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Minister highlights inequalities giving rise to unease

Islamabad, November 14, 2012 (PPI-OT): Unfortunately there is huge global disparity in terms of trained human resource in Science related fields. Most scientific potential is still concentrated in a limited number of countries which, as a result, are holding for themselves the keys to major further developments especially in advanced fields, said Federal Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the World Science Day (WSD) celebrations at COMSTECH, Constitution Avenue, G-5, Islamabad, as the Chief Guest on November 14, 2012.

Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and UNESCO jointly organized the event to mark the WSD to renew commitment for using Science for Peace and Development. The event was attended by students, scientists, academicians and general public.

WSD is observed all over the world on November 10 to mark the achievements of people in science and technology. PSF and UNESCO observe this day every year in a befitting manner, but this year due to weekly holiday on November 10 the Day was celebrated on November 14 so that maximum number of scientists and students could participate in it.

Addressing the function, the Minister said profound inequalities continue to divide peoples and the future itself sometimes seems full of contradiction, uncertainty and doubt. Nations are closer to each other than ever before, and humankind has enormous resources with which to improve the living conditions of all, but the prevailing imbalances and inequalities are giving rise to deep unease, he added.

Mir Changez Khan Jamali congratulated the Most Productive Scientists who were awarded the PSF’s R and D Gold Medals and the young scientists of tomorrow for winning the prizes.

He said the theme for 2012 ‘Science for global sustainability: inter-connectedness, collaboration, transformation’ throws light on globally interconnected and interdependent economic, social, cultural and political systems.

“I am pleased to say that the concept of interconnectedness and global participation is followed very well by Pakistan Science Foundation which is evident from its current collaborations with many international organizations such UNESCO, USDA, Academy of Science and Centre Science France, SAARC, National Natural Science Foundation, China, US National Science Foundation (US-NSF), Italy, Turkey and ECO counties, the minister said, adding, the pattern followed by PSF is an example for other Science and Technology organizations to attain the target of global participation and subsequent knowledge inclusion through this to improve our system as well, he said.

UNESCO Islamabad Director Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata said WSD this year’s theme is very relevant to Pakistan, which has very good potential in terms of human resource. She said Pakistan needs a broad base of scientific knowledge and it should pay attention to an increased allocation of budget for science and technology to get the benefits of science.

The UNESCO Director said PSF is key partner of UNESCO in natural sciences, Man and Biosphere (MAB) as well as Museum upgradation programmes. She called for using science for the benefit of mankind not for war. She also threw light on some hot issues of disaster management, environmental degradation etc.

Federal Secretary for Science and Technology Mr. Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar said some the UNESCO Director raised some particular issues and I assure her that Government of Pakistan is trying to address these issues by constituting some working groups. We are working for development of human resource, science and technology infrastructure and targeting on establishment of links among institutions and industry, he maintained.

PSF Chairman Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro said developing countries generally spend well below 1% of their GDP on scientific research, whereas rich countries devote between 2% and 3%. The number of scientists per million population in the developing countries is 10 to 30 times smaller than in developed countries, he said, adding, moreover, about 44 percent of Pakistan’s population does not have access to health facilities, 50% are without safe drinking water and 66% are deprived of basic sanitation facilities. Pakistan is 121st in the world on health expenditure per capita and 95th in respect of percentage of population with access to safe drinking water, he maintained.

The Chairman said, PSF plans to develop a future road map which would be in line with the Planning Commission’s Vision 2030 and the new Science Technology and Innovation Policy both of which stress on knowledge and inventiveness as key drivers of future progress. We would make efforts to be the leading organization towards the advancement of Science and Technology in the country, he said. Our future strategic focus would be on research and leading edge technologies that will be interdisciplinary, data-intensive, collaborative and most likely to generate new knowledge and lead to competitive enterprises in the fields of science and engineering that would give potential returns to science, technology, and society, he added.

Dr. Soomro said in addition we aim to develop through funding and transfer creative, original technologies that are necessary to advance our nation’s science and technology base. To accomplish this we shall undertake foresight exercise, analyzing technological trends, issues and needs by involving eminent scientists, engineers and policy makers. Timely foresight of future trends and changes in science and technology (S and T) is a key to national competitiveness. Countries like Korea and Malaysia have progressed by carrying out these exercises as well as by increasing their science budget, he said.

Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad in his address narrated his story and efforts to get declared November 10 as the World Science Day by the United Nations some 10 years back. Two young students Ms Roma and Faraz Habib also delivered thought provoking speeches on WSD.

On this occasion the Chief Guest awarded Z.A. Hashmi R and D Gold Medals to Dr. Ikramul Haq from GCU, Dr. Aslam Baig from QAU and Ms Shaheena Fiaz from Karachi University for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively. Medals were also awarded to students who stood winners of science essay and poster competitions to acknowledge their contribution to science.

Federal Minister for S and T Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Federal Secretary for S and T Mr. Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar, PSF Chairman Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro, UNESCO Islamabad Director Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata and Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad at the inaugural ceremony of World Science Day Celebration.

Federal Minister for S and T Mir Changez Khan Jamali awards Medal to a winner-student at the inaugural ceremony of World Science Day Celebration.

Federal Minister for S and T Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Federal Secretary for S and T Mr. Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar, PSF Chairman Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro, UNESCO Islamabad Director Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata and Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad with the winners of ZA Hashmi R and D Gold Medal and students who won positions in essay and poster competitions.

Scientists and students attend the inaugural ceremony of World Science Day Celebrations organized by PSF, MoST and UNESCO.

For more information, contact:
Pakistan Science Foundation
1-Constitution Avenue,
Sector G-5/2, Islamabad
Pakistan
Tel: + 92 51 9202469-70
Fax: + 92 51 9202468

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