Kazakhstan will host a landmark Science and Technology summit later this week that will focus on tackling food and water scarcity issues.

The event in Astana is an initiative by the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the world’s second largest inter-governmental body after the UN. It aims to stimulate investment in science and tech innovation throughout the Islamic world that can impact positively on societal challenges relating to food, water and climate change. Government leaders from more than 5o Muslim majority nations will attend what is the first collective summit of its type for the Islamic world.

“According to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, water scarcity will increase in the 21st century. Water scarcity will be made worse by climate change – particularly in the Islamic-world where desertification, drought and degradation of land and water is already a major problem,” said Naeem Khan, OIC Assistant Secretary General for Science and Technology.

“Just last month the Journal Science Advances found that countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh could become uninhabitable by 2100. According to Germany’s Max Planck, a similarly bleak result could be achieved in the Middle East by just 2050.”

He added: “In addition, several studies have shown a link between climate change, the subsequent effect on drought and food prices and the outbreak of conflict. That is why the Islamic world’s first collective science and technology summit has placed food and water security as a major priority.”

The summit, which takes place on 10 and 11 September, will seek to advance national and collaborative projects that can offer scalable solutions to these problems.