Islamabad, July 18, 2019: The Federal Minister for Education Mr. Shafqat Mahmood emphasized the importance of conserving biodiversity in the face of global climate change, and lauded the development of a big health data repository under the Biodiversity and Big Health Data Alliance (BHBD) initiated by the Beijing Institute of Genomics, China. The Minister was addressing as the Chief Guest the opening session of the International Symposium on Global Biodiversity and the 2nd Annual Meeting of the BHBD Alliance Meeting at the Secretariat on Thursday.
The event has been organized by the National Center for Bioinformatics, Quaid-i-Azam University in collaboration with COMSTECH and Beijing Institute of Genomics (BIG), Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Minister expressed Pakistan’s appreciation of this scientific alliance formed in 2018 that has institutions from China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Thailand.as founding members.
Dr. S. Khurshid Hasanain, Advisor COMSTECH (OIC Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation) identified the role of COMSTECH as advancing S&T in OIC member states through cooperation, collaborations and support for scientific initiatives. Considering the crucial importance of this alliance in providing its members access to a vast data base of biodiversity and its genomic sequencing, COMSTECH was very keen to see other OIC member States becoming a part of this alliance. He offered COMSTECH collaboration with BHBD Alliance, under the Ten Year Science and Technology Agenda of the OIC.
While addressing the inaugural session Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali, Vice Chancellor, Quaid-i-Azam University lauded the efforts of the organizers and Chinese support for Pakistan in a variety of fields. He urged Pakistani scientists to derive maximum benefits from this initiative by forming research collaborations and usage of the scientific facilities offered by the alliance. Earlier Dr. Amir Ali Abbasi, Chairperson, National Center for Bioinformatics, QAU and Focal person of the Big Health Data Alliance (BHBD) briefed the audience regarding objectives and expected outcomes of the project. Experts from China, Thailand, Russia, Pakistan, Iran and Malaysia participated as the keynote speakers in the symposium. Genomics, environment, genetics, biodiversity, health big data alliance, rice biodiversity research and fellowship initiative of CAS president were the topics covered in the presentations of the experts. More than 115 researchers, students and faculty members from universities and research institutions of Pakistan participated in the event. In the afternoon session the BHBD Alliance held its Second Annual Meeting and deliberated on planning for the coming year and other technical issues.
Reported by: Muhammad Talha Akhtar