COMSTECH, ECOSF and PARC jointly organized an International Workshop- Plant Genetic Resources and Genebank Operations Management System Islamabad on May 08-11, 2018
COMSTECH, ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) co-organized an International Workshop on Plant Genetic Resources and Genebank Operations Management System at COMSTECH headquarter in Islamabad on May 08-11, 2018. The workshop aimed at developing the technical and scientific capacity of the participants from Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) including ECO member countries. Workshop attracted over 25 International Particpiations from 14 different countries. It is worth mentioning that ECOSF sponsored participation of six participants and one resource person from ECO member states; Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. On behalf of ECOSF, Engr. Khalil Raza Scientific Officer of ECOSF and Mr. Ghulam Abbas Rahar Assistant Director ECOSF participated in the event.
The workshop had two main objectives; to raise the capacity of the existing plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) conservation and utilization facilities in OIC countries with particular focus on current status of plant diversity, and, to conserve agricultural biodiversity, gene, banks are used to store and conserve the plant genetic resources of major crop plants and their crop wild relatives.
Addressing to the inaugural session, the Chief Guest, H.E. Mr. Fazal Abbas Maken, Federal Secretary for Ministry of National Food Security & Research highlighted the importance of sharing knowledge among OIC member countries particularly for formulating future strategies on plant genetic resources and gene-bank management and to build regional capacities on this subject. He further said that the impacts of climate change on global agriculture and ultimately the food security are serious threats for feeding the growing population and by the end of this workshop, we will be able to have more cooperation internationally about the genetic resources for food and agriculture for their exploitation and conservation of this human heritage. The Federal Secretary to Govt. of Pakistan also appreciated the efforts of COMSTECH, ECOSF and PARC for holding consultative seminar and intellectual debate. He also welcomed the delegates from abroad.
On behalf of President ECOSF, Engr. Khalil Raza read out his message to the audience. In his message, Prof. Dr Soomro appreciated the efforts of partners to come together to discuss and share the most recent innovations, trends, practical challenges encountered and the solutions adopted in the field of Plant Genetics and Genebank Operations. The message highlighted the importance of mechanisms to conserve plant genetic diversity that are vital and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources is essential. In his message, Prof. Soomro introduced ECOSF and highlighted that the Foundation supports events likes this and collaborative research. The Foundation promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, using Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) approach to strengthen the science base of future generations and the regional economy of ECO member states. The message highlighted the initiative of ECOSF on “Climate Change Education” at school level in collaboration with its international partners; La main a la pate Foundation of France and the Inter-Academy Partnership Science Education Programme (IAP-SEP).
Dr. Yusuf Zafar, Chairman, PARC during his address said that the International workshop addresses one of the most pressing and vital concerns confronting us as we tackle the challenges of global climate change, population control, loss of biodiversity and its effects on agriculture, on the one hand and demand of feeding an ever growing population on the other. These challenges not only require the preservation of our plant genetic resources but the development of new species that can cope with the growing environmental challenges, but primary to all these efforts are the development of Genebanks and their efficient and scientific usage. The Chairman also said that he is sure that both PARC and COMSTECH would play an important role in using this opportunity for developing collaborations and networks between OIC Member States, their expertise and experiences.
Ms. Mina Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan said that International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources in Food and Agriculture is important for Pakistan since it aims at establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials. Use of plant genetic resources is an integral element of efficient seed certification system and FAO is supporting Federal Seed Certification Department, the public and private sectors to develop capacity and technical expertise. She also ensured FAO full support for partnership.