Professor Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro has been instrumental in many initiatives related to science and technology in Pakistan. The advanced world has significantly enjoyed the fruits of S&T development reaching the advantages to common man. But the countries like Pakistan are still are rather slow, perhaps waiting for a miracle to allow S&T fruits positively affecting the life of common man. ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) representing 10 ECO countries, for science and technology is a great hope and source of inspiration for Pakistan as well as other 9 countries; viz., Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
Meeting of ECOSF Board of Trustees:
According to official statement, “2nd Meeting of ECOSF Board of Trustees (BoT) was successfully held in Islamabad-Pakistan on 10-11 August 2015. The Meeting was chaired by the Federal Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology of I.R. of Pakistan and attended by the Vice Ministers, Diplomats and Experts/Representatives of the relevant authorities of the eight (08) Member States of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) namely; the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey and Turkmenistan”.
ECOSF as A Platform:
According to president ECOSF, the Foundation is going to be very effective networking platform for S&T stakeholders of the ECO countries. Scientists, Engineers and Technologists of ECO countries can interact and exchange of experiences and strengths as per mutual interest, using ECOSF platform; wherein, ECOSF can facilitate interaction logistically. ECO countries are rich in natural resources and have many strengths to share with each other. Being geographically and culturally connected countries, the exchange of people should be relatively easy. The scientists can initiate collaborative research complementing each other’s’ resources and yielding output of mutual interest.
ECOSF for Co- Development S&T:
S&T field has become very much competitive and specialized field now a days. The new solutions expected from science are of interdisciplinary nature rather than engraved in a single field. The Co-Development in S&T has become very much essential. The countries like Pakistan cannot afford all the requirements of human and laboratories to advance their S&T. However, ECOSF has the potential and can be a very fruitful organization and platform to start joint projects having common objectives to bring benefit to partners across the countries. The scientific community of ECO in general and especially of Pakistan must consider ECOSF as opportunity to help in utilizing other countries resources. The concept of regional innovation is growing and ECOSF is considered as step one in this direction.
ECOSF for Regional Biodiversity, Biosecurity and Biosafety:
Being geographically connected, ECO countries have serious need to plan and prepare on Biosafety and Biosecurity of the region. Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is another major concern of this region, which with high mountains, have some of the unique flora and fauna. The environmental issues may originate from a single country but its effects have greater likelihood to affect population across the region. To address and redress those issues, ECOSF can be very effective platform to study and address the environment issues common to all ECO countries. ECOSF is an accredited Stakeholder/Observer of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and with that strength, can muster support from IPBES Secretariat and other regions of the world through the IPBES Secretariat.
ECO level joint studies and implementation will be relatively easy as owned and supported by more than one countries.
Author: Rahmat is Chief Coordinator, Institute of Research Promotion and Secretary General, South Asia Triple Helix Association.