Conference Of Islamabad National University Concludes
The two-day conference of Islamabad National University (INU) titled "Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for Pakistan" organized by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) concluded at former Prime Minister House here Saturday.
The conference encompassed four thematic areas including Governance, Development, Climate, and Technology, a press release said.
The conference was attended by a large number of field experts from across Pakistan as well as expatriate Pakistani and foreign academicians. Chairperson, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Dr. Sania Nishtar was the chief guest of the closing ceremony. Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman HEC and Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Muhammad Asghar, Executive Director HEC also graced the occasion.
The INU is envisioned as an apex institution designed to support research-based policy formulation. It will initially consist of an Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS), which will be charged with providing a science-based annual report to the government on emerging challenges confronting Pakistan and the world, and the menu of options for addressing these challenges.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Sania Nishtar said the conference was of great importance as it provided a discourse about knowledge, learning and policy. She said knowledge and evidence have a critical role in driving decision making process of a country. She added that the conference kicked off the launch of a new university charged with analytical thinking and foresight to identify and help address challenges. "A forward-looking academia will provide evidence based research solutions for policy formulation," she elaborated.
She revealed that decision making in the public sector used to be guided by Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adding that it has turned out to be a worldwide consensus that it is imperative to analyze threats and opportunities and develop own capacities. She hoped that HEC will take the foresight exercise forward while directing it to outcomes based on strengthened system, transparency, and economic gains. She emphasised on incentivising and taking private sector on board while framing research agenda.
He extended gratitude to international partners who contributed to the success of conference either in individual capacity or representing institutions. He also thanked the Vice Chancellors, scholars and partners from Pakistan for their valuable outputs.
Earlier, presenting recommendations of the conference, Dr. Muhammad Aslam Chaudhary, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Utah said that in all the sessions, the experts reviewed the quantity and quality of knowledge already developed and applied to policy innovation and implementation, and identified the persistent gaps in knowledge development, exchange and application. He said that HEC will serve as a point of collaboration to support the mapping of recommended research actions with what is going on in other leading International and Pakistani institutions, and will facilitate partnerships by providing access to wide variety of knowledge and research.
The participants of the conference emphasized the need to create capacities to capitalize on various opportunities, and accelerate efforts for knowledge creation through applied research and its sharing. The deliberations under the Governance theme focused on transparency, administrative efficiency, security and devolution. Improved governance was viewed as a pre-condition not only for the successful implementation of socioeconomic development agenda.
The discussion under the development focused on addressing issues related to expansion and provision of social services such as affordable housing quality education, and improved health facilities. All of which have to be insured through improved urban planning and economic management.
The Climate theme covered discussions on impact of climate on water and food security, glaciers, energy and managing climate change induced disasters. The participants identified several challenges emanating from climate change. The experts emphasized the need for more research and knowledge both on the prediction side and on the adaptation front.
The fourth thematic area was Technology. The participants noted that there are tremendous applications of technology in different sectors and hence can provide solutions to major problems Pakistan is facing in areas of health, energy, agriculture, environment, etc.