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

COMSATS holds Seminar to Commemorate the UN Day for South-South Cooperation

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The Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) in collaboration with the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) of COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) held a National Seminar on ‘South-South Cooperation: Towards a Sustainable Future’, in Islamabad, on 14 September 2015, to commemorate the UN Day for South-South cooperation (September 12, 2015). The chief guest of the seminar was Director-General Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), Ambassador (R) Masood Khan, while the Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. I.E. Qureshi; and Assistant Country Director and Chief Development Policy Unit of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr. Shakeel Ahmad participated in the event as speakers in the inaugural session. There were more than 65 participants in the seminar, including, diplomats, academicians, scientists, economists, CIIT faculty and students, as well as representatives of media and civil society. The inauguration was followed by a technical session comprising of highly informative talks by four eminent speakers.

Ambassador Khan in his inaugural address noted that the success of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will largely depend on judicious utilization of both the South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation mechanisms. He was of the view that to realize SDGs, the UN and other development agencies of the world now need to have greater focus on the developing economies, considering that in the future the bulk of the middle class would be living in the South. He noted that in the past, financial support from the developed nations in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA) has benefited some developing countries on one hand, and led to chronic over-dependence of some, on the other. He remarked that the North must continue to fulfill its obligation towards ODA to the developing economies; nonetheless, the South should make sincere efforts to fully exploit its indigenous resources for its development. He opined that South-South cooperation is and should remain a level playing field for the developing countries. Pakistan, he added, needs to make conscious efforts to benefit from South-South cooperation, such as Pak-China Economic Corridor, which he noted is the largest South-South cooperation programmes. He opined that Pakistan as a developing economy should endeavor to re-position itself as a regional hub for trade and commerce, and needs to go global as far as trade is concerned. The country should find new markets in Africa, East Asia and other parts of the world for its goods and services, while simultaneously opening up for bilateral trade with other developing economies. The country should tap the potential of science and technology for accelerated development and fully exploit R&D in emerging technologies, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology. He concluded with the hope that COMSATS would continue to play a transformative role with other UN agencies in meeting the global sustainable development agenda.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Director COMSATS thanked Ambassador (R) Masood Khan for gracing the occasion with his presence and recalled his enormous services to the country as career diplomat. He noted that South-South cooperation is a broad term which has replaced the earlier concept of ‘technical cooperation among developing countries’ (TCDC) to include various other dimensions of development cooperation. He said that the sub-theme of this seminar was cautiously chosen to be ‘towards a sustainable future’ in view of the future aspirations for the developing countries set out in the Brundtland Commission Report (1987) and Rio+20 outcome documents entitled ‘The Future We Want’. In the context of ‘future sustainability’, he pointed out the lack of capacity of developing countries to effectively use their indigenous resources. Dr. Qureshi informed that this seminar is being held at an auspicious occasion when the leaders from around the world are meeting at UN Headquarters to adopt the post-2015 Development Agenda. Dr. Qureshi noted that the obligations stipulated in the SDGs have more or less been a part and parcel of COMSATS’ programmes owing to the mandate given to the organization in its international agreement signed by the Member States in 1994 as well as the Charter of COMSATS’ Network of Centres of Excellence. He opined that COMSATS is a living example of a long-haul commitment to triangular and South-South cooperation programmes.

In his talk, entitled ‘South-South learning in the context of Sustainable Development’, Mr. Shakeel Ahmad, Assistant Country Director UNDP, noted that the Global South is gradually becoming a source of ODA to other countries (least developed countries). Referring to UNDP Human Development Report (2013), he said that by 2020, the combined economic output of three leading developing countries namely, Brazil, China, and India, is expected to surpass the aggregate production of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. The emergence of new economic blocs like BRICS further accentuates the rise of the Global South. He noted that South-South Cooperation is becoming more of a necessity than just one of the options for achieving growth and human development in the South. He said that the statistics of developing countries essentially point towards the wealth of knowledge and innovation that the South is accumulating as their economies grow, and also suggest an unequivocal potential and opportunities that the countries of the South and South Asia in particular could explore for achieving SDGs.

The technical session of the seminar comprised of four insightful presentations and talks on different aspects of South-South cooperation.

Ambassador (R) Sohail Amin, President Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), Islamabad, gave a historic overview of South-South cooperation. He noted that the United Nations Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, held in 1978, and high-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation, held in 2009, constitute major milestones in the evolution of South-South and triangular cooperation. Major developments in South-South cooperation also date back to the preceding decade that have accelerated the developing countries’ drive for collective self-reliance. These developments included the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 1961 and the Group of 77 (G-77) in 1964. He stressed on South-South cooperation as an essential mechanism to support the overall development objectives of the developing countries and to strengthen cooperation among their economic, environmental, cultural and social sectors.

In his power-point presentation, Prof. Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of World Meteorological Organization (WMO), discussed key aspects of climate change in the global development framework. He noted that the emphasis of all the stakeholders at the upcoming annual Conference of Parties to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) to be held in Paris this year would be that every nation should contribute towards reducing the GHG emissions. To respond to the climate change, the counties will have to adapt to the new conditions and take measures to mitigate its effect.

The third speaker of the technical session, Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Deputy Executive Director Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad, highlighted the role being played by SDPI, an independent think tank, in the global efforts for sustainable development. He pointed out some key areas in which SDPI made learning about the solutions to social issues from other countries and tried to adopt them in Pakistan’s context. Among the factors that helped social sector development in Pakistan are: rise of media; rise of independent judiciary; rise of self-funded/self-organized efforts by communities; and empowered youth. He pointed out that the major threats to Pakistan’s development are its shrinking exports in global markets and its declining trade with the neighboring countries. He asserted that there is a need for coordinated extraordinary efforts by the private-sector and the government to come out of the crisis.

The last speaker of the seminar, Dr. Talat Anwar, Advisor, Centre for Policy Studies, CIIT-Islamabad, in his talk touched upon the emerging economic trends in the context of South-South cooperation. He noted that intra-regional trade has expanded to become regional trade. He informed that the countries have liberalized trade through foreign direct investment (FDI) and that middle and low-income countries have received a great inflow of FDI that has played a great role in their development. He noted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the highest FDI (as percent of GDP), i.e 6.8%, and that Pakistan has not been able to fully benefit from FDI due to its security situation. He was of the view that China needs to direct its savings to other developing countries for a mutual gain, as it would also earn dividends to China in the long run. Dr. Anwar also recounted some challenges to economic cooperation that the developing countries are facing. These included the substantial non-tariff barriers; challenges to alter anti-dumping; as well as perception of sharply unequal benefits to individual countries.

The seminar concluded on the note of optimism towards South-South cooperation as effective means to benefitting the developing countries.

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