The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Member States, located within and around the Indian Ocean rim, are prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, floods, droughts, and volcanic eruptions. As a result of climate change, extreme weather phenomena with the accompanying natural hazards are on the rise, alongside man-made hazards such as oil spills, and water, sea and air pollution. These effects are rising in frequency, with increasingly devastating results for our natural environment and alarming prospects of future generations.
While early warning and precautionary measures are vital to reduce the risks for damages and losses of life associated with these hazards, relief operations and rescue services are also important to help contain the damages to public infrastructure, private properties, and human lives.
It is with a view to these aspects, the RWTH Aachen University, IORA Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer (IORA-RCSTT), with the support of Germany as a Dialogue Partner, through GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusummenarbeit) and the IORA Secretariat, held the IORA Workshop on Biomedical-engineering and other Innovative Technologies with relevance to Post-Disaster Situations in Aachen from 18 – 21 November 2019 in Germany.
The Workshop welcomed Disaster Risk Management (DRM) participants from 11 IORA Member States including Bangladesh, Iran, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. This Workshop provided participants an opportunity to gain experience and knowledge to advance technologies and strategies within the Indian Ocean region which may be used to effectively reduce fatalities and to aid victims affected by disasters. enhancing and building capacity to manage post-disaster situations through medical and technology transfer, participants and RWTH Aachen University Academics, developed an outcome document for submission and consideration to IORA.
Recommendations by participants and experts present at the Workshop suggested to:
Integrate next generation of Disaster Risk Management (DRM), including technologies, expertise to be shared and exchanged;
Recognise the importance of ICT to assist Member States in post-disaster situations;
Promote the adjustment of national guidelines for procedures in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) among IORA Member States on the basis of the Sendai Framework;
Collate an IORA disaster risk map and needs assessment;
Establish an inventory of procedures (human resources, equipment, medicine, infrastructure etc.) and techniques/strategies as a basis for a regional analysis of best practises and gaps by IORA-RCSTT in consultation with the IORA Core Group for Disaster Risk Management (CGDRM);
Collate a DRM overview analysis on Member State and regional organisation DRM plans/strategies;
Organise the sharing of disaster mitigation and response techniques by IORA-RCSTT in collaboration with the IORA CGDRM;
Develop suggestions and recommendations to enhance national and regional strategies for DRM;
Promote the delivery of training, exchange and capacity building programmes by Member States and Dialogue Partners in the area of DRM;
Enhance early warning systems through new technologies and improved communication channels for early warning systems;
Enhance DRM awareness, especially in post-disaster situations, through education, media usage and simulation exercises;
Establish an IORA ‘Rapid Assistance Response Mechanism’ (including but not limited to: committees, team members, intergovernmental assistance structures etc.) through the IORA CGDRM to assist Member States during disaster situations;
Further enhance knowledge among Member States and Dialogue Partners on specific relevant technologies for post-disaster situations, including but not limited to;
• Water treatment/recycling and water quality assurance;
• Salt-water desalination and water purification technology; and
• Safe sanitation solutions;
• Adapted automated hospital technologies;
• Educational training for patient safety;
• Telehealth and telemedicine; and
• Hydraulic engineering technologies for disaster prevention.
Promote the hosting of DRM medical and technological exhibitions for the effective transfer of knowledge on a regular basis;
Enhance cooperation with civil society organisations, including regional and national non-governmental NGOs.
WORKSHOP ON SALTS AND CHEMICALS EXTRACTION FROM SALINE WATERS WORKSHOP FOR IORA COUNTRIES
October 15-17, 2019, Tehran – I.R. Iran
On October 15th, 2019, in Tehran, I.R. Iran, the Workshop on Salts and Chemicals Extraction from Saline Waters Workshop for IORA Countries was jointly organized and inaugurated by IORA RCSTT and Sharif University of Technology, Institute of Water and Energy in close cooperation with the Institute of Seawater Desalination and Multipurpose Utilization (ISDMU),
SOA, China and Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST). The event was held with the logistic provision of IORA Secretariat and with the financial support of IORA Special Fund approved in the 20th Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO), Durban, South Africa on 31 October to 1 November 2018.
The workshop was attended by about 30 participants from 11 IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners including Bangladesh, China, France, India, Iran, Italy, Oman, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand.
In the opening ceremony, Dr. Miremadi, the Director of RCSTT opened the discussion highlighting the significance of the water as the indispensable mater of life for every individual and the importance of the desalination technologies which has made many communities to have access to water. “Yet, this technology does not come without cost”, Dr. Alalomohoda added, the environmental pollution is one of its prices which the scientists should find solution for. Dr M. Movahedi, Vice President of Research and Technology, Sharif University of Technology, continued this discussion with introducing the extraction of minerals from the saline water as an enabling and complementary technology which mitigate water pollutions and economize the process of desalination.
The discussion continued with inviting the audience to intervene and bring up their technical point of view and to give their short country reports.
The workshop continued then with three consequent sessions on the following topics:
- Environmental impacts of brine discharge
- Dual-purpose desalination plant
- Valuable and Trace Elements
In the concluding session, the participants at the Workshop recommended that the IORA RCSTT in cooperation with the related regional and international organizations establish a regional mechanism to support knowledge networking on the subject of salts and chemical extraction from saline waters for future development. Further, they resolved to prepare a project proposal on salts and chemicals extraction executed as the scale of pilot plant. This plant could be a dual purpose site, focusing on desalination and Extraction of minerals from saline water resources at the same time.
At the end, the draft declaration including the views and recommendations of participants in the Workshop was reviewed, discussed and resolved.
The 20th Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) took place in Durban, South Africa during 31 October to 1 November 2018 (the report is attached hereto as CSO Decision Report). Dr. Tahereh Miremadi, Director of IORA RCSTT attended the above meeting to present and defend the RCSTT’s annual programme including accomplished projects and the future as well as ongoing activities (the report is attached hereto as RCSTT Summary Report).
Taking note of the report, the CSO Meeting approved signing the MOU between RCSTT and Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa (the report is attached hereto as Signing Ceremony Report), funding the two project proposals presented by RCSTT through the IORA Special Fund, and considering the RCSTT cooperation with Aachen University to establish Health and Medical Technology. Further, during the CSO Meeting, the Director of RCSTT, distributed a Policy Brief which was welcomed by the CSO Members (the full text is attached hereto as Policy Brief).
Training Programme on “Diversity, documentation, Gene banking and Database for Medicinal Plants” for IORA Member Countries
Lucknow - India
November 25 to December 01, 2018
The Training Course has been scheduled by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CSIR-CIMAP) and held in close cooperation with Ministry of External Affairs, India and the IORA RCSTT in Lucknow, India during November 25 to December 01, 2018 as the first activity of the IORA-RCSTT Coordination Centre on Medicinal Plants at CSIR-CIMAP. One of the objectives of the Coordination Centre on Medicinal Plants at CSIR-CIMAP was to address the gaps for improving trade and business of medicinal plants and products among IORA member countries and dialogue partners, the first step is to develop a knowledge repository by creating a robust database on Medicinal plants, Experts, Products, Institutions and Regulatory regimes. This requires collation and compilation of existing domain knowledge on medicinal plants in each member state and its continuous updating. Hence, a programme to sensitize and train the representatives of the Member States was organized by the IORA RCSTT Coordination Centre on Medicinal Plant at CSIR-CIMAP with the following objectives.
1. Assessing and documenting medicinal plant diversity.
2. Conserving the medicinal plant wealth through gene banking.
3. Determining the quality parameters as per the regulatory guidelines.
4. Parameters and information required on medicinal plants for database.
The IORA RCSTT in close cooperation with the Organizing Committee circulated the programme announcements, concept note and other related documents among its Science and Technology Focal points as well as its Medicinal Plants Focal Points of all the IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners to ensure the maximum participation. Fortunately the Training Course was very warmly welcomed by the IORA countries so about 30 applicants from 13 countries including Bangladesh, India, Iran (both public and private sections), Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand participated in. The full hospitality extended to all the delegates from IORA countries which covered guest-house accommodation, transportation to and from the airport/hotel/venue and selected meals by the CSIR-CIMAP.
At the end of the training programme, the trainees were more knowledgeable in assessing, documenting and conserving the diversity of medicinal plants of their respective countries to be able to train students in their countries. Further, they were also expected to collect and send the information on medicinal plants, products, institutes, industries and regulatory regime to IORA-RCSTT Coordination Centre on Medicinal Plants for a functional and compact database which can be assessed by all focal points for commercialization among member states in the future.
The member countries agreed to share their knowledge of medicinal and aromatic plants found in their respective countries. They also agreed to submit genetic data of such plants, turning the endeavour into a one of its kind conservation effort by member countries. The genetic data bank will not only help in conservation but also act as a source of information for future generations.
The programme also will help Member States to make trade of these medicinal plants easier. Sharing knowledge and technology involved in harvest of these plants was also a part of the programme. For example, regarding the trade of saffron, Iran is a leading exporter of saffron but the Iranian saffron in the Indian market comes via Europe where it is processed. The training programme and the one in the string will be able to change this story.
IORA RCSTT signed an MOU with the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa to Coordinate the Water and Sanitation Research and Innovation amongst the IORA Member States,
1 November 2018 in Durban, South Africa
On the 1st of November 2018 during the IORA Senior Officials’ Meeting, the IORA RCSTT signed an MOU with the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa to Coordinate the Water and Sanitation Research and Innovation amongst the IORA Member States.