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

Second Meeting of COMSATS’ International Thematic Research Group on ‘Climate Change and Environmental Protection’

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The Second Meeting of COMSATS’ International Thematic Research Group (ITRG) on ‘Climate Change and Environmental Protection’ was successfully held on 21st July 2013, in Beijing-China, on the sidelines of the ten-day International Training Workshop on “Extreme Weather and Climate Events: Detection, Monitoring, Prediction and Risk Management for Developing Countries” (14-23 July 2013). The meeting was co-organized by COMSATS and its Centre of Excellence, the International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences (ICCES), China. Under the leadership of Prof. Lin Zhaohui, Director ICCES, the ITRG is undertaking joint research project entitled ‘Characteristics and Mechanism of the Extreme Climate Events under the Climate Change Background’, which is being funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of China.

The primary objectives of the meeting were to identify suitable and willing researchers to participate in the activities of the group; finalize an Action Plan for steering the research efforts of the group to achieve the desired results, as well as to allocate specific research assignments among the group members, who will be willing to perform the assigned tasks in their own laboratories at their institutions and share climate data & results with their Group Leader. The meeting was attended by 33 participants from Iran, Egypt, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, USA, Nepal, Thailand, Mongolia and Malaysia.

During the opening ceremony of the meeting, Mr. Tajammul Hussain, Advisor (Programmes), COMSATS Headquarters, welcomed the participants of the meeting, and thanked the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology for supporting the activities of the group. He also appreciated ICCES for leading the group and sharing its expertise and facilities with other member institutions. He hoped that the Group Members will be able to make substantial technical contributions towards the joint research project, and will be able to share their relevant data for more accurate and useful results. Ms. Lu Zhang, Director Department of Science Planning, and Chief International Cooperation Office, Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), stated that IAP’s scientific collaboration with COMSATS over the years has proved to be highly fruitful. She hoped that the collaborative ties between COMSATS and IAP would strengthen through the activities being undertaken by COMSATS’ ITRG on ‘Climate Change and Environmental Protection’. Mr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Science Counsellor (Technical Affairs), Embassy of Pakistan in China, stated that China is a role model for other developing countries, and strongly urged the participants of the meeting to fully benefit from the opportunities of joint research being provided by ICCES and COMSATS.

The technical proceedings of the meeting comprised a brief presentation by Advisor (Programmes) COMSATS on the background and objectives of ITRGs and COMSATS’ expectations from the group’s second meeting; presentation by the Group Leader on the progress made by the existing group members as well as future aspirations of the group; presentation of research papers relevant to the theme of the joint research project by 17 participating researchers; as well as a discussion session. During the discussion session, the participating researchers shared the areas of their interest as well as identified different segments of the project in which they are capable and willing to contribute, including sharing of meteorological datasets needed for the execution of the project. The meeting finalized an Action Plan with time-line for the execution of the project, and decided that the first step in this regard would be to collect meteorological data and perform preliminary analysis of different extreme weather events in the collaborating countries. The Group Members agreed to provide quarterly progress reports to the Group Leader regarding the status of implementation of the project.

The participants of the meeting expressed strong commitment for actively participating in the joint research project under the supervision of Director ICCES, and to publish joint research papers related to the theme of the project.