The idea of establishing a high-level Commission on Science and Technology for countries of the South was conceived by Pakistani Nobel Laureate, Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam, in recognition of the increasingly widening gap of scientific knowledge and economic development between the North and the South. It was realized that sustainable socio-economic development in the South cannot be achieved without building and sustaining indigenous capacities in science and technology and that the strengthening of South-South and North-South collaboration, and exchange of technical know-how, is imperative for the generation and sustenance of such capacities. Professor Salam’s enthusiasm and personal contacts motivated a number of Heads of State/Government of developing nations to join hands for the establishment of the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS).
In 1994, on the invitation from the Prime Minister of Pakistan, representatives from several developing countries met on 4th and 5th October in Islamabad and agreed to establish the Commission as a high-level forum, represented by Heads of State/Government, aiming at sustainable socio-economic uplift of the developing countries through appropriate applications of science and technology.
The General Meeting of the Commission is the highest forum of COMSATS, which is represented by the Heads of State/Government of COMSATS’ twenty-seven Member States. COMSATS’ membership is spread across three continents, i.e. Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The first General Meeting of the Commission was held in 1994 that led to the establishment of COMSATS itself, while the 2nd General Meeting was held in April 2012 in Islamabad at the level of Ministers/ officials nominated by the Heads of State/Government. During the 2nd General Meeting, the Chairpersonship of the Commission was passed on to the Republic of Ghana with a consensus vote. The President of Ghana, is the incumbent Chairperson of COMSATS, who is now serving the second tenure after being re-elected in the 3rd General Meeting of COMSATS, held on October 2015, in Accra, Ghana.
The Statutory Bodies of the Commission are:
a. The General Meeting;
b. The Consultative Committee;
c. The Network of International Science and Technology Centres of Excellence for Sustainable Development in the South; and
d. The Secretariat of the Commission (also the Headquarters of the Network).