Islamabad - The Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Friday held a meeting with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) for establishing a joint research centre on Earth Sciences, an official said.

The China-Pakistan Joint Research Centre will be established with the collaboration of a Pakistani university. The meeting was presided over by Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, where representatives of Ministry of Science and Technology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Vice Director Science and Technology Division, China, Dr Yonnggong GE, Professor Su Iijun at Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and others participated.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed assured the Chinese delegation from CAS that the Government of Pakistan and HEC will extend all-out cooperation to the Chinese partner in setting up the centre. He stressed the need for developing a task force for mutual coordination so as to finalize viability of the Centre. He said a similar task force needs to be set up from the Chinese side.

He said the Centres of Excellence in Pakistan will also be made a part of this endeavour in order to benefit from their experience. Informing that the proposed Centre will be an autonomous entity, he said the two sides will work on the modalities and share formal documents for practical measures.

The chairman said the research centre will be established in Islamabad, which will benefit the CPEC as a whole, the fields of Earth Sciences and Oceanography, the institutes, universities and organizations.

In his remarks, Dr Arshad Ali, Executive Director, HEC emphasized the need for identifying the domains of work between the two sides. He said the details of development cost, infrastructural arrangements, laboratory equipment and infrastructure, and other components of the Centre will be shared through a formal document to be finalised in the following meetings.

The China-Pakistan Joint Research Centre in Earth Sciences will work on research content including risk analysis and reduction of natural hazards ensuring the safety of CPEC construction. It will also ensure orderly utilization of ecological and environmental resources and will promote regional sustainable development to benefit the people along the CPEC.

 The Centre will conduct research on issues pertaining to Earth Sciences in the areas adjoining the Himalaya, the Hindu Kush, and the Karakorum. It will provide security support for CPEC by developing mitigation principles and technologies on natural hazards, in addition to improving sustainable development of the economy, society and environment.

The meeting also deliberated the role of proposed Centre in dealing with key scientific issues including environment data collection, mining under complex topography, climate change, water environment, rational utilization of water resources, tectonic movement and its effects on resources and hazards, mechanisms of earth surface natural hazards and risk control, and fragile ecosystem and recovery.

The meeting discussed a mechanism for cooperation that will encompass conducting research on earth system science and filling the blank of Earth Science research. It also involves conducting research on marine and earth surface disaster reduction theory along with research on ecological environment protection, mineral resources exploitation, economic development of mountainous areas, and promotion of regional sustainable development.