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

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

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

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

4th International Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Biotechnology, Rabat, Morocco
Nov 13 – Nov 14 all-day

[ Brochure ] [ Registration Form ]

Climate-related natural disasters, emerging diseases, rapid growth of World population, and political and social conflicts poses growing threat to food security. These havocs have incapacitated the food availability chain ensuing hunger, poverty and malnutrition around the globe. It is a debilitating fact that globally 815 million people, accounting 11% of the world population, were undernourished in 2016 (FAO 2017) wherein the third-world is bearing the brunt. This scenario, calls for more proactive, innovative yet sustainable approach for attaining and sustaining food self-sufficiency. Besides, the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” is a call for action ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture.

The rapidly pacing scientific advancements in the field of biotechnology can offer promising tools, techniques, methods and practices for enhancing agricultural productivity while conserving the natural resources in their best form for the future generations. Agriculture biotechnology – one of the arms of biotechnology – is the key to sustainable food systems, value-added crop production, improved nutrition and green economy.

Keeping in view the importance of above-mentioned issue, the Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), in collaboration with the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) and Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) is organizing 4th International Conference on ‘Agriculture, Food Security and Biotechnology’, from 13th – 14th November 2018 in Rabat, Morocco. The Conference aims to provide an interactive platform to academicians, scientists and researchers to deliberate upon the burning issue of food insecurity while underpinning the significance of Agriculture, Food Security and Biotechnology.

Academicians, researchers, scientists, policy makers and implementers, and government officials working in the field of Agriculture, Food Security and Biotechnology in the developing countries are encouraged to participate in this international Conference.


The key objectives of this international Conference are to:

  • Provide a forum to scientists, researchers, technologists and faculty members to update their knowledge and share know-how on the recent developments in the field of agriculture and biotechnology;
  • Build and strengthen linkages among R&D/S&T organizations working in the field of agriculture, biotechnology and food security for effective South-South cooperation;
  • Make recommendations to the policy-makers for developing policies and strategies in order to support biotechnology for food security in the common Member States of COMSATS and ISESCO.


Applications for participation are required to be submitted through duly filled-in prescribed form to COMSATS and ISESCO, at the contact addresses given at the end of this announcement on or before Thursday, 1st October 2018.

Moroccan applicants may, however, send their applications till 30th October 2018 directly to ISESCO Headquarters, Rabat.


Travel grants and boarding and lodging will be provided by ISESCO, COMSATS and INIT to a limited number of individuals from the member countries of ISESCO and COMSATS, selected by the International Conference Scientific Committee.



  • Crop breeding, improvement, protection and management
  • Agriculture and sustainable development
  • Agricultural innovation and technology
  • Agriculture Engineering and Agronomy

Food Security

  • Trends and challenges to food security
  • Food Nutrition Security: new concepts and strategies
  • Food safety regulation and standards
  • Food sovereignty, heritage & industry
  • Non-timper forest products and food security
  • Ecosystem based adaptation for food security


  • Genetic improvement of crops using plant biotechnology
  • Functional genomics using genome editing technology
  • Industrial biotechnology
  • Food and bioprocess technology
  • Patent, biosafety, biosecurity, plant breeders rights

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Ismaïla DIALLO
Science Directorate
Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (ISESCO)
Tel: + 212 (0) 5 37 56 60 52
Fax: + 212 (0) 5 37 56 60 12-13

Mr. Tajammul Hussain
Advisor (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, G-5/2
Islamabad – Pakistan
Phone: (+92-51) 9204892, 9214515-7
Fax: (+92-51) 9216539

Mr. Tahir Naeem
Executive Director
Inter Islamic Network on Information
Technology (INIT)
COMSATS Institute of Information Technology,
Park Road, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: (+92-51) 90495169, Fax: (+92-51) 9247006

Workshop on Metrology for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Gebze Kocaeli, Turkey
Nov 26 – Nov 27 all-day

[ Brochure ] [ Registration Form ]


The important role of the Quality Infrastructure, comprised of metrology, standardization, accreditation and certification institutions, in the process of socio-economic development of countries cannot be overemphasized. They provide a critically important technical foundation for industrial development and global trade, and functioning national measurement systems support in increasing industrial productivity and enhancement of product quality for international markets.

Many developing countries, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs), do not have adequate quality infrastructures, which limits their economic development prospects as products and services fail to meet the demands of domestic and international customers as well as requirements imposed by mandatory regulations. A component of this problem is that these countries lack the requisite technical expertise and knowledge concerning the development, operation and maintenance of metrology facilities, which technically underpin all other functions of the quality infrastructure.

There is, therefore, an urgent need to intensify efforts for capacity building of relevant organizations in the developing countries in order to enhance their expertise and upgrade their infrastructure in the area of metrology, thereby also spurring development in other areas of the quality infrastructure and ultimately facilitating industrial development, growth in trade and a rise in societal well-being.


Keeping the above in view, the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS); and the TUBITAK National Metrology Institute (TUBITAK UME), Turkey; are jointly organizing a two-day workshop on Metrology for the Least Developed Countries.

The workshop will be held on 26 – 27 November 2018 (Monday-Tuesday), which will be hosted by the TUBITAK National Metrology Institute in Gebze, Turkey.


The primary objective of the workshop is to enhance the knowledge-base, expertise and capacity of the institutions working in the field of metrology in the least developed countries, as well as to prepare roadmaps towards addressing their needs to develop metrology infrastructures with the capability of supporting their economies.

The workshop shall also facilitate the building of regional and international partnerships for the sharing of approaches and best practices in the field of metrology.


The workshop will include technical presentations by relevant subject experts and scientists belonging to LDCs, Member States of COMSATS and international development organizations, as well as discussion sessions and laboratory visits.


The focus of the workshop is on the least developed countries, particularly those that are also members of COMSATS, namely Bangladesh, Gambia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The policy makers, scientists and experts in the field of metrology belonging to the least developed countries and the Member States of COMSATS, as well as representatives of relevant international development organizations and donor agencies are invited to participate in the event.


Partial or full financial support will be provided to selected foreign participants from LDCs and Member States of COMSATS.


Mr. Omer Altan
Head of International Relations Department
Barış Mah. Dr. Zeki Acar Cad. No:1
41470 Gebze, Kocaeli, Turkey
Tel: 90 262 679 50 00 ext. 2901

Mr. Farhan Ansari
Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters,
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, Sector G-5/2,
Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92 51 9214515-7 ext. 209

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