The 22nd meeting of COMSATS (Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South) Coordinating Council was held in Tianjin from April 16 to 17. The meeting was hosted by Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) with the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. More than 50 participants including the Coordinating Council members, representatives from COMSATS’ centres of excellence, delegates from International organizations and the Embassy of COMSATS Member Countries in China from 18 countries, including China, Egypt, Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, Iran, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania and Turkey, Italy attended the meeting.
During the Inaugural Session on the morning of April 16, Prof. Dr. Yanhe Ma, Director General of TIB delivered a welcoming speech. Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi, the Executive Director COMSATS made an Introductory Remarks. Prof. Dr. Ashraf Shaalan, the Chairperson of the Coordinating Council gave a Keynote Address. Mr. Laiying Yao, Deputy Mayor of Tianjin Municipal People’s Government delivered an Inaugural Address. Mr. Linhao Chen, Deputy Director-General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Science and Technology of China, and Prof. Yin Li, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of International Cooperation, CAS, delivered Inaugural Addresses and made speeches on the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan and the Alliance of International Science Organizations in the Belt and Road Region (ANSO), respectively.
The meeting focused on how to organize and implement international cooperation based on UN’s 2030 sustainable development goals. During the Technical Session of the meeting, the Provisional Agenda of the Meeting and the minutes of the 21st Meeting of COMSATS Coordinating Council were approved, the implementation status of the decisions of the 21st Meeting of COMSATS Coordinating Council, annual Activity Report of COMSATS and Administrative and Financial Matters of COMSATS were presented. Representatives from 18 centres of excellence made presentations about their progresses on South-South Cooperation, S&T achievements to facilitate the realization of the SDGs during the last year and the future plans for COMSATS’ Network. Prof. Jibin Sun, the Deputy Director-General of TIB introduced the scientific and technological innovations made by TIB to promote sustainable socio-economic development, and the future plans on holding international training course such as on industrial synthetic biotechnology and establishing COMSATS-China Joint Research Center, which attracted the wide attention of the participants. Delegates from the international organizations, including Ms. Marielza Oliveira, Director UNESCO’s China Office and Dr. Max Paoli, Program Coordinator, the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) also made speeches on their organization and the possible collaborations with COMSATS. 6 representatives from COMSATS’ International Thematic Research Groups (ITRGs) introduced the progress of the group during the past year.
Moreover, some ongoing programmes, such as COMSATS Centre for Climate and Sustainability (CCCS), MS and PhD scholarships, Post-doctoral fellowships, Telehealth Programme, Capacity building activities were discussed. In addition, the Agenda of 4th Consultative Committee Meeting and the 4th General Meeting of the Commission, and how to keep the financial sustainability of COMSATS were also discussed. Venue and Schedule for the next Meeting of COMSATS Coordinating Council were discussed and determined. The next Chairperson of Coordinating Council was elected. In particular, the strengthening of technological innovation cooperation between China and COMSATS members under the “Belt and Road” Initiative were discussed.
After the meeting, the delegates went to TIB for laboratories visits and had in-depth exchanges with the scientists of the institute. Participants expressed their hope to further strengthen communication and exchanges with the Institute and promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation among COMSATS member states in the field of biotechnology.
Since its entry into the COMSATS International Centers of Excellence Network on April, 2018, TIB has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, a COMSATS International Center for Excellence in Pakistan. Relying on the CAS “Belt and Road” program, it has cooperated with several COMSATS member countries, participated in several COMSATS’ ITRGs including "Natural Products Sciences” led by ICCBS , “Agriculture, Food Security and Biotechnology” led by Industrial Research and Consultancy Centre (IRCC), Sudan and “Renewable Energy” led by Iranian Research Organization for Science & Technology. The meeting laid the foundation for more substantive cooperation between China and the other member countries, between TIB and the other COMSATS’ centres of excellence in the future. It is of great significance to further expand China’s international influence in R&D and achievements transformation, and promote the implementation of the “Belt and Road” Initiative.
COMSATS was established in 1994 to promote sustainable economic and social development in developing countries through the promotion of South-South science and technology cooperation. Among the 27 existing member states, 14 are Belt and Road countries. The Meeting of COMSATS Coordinating Council is an important mechanism meeting for members to enhance understanding and an important platform for COMSATS to promote South-South cooperation. In 1999 and 2008, China hosted the 4th and 11th Meetings of the Coordinating Council respectively, and this was the third time that China hosted the meeting.
Prof. Dr. Yanhe Ma was making a welcoming speech
Address given by Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi
Address given by Prof. Dr. Ashraf Shaman
Mr. Chen Linhao delivered a speech and introduced the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan
Prof. Li Yin delivered a speech and introduced the Alliance of International Science Organizations in the Belt and Road Region (ANSO)
The panorama of the 22nd Meeting of COMSATS Coordinating Council
Group photo of the participants
Participants were visiting the core facilities of TIB