On 7th February 2018, Ms. Joanna Reid, Head, Department for International Development (DFID) Pakistan, British High Commission visited COMSATS Secretariat to hold a meeting with Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi. Senior officials of COMSATS were also present during the meeting.
Dr. Zaidi introduced COMSATS to Ms. Reid as a brainchild of the first Nobel Laureate of Pakistan, Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam. Presenting COMSATS as an apex forum with a representation from 26 countries in Asia, Eurasia, Latin America and Africa, Dr. Zaidi briefed her about the organizational structure, programmes, past achievements, and future plans.
While discussing the avenues of cooperation with institutions from the North, Dr. Zaidi mentioned that COMSATS is making efforts for reaching an agreement with Commonwealth Secretariat to strengthen triangular cooperation, under which the two organizations can work together for development of their member states. He believed that COMSATS and DFID can work together in areas including health, food security, climate change, and SDGs.
Ms. Reid showed interest in the financial arrangements of COMSATS, in response to which Dr. Zaidi informed that the functional expenses of COMSATS Secretariat are met by the Government of Pakistan. The member countries, he informed, make voluntarily annual contributions, and it is kept as separate fund and used for the capacity building of the contributing country.
Ms. Reid opined that technology for sustainable development is something that every country is interested in. She noted that the DFID offers three groups of programmes in Pakistan, which are focused on health, education, and nutrition; humanitarian work; and economic growth. She mentioned that the DFID is engaged in humanitarian work in Pakistan, in collaboration with disaster management and provincial agencies. Ms. Reid also noted that the DFID is interested in collaborative projects related to economic growth in Pakistan.
During the discussion session, Dr. Zaidi sought Ms. Reid’s advice for initiation of work in COMSATS’ newest member, Somalia, which is keen to work in the field of telemedicine. He mentioned that DFID and COMSATS can collaborate on projects like development of entrepreneurship and SMEs. He further noted that COMSATS can provide human resource to DFID for its disaster management programmes.
The meeting was concluded with both the organizations agreeing for possible cooperation in different fields for socio-economic development.