A coordinated effort is required for science diplomacy


Islamabad, August 19(GNP): Speakers of a webinar on science diplomacy during COVID-19 agreed that a coordinated effort of diplomates, experts, research institutions, universities, consortiums and social and material scientists is the need of the hour to foster science diplomacy. The webinar was jointly organized by COMSTECH, Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies and Inter-University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences of Humanities and Arts.

Coordinator-General, COMSTECH, Prof. Dr. Iqbal Chaudhary in his welcoming remarks that never in the history of humanity such crises emerged like COVID-19. He said that we have seen the failure of international diplomacy and science diplomacy during this pandemic period. LDCs were left alone to handle health, social, and economic crisis of unparalleled magnitude. He mentioned that the post-COVID-19 period will be a pre-pandemic period and after conducting an analysis of previous pandemics he predicted that the next a pandemic would be in six years of time. Never in the history of humanity science and technology was so promptly deployed to face a global pandemic, he appreciated.

High Commissioner of Pakistan to Bangladesh, Mr. Imran Ahmed Siddiqui said that political and diplomatic interests are very closely linked to S&T and there is a need for a comprehensive strategy for science diplomacy. He stressed that economic growth is all about productivity and it is not possible without focusing on science and technological development. He indicated that involving the private sector is most important for economic growth.

Vice-Chancellor of QAU, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali Shah pointed out that organizations like COMSTECH, Diplomats, Universities, and Research Organizations can combine together and foster science diplomacy. He said that policies are made by policy experts, and implemented by institutions, universities, and civil society. He has informed me that as Partner University with COMSTECH. We are trying to develop a consortium of 20 universities from OIC member states to look at COVID-19 and many more interests, like economic, health, earth sciences, and many other areas of interest. He stressed the use of online platforms for education, interaction, and discussions.

Mr. Kamran Akhtar Malik, DG, ACDIS, MoFA, Pakistan said that the role of science in diplomacy is not new. Diplomacy has been used to facilitate S&T. Covid-19 reinforced the significance of science diplomacy. He pointed out that science diplomacy is not limited to health, science diplomacy encompasses the entire spectrum of S&T areas. He highlighted many diplomatic efforts taken during this pandemic. He recommended adopting a multidisciplinary approach for science diplomacy and involving multiple facilitating agencies in the process. He further mentioned that COMSTECH, MoST, and Universities conduct proper mapping and foresight activities for diplomats.

Farhat Asif, Founder President, Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies, moderated the entire session and explained the aim and reasons behind hosting the Webinar to promote emerging forms of diplomacy and building coalitions amongst the scientist and diplomats in order to boost cooperation to further promote the quick and effective response to the rising national, regional and global challenges and pandemics.

The Webinar was live-streamed and attended by a larger number of Diplomats, Ambassadors, Students, Faculty Members and member of civil society with keen interest in Science Diplomacy.