Mr Muzafar Said led Dairy Science Park delegation to Thailand

Mr Muzafar Said led Dairy Science Park delegation to Thailand

DSP-Sandia Workshop Report, Phuket

The workshop was attended by Mr Muzfar Said, Minister for Finance, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mr Arif Yousaf Special Assistant to the Chief Minister KP, Prof M Subhan Qureshi Dean FAHVS/Chief Patron DSP, Prof Umer Sadique Chairman Animal Health, Dr Naila Chand Chairperson Poultry Science, Dr Murad Ali, Dr Farhan, Dr Sher Bahadar Khan, Mr Rafiullah Khan and Mr Shah Murad Khan represented UAP. Mr Nasir Shah represented FATA University, Dr Zia ul  Haq KMU, Dr Azam Kakar World Bank. DSP was represented by Engr Irfan ul Haq Qureshi and Ms Samina Qureshi and Sandia National Laboratories by Dr Melissa Finley, Ms Iris Surdi, Mr Robert Otero and Mr Waleed Joyan.

Mr Muhammad Luqman DG SDU Government of KP, Dr Khalid Khan Additional Secretary HED and Prof Zahoor Swati Vice Chancellor UAP could not get NOC for the visit although the Chief Minister advised the relevant department for the same. The Minister Finance took serious notice of the non-issuance of NOC to the delegates and promise to look into the issue on return to Peshawar. Mr Kamran Khan Secretary DSP and Mr Malik Niaz Ex-President KPCCI could not participate due to their business engagements.

The Workshop was a follow-up program for establishing a Center of Excellence for Biorisk Management, proposed during Pakistan Biorisk Management Curriculum Development Workshops held at Dubai and Bangkok in April/November 2016. It was anticipated that the University of Agriculture Peshawar will be the leader in the region for developing and integrating biorisk management into existing university courses, creating courses in biorisk management, developing quality standards and protocols, and will subsequently provide guidance to other universities and colleges in the region. The present workshop was focused on involving the top policy makers of the province in consultation on various aspects of Biorisk Management so the concepts could be integrated into policies, development plans and projects for future funding.

The workshop was sponsored by Sandia National Labs, USA as the fourth event of its kind. On the first day, the registration of participants and opening remarks were followed by an overview of the previous collaboration between the Dairy Science Park and Sandia National Laboratories regarding Biorisk Management were explained by Dr Melissa Finley and Dr Iris Shurdhi. The International Biological and Chemical Threat Reduction (IBCTR) Program was reviewed. The knowledge and skills to effectively design, implement, and evaluate a curriculum were reviewed. Curriculum development steps and the application of brain-friendly teaching approach with integrated teaching styles were presented.

Prof Qureshi informed that KP Food Safety Authority has been established under an Act of the Parliament. It was suggested that: i) Dairy Science Park would train Food Safety Officers and develop quality and Halal standards with the cooperation of development partners like SNL, KMU and others. Diagnostic kits will be diseases for detection of pathogens and toxins and Halal quality. A development project may be sponsored by the provincial government for this purpose. The provincial government is considering establishment of a Dairy Science Park Task Force (DTF) to take care of interests of the producers, processors, consumers and service providers through various ministries. ii) An earlier notification of the (DTF) was recommended.

Mr Arif Yousaf that an SDGs Task Force (STF) has been established at the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Cell comprises MPAs, headed by Mr Arif Yousaf. A Sustainable Development Unit has been established at the Planning and Development Department,

Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, monitoring progress of the administrative departments on implementation of the SDGs. The STF has notified the Fourth International Conference and Industrial Exhibition at Konya Turkey on November 1-5, 2017 and will pursue its successful arrangements at the public and private sectors. Prof Qureshi recommended that: iii) the STF must review the provincial priorities under SDGs and the sectoral policies and development plans must be tailored with the SDGs priorities; iv) The STF comprising parliamentarians must be supported by a group of technocrats to identify peoples issues related to SDGs and suggested intervention strategies related to food safety, food security and youth entrepreneurship as covered under SDGs  number 2, 3 8; accepted by the United Nations as #SDGAction9671 initiated by DSP.

Mr Nasir Shah presented his paper on “Higher Education Commission: Challenges and Opportunities”. He appreciated the Chinese assistance to Pakistan under CPEC and the US assistance under Knowledge Corridor. He highlighted the suffering of the tribal people in FATA due to the global war on terror. He suggested: v) establishment of community colleges under FATA-University with the collaboration of DSP, to develop capacity of the people for utilizing indigenous resources for poverty alleviation, hygienic food production and youth employment. vi) Dr Azam Kakar from World Bank Quetta suggested establishment of Baluchistan Chapter of DSP to develop livestock resources, especially the sheep population on commercial basis. It was suggested that the local resources in KP and Baluchistan need to get developed through special economic zones, based upon availability of the local livestock, poultry and wildlife populations. The Higher Education Commission has introduced the tools of ORIC offices and Business Incubation Centers at various universities, which will be fully utilized by DSP through partner universities and the private sector.

The Finance Minister showed his dissatisfaction over performance of Higher Education Regulatory Authority (HERA) KP and Mr Nasir assured him of his support: vi) to bring reforms into the structure and function of HERA in public interest. Prof M Subhan Qureshi suggested for utilizing resources of KP Board of Investment and Trade to support the small businesses engaged with food production in reducing cost of production and improving products quality. The performance of various department need to be reviewed through a questionnaire to be monitored by the Finance Minister.

Mr Nasir highlighted the flow of animals across the Pak-Afghan boarders and the risk to the security personnel while handling such people and animals. It was recommended that: vii) the security personnel may be trained in biorisk management so that their health could be protected and good practices could be introduced at the international boarders for protecting health of animals and the people. In addition the capacity of the laboratories may be enhanced to handle forensic samples. It was recommended that: viii) a Center of Excellence on Biorisk Management (CE-BRM) will CE-BRM will work on development standards and imparting training to the biomedical workers and related professional groups in biosafety and biosecurity. CE-BRM will be established at Peshawar to be jointly managed by various partner universities of DSP.

On the second day, Ms Iris presented IBCTR overview – Global Biorisk Management Curriculum (GBRMC), mainly based upon biosafety and biosecutiry concerns. Lab certification was considered as an important tool to respond to the challenges in the field. It was suggested that: ix) the personnel trained under the  SNL-DSP collaboration would be registered as alumni and the provincial government will implement the good practices in biorisk management at various points of the food value chain, as a part of KP DSP Act of the provincial Assembly.

Ms Iris highlighted the importance of Assessment, Mitigation and Performance (AMP) approach of SNL and recommended: x) upgradation of the biological laboratories into BSL-2 and 3. Eating dinosaur at the right time was the basis of responding to the BRM challenges. Prof Qureshi pointed out to the recently promulgated KP Food Safety Act and recommended for: xi) revision of KP Food Safety Authority Act 2014 in light of the BRM and entrepreneurship challenges in the food value chain, with support of the academia-industry partnership.

Dr Zia KMU and Dr Umer UAP presented the course outlines approved by the respective bodies of the  universities to accommodate BRM related curricula. Dr Sher Bahadar will prepare the final draft to be shared with SNL before implementation at the Universities. It was suggested that: xii) DSP will coordinate to accommodate these courses at provincial and national levels under the umbrella of HEC.

At the concluding session, Mr Arif Yousaf commended the efforts of DSP and Sandia National Labs in joining hands to respond to the biorisk management challenges which threaten both public and animal health, and income generation of the poor families in the region, especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Mr Yousaf referred to the guidelines provided by the Chairman of the ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Mr Imran Khan, to involve the youth in productive activities and to utilize their educational qualifications and professional skills in promoting economic activities in the region. Legislation has been made regarding access to information, police reforms, and improvement in primary, secondary, and tertiary education and the local government system.

The Finance Minister appreciated the collaborative efforts of the SNL and DSP in forwarding the agenda of BRM in the interest of the people of KP and FATA. He ensured support of his ministry in allocating fund for these specific activities. The scope of Dairy Science Park for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, comprising Food Secutiry, Food Safety and Economic Empowerment of the people will be supported by the provincial government in light of recommendations of this forum. He acknowledged support of the SNL team and the United States government for their support to provide solutions for our local issues. He assured his participation in the upcoming consultation of SNL-DSP collaboration and wished to participate in the upcoming event in Malaysia.