President ECOSF participated in the Science Diplomacy and Sustainability Course

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A 1-Day introductory course on Science Diplomacy and Sustainability was organized by COMSTECH on Monday 06 March 2023. The purpose of the course was to stress the role of science in multilateral negotiations to overcome the problem of climate change through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and that of biodiversity loss through the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The participants included a large number of the Diplomatic Corps in Islamabad, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, academics, and professionals from the field of science diplomacy and sustainable development. On behalf of ECOSF, President Prof. Dr. Seyed Komail Tayebi and Assistant Director Ghulam Abbas Rahar participated.

Main resource person of the introductory course was Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid who is the the Chairman ATRI Advisory, Malaysia and the former Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Mr. Kamran Akhtar, ACDIS), Additional Secretary from the Policy Planning and Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was second resource person.

The welcome address was delivered by the Coordinator General, COMSTECH, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary. He welcomed all the distinguished participants and hoped that it may lead to enhanced cooperation in science and technology through the aegis of COMSTECH. In his remarks, Prof. Choudhary, explained the role of COMSTECH in the domain of science diplomacy. He mentioned its ongoing initiatives on health and medicine in Sub-saharan Africa, its cooperation on food security with concerned organizations and its award of research grants to scientists in member states as examples of science diplomacy.

Dr. Zakri delivered two lectures, and explained in both lectures, that the drive towards sustainability and preservation of biodiversity and the earth’s resources in the face of climate change is more challenging in the Global South that also includes the 57 countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He said that these countries which are still in need of rapid economic development face the consequent negative impacts of expanded economic growth on the environment and biodiversity. He said that this challenge requires a careful scientific balance between promoting development and enabling conservation. He discussed the possible course of action of various stakeholders on the basis of science diplomacy. Prof. Zakri stressed the need for enhanced role of science in multilateral negotiations to overcome the problems of climate change and loss of biodiversity.

Mr. Akhtar spoke about the essentials of science diplomacy in different areas of international negotiations emphasising its role as a soft power to advance diplomatic objectives and creating goodwill. He further described Pakistan’s contribution to multinational scientific initiatives such as the CERN LHC collaboration in physics. With regards to the control on greenhouse gas emissions he emphasized that while it is a common problem of all nations, there has to be a graded responsibility for reduction in emissions based on the contributions of various nations towards the current state of the environment.

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