December 06, 2012
Dec. 6 – On October 18 and 19, 2012, representatives from all over North, Central and South America met at the premises of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C. for the Seventh Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology (COMCYT). In total, Ministers and High-Level Authorities of 20 countries participated in the event as well as representatives from more then 30 international organizations, civil associations, research centers, universities and private sector firms.
The COMCYT Meeting is an annual event which main purpose is to report on activities carried out by the 34 OAS Member States to promote Science, Technology and Innovation in the Hemisphere. Its main function is to foster partnerships and encourage the design and implementation of regional policies related to scientific development, technology transfer and engineering education, among other topics.
During this Seventh COMCYT Meeting more specifically, representatives of the Member States followed-up on their compliance with the mandates described in the Plan of Action of Panama 2012-2016 – a key document adopted during the Third Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of Science and Technology, held in Panama City in November 2011. Through it, the countries committed to work together to achieve a series of goals in the areas of innovation, human resources training, national quality infrastructure and technological development in order to enhance the competitiveness of the region and promote the well-being of the citizens of the Americas.
The Seventh COMCYT Meeting was presided by Dr. Rubén Berrocal, National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation of Panama and Chair of the COMCYT for the 2011-2013 period. Welcome remarks were given by Mr. Jorge Saggiante, Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS; Dr. Maryse Robert; Director of the Department of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism of the OAS and Mr. Jorge Duran, Chief of the Office of Science, Technology and Innovation and of the OAS.
Among the most notable keynote speakers of the Meeting figured Dr. Gisella Orjeda, President of the National Council of Science, Technology and Innovation of Peru; Dr. Josué Fumero, Director of Innovation and Technology Transfer at the Ministry of Science and Technology of Costa Rica; Dr. Luis Mier y Terán, Deputy Director of Planning and International Cooperation for the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico; Dr. Luis Alberto Dávalos Dávalos, President of the National Council of Science and Technology of Paraguay; The Honorable Ligia Amada Melo de Cardona, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology of Dominican Republic and Dr. Catherine Woteki, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Several OAS-ARTCA members and partners were also invited to present at the Meeting, such as Dr. Scott Poole, Director of the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Science (I-CHASS) of the University of Illinois who introduced the countries to the Market Maker Project – a mapping software aimed a connecting Small and Medium Enterprises in the field of Agriculture to buyers and consumers to encourage local businesses and promote economic growth. Mr. Danny Powell, Executive Director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) also presented at the COMCYT meeting, on the MAEviz project – seismic detection software currently developed by NCSA and looking forward to be implemented in Central America.
Dr. Kevin Franklin, Executive Director of I-CHASS, expressed his content with OAS-ARTCA’s representation at the Meeting: “our participation in the COMCYT Meeting represents another mile-stone moment in OAS-ARTCA’s efforts to build Hemispheric Research Collaborations.”
Overall, the Meeting lead to the following conclusions:
Mr. Jorge Duran, Chief of the Office of Science, Technology and Innovation of the OAS underlined the importance of the results of the Meeting: “The concrete proposals adopted during this COMCYT Meeting demonstrate that the Member States have fully recognized the strategic contribution of the field of science, technology and innovation for the social and economic development of the Region. This Meeting also showed increased Inter-American collaboration to promote the use of science and technology to increase competitiveness in the Region.”
The next Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology will take place on November 14 and 15, 2013, at the OAS headquarters in Washington D.C.
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