The 13th Coordinating Council meeting of the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) was held on 12th & 13th May 2010 in the Italian city of Trieste, under the chairmanship of Executive Director, Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), Prof. M.H.A. Hassan. Delegates representing COMSATS Centres of Excellence in eleven developing countries participated in the meeting and highlighted the achievements of their organizations in different fields of S&T, especially in agriculture, bio-technology, industrial products, information and communication technology, environmental studies, material science and space technology. Important advances were reported by China, Brazil and Iran in the fields of weather prediction, bio-fuels and communication satellites, respectively.
Speaking in the inaugural session, the Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi, underscored the importance of international organizations, such as COMSATS that play a crucial role in the development of S&T cooperation among developing countries. He noted the unique nature of COMSATS, being an apex organization established by the countries of the South and having sixteen renowned R&D Centres affiliated with it as a Network of Centres of Excellence.
COMSATS is working neither under the patronage of North-based international bodies nor under the umbrella of any international political grouping. Its main purpose is to help develop S&T capacity in Member States through mutual cooperation. The regular annual event of the Council meeting itself constitutes a mechanism of South-South cooperation as the Heads of R&D organizations present in the meeting learn from each other’s experiences in executing research projects, relevant to the interests of their countries.
The meeting endorsed the administrative decisions of COMSATS Secretariat, approved its budget for 2010-11 and expressed satisfaction over the support provided to COMSATS by the host country, Pakistan. A 10-point communiqué issued at the end of the meeting endorsed the plan of creating scientific thematic groups for research activities to be conducted by clusters of countries within the Member States of COMSATS. The communiqué called upon the Member States to spend 2-3% of their GDP on R&D.
The Council also elected a new chairperson for the next three years. Prof. Eduardo Posada F., Director, Centro Internacional de Fiscia of Colombia, was unanimously chosen for this position. The Council also approved the induction of the following five new members in the Technical Advisory Committee:
1. Dr. Jean-Pierre Revol (Switzerland)
2. Dr. Moctar Toure (Senegal)
3. Prof. Farida Habib Shah (Malaysia)
4. Dr. Afsaneh Safavi (Iran)
5. Prof. Zhu Jiang (China)