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COMSTECH SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COUNCIL (COMSTECH-SAC)

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Brief Introduction of COMSTECH

Founded in 1981, COMSTECH is the OIC Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation and is based in Islamabad (Pakistan). It is the leading inter-governmental OIC organization responsible for science and technology in the OIC member countries. The General Assembly of COMSTECH meets biannually in Islamabad at the level of OIC Ministers responsible for S&T. COMSTECH works to strengthen cooperation among the OIC member states in science, technology and innovation (STI), and enhance their capacities in STI, as well as cultivate a culture of science appreciation in OIC societies. Part of COMSTECH’s role is to create an effective institutional structure for planning, research, development  and monitoring of scientific and technological activities at national, regional, and international levels; principally laying the foundation for COMSTECH-SAC and its perceived function.

Need for COMSTECH- SAC

The current global COVID-19 pandemic has been described as a ‘once in a hundred years emergency;’ an emergency that has highlighted the critical value of effective and integrated science advice mechanisms at all levels of the government, and in all countries. Managing the current acute response and the recovery, nationally and globally, will continue to require a range of evidence from the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities for the next few years at least.

Needless to say, the above narrative is equally applicable to many chronic and regularly emerging quandaries; quantitative and qualitative in nature, that afflict the efficacy of the science, technology and innovation (STI) ecosystems in OIC countries, and indeed their capacity to harness the power of STI for socioeconomic progress and economic well-being.  Such obstacles include, inter alia, lack of comprehensive Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies, and strategies emanating therefrom, the dearth or inadequacy of resources, infrastructure and institutions, gender imbalance in Science and Technology, shortage of trained personnel, prohibitive costs of acquiring knowledge and technology, and barriers to the transfer of knowledge, personnel and technologies from developed countries.

Executive Summary

COMSTECH aims to strengthen cooperation among the OIC Member States in science, technology and innovation (STI), and enhance their individual and collective capacities in STI, as well as cultivate a culture of science appreciation in all echelons of the OIC societies. In short, COMSTECH essentially works to harness the power of STI for socioeconomic progress, and economic well-being.

The COMSTECH Scientific Advisory Council (COMSTECH-SAC) 2020, is launched along the following guidelines

Vision

COMSTECH-SAC’s aims to become a forum for STI policy advisors and STI practitioners to share experience, build capacities, and primarily develop approaches to the use of scientific evidence in informing policy at all levels of government, primarily in OIC countries.

Mission

The COMSTECH-SAC shall be an advisory group of leading experts, nominated and invited by the Coordinator General COMSTECH to:

  1. Upon the request of OIC member states, and the directive of the Coordinator General COMSTECH, assist OIC member countries to build up their science advisory capacity and develop appropriate science advisory mechanisms to complement their own national needs.
  2. Propose a model STI advisory mechanism that COMSTECH can develop and promote and can be adapted by the OIC member countries.
  3. Upon the request of OIC member countries, and the directive of the Coordinator General COMSTECH, offer advice and evidence-based counsel to member states of the OIC and OIC organizations on STI policies and activities.
  4. Undertake reviews and consultations on national STI policies and strategies in OIC member countries.
  5. Organize outreach meetings to share experiences and best practices in the domain of science advice to governments, policy-makers and other stakeholders, in cooperation with similar networks from around the world.

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