Federal Minister of Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said on Tuesday that the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in driving a sustainable and resilient recovery from the devastating effects of COVID 19 pandemic is crucial, especially in the area of health
ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – May 18, 2021): Federal Minister of Science and Technology Shibli Faraz on Tuesday said the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in the Driving a sustainable and resilient recovery in the face of the devastating effects of COVID The pandemic is crucial, especially in the area of health.
He was addressing the 24th annual session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD).
The Minister said that the role of STI is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which represent an ambitious vision and an integrated global agenda, including in the area of good health and well-being.
The mutually reinforcing nature of the SDG vision and its means of implementation requires increased funding and the creation of meaningful partnerships between and between countries, universities, businesses and international organizations.
He said Pakistan had mainstreamed the SDGs into its development plans, policies and programs. Science, technology, innovation and good health receive priority attention within the limits of the budgetary and financial means available.
Despite budget constraints, the minister continued, our government has made investments, made progress and committed to further advance a strong health and STI agenda in Pakistan, including through cooperation and partnerships. international.
Increased investments in STI and health, in a sectoral and integrated manner, are indeed vital, especially for developing countries. The scoreboard in these areas has remained modest globally. Improving fiscal and policy space in developing countries is essential to address this trend.
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated economies and livelihoods across the globe with severe repercussions for developing countries in terms of shrinking fiscal space and tightening liquidity.
He observed that the pandemic had disrupted public health systems around the world and threatened the health outcomes already achieved.
Even before the pandemic, only about a third of the world’s population was covered by essential health services.
According to recent estimates, if the current trend continues, only 39% of the world’s population will be covered by essential health services by 2030.
A strengthened and intelligent use of science, technology and innovation, accompanied by a strong framework for financing global development, will therefore be essential to ensure the good health and well-being of all, everywhere, stressed Shibli Faraz.
He believed that advanced technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, gene editing, telemedicine and medical robotics hold immense potential to shape the healthcare landscape at the future.
Yet these technologies would require adequate regulation and oversight to mitigate the risks of exacerbating the existing digital divide, inequalities in health and well-being, he said.
The Commission on Science and Technology, as the United Nations focal point for science, technology and innovation, can play a central role in fostering international collaboration in ways that benefit all.
The Pakistani government has used STIs for key interventions and improvements in health services in Pakistan.
“We have deployed ICT tools to determine eligibility criteria for fully subsidized health insurance cards in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. This facility is currently being extended to other parts of the country,” he said. -he declares.
In the wake of the pandemic, we created a technology-driven national command and operations center to coordinate surveillance, information and data exchange, and outreach at the federal, provincial and regional levels.
We mobilized and tapped into our research and development institutions to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfectants, test kits and ventilators. We are able to produce these materials in a short time at a competitive scale and prices, the minister said.
We are also investing in biomedical research and development and recently established a development and medical device center at the National University of Science and Technology with a cost of PKR. 331 million, said the federal minister.
The Ministry of Science and Technology is leading national efforts aimed at mobilizing research organizations, universities and industries and creating the conditions for these stakeholders to synergize and collaborate, including in the field of health.
The Minister insisted on increasing financing for development, including through increased international tax cooperation, debt relief and more equitable international trade and investment regimes, especially for developing countries, as a means of improve fiscal space for investments in STI and the health sector.
He also called for enhanced international collaboration in scientific research, capacity building and technology transfer, as well as the sharing of scientific knowledge and best practices.
He stressed that ensuring equitable and affordable access to life-saving medicines and vaccines for everyone, everywhere, was needed at this time.
This requires the urgent removal of undue restrictions on intellectual property rights and the swift relinquishment of patents on COVID-19 patents to speed up production of vaccines and drugs.
The minister also insisted on increasing STI-related official development assistance (ODA) to developing countries, which has stagnated over the past decade. In 2010, it was $ 4.7 billion, up from $ 4.8 billion in 2017.
He also underscored the need to promote North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation and partnerships on STI, as well as its use to advance SDG 3 targets.
The Minister recognized the usefulness of the STI policy reviews conducted by the UNCTAD Secretariat.
These policy reviews are useful for building technological and innovation capacities in developing countries.