Representative of ECO Science Foundation Attended the "23rd Meeting of Regional Planning Council (RPC) of ECO"
The Focal Person for ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) in Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) Dr. Syed Lal Shah attended the "23rd Meeting of Regional Planning Council (RPC) of ECO" held on 6-8 May, 2013 at ECO Secretariat, Tehran, I. R. Iran as a Representative of ECOSF on the recommendation of President, ECOSF. The participation in the meeting remained very successful as the achievements of ECO Science Foundation despite of no funds were much appreciated and other actions to be taken by member states were also emphasized at such broader and important forum (relevant part is given below):
REPORT of the "23rd Meeting of Regional Planning Council" 6-8 May, 2013 – ECO Secretariat
ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF)
322. The Council appreciated the activities organized by the ECOSF during the period under consideration, despite the financial problems being faced by the Foundation.
323. Recalling the decision of the 20th COM as well as the recommendations of the 22nd RPC whereby the non-ratifying member States were requested to ratify the ECOSF Charter, the Council requested the concerned countries to complete their ratification procedures at the earliest. The Council again stressed that the full potential of the Foundation would be realized once all the signatory member states have joined it.
324. Taking note of the announcement made by the Republic of Kazakhstan at the High-Level Task Group Meeting (July, 2011-Tehran) and later endorsed at the first BoT of the ECOSF; and of the Kyrgyz Republic as conveyed at the High-Level Task Group Meeting (July, 2011-Tehran) to ratify the Charter, the Council encouraged the two member states to speed up their respective ratification procedures. The Council while appreciating that Turkey had initiated the requisite procedure to complete the ratification process, requested the Republic of Turkey to conclude this before the next COM Meeting. The Council also requested the ECOSF to follow up the matter with the concerned member states.
325. Recalling the decisions made at the 21st and 22nd Meetings of the RPC, whereby it was agreed that if the instrument of ratification of the Republic of Azerbaijan could not be found, Azerbaijan would initiate ratification of the ECOSF Charter anew, the Council urged Azerbaijan to expedite the procedure for the ratification of the ECOSF Charter.
326. Recalling the decision of the 21st and 22nd RPC Meetings concerning the need for nominating national focal persons by the member states to coordinate with the ECOSF, the Council appreciated the countries which have introduced their respective focal points (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan and Turkey). The Council also requested the remaining member states to nominate focal points to facilitate the coordination between ECOSF and the member states on various issues.
327. The Council laid stress on the need to implement the decisions of the 1st BoT Meeting and urged the Member States to nominate eminent scientists for the Board of Trustees as well as Executive Committee of the Foundation.
328. The Council took serious note of the financial problems being faced by the ECOSF due to non-payment of the annual contributions by the member states. The Council urged the ratifying member states to make arrangements for the transfer of annual contributions to the Foundation without any further delay. Furthermore, the Council requested the member states to make generous voluntary contributions (in cash/ kind) to the S&T Fund of the Foundation. In this regard, the Council also requested the member states which have already pledged their contributions (Afghanistan: US$ 200,000; Iran: US$ 100,000 and Pakistan: US$ 1 million) to transfer the pledged amount to the Foundation at the earliest. The Council also expressed its concern over the fact that lack of funds was resulting in the delay of the Foundation's planned activities, particularly the Regional Conference on Science & Technology, which was scheduled to be held in 2012 in Pakistan pursuant to the decision of the 1st BoT Meeting.
The Summary Statement presented during the 23rd RPC meeting is also given below:
Statement by Dr. Syed Lal Shah, Representative of the ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) at the 23rd Meeting of the Regional Planning Council (6-8 May, 2013 – ECO Secretariat)
Excellency the Chairman of 23rd RPC/
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Excellency the Secretary General of ECO,
Excellencies and delegates from ECO Member States and Specialized Agencies,
It is indeed an exclusive honour and pleasure, for me as representative of the President of ECO Science Foundation to address this august forum – the RPC for the first time.
On behalf of the President of ECO Science Foundation, Professor Manzoor Hussain Soomro, I would like to convey his sincere apologies for his inability to travel, however, he sends his best wishes for the success of the meeting.
Excellencies, the ECOSF expresses it gratitude to all the Member States and ECO Secretariat for their continuous support to the Foundation. We are especially grateful to the Government of Pakistan for patronizing the ECOSF through the Ministry of Science and Technology and Pakistan Science Foundation.
The Foundation has been making efforts to pursue the planned activities; however, non-availability of funds has been the main impediment. However, I am pleased to report that the Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has sanctioned the mandatory contribution of US$ 0.19 million for the year and should be transferred to ECOSF account. ECOSF is highly thankful to Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Science and Technology for the action. The mandatory contribution from I.R. of Iran is expected next as informed by the Embassy of Iran in Islamabad. However, mandatory contribution from remaining two ratifying Member States is yet to come.
Other Member States are also urged to ratify the ECOSF Charter so that the Foundation functions at full strength and the members can benefit from the program.
Some Member States have nominated their Focal Points for speedy coordination and eminent scientists to serve on the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of the Foundation, however, response of some members is still awaited. Thus on behalf of the ECO Science Foundation, I would like to request this august form to emphasize upon Member States for the following actions to be taken by them in order to smoothly run the business of the Foundation for the betterment of the ECO region:
- i. Nominations of focal points and members of Executive Committee and Board of Trustees from remaining Member States;
- ii. Payment of Mandatory budget contributions by remaining ratifying member states;
- iii. Payment of Voluntary contributions to ECOSF S&T Fund by all ECO Member States particularly Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan who have already pledged contributions;
- iv. Ratification of Charter by Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan;
Excellencies, although due to non-availability of funds with ECO Science Foundation, the planned activities of last year could not be pursued in true letter and spirit, the following humble efforts have been made:
- As required by the Board of Trustees, the modalities for Utilization of S&T Fund was prepared and since approved by the COM in its 20th meeting held in Baku, Azerbaijan in October, 2012.
- Preparation for the 1st ECOSF Regional Conference was done to review status of S&T in ECO region and to set out priority areas of research to be funded under S&T Fund of ECOSF, but it could not materialize due to non-availability of funds.
- Website of ECOSF (www.eco4science.org) was established and is active.
- The draft of the ToR for the post of Executive Director ECO Science Foundation was prepared & submitted to ECO Secretariat Tehran for approval of ECO CPR.
- A 5-days international training workshop on "Modern Research Techniques in Ecology" was organized in Islamabad on 16-20 April, 2012 jointly by ECOSF and numerous national & international organizations.
- A 3-days International Congress of Zoology was jointly organized with many other organizations including UNESCO, Pakistan Science Foundation and Pakistan Zoological Society from 2-4 April 2013 at Islamabad, Pakistan.