Establish a “Waqf Fund to support Innovation in S&T Agriculture, Water and Food Security priorities in the OIC”
The OIC summit on S&T will be soon, where heads of state and their respective representative ministers of S&T of OIC member countries will meet. The Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH), the technical arm of OIC recently organized strategic planning sessions in Agriculture, Water and Food Security (AWFS) in December 2014. The core objective is to discuss and finalize focused proposals for the Summit, which will enhance the collective capabilities of the state members of the OIC.
The thematic areas included are:
- Agriculture, Water and Food Security, with emphasis on multi discipline research.
- Identification of nodes of excellence in AWF in the OIC.
- Collective competence and transfer of knowledge.
- Improvements in education content and methodologies to create the necessary critical mass.
- Examine the role of computation and modeling in agricultural sciences.
- Establish a research fund for supporting innovation in AWFS.
- Creation of an Islamic Network in AWFS.
The concept of Waqf in Islam has evolved over centuries, providing a much needed resource in the development of societies in the Ummah.
The doctrine of Waqf which is “interwoven with the entire religious life and social economy” of Muslim individuals and governments has laid down the foundations of one of the most important institutions of the community. Considering their number and resources, [a] Waqf can become a strong instrument not only for the preservation of religious and charitable institutions, but also for [the] educational, science and technology and economic development. Waqf constitute a national sustainable funding mechanism for OIC, and can replace OIC Summit Resolutions that call for sporadic cash donations.
The OIC countries face key challenges in water, energy and food security. This is exacerbated by climate change and energy dependence in spite of the potential for solar and wind power. Innovation in appropriate technologies underlying water, energy and food is the cornerstone for prosperity and sustainability of the Ummah.
In order to unlock the human potential for individuals in the Ummah, OIC countries need to invest in STI as a strategic objective. This requires developing a new contract between science and society for sustainability. Under the contract, the S&T community would devote an increasing fraction of its overall efforts to R&D agendas reflecting socially determined goals of sustainable development.
The OIC countries need a compelling and transformative vision that creates linkages between science and society. Circulation of the Muslim human capital in diaspora and linking R&D and patency providers with investors worldwide can help establish a critical mass of a science community to address national and regional needs of this generation, it is a priority to strengthen programs for innovation and STI training for young scientists from the Islamic world in interdisciplinary research and assessment approaches central to harnessing science and technology for sustainability.
The responsibility of future generations and peaceful contributions to human civilization lies in the hands of wise men and women in any society. The Ummah is now standing at cross roads, waiting generations for decisive commitments by leadership to the upcoming challenges.