIC countries to improve their role as independent expert advisors to governments; and assisting science communities in OIC countries to set up national independent academies where such bodies do not exist.
In pursuing its objectives, it was also agreed that NASIC should collaborate with other academies both inside and outside the OIC, as well as with regional and international organisations concerned with problems in OIC countries.
The Islamabad meeting appointed four vice-presidents of NASIC: Murat Zhurinov, president of the National Academy of Sciences, Republic of Kazakhstan; Adnan Badran, president of the Arab Academy of Sciences, Jordan; Salleh Mohd Nor, vice-president of the Academy of Science, Malaysia; and G. Ogunmola, president of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences.