Assalam-o-Alaikum and Welcome to ECO Science Foundation!
As the Founder President of the ECO Science Foundation, it is my pleasure to address the visitors of ECOSF website. The Foundation was established in Islamabad-Pakistan on 20 December 2011 and is operative. I congratulate the people and governments of member states (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Secretariat, Tehran-Iran for this land mark development. The Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan through the Ministry of Science and Technology, deserves a special mention for hosting and initially financing this Intergovernmental organization.
To pursue the overall goal of the ECO (http://www.ecosecretariat.org) in the era of knowledge based economic world, the ECOSF as a Specialized Agency of the ECO, is mandated to promote scientific and technological research collaboration and other relevant activities among the member states, leading to socioeconomic development in the region. The Foundation has thus established its Science and Technology Fund (S&T Fund) for financing collaborative research projects on competitive basis. The Foundation promotes S&T innovation at all levels and has joined the Asian STI Think Tanks Network (ASTN) as a founding member of the Network for innovation in Asia.
In addition, to strengthen the science base of future generations and the region's economy, the Foundation is promoting science education at school level, using the Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) approach- La main a la pate. In this respect the global institutions; such as the La main a la pate Foundation of France, International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation under the auspices of UNESCO (ISTIC) KL-Malaysia and Science Education Program (SEP) of the Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP) have already been brought on board. The IBSE capacity building programme for ECO Region was launched in June 2015 at Astana-Kazakhstan, and a series of IBSE capacity building workshops has been started. The IBSE pedagogy for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), not only encourages and motivates students in science through the hands-on, minds-on activities but also can convince decision makers to pursue Inquiry based approach for education; and decide on policies accordingly. Stepwise, this program will also involve Higher Education Institutions and R&D Organizations of the region. This initiative directly addresses the UN SDG No.4 but also plays an overarching role in other SDGs.
Youth are the future of the world; thus mobilizing and promoting youth engagement in science, technology and education for economic development and peace within the ECO region and beyond, is and remains the priority of ECOSF. Integrating gender perspective in policies, plans and actions directed towards the improvement of life and development of youth is also being pursued. The youth leaders may be mobilized to enriching the youth in their communities, countries, the region and worldwide, with knowledge and tools so that they may become the initiators and innovators in improving their living standards and bringing positive change in their lives. ECOSF together with other partners has launched a competition among university students of the 10 member countries on SDG solutions. (http://www.appidea2r.com/)
I consider the role of international organizations and UN agencies such as; UNESCO, UNEP, UNIDO, FAO and IPBES etc of great importance and would like to emphasize on working together with them and more, by building on each others' strengths promoting synergies and complementarities. It is pertinent to mention that ECO and UNESCO signed MoU for cooperation in 1995 and the ECOSF has initiated interaction with UNESCO under that umbrella MoU. The ECOSF has been accredited as Observer/Stakeholder of IPBES (Intergovernmental Science- Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), established in Bonn- Germany in 2013, hence, ECOSF is contributing towards achieving its objectives. Relevant ECO region expertise are being provided the ECOSF platform to contribute.
I welcome intentions to cooperate & collaborate by the national institutions within ECO region, as well as the international organizations around the world,. Feedback of individuals will also be appreciated.
Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro
Email address: email@example.com