Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

2nd International Conference on Agriculture, Food Security, and Biotechnology, Khartoum, Sudan

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The 2nd International Conference on Agriculture, Food Security, and Biotechnology was held from October 17-18, 2016, in Khartoum, Sudan. The Conference was organized by COMSATS in collaboration with Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), University of Khartoum, the Industrial Research and Consultancy Centre (IRCC), Sudan, under the patronage oftheMinistry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR), Government of Sudan. Researchers and subject experts from Egypt, Iran, Oman, Pakistan, Senegal, and Sudan contributed to the two-day conference as speakers, which also had representation of a large number of local participants and organizations.

The objective of the conference was to provide a forum to scientists, researchers, technologists and faculty members of higher education institutions to share their experiences and recent developments in the field of agriculture and biotechnology, and examine from a scientific point of view the need to increase the global availability of, and access to food in a sustainable way. With 32 speakers representing national governments, international organizations, industry, NGOs, universities and research institutes, the Conference focused on key questions relating to food security, with regard to how biotechnology could contribute to ensuring food for all. The conference attracted over 300 participants.

The inaugural ceremony of the Conference was held at the Grand Hall of Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR), Government of Sudan. The Honourable Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, H.E. Prof. Somaia Abukashawa, inaugurated the Conference as the chief guest. Other distinguished guests at the ceremony included Sudanese government officials: H.E. Mr. Yagoub Mohamed Altaib, State Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry; H.E. Mr. BaharIdris Abu Garda, Federal Minister of Health;and Prof. Azhari Omer Abdelbagi, Undersecretary MoHESR. Prof. Ahmed Hassan Fahal, University of Khartoum, Dr. Widad H. AbdelHalim, Director General IRCC, Sudan, Dr. Ismail Abdel-Hamid, Expert, Science Directorate, ISESCO, and Ms. HumaBalouch, Sr. Assistant Director COMSATS were also present on the occasion.

Opening the conference, Prof. Fahal categorized food security as one ofthe most important challenges faced by the humanity, and involves much more than agriculture. It has had a significant bearing on other important Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including those relating to child mortality, maternal health and basic education.

H.E. Prof. Somaia urged the participating researchers to take on revolutionary roles to promote modern agricultural systems in Sudan. She stressed the importance of increasing production through research in biotechnology to ensure food security in the country.

Focusing on the role of science and technology, H.E. Dr. Abdallah noted that science and technology had contributed greatly to addressing the agricultural needs of growing populations in Asia and Latin America, but such revolutionary changes did not benefit Africa. The answer to Africa’s food security challenges lay in improving agricultural productivity, especially by the regions’ smallholders. Using biotechnological applications would makean important contribution towardsimproving productivity, with due consideration towards other crucial factors.

Dr. Widad H. AbelHalim said that the world population can live sustainablyby recognizing the intimate relationship between food, water, energy and climate change.Prof. Azhari deliberated on the scope of and opportunities in agricultural biotechnology, especially in developing countries. He mentioned biotechnology as the key technology of the 21st century. It provides new solutions forissues related to nutrition, agricultural productivity, fine chemicals and bio-based plastics.

Dr. Ismail Abdel-Hamid, Expert Science, ISESCO, stated that the conference would serve as a small step on a long journey towards ensuring food for all. He assured the participants that the activities of ISESCO and COMSATS would be focused on closely reflecting the conclusions of the Conference and on identifying, as carefully as possible, the critical areas where Islamic Countries could make its most significant contribution to food security in the future. In her address, Ms. Huma Balouch mentioned that adoption of new technologies in agriculture is extremely important to address the ever increasing population of developing countries, where more than 70% of the world’s poor live and more than half of the population is faced with food scarcity. She stated that this Conference would enhance the capabilities of participating scientists in assessing the emerging sustainable agriculture and food security challenges, particularly in South, and the modern biotechnology related approaches to meet these challenges, at national, regional and international levels.

The Conference programme consisted of five technical sessions and one keynote session. Two keynote presentations were made by Prof. Dr. Abd Allah Ahmed Abd Allah, currently affiliated with the University of Khartoum and former Minister of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, as well as Mr. Wagdy Merghani, Chief Executive Officer, Mahgoub Group, Sudan. The topics covered during this session included an overview of Agricultural Sustainable Development, and assessing Sudan’s export diversification potential in agricultural products.

The intellectual contributions made during the event covered a wide range of topics. Major emphasis was laid on understanding and assessing the relevance of biotechnology across a range of life sciences, with regard to crop improvement. A number of speakers revealed the importance of assessing the information needs of farmers in order to address major scientific and related socio-cultural issues. The sessions included active discussions thatencouraged information and idea sharingand laid grounds for future cooperation among the participants and their institutions.

The Conference focused on the following themes: food production and food security; pest and disease control using biotechnological approaches; improving agricultural productivity through enhanced resource use efficiency (Genetically Modified Crops); climate-change impacts, adaptation, vulnerability for crops and post-harvest components of food systems; metrics for measuring food security across local and regional contexts;reducing post-harvest losses and contaminations; and food loss and waste management.

Draft recommendations were presented during the concluding ceremony, presented for open discussion. These were adopted with changes and suggestions made during the discussion. The conference ended with a vote of thanks by COMSATS’ representative.

Upcoming Events

Mar
11
Mon
2019
Workshop on Water Resources: Expected Crises and Strategies of Predomination, at National Research Centre, Egypt
Mar 11 – Mar 12 all-day

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Theme: “Rational Use of Water Resources”

Background and Rationale of the Workshop

Many parts of the world today are confronted by an acute water crisis that has several facets, including water deprivation among the world’s poor, fast-rising global water demand and climate change. The water security and poverty nexus is a particularly serious issue for development. Economic activity and growth, which are necessary for job creation and raising incomes in developing countries, depend on adequate, affordable and reliable supplies of water.

One of the main goals of the UN to be achieved by 2030 is to “substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity” (SDG No. 6).

Introduction

Keeping in mind the SDG number 17: “Partnerships for the Goals”; the National Research Centre (NRC), Cairo and the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), Islamabad are co-organizing a workshop entitled “Water Resources: Expected Crises and Strategies of Predomination”.

Aims and Objectives

The workshop is designed to be an intensive co-working for specialists in the academic, administration and industrial sectors in all subjects of interest related to Science, Technology and Innovation. It will give them an opportunity to discuss, exchange opinion and reach recommendations of how to maximize efforts for rational use of water resources.

Targeted Participants

This event targets a wide range of participants, including:

  • Young scientists working in Science, Technology and Innovation with specific emphasis on water resources.
  • Academician working in industrial and service sectors related to water resources, and
  • Mid-to senior-level government officials in related Ministries.

Language

All technical and discussion sessions of the workshop will be conducted in English language.

Financial Support

Accommodation for three nights in a suitable hotel and local transportation for international speakers and local administrative expenses of the workshop will be covered by NRC, Egypt. The economy class airfare and perdiam of the selected international speakers will be covered by COMSATS.

Themes

1. Water crisis in different parts of the world
2. Successful stories in water desalination
3. Successful stories in rational use of water in industrial sectors
4. Successful stories for rational use of water in agriculture
5. Future outlook regarding cooperative programs and projects among COMSATS Member States
6. Water recycling and utilization

How to Apply

Applications for participation (duly filled-in prescribed form, abstract of presentation, detailed CV and passport copy) are required to be submitted to NRC and COMSATS no later than Monday, 31st December 2018, at the following addresses:

Prof. Hosam El-Sayed
Assistant Vice President for Research &
International Relations
National Research Centre
33, El-Behouth St., 12311-Dokki,
Cairo, Egypt
Tel: (+20 100) 544 36 51
Fax: (+202 333) 701010
E-mail: hosam@trdegypt.org, hosamelsayed58@gmail.com

Mr. Farhan Ansari
Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2
Islamabad – Pakistan
Tel: (+92-51) 9214515-7
Fax: (+92-51) 9216539
Email: farhan@comsats.org

Apr
16
Tue
2019
The 22nd Meeting of COMSATS Coordinating Council, 16-17 April 2019, Tianjin, China
Apr 16 – Apr 17 all-day

The Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) is pleased to announce the convening of the 22nd meeting of its Coordinating Council scheduled to be held in Tianjin, China, on 16 – 17 April 2019. The meeting will be hosted by COMSATS’ Centre of Excellence, the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. The meeting programme includes a visit to TIB’s laboratories on 18th April 2019.

The Coordinating Council meets every year, inter alia, to: review the activities of COMSATS’ Network; follow up on the decisions and recommendations made in the previous meeting; and outline the future course of action.

Invitations and Confirmation of Participation

The Executive Director COMSATS has extended invitations to all members of the Coordinating Council. The representatives of some international partner organizations have also been invited to participate in the meeting as Observers.

COMSATS Headquarters is closely coordinating with the host institution (TIB) to ensure timely arrangements.

Agenda and Working Paper

The provisional Agenda of the meeting has been prepared. The detailed Working Paper and associated documents of the meeting are under preparation and will be electronically distributed to the Council members and other invitees during first half of March 2019.

For further details, please contact:

COMSATS Secretariat, Pakistan TIB, China

Mr. Tajammul Hussain
Advisor (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: (+92-51) 9204892
Fax: (+92-51) 9216539
Email: tajammul@comsats.org

Mr. Farhan Ansari
Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: (+92-51) 9214515-7
Fax: (+92-51) 9216539
Email: farhan@comsats.org

Prof. Dr. Jibin Sun
Deputy Director-General
Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
Tianjin, China
32 West 7th Avenue, Tianjin Airport Economic Area, Tianjin 300308, China
Tel: 0086-22-84861949
Fax: 0086-22-84861943
Email: sun_jb@tib.cas.cn

Ms. Qianqian Chai
Officer of Foreign Affairs and Academic Exchange
Division of Science and Technology Development
Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences(CAS)
32 West 7th Avenue, Tianjin Airport Economic Area, Tianjin 300308, China
Tel: +86-2284861925
E-mail: chai_qq@tib.cas.cn
http://english.tib.cas.cn

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