STAFF REPORT ISB: While reiterating to come closer to each other in the field research on science and natural history, France and Pakistan have agreed to promote the development of research and other museum activities on both sides.

As a step forwards towards this commitment, the Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) and French National Museum of Natural History (FNMNH) have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) Islamabad.

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid and French Ambassador Philippe THIEBAUD signed the MoU as witnesses. Additional Secretary Science and Technology Tahir Maqsood and PMNH Director General Dr. Muhammad Khan Leghari were also present on this occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Zahid Hamid commended the role of PMNH towards highlighting the actual issues and challenges regarding natural resources, biodiversity and environment of the country.

He congratulated the Museum for conducting scientific research on different aspects of natural resources which will play a key role towards establishing effective and efficient linkages between scientists and entrepreneur of our country for development of New Pakistan. He also appreciated the scientists of the FNMNH and PMNH for this historic beginning of collaboration between Pakistan and France.

He believed that the platform created by this MoU will further enhance the inter-change of ideas of research between the scientists of France and Pakistan.

“Hand in hand, I am sure we will be able to create synergy and sparkle off innovative ideas in Museology, sowing the seeds that one day will bring forth long-term benefits to both places,” he added.

He further said that both the sides need to build a community that is creative, cohesive and resilient through arts and culture, through preservation of our heritage and through articulation of our historicity, so as to provide us constant source of inspiration to propel our economy to thrive and advance in the face of fierce competition from different parts of the world.

In his remarks, the French Ambassador Philippe THIEBAUD said this is an important collaboration to create a dynamic research between both the institutes. “I am glad that during the last few years, several joint projects of French Government on education and travelling exhibitions were completed with the support of PSF and MoST in different areas of Pakistan,” he said.

The Ambassador said this MoU would have a long lasting impact in promoting and enhancing cultural exchange between the two countries.

This MoU will help provide us with a committed approach to working more closely together, which will allow us to reach our common goal, the pursuit of the internationalization of education, he said, adding, each side will create many significant activities in the field of Museology.

PSF Chairman Dr. Ibupoto said the MoU signing marked the joint efforts of the governments of both countries in strengthening co-operation in the fields of science and technology.

He said that PMNH was established in 1976 and since then it is actively working for the reference collection of flora and fauna, rocks, fossils and minerals and conservation of Biodiversity of our country. The Museum has so far collected over 600,000 natural history specimens, which are preserved in its repositories, he said, adding, now the PMNH is digitizing this massive collection. We have also established Geographical Information System (GIS) to document the distribution of various species, which will be available on the map according to their geographical reference later on. PMNH has its own Biodiversity of Pakistan: Global data base Networking (BGN) and it is also an Associate member of Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and a member of International Council of Museums ICOM, he added.

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