Edu (COMSATS conference calls for stronger regional cooperation in biotechnology)

June 9, 2015 Off By Web Desk

Islamabad: A two-day international conference on ‘Agriculture, Food Security, and Biotechnology’, while highlighting the importance of current and emerging biotechnologies, has stressed the need for extensive research to meet sustainable agriculture and food security challenges in the developing world.

The conference was organized by the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) in Cairo, Egypt, says a press note issued here by the COMSATS Headquarters, Islamabad, on Wednesday.

Other partners of the event included National Research Centre; International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE). The objective of the event was to provide a forum for relevant researchers and practitioners to discuss current and emerging biotechnologies, which are important for food and feed security.

In his inaugural address, Dr. Mohamed Hashem, Vice President for Research Affairs & International Relations, NRC, appreciated relevance of the conference for addressing key regional and global issues.

He noted that nearly 75 percent of poor people in developing countries live in rural areas, and the agriculture sector in these countries has the necessary potential to effectively reduce poverty.

Speaking on the occasion, Amr Abdel-Meguid, Regional Programme Manager CEDARE, considered biotechnology the key technology of the 21st century, and highlighted the opportunities that agricultural biotechnology has to offer for the national development, especially of the developing countries.

In his message read out on the occasion by Huma Balouch, Senior Assistant Director (Programmes) COMSATS, Dr. I. E. Qureshi, Executive Director COMSATS, considered the event important in encouraging debate and exchange of ideas related to modern biotechnological approaches to meet sustainable agriculture and food security challenges in the developing world.

Addressing the participants, Salah El Din El Gafrawi, ISESCO Representative in Egypt, urged the researchers to take on revolutionary roles to promote advance agricultural systems in Islamic countries.

A large number of participants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Senegal, Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria, as well as more than 70 registered participants from various academic and research institutions of Egypt, took part in the proceedings of the event.

During the seven technical and parallel sessions, 31 paper-presentations covered a wide range of talks focusing on relevant applications of biotechnology, ranging from bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers to genetically modified crops.

An understating was reached during the event to create working groups for mapping the strengths and weaknesses in biotechnology R&D in common member countries of COMSATS and ISESCO. Strong measures for necessary decision making regarding crucial issues, like the use of genetically modified products and necessary legislation for preservation of biodiversity, were also recommended.