As an inter-governmental organization of developing countries, the Commission on Science & Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) is dedicated to the mission of promoting science and technology for the economic and social development of the Global South.
The organization of 27 countries has a back bone of 25 Centres of Excellence in a number of areas that constitute major thrust of COMSATS activities aimed at addressing the key issues of the developing countries.
COMSATS’ twenty five year celebrations come amidst the organization’s expansion in terms of membership, scope of work, quality of partnerships and strengthening of its programmes.
A major consolidation of the organization’s focus on sustainable development is due to the alignment of its operations with the Global Agenda 2030. SDGs, thus, have been at the core of some major activities, including major capacity building activities.
A strong commitment transpiring from this alignment is devoted efforts for establishment of institutions, universities and Networks in critical areas. Climate change is one such area. To provide an institutional platform for coordination, facilitation, advocacy, and regional and international collaboration, COMSATS took the initiative, in August 2018, to set up COMSATS Centre for Climate & Sustainability (CCCS) in its member states.
Links between climate change and sustainable development are strong. The UN 2030 Development Agenda identifies climate change as “one of the greatest challenges of our time” and states that “its adverse impacts undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development”. Hence environmental sustainability is the underlying theme connecting the SDGs.
Despite not being the major contributor to global warming, the Global South is expected to suffer the most from it as developing countries will be adversely affected by the anticipated shocks to their social, economic and natural systems. Pursuing climate action and sustainable development in an integrated and coherent way offers the most effective approach to enable countries to achieve their objectives under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 2015 Paris Agreement.
Climate policies can be more effective when embedded within broader strategies designed to make national and regional development paths more sustainable.
Not only has climate change been given its dedicated goal (Goal 13), but it has been integrated into almost all of the other SDGs.
Pursuing climate action and sustainable development in an integrated and coherent way offers the most effective approach to enable countries to achieve their objectives under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Agreement.
In recognition of the dual relationship between sustainable development and climate change, the Commission on Science & Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) decided to establish in 2019 the COMSATS Centre for Climate & Sustainability (CCCS).
There is growing recognition to build new models of partnerships to work in a spirit of global solidarity to solve shared challenges. In today’s inter-dependent world the way forward is to promote collaboration and partnerships through creation of digital platforms. In this emerging scenario COMSATS Centre of Climate & Sustainability (CCCS) primary drivers for work of CCCS are based on 4 Cs: Connectivity, Communication, Coordination and Collaboration.
CCCS serves as a platform to connect member countries with each other to identify potential areas of collaboration, share knowledge and expertise and offer their perspectives and solutions in addressing common challenges in the framework of the UN 2030 Development Agenda.
CCCS has focused on the interconnections of climate change and sustainable development as outlined in the interconnections of climate change and sustainable development in the framework of the UN 2030 Development Agenda.
Membership of CCCS Network
Membership has been expanding since CCCS became operational in 2020. So far 20 member countries i.e. Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Tanzania, Tunisia Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey and Uganda along with 24 institutions have joined the CCCS network covering different regions of the world.
CCCS nodes have been established in all partner institutions with nomination of focal persons in each institution. Focal persons are extending cooperation in identifying resource persons and potential institutions that can get involved in CCCS activities.
As visibility of CCCS grows more countries as well as regional and international institutions are participating in the activities of CCCS and thereby strengthening the CCCS network.
Focus on SDGs
As a result of consultations among CCCS member institutions there was consensus in focusing on 7 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were viewed as being central to the nexus between climate change and sustainable development. These goals are: SDG-2 Zero Hunger, SDG-3 Human Health and Well-being, SDG-6 Clean water and Sanitation, SDG-7 Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG-11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG-13 Climate Action and SDG-15 Life on Land.
In July 2020, CCCS started a series of webinars to connect member institutions and promote connectivity and cooperation through interaction on a range of issues that are important for the developing world.
So far CCCS has organized 22 webinars on a range of subjects in the context of the agreed SDGs. CCCS webinars have generated a lot of interest at the regional and international levels.
Co-hosting of webinars
Another significant aspect of CCCS webinar initiative has been to generate a spirit of partnership in co-organizing events with different institutions. As a result several institutions around the world have joined with CCCS in partnership to host the webinars.
As a result of its cooperative activities CCCS has been able to strengthen connectivity with its partners. By holding jointly hosted webinars CCCS has fostered inclusivity and stakeholder ownership of the CCCS network. This has helped to develop closer working relationship with partner institutions
As a result of its cooperative activities CCCS has been able to strengthen its connectivity with its partners. By holding jointly hosted webinars CCCS has fostered inclusivity and stakeholder ownership of the CCCS network.
Furthermore, CCCS has promoted information exchange, knowledge sharing, success stories among scientists and researchers on evidence-based research work.
CCCS has given importance to connecting experts and from institutions in the Global South along with relevant SDGs. This has been in line with COMSATS objective to promote South-South Cooperation. CCCS efforts of building a network of scientists and experts is in line with the increased recognition that science, technology and innovation are the primary drivers for a more sustainable and prosperous future.
Going forward CCCS will continue co-opting new member institutions in the Global South as well as with institutions from the North so that we can engage in Triangular Cooperation. CCCS will enhance its outreach and will facilitate its growth and development by becoming a larger platform with multi-stakeholder partnerships across a broad spectrum of countries, research & academic institutions, and regional & international organizations and becoming a global platform with multi-stakeholder partnerships.
Dr. Mehwish Qayyum Durani
Head, COMSATS Centre of Climate and Sustainability
Dr. Huma Balouch
Deputy Director (Programmes)
Mr. Saifullah Dilazek
Program Officer (CCCS)