UNESCO a potent advocate of S and T promotion

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Kozue K Nagata explains much more is yet to be done to promote science education, preservation of biodiversity and forests. She stresses need for enhancing research activities by various institutions. Public sector organisations should also give funding as research and development is important. They should also work with other institutions at regional, sub-regional and global levels

Tell us about your professional and educational background?
At present I am Director at UNESCO office Pakistan. Prior to my present posting in Pakistan, I have served the UN in various capacities for the last 27 years. I have a Ph. D in Development Economics, and more an expert on the economic side of the development. I completed my masters degree in International Public Policy from John Hopkins University, Washington. It is obvious that I am not a scientist but I am looking at the contribution of science in the social development.
Can you explain what kind of science and technology activities UNESCO is promoting in Pakistan?
There are two tracks being pursued by UNESCO for the promotion of science and technology in Pakistan. First track is the mainstreaming of the impact of environment and climate change in all the activities of UNESCO like education or preservation of world heritage. Promoting science and technology in higher education remains our top priority. In the second track, we support specific science and technology projects supported by UNESCO Natural Sciences sector in Paris. At present four specific projects are going on in the country. Our office is helping Pakistan in the flood forecasting and management. It is aimed at capacity building of the government to better manage the recurrent floods. The government officials will be trained and new Flood forecasting system would be deployed. We are supported in this activity by the financial contribution of the government of Japan which has given $3.7 million assistance for the project. We will be working very closely with our main partner, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) and SUPARCO. Other key departments involved in this initiative are NDMA, PDMAs, FFC and . Under this project, we are introducing very sophisticated Integrated Flood Analysis System (IFAS) from Japan for flood forecasting. We have also worked very closely with Japanese partners and Pakistani officials will be trained at a leading Japanese institute International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM). This institute is reputed internationally for its trainings and is UNESCOs category II centre located in Tsukuba Japan. Pakistani officials will be trained in the flood forecasting and its management. The project has also a component for Risk mapping. At present we are only focused on the Indus River and not covering the other rivers but plan to cover them in future. The other project which we are implementing under One UN is Man and Biosphere (MAB), in close collaboration with Government partners and other UN agencies. This MAB project focuses on managing Juniper Forest in Balochistan with more coordinated approach. We are hopeful that one day this juniper park preservation is going to be a candidate for the first world natural heritage site for Pakistan. UNESCO has awarded six world cultural sites to Pakistan but it has no natural heritage site.
What are your activities for the promotion of science education in Pakistan?
Actually the promotion of science education is our basic activity as the E in UNESCO stands for education. As I have already told that we have two tracks, the science education is the main stream. In general, UNESCOs education programme is much bigger than the science programme. We have relatively large scale ofeducation programme that is from primary level to university level. Science education is main stream while the two projects are referred were stand alone. In science education, mathematics and chemistry are especially important. Museum and zoos also play an important role in creating interest in science education.
What are your suggestions to enhance the role of research organizations in Pakistan?
Although I am not in a position to make recommendations to the government or research organizations but there are some global good practices that enhance the role of research organizations. Globally there is a concept of public-private partnership, so research organizations should work very closely with the private sector so that more research is on the application side. The private sector is not interested in fundamentals of basic research but is more interested in application of the natural science research. In the end it contributes to the economy. The partnership is also helpful as the funding comes from the private sector. Even in countries with higher GDP can allocate limited funds for research. has Advanced economies such as Japan, EU etc enjoy higher allocation for research from the private sector. Private sector is basically a good partner because they work for profit and are focused on applications which could be marketed. In my opinion this is a good approach. But the governments too need to continue making allocations for research and development. The public sector organizations should also give funding as research and development is important for the state. And they should also work closely with other institutions at the regional, sub-regional and global levels.
How do you recommend that gap between research institutions and industry can be bridged?
Well, it is a very difficult question to answer. You know that the private sector could not be forced to do something they look at the merit and their profits to do work. They will work only with a research institution . They have some pretty good research that could be marketed. You know some of the leading Pakistani companies have their own research departments and they dont see any merit to work together with a research institution working on basic research but they wish to work with institutions on applied sciences. So there is a need for the public research institutions to create a demand by making them marketable focusing on applied sciences. They should reorient their research towards industrys demand as that would make them more appealing to the private sector. As you know private sector works for profit and if the research institutions make them more aligned towards private sectors demand, then definitely they will work together. They should be more market and application oriented.
What steps Pakistan needs to manage the knowledge economy?
From an economists point of view, Pakistan with 180 million population has a large domestic market that offers good returns on investments. The country needs to focus on its domestic market instead of export oriented approach. The country should not ignore the

Tell us about your professional and educational background?
At present I am Director at UNESCO office Pakistan. Prior to my present posting in Pakistan, I have served the UN in various capacities for the last 27 years. I have a Ph. D in Development Economics, and more an expert on the economic side of the development. I completed my masters degree in International Public Policy from John Hopkins University, Washington. It is obvious that I am not a scientist but I am looking at the contribution of science in the social development.
Can you explain what kind of science and technology activities UNESCO is promoting in Pakistan?
There are two tracks being pursued by UNESCO for the promotion of science and technology in Pakistan. First track is the mainstreaming of the impact of environment and climate change in all the activities of UNESCO like education or preservation of world heritage. Promoting science and technology in higher education remains our top priority. In the second track, we support specific science and technology projects supported by UNESCO Natural Sciences sector in Paris. At present four specific projects are going on in the country. Our office is helping Pakistan in the flood forecasting and management. It is aimed at capacity building of the government to better manage the recurrent floods. The government officials will be trained and new Flood forecasting system would be deployed. We are supported in this activity by the financial contribution of the government of Japan which has given $3.7 million assistance for the project. We will be working very closely with our main partner, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) and SUPARCO. Other key departments involved in this initiative are NDMA, PDMAs, FFC and . Under this project, we are introducing very sophisticated Integrated Flood Analysis System (IFAS) from Japan for flood forecasting. We have also worked very closely with Japanese partners and Pakistani officials will be trained at a leading Japanese institute International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM). This institute is reputed internationally for its trainings and is UNESCOs category II centre located in Tsukuba Japan. Pakistani officials will be trained in the flood forecasting and its management. The project has also a component for Risk mapping. At present we are only focused on the Indus River and not covering the other rivers but plan to cover them in future. The other project which we are implementing under One UN is Man and Biosphere (MAB), in close collaboration with Government partners and other UN agencies. This MAB project focuses on managing Juniper Forest in Balochistan with more coordinated approach. We are hopeful that one day this juniper park preservation is going to be a candidate for the first world natural heritage site for Pakistan. UNESCO has awarded six world cultural sites to Pakistan but it has no natural heritage site.
What are your activities for the promotion of science education in Pakistan?
Actually the promotion of science education is our basic activity as the E in UNESCO stands for education. As I have already told that we have two tracks, the science education is the main stream. In general, UNESCOs education programme is much bigger than the science programme. We have relatively large scale ofeducation programme that is from primary level to university level. Science education is main stream while the two projects are referred were stand alone. In science education, mathematics and chemistry are especially important. Museum and zoos also play an important role in creating interest in science education.
What are your suggestions to enhance the role of research organizations in Pakistan?
Although I am not in a position to make recommendations to the government or research organizations but there are some global good practices that enhance the role of research organizations. Globally there is a concept of public-private partnership, so research organizations should work very closely with the private sector so that more research is on the application side. The private sector is not interested in fundamentals of basic research but is more interested in application of the natural science research. In the end it contributes to the economy. The partnership is also helpful as the funding comes from the private sector. Even in countries with higher GDP can allocate limited funds for research. has Advanced economies such as Japan, EU etc enjoy higher allocation for research from the private sector. Private sector is basically a good partner because they work for profit and are focused on applications which could be marketed. In my opinion this is a good approach. But the governments too need to continue making allocations for research and development. The public sector organizations should also give funding as research and development is important for the state. And they should also work closely with other institutions at the regional, sub-regional and global levels.
How do you recommend that gap between research institutions and industry can be bridged?
Well, it is a very difficult question to answer. You know that the private sector could not be forced to do something they look at the merit and their profits to do work. They will work only with a research institution . They have some pretty good research that could be marketed. You know some of the leading Pakistani companies have their own research departments and they dont see any merit to work together with a research institution working on basic research but they wish to work with institutions on applied sciences. So there is a need for the public research institutions to create a demand by making them marketable focusing on applied sciences. They should reorient their research towards industrys demand as that would make them more appealing to the private sector. As you know private sector works for profit and if the research institutions make them more aligned towards private sectors demand, then definitely they will work together. They should be more market and application oriented.
What steps Pakistan needs to manage the knowledge economy?
From an economists point of view, Pakistan with 180 million population has a large domestic market that offers good returns on investments. The country needs to focus on its domestic market instead of export oriented approach. The country should not ignore the domestic market potential as the successful local brands could easily make it to the international markets. Just focusing on exports makes things difficult as it is not easy to get into global market because of price competition, brand recognition etc. I think it is very important for Pakistan to target this knowledge economy to the domestic market. Just for instance, take the case of local pharmaceutical industry. They have managed to make inroads internationally by just focusing on the domestic market. The success of pharma sector is a success of a pure science and technology companies. The other example is of mobile phone sector, which has done a successful marketing that even the poor are using mobile phones. Now there lies the opportunity that instead of using the phone of chatting with friends some meaningful information like some basic education programme is provided as access to information is a key to success. In my opinion Pakistan should focus more on developing its domestic markets as there is a lot of scope for the promotion of knowledge based industry in the country.
What are the details of biodiversity project?
We have started a small project in Balochistan for the improved management of Juniper forest in the province. In this project, we are doing the basic research about the biodiversity and also preserving the heritage of the area. We are also looking at how people feel about preserving this park. If the people feel good then they would be stimulated to take the ownership to preserve the heritage site. We are including community-based programme to preserve this diversity. We are also looking at economic development by preserving this juniper park, as if it becomes a natural heritage site then there will of lot of local tourists that will contribute to the local economy.


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