Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan launched the ‘Science Diplomacy’ Initiative to leverage international cooperation and collaboration to achieve UN SDGs

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Government of Pakistan organized the first-ever high level inter-agency meeting of Science Diplomacy initiative at the foreign office on January 16, 2018 in Islamabad. The meeting was inaugurated by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The meeting was attended by senior representatives from both public and private sector dealing with health, education, science and technology, energy, climate change, food security, industries and SDGs. On behalf of ECOSF, its President Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro and Engr. Khalil Raza Scientific Officer ECOSF participated in the meeting.

The initiative would focus on establishing international research collaborations, capacity building, improving public health, matching labour skills with international market requirements and to improve Pakistan's access to smart technologies and international technical assistance, especially in the context of the implementation of the UN SDGs. It is important to mention here that MoFA has also designated a focal point for Science Diplomacy Division to act as a liaison between national S&T stakeholders and international partners. 

In his welcome remarks, the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi outlined the main contours of the Science Diplomacy initiative which is to promote constructive international partnerships in science and technology and to deal effectively with trans-boundary challenges such as climate, energy, water, poverty reduction, health and education. 

Foreign Secretary Ms. Janjua in her remarks highlighted the fact that the idea of using Science as an instrument for Diplomacy was not new. This was being actively pursued by many countries as a vital tool of foreign policy 

The important role of relevant ministries, government departments, educational institutions and private sector entities in international collaborations in Science and Technology was also underscored. Foreign Office hoped to act as a catalyst for all such endeavors in line with the national development priorities and S&T policies and strategies.

Dr. Tariq Banuri, (Chairman), Higher Education Commission, Dr. Yusuf Zafar, (Chairman), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Prof. Dr. Iqbal Chaudhry, Director HEJ institute, University of Karachi, Brig. Dr. Aamer Ikram, (Executive Director), National Institute of Health, Islamabad, Dr. Erum Khan, (Chair of Institutional Biosafety Committee), Agha Khan University and Dr. Nasir Khan, Executive Director, National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTTC), presented proposals in their areas of expertise outlining possible avenues for international cooperation and the role of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that regard. 

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