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Environment: Oxford-Pakistan scholars to assist students in research

KARACHI: WWF-Pakistan will act as a mentoring institute for the Pakistan Field Research Programme with the University of Oxford Centre for the Environment. This programme, which has been convened by Himaverte – a Pakistani social enterprise company, and Pilio, a UK-based energy and environmental services company – aims for research contributions to world-class institutions based in Pakistan, enabling graduate level research to influence environmental planning and policy.

The UK-Pakistan collaborative will guide students working towards the MSc degree thesis at the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and Environment to undertake research on environmental issues in Pakistan.

Designated as Oxford-Pakistan scholars, the students will be assisted during the research process through the provision of logistical support, facilitation of partial research grants, placement at other institutions, access to facilities and resources at an array of institutions in Pakistan, and related networking and communications.

At the kickoff event on Tuesday, WWF-Pakistan DG Hammad Naqi Khan stated that “By partnering with Himaverte, we are renewing a unique collaboration, which will not only bring attention to Pakistan’s endemic environmental issues but will also ensure that initiatives to address them are informed by world-class research”.

Speaking about the collaboration, Dr Mehjabeen Abidi-Habib, Partner, Himaverte said “Our Pakistan Field Research Programme is resuming after many years upon popular demand… WWF-Pakistan has long been a partner with us in this programme and we are excited to partner with them again”.

Catherine Bottrill, CEO Pilio also attended the event where she talked about how addressing climate and ecological emergencies requires the development of fresh thinking and approaches across geographies and stakeholder groups.

The two students from the Oxford University Centre for the Environment, Adnan Jaafar from Malaysia and Emil Beddari from Norway, presented brief overviews of their research proposals which focused on exploring sustainability transitions in cotton agriculture in Pakistan.

Rab Nawaz, Senior Director Programmes, WWF-Pakistan said “As a science-based organization, WWF-Pakistan is excited to facilitate this much-needed initiative that will add research value and create new knowledge frontiers in understanding cotton practices, nature-based solutions and sustainability transitions”.

This joint initiative will allow select environmental researchers to inquire into pressing environmental issues and give them the opportunity to contribute to gaps in research on nature-based solutions and use their findings to inform national policy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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