STAFF REPORT ISB: The International Travel Expo named “Water at the Heart of Science”, jointly organized by Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Embassy of France, Islamabad and Centre Sciences, Orleans, France, has formally launched in Islamabad at the PSF premises with an aim to sensitize the masses on the critical water shortage especially in Pakistan.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad and French Ambassador Philippe Thiebaud inaugurated the event. PSF Chairman Prof. Dr. Khalil Ahmed Ibupoto, Addiational SandT Secretary Tahir Maqsood, Pir Mehar Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz, and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. H. U. Khan were also present on this occasion.

The PSF Chairman introduced the Expo and its aims and objectives. He said Embassy of France is continuously supporting Pakistan in promotion of science and Technology in the country.

Tahir Maqsood said this expo is an important step towards overcoming water shortage in the country. He appreciated the French Embassy, PSF and PMAS-AAUR and said these institutions should make joint and concerted efforts to overcome the issue of water scarcity.

Dr. Rai Niaz spoke on climate change and receding sources of water. He laid emphasis on the storage of rainwater to overcome water scarcity. In his presentation he showed rainwater storage in Potohar area and the water is successfully being used for irrigation and drinking purposes.

Sheikh Aftab said the subject of the Expo is very important as life on the planet is not possible without water. He said not only Pakistan but the entire world is facing the challenge of water scarcity. He hoped that the expo will help in creating awareness on the issue and resolve the problem of water shortage.

The French Ambassador said that water and energy are top priorities of the French government. He said that Pakistan have very good irrigation system but there is a need to improve it for water conservation. He made a mention to PSF and France Centre Sciences collaborative programmes besides other projects such as sanitation programme in Faisalabad.

He appreciated the efforts of PSF and acknowledged the past as well as current activities of the Foundation held with collaboration of French Embassy. He also assured the continuity of future collaboration and joint activities with PSF and Ministry of Science and Technology.

It is to be mentioned here that PSF had started arranging International Travelling Expos in 2008 in collaboration with the Embassy of France and Centre Sciences-Orleans-France. In this regard, Expos on the themes of Mathematics, Environment, Biodiversity, Chemistry and Energy have already been held in various cities and towns of Pakistan. PSF has also inked MoU with the Centre Science, Orleans-France for arranging and co-producing Expos in Pakistan.

Abundant but unequally distributed on Earth, this resource is today threatened by climate change and the dangers of overuse. Improving access to water, which is still suffering from glaring disparities, is one of the Millennium Development Goals. This Expo has been prepared by Centre Sciences with support of other stakeholders. The Expo on water is richly illustrated and educational, it gives more insight into the key role that research has to play in the sustainable management of water as a vital, indispensable resource for development.

The Expo, which is open for students and general public at the FG Model School G-9/3, Islamabad and other schools of Islamabad, will travel from Islamabad to Sargodha, Mirpur (AJK), Mansehra and will be concluded at Quetta.

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