ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on Wednesday
proposed the establishment of a China-Pakistan Joint Research Centre on Earth Sciences, a
multi-disciplinary Centre with an aim to improve resilience to natural hazards.
The proposal was given in a meeting of a six-member delegation of the Chinese Academy of
Sciences (CAS), headed by Vice Director Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment Cui
Peng with the Chairperson Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed. The
delegation called on the HEC chairman at the Commission’s Secretariat.
Welcoming the delegation, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said that CAS and HEC have been involved in
various academic projects since 2004. He said that CAS has always been supportive in executing
the projects. Admiring the country-to- country cooperation in development initiatives, he said that
the higher education sector of Pakistan will provide skilled human resource for the
implementation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.
Cui Peng presented the proposal for Joint Research Centre on Earth Sciences to improve
resilience to natural hazards. He explained that due to active geological structure of the Silk
Road Economic Belt, rapid tectonic uplift and difference of climates, natural hazards frequently
occurred along the Belt. He maintained that 21st Century Maritime Silk Road has also been
attracting increased attention due to climate change and active submarine earthquakes. The
frequently occurring natural hazards along the two sites, he emphasised, seriously affect the
nations’ security and social development, so it is necessary to conduct fundamental researches on
hazard mechanisms to provide scientific guidance so that natural hazards can be prevented.
Cui said the proposed Centre will be capable to improve knowledge of natural hazard physical
processes, predicting natural hazards, and developing an effective methodology for mitigation of
disaster risks. He said that the proposed Centre will establish a platform for hazard experts and
policy makers to work together to develop an actionable policy for disaster risk management.
The Chairman said that the two sides need to define the modalities of the proposed Centre, as the
mega project requires immense homework. “We have to involve all stakeholders in this project
as it has a huge potential to deal with issues related to Earth Sciences,” he said, adding that a
conference will be organized in Spring 2017 to take input from researchers particularly who have
done good work in disaster risk management.
He also stressed the need for initiating projects of students exchange so that they could study and
conduct research in Earth Sciences. He informed the delegation that HEC has already set up
three Centres of Advanced Studies on water, food security and energy, while work on
establishment of another centre on climate change is underway.
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