MoU signed to take China-Pakistan ocean science forward

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China’s National Ocean Technology Center (NOTC) and Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences (LUAWMS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on ocean space planning.

This new relationship was formalized in a virtual signing ceremony recently. Chen Wujun, Secretary General of NOTC, said that the MoU would be the key to opening cooperation between the Center and Lasbela University in the marine field.

“We hope that in the future, both sides will take ocean space planning cooperation as the starting point, carry out extensive mutual visits and exchanges, and jointly hold training courses,” said Chen. “We will also work together to develop relevant information systems and observatory, and promote the construction of a joint research center on marine space planning between China and Pakistan.”

Dr. Dost Muhammad Baloch, Vice Chancellor of LUAWMS, expressed his hope that the signing of the MoU will play an important role in the sustainable use of marine resources and improve the lives of the people of Pakistan, especially in Baluchistan.

“The MOU will help develop regional cooperation among Maritime Silk Road countries and establish a future communication and cooperation mechanism between China and Pakistan in the field of marine space planning,” said Dr. Dost.

According to the Pakistani side, Pakistan has a coast of about 1,050 kilometers long and an exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of 290,000 square kilometers.

“The study of Marine Sciences has increased more than ever due to increase of exclusive economic zone of Pakistan from 200 to 350 nautical miles. In the face of the challenges and opportunities that may arise in the future, we need scientific research to improve our capacity to manage new issues in the oceans,” Dr. Dost said.

Dr. Dost described the MoU as a natural alliance between the two universities that have mutual interests.

Located in Baluchistan, which has the longest coastline in the country, LUAWMS is the only maritime university in Pakistan. The university is located about 500 km east of Gwadar port, the gateway to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In 2018, China Oceanic Development Foundation and LUAWMS signed an MoU on cooperation in marine space planning. In the past five years, China and Pakistan have continuously enhanced exchanges and interactions, deepened friendship and mutual trust, and reached a series of cooperation consensus.

Under the new MoU, the two sides will carry out practical cooperation in more areas to enhance the capacity of Pakistan’s integrated marine and coastal zone management, improve the well-being of coastal people, support the construction of China-Pakistan Blue Partnership, and promote the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road Initiative.