Freelance journalist, SciDev.Net
Muslim countries need urgent help from the EU and its scientific community if they are to meet some of their most pressing challenges.
This was the direct plea made to the concluding session of the EU Science conference by Javid Laghari, Coordinator General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH).
Despite the 57 member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) possessing 70 per cent of the world’s energy resources and a fifth of its natural resources, 40 per cent of the population still lives below the poverty line, he says.
This situation will only be possible to improve if these countries can solve their problems of food security, health, energy and climate change, he adds.
But they lack the research and technological capacity to do it alone, and thus the political and scientific support of the EU is vital, he says.
“I am here to reach out to the European community to ask for help to build out capacity in science and technology for social and economic development.”
“We need cooperation and collaboration to boost our capacity in crucial areas.”
Speaking to SciDev.Net on the sidelines, Laghari said that the real problem was not the scientific community, as lots of individual partnerships already exist.
It was the EU which needed to begin showing political leadership, if research collaboration was to have the necessary impact in OIC countries, he added.
Political willpower was the only hurdle standing in the way of fruitful collaboration, he believed.
He was hopeful that the new Horizon 2020 funding framework could help to galvanise the EU support for capacity building in OIC countries, and urged the whole scientific and political community to get behind it.
This blog post is part of SciDev.Net’s coverage of EU Science: Global Challenges & Global Collaboration which takes place 4-8 March 2013, in Brussels, Belgium. To read further news and analysis please visit our website.