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News Arab states sign ten-year science development plan

In a bid to narrow the science and technology divide between Arab states and industrialised nations, Arab leaders have approved a ten-year plan for scientific research and development. This plan was signed off at a two-day summit of the 22 member nations of the Arab League in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this week (28-29 March). It calls on Arab countries to spend 2.5 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on research and development over the next ten years. At present, Arab nations only spend 0.15 per cent of their collective GDP on research and development — well below the global average of 1.4 per cent. Arab states have also agreed that they should spend at least seven per cent of their GDP on education, including science and technology teaching programmes.

They plan to increase the peaceful use of nuclear energy by establishing national authorities to monitor the use of nuclear energy more transparently. To make sure that the plan is implemented, and to take stock of progress made, the secretary general of the League of Arab States will present a progress report at the 2008 Arab summit, due to be held in Syria.

The Tunisia-based Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization and other regional scientific organisations will also monitor and assess the plan's implementation.

Arab leaders agreed to make education and scientific research a permanent item at all future Arab summits.

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News type Inbrief
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Source of information SciDev.Net
Geographical coverage Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Lybia, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
News date 04/04/2007
Working language(s) ENGLISH