REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
THE RIGHT TO USE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNolOGY FOR DEVELOPMENT
TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO
28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999
The item on “the right of use of science and technology for development” was included in the agenda of the Nineteenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, which adopted Resolution No.37/19-P by which, it, inter alia, affirmed the inalienable right of the Islamic Ummah to develop and use science and technology to achieve development in the economic, cultural and social fields. It also condemned the policies and practices applied by a state or a group of states aimed at impeding the scientific and technological development of Islamic countries, as hostile acts incompatible with the legitimate right of all nations and peoples to enjoy an advanced, appropriate and satisfactory modern life in the interest of peace, security and stability in the world. It also invited the industrialized nations to facilitate the transfer of technology to the developing countries and to remove all impediments thereto. It also invited the Islamic States to strengthen within the framework of the Standing Committee of the OIC on Science and Technology their cooperation in the fields of science and technology and recommended that Islamic States consult each other on joint measures to be taken in respect of a state or group of states imposing restrictions on the transfer of technology to the developing States.
2. The Twenty-first Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers adopted Resolution No. 32/21-P on this subject and reaffirmed the inalienable right of the Islamic Ummah to develop, acquire and make use of science and technology in the social, economic and cultural fields. It emphasized that the member states should strengthen cooperation, among themselves, in the fields of science and technology within the framework of the Standing Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation. It also called upon the industrialized States to facilitate the transfer of technology to the developing countries, including the Islamic States, and to remove the restrictions hindering this process.
3. The Secretary General drew the attention of all OIC member states to the contents of the aforementioned resolution. The Secretary General also expressed the
view that inter-Islamic cooperation in the fields of science and technology promoted through the OIC institutional framework of the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) could be the basis for expanding the scientific and technological horizons of the OIC member states on the basis of collective self-reliance.
4. It may be recalled that in its various meetings, at different levels, the OIC has reiterated the right of the use of science and technology for development as an inherent right both of individuals and nations. The right of the use of science and technology for development is integral to the right to development and therefore a legal right of individuals and nations.
5. During recent years there has been an intensification of the political controls and restraint regimes with regard to the transfer, acquisition or development of the technological know how. Besides political factors, there are other obstacles which the developing countries face in their efforts to develop their respective scientific and technological base. These are in the form of commercial constraints; intellectual property rights; and endogenous constraints pertaining to inadequate scientific and technological infrastructure and other factors.
6. It is to be hoped that the international community will be able to resolve the complex issues pertaining to the exercise of the inalienable right of all states to use science and technology for development. These issues could only be resolved by inculcating an enlightened approach towards mankind’s problems based on the imperatives of global inter-dependence both in the realms of security and development. Peace and security are indivisible. Just and durable peace can only be consolidated on the basis of scrupulous respect for and adherence to international law. Resolution of conflicts and disputes, and relaxation of international tensions are essential to this endeavour.
7. The Eighth Islamic Summit Conference held in Tehran in December 1997 reaffirmed all the resolutions adopted in this regard by the Islamic Confereneces. In resolution 35/8-P (IS) and the 25th Session of the ICFM held in Doha, State of Qatar in March 1998 in Resolution 36/25-P, reaffirmed the inalienable right of the Islamic Ummah to develop, acquire and use scientific and technological means in order to ensure its development in the social, economic and cultural fields, and to reject all the policies and measures aimed at hampering its technological progress for peaceful purposes in the Islamic States. It called upon the industrialized States to facilitate the transfer of technology to developing countries, in particular the Islamic States. It urged the Member States to strengthen cooperation among themselves in the field of science and technology for peaceful purposes. It recommended that Member States consult each other on measures which could be adopted with regard to any State or group of States restricting the transfer of technology to developing countries for a meeting to be convened in this regard.
8. It is essential to hold consultations on appropriate measures to be adopted with regard to the restrictions imposed on the transfer of technology to developing countries. The General Secretariat will collect proposals to be made by Member States on the subject pending consideration of the possibility of holding a meeting to deal with the problem of such restrictions on the transfer of technology to developing countries.
9. It is important that the Member States, while acquiring their scientific and technological potential, so vital for development, also implement at the international level policies of control, safety and security indispensable for preventing the risks of utilizing science and technology for non-peaceful purposes.
10. The Secretary General is of the view that it is important that the Islamic States should proceed to develop their collective scientific and technological potential based on the premise that collective self reliance in this most crucial sector is indispensable for the progress of the Islamic Ummah. Indeed, collective self reliance and the right of the use of science and technology for development are the essential parameters for promoting inter-Islamic cooperation in this field.
11. The Secretary General presents this Report to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers for consideration and appropriate decision.