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 Commissions 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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