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

COMSATS-ISESCO-PAS Regional Workshop on Biosafety and Biosecurity in Life Sciences Research inaugurated

Home   /   COMSATS-ISESCO-PAS Regional Workshop on Biosafety and Biosecurity in Life Sciences Research inaugurated

The Regional Workshop on Biosafety and Biosecurity in Life Sciences Research, Islamabad, was inaugurated by the Federal Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan, Mr. Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, on April 26, 2016, at the premises of Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS). The event is being jointly organized by COMSATS, ISESCO, and PAS. The inaugural ceremony was attended by over 170 participants that included academicians, students, science administrators and media personnel.

Speaking on the occasion, the Secretary General PAS, Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwari, introduced the Academy as a supreme body of Pakistan promoting science in the country. He shared the importance of the dates of the event in relation to the DNA Day (25th April) that commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953. He highlighted the emerging technologies in life sciences, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and more recently human gene editing. In view of the rapid advancements in the latter, he shared the possibility of soon developing a human devoid of any human gene template. In view of such radical trends, he called for strong ethical guidelines to check and monitor research work in life sciences to safeguard the moral fabric of the society.

The ISESCO Representative based in UAE, Dr. AbdulAzeez Hameed Ali, conveyed the greetings of Director General ISESCO, Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, and thanked COMSATS and PAS for collaborating with ISESCO for co-organizing this workshop on a crucial theme of current interest, and appreciated their achievements over the years. Dr. Ali thankfully acknowledged the hospitality of the Pakistani Government and institutions provided to foreign participants and speakers of the event. Highlighting the key objectives of ISESCO, he noted that the organization’s efforts spanning over thirty years for promotion of Science by holding workshops and seminars within and outside the Islamic World. He considered the event an opportunity to sensitize the relevant quarters for taking necessary measures and launch campaigns on relevant emerging issues.

In his address, the Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. I.E. Qureshi, took stock of the rapid developments in life sciences research and highlighted the theme of the event and relevant issues in the developed and the developing world. He noted with satisfaction that many relevant individuals and organizations were participating in the event and recalled the efforts made by the organizers to invite representatives from government officials, R&D organizations and universities. He was pleased to note the participation of the life sciences students as he deemed them the custodians of morals and traditions in the future research, and hoped that they would be able to sensitize their circles about lab safety, biosafety, and biosecurity. He appreciated ISESCO and PAS for their collaboration and highlighted their mandates and their relevance to COMSATS. He recalled his recent meeting with the Director General ISESCO in Morocco, when the latter had termed COMSATS as “the most trusted partner”. He stated that this partnership works towards tangible gains for common Member States and recounted some important themes in which both the organizations have held joint activities in the recent years. These included serial/thematic events on: ICTs for Agriculture, Health and Education; National Innovation Systems; and Internet Security. Dr. Qureshi made a special mention of the upcoming 8th Review Conference of Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) that addresses weapons of mass destruction based on biological and toxin agents. He noted with concern some missing aspects in BWC, including the lack of universality especially with respect to the Middle East, and verification regime. On a related note, he recalled his participation in the 6th BWC, where developed and developing countries seemed at odds on some important issues, such as those concerning the Article X related to cooperation for biotechnology research for peaceful purpose. Referring to some trends and technologies in life sciences, such as CRISPR being used to tailor the human genetic code, he considered it important to have relevant legal obligations for scientists and research organizations working in sensitive areas of life sciences. Thanking the Federal Secretary, who also chairs Pakistan’s National Biosafety Committee, for presiding over the inaugural ceremony, he hoped that Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change would benefit from the technical findings and deliberations of the workshop.

Mr. Akif delivered the inaugural address on behalf of the Federal Minister. He highlighted the threat and opportunities in the life sciences research and informed that a handful of global corporations, research institutions, and governments could soon hold patents on the all human genes cells, organs, and tissues, as well as on most of the known species of micro-organisms, plants, crops and animals, acquiring monopoly over major resources of the world. Referring to some positive trends, he noted the potential of tissue-culture in giant bacteria baths to obtain increasing volumes of food and fiber grown indoors, helping to achieve optimization of time, space and money. He called for efforts to develop a National Biosecurity Plan to address concerns regarding Pakistan’s preparedness for bio-threats in various sectors including environment, agriculture, and health. He pledged his Ministry’s support for any initiative in this regard. As the Chairperson of National Biosafety Committee of Pakistan, he appreciated the theme of the event and congratulated the participating speakers and experts for recognizing its importance. He congratulated COMSATS, ISESCO and PAS for co-organizing this workshop on a scientific theme which he deemed an important policy area.

The technical deliberations of the three-day workshop are spread over seven sessions covering issues, research and findings related to: Biosafety and lab safe handling; Biosecurity; and Bioethics. The event has participation from over 40 government institutions, R&D organizations, and universities from 20 cities of Pakistan, as well as speakers from Kazakhstan, Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, USA, and Nigeria. The event is also featuring poster presentations based on research related to the theme of the workshop.

Upcoming Events

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).


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.


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.


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

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

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

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

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

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