COMSATS in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Standing Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH), Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS), ECO Science Foundation (ECO-SF), and Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) organized an event to observe World Science Day (WSD) for Peace and Development 2022. Held on 16th November 2022, the event bore the theme “Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development” in connection with the year 2022 being marked as “International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development”. The event had the participation of scientists, students, science managers and general public, and consisted of talks and panel discussion by renowned scientists and academicians.
Opening the event, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Coordinator General of COMSTECH, gave a brief talk on the importance of basic science and shared his personal experiences. He highlighted COMSTECH’s efforts towards promoting basic sciences in the Islamic countries by means such as scholarships for science students and other programmes of scientific nature.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Dr. Shahid Mahmood Baig, Chairman of PSF, stated that basic sciences are key to scientific advancement and PSF is utilizing more than 30% of its budget for supporting research in the fields of agriculture, water resources, energy, and environment, among others. He informed that two mega projects have been initiated by PSF in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology of Government of Pakistan. The first named “Launching of STEM in Pakistan” is aimed at establishing STEM FabLabs in high schools, whereas, the other titled “Science Talent Farming Scheme (STFS)” is meant to motivate young generation towards science education.
Prof. Dr. Tasawar Hayat, Secretary General of PAS, shed light on the needs of basic sciences for sustainable development along with highlighting the role of PAS for development of science in the country.
In his speech on the occasion, Executive Director COMSATS, Ambassador Dr. Nafees Zakaria, stated that COMSATS as an intergovernmental organization of 27 developing countries has been promoting science and technology through a variety of initiatives related to capacity-building; collaborative research and development; and exchange of knowledge, experiences, good practices and technological resources among its member countries. He added that COMSATS’ Network of Centres of Excellence offers remarkable opportunities of research and training for scientific community from the developing economies.
In his message read out on the occasion, Dr. Seyed Komail Tayebi, President of ECO-SF, shared the role of ECO-SF for promotion of basic sciences and described various initiatives of the Foundation for sustainable development through basic sciences.
Dr. Youssef Filali-Meknassi, Director of UNESCO Islamabad, stated that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) are critical drivers of sustainable development and economic growth. For this reason, scientists should be provided conducive environment so they can work freely for the betterment of humanity. He highlighted that by linking science more closely with society, World Science Day for Peace and Development aims to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science. He also underscored the role of scientists in broadening the understanding of the planet and in making societies more sustainable.
Subsequent to the talks, a panel discussion was organized where top national scientists, including Prof. Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwari, Prof. Dr. M. Aslam Baig, Dr. Nazeer Muhammad, and Prof. Dr. Shahid Mahmood Baig highlighted the role of basic sciences for national development.