Pakistan and French natural history museums sign MoU



ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) and French National Museum of Natural History (FNMNH) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) on Wednesday to promote the development of research and other museum activities on both sides. 
PSF Chairman Prof Dr Khalil Ahmed Ibupoto and FNMNH Director General Thomas Grenon signed the MoU on behalf of PMNH and FNMNH, respectively. Federal Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid and French Ambassador Philippe Thiebaud signed the MoU as witnesses. Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) Additional Secretary Tahir Maqsood and PMNH Director General Dr Muhammad Khan Leghari were also present on this occasion.  
Speaking on the occasion, Zahid Hamid commended the role of PMNH towards highlighting the actual issues and challenges regarding natural resources, biodiversity and environment of the country. He congratulated the PMNH for conducting scientific research on different aspects of natural resources that will play a key role towards establishing effective and efficient linkages between scientists and entrepreneurs of our country for development. He also congratulated the scientists of the FNMNH and PMNH for this historic beginning of their collaboration. 
He believes that the platform created by this MoU will enhance the inter-change of ideas of research between the scientists of France and Pakistan. “Hand in hand, I am sure we will be able to create synergy and sparkle off innovative ideas in Museology, sowing the seeds that one day will bring forth long-term benefits to both places,” he added. He also appreciated the efforts of PSF for arranging such activities.
French Ambassador Philippe Thiebaud said this is an important collaboration to create a dynamic research between both institutes. I am glad that during the last few years, several joint projects of the French Government on education and travelling exhibitions were completed with the support of PSF and MoST in different areas of Pakistan.
The Ambassador said this MoU would have a long lasting impact in promoting and enhancing cultural exchange between the two countries. 
“The MoU signed will help provide us with a committed approach to working more closely together, which will allow us to reach our common goal, ‘the pursuit of the internationalisation of education”, he said, adding, each side will create many significant activities in the field of Museology.
PSF Chairman Dr Ibupoto said the MoU signing marked the joint efforts of the governments of both countries in strengthening co-operation in the fields of science and technology.
He said that the PSF is working for promotion of scientific and technological research by providing financial and technical support at individual and institutional levels. Science popularisation in the country is another prime objective of PSF. 
The PSF chairman said PMNH was established under the patronage of PSF in 1976 and since then it is actively working for the reference collection of flora & fauna, rocks, fossils and minerals and conservation of biodiversity of our country. PMNH since its inception has collected over 600,000 natural history specimens that are preserved in its repositories, he said, adding; now the PMNH is digitising this massive collection. 
We have also established Geographical Information System (GIS) to document the distribution of various species, which will be available on the map according to their geographical reference later on. PMNH has its own Biodiversity of Pakistan: Global data base Networking (BGN) and it is also an associate member of Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and a member of International Council of Museums ICOM, he added.

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