The Ninth Meeting of the IORA RCSTT Advisory Council
Tehran, I.R. Iran
Ministry of Science, Research and Technology
H.E. Mr. Paul Foley,
the Ambassador of Australia in the Islamic Republic of Iran and new President of IORA RCSTT Advisory Council,
H.E. Mr. Arshadi
Director General, Multilateral Economic Cooperation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Salar Amoli
Acting Minister of the International Cooperation
Ministry of Science, Research and Technology
Dr. M. Molanejad
Director of the IORA RCSTT
The official members of IORA RCSTT's Advisory Council:
I. The meeting opened with the welcome speech of Mr. Foley, Ambassador of Australia in I.R. Iran and the President of the IORA RCSTT's Advisory Council. Before starting the Meeting, H. E. Mr. Foley expressed his sincere sorrow on the passing away of Mr. Ismaeel Afshari, Director, Multilateral Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and requested all the attendees to observe one minute silence in memory of him.
Then he continued with extending welcome to all and thanking the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology for hosting the Meeting and appreciated the job that IORA RCSTT has already done.
Next he turned to the status of Australia as the Chair of IORA COM Meetings in the second year of chairmanship. He emphasized on the significance of priorities of IORA and Australia’s commitment to cling to them especially maritime security and related technologies, blue economy, ocean science and referred to a few important measures and programmes involved in women’s economic empowerment. He described IORA association as a great organization which is growing fast and will be able play a great role in the region.
Closing his remarks, he invited H.E. Mr. Hamidreza Arshadi Deputy Director General for Multilateral Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to present his lecture.
II. The major points in Mr. Arshadi's speech are briefly as follows:
• Welcoming to the ambassadors and representatives of Missions of IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners to the Meeting;
• Appreciating Australia as the Chair of IORA Council of Ministers and the same felicitation to H.E. Mr. Foley, Ambassador of Australia in I.R. Iran to for his constant efforts for enhancing the objectives of IORA RCSTT as the President of the Centre’s Advisory Council;
• Emphasizing that the Islamic Republic of Iran attaches great importance to enhancement of regional cooperation in the framework of Indian Ocean Rim Association and believes that the 6 priority areas designated by IORA Council of Ministers, reflects proportionate concerns and interests of member states of Association;
• Stating that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the host of IORA RCSTT and according to its commitments before IORA with regard to IORA RCSTT has assisted it on a sound and sustainable basis, in order to enable it becomes a global centre of excellence in science and technology transfer.
• Congratulating IORA RCSTT, especially Dr. Molanejad for his dedication, proficiency and technical approach towards the issues related to its mandate. RCSTT acts as a science and technology tool of Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation.
• Assuming extra credit to some of the activities of the Centre such as the new areas for institutional activities of the Centre, notably Medicinal Plants Network, Food Science and Technology Network,
• Supporting the dedication of IORA RCSTT to establish specialized regional coordination centre of Desalination of Sea Water and Waste Water by the Centre in China and its endorsement at the recent Meetings of Council of Ministers, Perth – Australia, October 2014. This measure could be considered as one of the most important achievements of the Centre.
III. Subsequent to Mr. Arshadi’s speech, Dr. Salar Amoli, Acting Minister for International Cooperation, Ministry of Science, Research and Technology was invited by the Chairman to present his key note speech. The remarkable phrases of his speech are as follows:
- Assuring that the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology will continue to work together with the other Member States and different bodies including specialized agencies of IORA to impart further dynamism into the activities of this Association;
- Emphasizing the importance of the Academic, Science and Technology Cooperation as one of the major priorities defined in the IORA region.
- Highlighting the role of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in supporting the IORA RCSTT since its inception;
- Emphasizing the intention of the Ministry to support and contribute in the programmes of the Centre including the different numerous workshops, expert meetings, techno-fairs and even in implementing the joint projects with other national and international institutions.
- Supporting the idea proposed by IORA RCSTT as a special agency of IORA for developing "Science and Technology hubs / coordination centres" in the Member States and expressing happiness with the signing of MOU between the Institute of Seawater Desalination and Multipurpose Utilization (ISDMU) of the State Oceanic Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SOA) and the IORA RCSTT. It was stated that this MoU will be of great role in promoting scientific and technical cooperation and collaboration in the field of "Desalination Technologies”. Through this cooperation, IORA Member States, Dialogue Partners and ISDMU will promote exchange and cooperation of personnel, information and technology in the specialized area of brackish and seawater desalination.
- Calling the attention of the other Member States and Dialogue Partners to support this measure and each Member State to host a specialized coordination centre based on their own area of interest enabling wider cooperation in IORA region.
- Proposing to host the First Meeting of IORA Ministers of Science and Technology in I.R. Iran
to define a more effective and fruitful outline for the science and technology challenges among the Member States. This has been under consideration and hopefully this meeting will probably occur in 2014 or 2015.
- Proposing the Advisory Council arrange a multilateral mechanism for financing the RCSTT activities. To do this, it was suggested that a working group to be created including five Member States in order to define a framework for contributions of the Member States and Dialogue Partners in the programmes and activities of IORA RCSTT. This Working Group may be headed by H.E. the Ambassador of South Africa or Indonesia to develop the expected framework for the countries contributions in IORA RCSTT programmes and activities and any other possible support during a span of three months.
IV. Following Dr. Salar Amoli's speech, H.E. Mr. Foley, the Ambassador of Australia in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the President of the IORA RCSTT Advisory Council took the floor and delivered his note. He warmly welcomed delegates to the Meeting and expressed thanks and Director of IORA RCSTT, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Science and Technology for the support and cooperation he received from during his term. Then he referred to the history of significant activities including maritime trade of IORA Member Countries (which got its new name during India's term) especially the old history of Iran and pointed out the role of these countries in transport of oil (about %70 of the total) and non-oil (about %50 of the total) throughout the world. He also indicated to the diversity of nations in the rim and the fact that the nations in this area roughly make about %40 out of global population. Then he highlighted the six priorities defined during India's term for activities of IORA. He stated the India has tried to take forward the work of IORA and RCSTT expressed good wishes for the chairmanship term of Australia.
V. Dr. Molanejad, the Director of IORA RCSTT took the floor and warmly welcomed the delegates to the Meeting and expressed his thanks to the Republic of India and H.E. Mr. Srivastava, the Ambassador of India in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the ex-President of the IORA RCSTT Advisory Council for his support and cooperation with IORA RCSTT during his term and then welcomed Mr. Foley and thanked him for assuming the position and expressed hopes that Australia will continue the existing manner and support the programmes and activities of the Centre in the IORA region.
He also expressed thanks to the Secretary General of IORA, the Government of I.R. Iran, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Science, Research and Technology for their continuous support and cooperation with the programmes of IORA RCSTT during recent years.
- He indicated that according to the Statute of the Centre which has been endorsed by IORA COM, the Advisory Council is of great importance and it plays a significant supervising role in the Centre. The members of the meeting should be briefed periodically about the activities and programmes of the Centre and they are requested to advise on different issues for betterment of the Centre's activities. For instance, the annual report of the Centre should be first endorsed by this meeting and then submitted to the annual meetings of IORA COM that is IORAG and CSO for final approval.
- Then, he highlighted the accomplished activities of the Centre during 2013 and referred to the organized meetings, workshops and exhibitions and explained about them in details.
- He continued his report with introducing the programmes in process which are supposed to be implemented in 2014 (the full list is attached). This list includes also the proposed programmed by some of the Member States such as Australia, Oman, Thailand, France, etc.
In the next section of his presentation, Dr. Molanejad explained about the regional networks planned and launched by IORA RCSTT including the items below:
1. Medicinal Plants Network (IORAMPNet)
2. Food Industries Network (FSTNetwork)
3. Advanced Technology, Development & innovation Organization Network
4. Regional Technical Training Institutions Network
In continuation, he discussed about the major policies of the Centre for cooperation with the Member States and referred to among the others the following issues:
• Establishment of regional divisions to share the authority of Centre with the IORA Member States based on the especial interests of the host countries;
• Paying technical visits/tours along with workshops/exhibitions to the Member States and Dialogue Partners based on the especial interests of the host countries;
As the final Section of his presentation Dr. Molanejad provided a report on the financial issues of the Centre (the Financial Statement is attached hereto) and emphasized on the following points:
- The Iranian government has indicated repeatedly that the Centre belongs to all the Member States and Iranian government only is bound to provide hosting facilities for the Centre. Therefore it is strongly requested that each Member State voluntarily provide annual contribution to IORA RCSTT funding system enabling it to facilitate the attendance of participants in various programmes of the Centre through granting them air ticket, accommodation and meals. If this happens, the other expenditures of holding the programmes will be provided from the budget of the Centre.
- During the recent meetings of IORA Council of Ministers, China expressed its appreciation to IORA RCSTT for the proposed establishment of the Division on Desalination in China which would act as a platform to share knowledge and undertake relevant activities in the Member States.
- China has allocated USD 100000/- to improve programmes and activities focused on desalination with IORA RCSTT.
And at the end, he stated that the Center seeks more effective cooperation of the esteemed Member States and the Ambassadors' initiative in this connection would be very important and obviously would pave the way for enhancing the regional cooperation among the Member States on the one side and IORA RCSTT on the other side.
Then, Mr. Foley expressed his gratitude to the Director of the IORA RCSTT for his comprehensive report on the Centr's wide ranging programmes over the past year and emphasized that Australia would support the Centre's activities. He also opened the floor to any questions or comments that the attendees may wish to express regard with regard to the Centre's activities.
Accordingly, H.E. Mr. Adisorendej Sukhasvasti, Ambassador of Thailand expressed his great pleasure for IORA RCSTT's progress over the past year stressing the Royal Thai's full commitment to IORA RCSTT's prospective programmes. He also expressed his willingness to provide IORA RCSTT with the Royal Thai's further cooperation and support in regard to the Centre's activities and enquired of the type and mode of cooperation which is helpful for the Centre.
In response, Dr. Molanejad suggested the Member States to support the Centre with either annual contribution or undertaking the expenditures of hosting some of the programmes in their countries. He also proposed the countries to facilitate the attendance of the applicants for the Centre's programmes, they could provide their air tickets and/or the other expenses.
In continuation to the previous discussion, H.E. Mr. Whitehead Ambassador of South Africa requested for a more programmatic financial report which includes the expected outcomes of all the programmes. (This point was noted in the attached list of upcoming programmes)
As the last comment, Dr. Salar Amoli, emphasized on the necessity of all the Member States' contribution in the activities of IORA RCSTT and stated that I.R. Iran Ministry of Science, Research and Technology is ready to allocate some scholarships to the other Member States and proposed to pave the way for exchange of university students and teachers.
Then, while there was no more comments on the part of the attendees, H.E. Mr. Foley expressed his thanks to every one for attending and wrapped up the meeting with expressing especial thanks to H. E. Mr. Dinkar Prakash Srivastava, the Ambassador of India in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the ex-President of the Advisory Council and on behalf of the IORA RCSTT granted him a special souvenir to appreciate his effort and cooperation during his term. The Meeting closed at 12:00.