President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, presided over a ceremony held at President Secretariat (Aiwan-e-Sadr), Islamabad, for commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS). COMSATS an intergovernmental organization of 27 member states, has its Secretariat in Islamabad, hosted by the Government of Pakistan, since 1994. Nobel Laureate and world renowned scientist, Prof. Abdus Salam was the brain behind COMSATS’ creation.
Participating at the ceremony as the Chief Guest, Honourable President of Pakistan, Dr. Alvi warmly felicitated the Heads of the State and Government of COMSATS’ Member Countries and all those affiliated with the organization. He underlined the importance of COMSATS and assured Government of Pakistan’s active support.
President Dr. Alvi while alluding to the significance of the technological advancement and innovations in diverse fields and the availability of knowledge, stressed the need to share the latest scientific breakthroughs, experiences and achievements for the greater benefits of entire humanity.
The President said that the availability of knowledge should not be contained under the mere tag of ‘copyrights’ as greater accessibility could help humanity to move through the current economic, social and global challenges. “Open knowledge resources should be utilized and the world should work for the mutual transfer of knowledge. The injustices should be addressed”, he emphasised. The President further said that transformation in the world could take place in the presence of ‘ethics or humanity-based order’, adding the new world would be dependent upon these shifts. While the ‘rules-based world order’ was dominated by material-driven priorities, he opined.
The President said that genome sequencing was one of the major breakthroughs in the scientific world which had become more accessible to people due to the exponential pace of scientific developments.
The world is heading towards exponential development as the technology will no longer remain static, he added. In future, he said, quantum computing could handle the data of billions of humans with regard to their health, besides opening up ‘tremendous possibilities in the agriculture sector’.
The President also lauded the contributions of the COMSATS in the realms of science and technology among its 27 members. The President also cut a cake along with the envoys of Member States of COMSATS to celebrate the occasion.
In his remarks, Ambassador Zakaria stated that in today’s rapidly evolving world, ST&I stand as the bedrock of progress and the key to unlocking solutions for pressing global challenges. Adequate and sustainable funding for R&D not only helps in creation of novel technologies but also drives a cycle of innovation, he added. Ambassador Zakaria paid tribute to Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam, for his vision and contributions to world science and technology.
He said that with support and guidance from H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana, as the incumbent Chairperson of COMSATS, the organization has been facilitating S&T exchange, knowledge networking, capacity-building, and collaborative research among member countries. The Executive Director highlighted a series of new initiatives by COMSATS pertaining to information technology and its applications, artificial intelligence, genomic sequencing, renewable energy, electric vehicles, precision agriculture, industrial biotechnology and climate change. He was confident the leadership of the member states would provide necessary support.
The Guest of Honour, Prof. Dr. Lin Zhaohui, Director, International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences (ICCES), China, stated that this milestone in the journey of COMSATS needs to be cherished for the organization’s continued commitment to promoting South-South and triangular Cooperation in the realm of science, technology and innovation. He expressed ICCES’ firm commitment to COMSATS. Prof. Lin highlighted the issue of climate change as one of the imminent threats to the planet, and appreciated COMSATS for being at the forefront to promote sustainable solutions and environmental stewardship.
The ceremony was attended by Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, high ranking officers of the Armed Forces, Ambassadors and High Commissioners of COMSATS Member States and other countries, and representatives of international organizations. Senior Civil Servants, and leadership of scientific organizations and academic institutions also participated in the event.
Membership Certificate was also awarded by President Dr. Alvi to the University of Granada (UGR), Spain, as a new member of COMSATS Network. UGR is the first European institution to join COMSATS Network, becoming its 25th Member.