President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi Chaired Inaugural Session of Regional Workshop on ICT Role for Disaster Prediction and Management

A three-day Regional Workshop on Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) Role for Disaster Prediction and Management commenced at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR), on May 2, 2019.

President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi was the chief guest at the inaugural session while Prof. Dr. Khalid Mahmood Khan, Secretary General, Network of Academies of Sciences of Islamic Countries was the guest of honor.

The workshop was organized by the PMAS-AAUR University Institute of Information Technology (UIIT) in collaboration with The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) with the objectives to combine academics, researchers, field workers and policy maker working in the area of disaster prediction and management, urban planning etc to raise awareness on ICT role on this subject and presents new technologies.

President Dr Arif Alvi has urged the need to develop, test and scale up ICT applications in areas of disaster prevention/preparedness and governance. He stressed on water resources management, sound agriculture practices and enhanced forestation across Pakistan to ensure disaster risk reduction. He emphasized upon creation of mass awareness about the impacts of climatic changes and said that ICT could play a significant role by making people conscious about environmental hazards.

He said increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by mechanical and combusting equipment was the major cause of damage to the natural balance. Emphasizing for more tree plantations in country, he said trees were the only natural factory which absorbs carbon dioxide. President stressed for large scale plantation to cope with the issue of climate change he said every person should plant at least one sapling because it is collective responsibility to tackle the issues of environmental and climatic changes.

He informed the audience that plastic wastes and litters of millions of tons were being thrown into the sea. If we stop throwing plastic waste into the sea, we will be actually helping aquatic animals' survival, he said. He said every creature was beneficial for each other's and latest research had revealed that the reproduction had been reduced in different species of insects, which was also causing loss to environment.

He urged to increase research and development activities in the universities and to introduce modern trends and techniques to curb issues related to climate change, through utilizing information and communication technologies (ICT).

He said latest imaging system through artificial satellites underground water and soil chemistry would found. He said concerted efforts were required in ICT sector for synchronization of available resources with modern equipments.

Prof. Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Vice Chancellor PMAS-AAUR said that this workshop is aimed to discuss the modern day tools and technologies especially information technology apparatus for pro-active approach through prediction and post-facto mitigation of such incidences through meaningful indicators generated from various databases.

He urged the scientists and researchers gathered to come-up with actionable recommendations and guidelines that can be used as assistance for policy formworks being made and implemented from time to time through different platforms and organizations engaged in disaster risk management and mitigation.

He appreciated the efforts of organizers and hoped the efforts being made by ISESCO would bear fruit and we will be having more trained and skillful individuals having command on use of ICT in disaster management and mitigation.

Dr. Nabeel Anwar, Director Science, ISESCO said that frequency of disasters are increasing worldwide and they have become more violent and it is necessary to take stern measures to reduce disaster risks through incorporation of disaster reduction strategies into international and national sustainable development policies.

He was of the view that this workshop will provide an opportunity for collaboration among researchers, field workers and policy maker working in the area of disaster prediction and management for sharing knowledge about innovative technological interventions, groundbreaking applications, alongside lessons learned from developing countries around the Muslim world.

Prof. Dr. Tariq Mahmood, Convener of the workshop, in his welcome address said that effective communication and coordination are crucial aspect of emergency management and this workshop is unique and 1st of its kind in Pakistan which is particularly addressing the role of ICT for disaster management. He hoped that this workshop will provide an interactive opportunity for ICT researchers to learn from digital intervention in the area of governance and disaster prevention in brother countries.