The IOFS, COMSTECH, and BCI-PARC ended the last event in the shape of a conference on 11 November 2021, which was to finalize all three trainings that were performed for Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa from July to September 2021. The online event was conducted during the visit of IOFS to Pakistan gathering 72 PGR experts from OIC region. The theme of the event was “IOFS-COMSTECH- PARC (BCI) Conference on Acquisition, Conservation, Exchange and Safety Duplication of Plant Genetic Resources in OIC Member States: The Way Forward” that talked about further steps in establishing strong and mutual cooperation among OIC Member States to address wide-range of PGR related issues and challenges.
The opening session of the Conference included the welcoming remarks of H.E. Dr. Ahmad Kawesa Sengendo, Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs, OIC General Secretariat, H.E. Mr. Yerlan A. Baidaulet, the Director General of IOFS, H.E. Prof. Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, Coordinator General of the COMSTECH, H.E. Dr. Tarifa Al Zaabi, Acting Director General of ICBA, Dr. Mohammed Azeem Khan, Chairman of PARC, and Mr. Serge Nakouzi, FAO RNE Deputy Regional Representative who have highlighted the importance of the activities of organizing Institutions and declared on providing all essential support for the benefit of Member States.
The goal of the event was to receive relevant proposals and forward-thinking initiatives from experts from OIC Member States and International Organizations to elaborate the further actions within the implementation of IOFS Programme on “Development of National Gene Banks”, which aims to build strong partnership among plant and animal genetic resources specialists, while also assisting in the enhancement of institutional and human capacity of OIC Member States. The representatives of Gene Banks of Iran, Cote D’Ivoire and Qatar presenting Asia, Africa and MENA regions have shared their experience presenting during the event. Turkey, Tunisia, and Pakistan's gene banks have stated their willingness to assist OIC Member States in conducting research, workshops, and trainings on the basis of their institutions.
The conference culminated with proposals for developing an Action Plan incorporating OIC Gene Banks and Research Centers in partnership with COMSTECH, which would entail the formation of regional groups of specialists to carry out relevant activities.