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November 28, 2019

HEC to fund ideas meant to resolve national progress issues


November 28, 2019

Islamabad :The Higher Education Commission is encouraging universities to come up with executable ideas to resolve the problems hindering national progress and all such ideas would be funded for execution, HEC chairman Dr Tariq Banuri said on Wednesday.

He was addressing the inaugural session of a seminar on "Science, Diplomacy and Development".

The seminar was arranged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, OIC Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (Comstech) and Pakistan Academy of Sciences with the support of ECO Science Foundation, Comsats and Technology Times.

Dr Banuri said the HEC had started mobilizing all the universities to focus on research, developing ideas and coming up with viable solutions to address the contemporary challenges being faced by the country.

"Every university has to solve the problems being faced by the people in its locality and also develop ideas for addressing the issues of climate change, environmental degradation, water, energy, food security, public health, etc which need scientific solutions," he said.

He said it was heartening to see that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was taking lead on the promotion of science at the international level which is indispensable for transformation as well as the progress of society.

Dr Banuri said social and cultural development as well as the stability of our country lies in our ability to harness science and technology sector potential in true sense.

Speaking on the occasion, Director General of Science Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Muhammad Kamran Akhtar said the role of science in development was not a new concept however its significance had been increased after its use for diplomacy internationally.

He said Science Diplomacy Division of Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched its "Science Diplomacy Initiative" in January 2019, as an instrument for diplomacy to foster Pakistan's international science and technology collaborations and bring a sharper focus on the foreign policy realm on Sustainable Development Goals implementation and government's socioeconomic development agenda.

He said the Science Diplomacy division of the ministry is diligently working on exploring opportunities between Pakistan and other countries to work jointly on finding out scientific solutions to global and national issues.

The DG called for attaching science and technology sector development with the national agendas to achieve sustainable progress.

He explained the priority areas of the Science Diplomacy initiative of his ministry which include climate change, energy efficiency, water security, food and agriculture, education, public health, etc.

"The initiative will also focus on facilitating national development, human resource development, creating a linkage between Pakistani and foreign centres of excellence and marketing of local universities for foreign students."

Secretary-General of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS), Professor Dr Aslam Baig presented the welcoming address highlighting the importance of science diplomacy.

Adviser COMSTECH, Dr Qasim Jan said that the role of science in diplomacy was not new as diplomats have been instrumental in promoting scientific and technological collaboration between states while science and technology cooperation has been employed as a tool of diplomacy for soft and sometimes hard, power projection.

He said science, technology and innovation have also been recognized as the key drivers for the achievement of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, he said.

Chairman, ECOSF, Dr Manzoor H Soomro, Executive Director, COMSATS, Dr S M Junaid Zaidi and Representative from Ministry of Climate Change, Dr Zaigham Abbas were also among the speakers.