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ESCWA Opens Technology Centre in Jordan


The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
opened its ESCWA Technology Centre (ETC) in El Hassan Science City on 15
November in a ceremony held under the auspices of King Abdullah II Ibn
al-Hussein of Jordan, represented by Prime Minister Aoun Al Khasaouneh, and in
the presence of UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima
Khalaf, and Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan.

In her opening address, Khalaf said ESCWA's message
since its creation has always been economic and social development in all its
aspects and in a region that has a strategic role in global economy owing to its
resources and capabilities. The region, she said, also has its own share of
global wars, occupations, conflicts and all sorts of economic and environmental
disorders and upheavals. Khalaf added that meeting on this occasion attests to the
Commission’s keenness to stay abreast of all of the world 's advances and
innovations in order to support development in regional countries, for technology
has become an essential element in every development project, regardless of its
size and activity. No talk of development is possible without technology, she

Princess Sumaya, for her part, said: "Jordan takes
pride in being chosen among Arab countries to host this ESCWA regional centre.
At the same time, the family of El Hassan Science City and I are very proud
that ESCWA’s Centre is in the midst of our science city whose institutions
cover almost all fields of scientific and technological research, such as
energy, water, environment, and information and communication technology." The
Princess added that alongside the ESCWA Centre, the City and other scientific
and technological institutions in Jordan will constitute a complete technological
system that seeks to stimulate economic and social development processes in regional
countries, support cooperation among themselves, and achieve regional
integration among member countries.

Al Khasaouneh was pleased that "ESCWA's noble goals entirely
converge with our humanitarian, economic and social narrative aiming to secure
factors of stability and wellbeing that impact the development of healthy
relations among members of the international community. They also suit our
quest to reach better living standards for our peoples and provide job
opportunities to everyone through continuous stimulation of economic growth.”

ETC’s Executive Director Fouad Mrad also made a
presentation on the Centre’s makeup, goals and framework. He said it is a regional
centre for technology, innovation and scientific research, despite the lack of
any researches in science, labs, scientists or even inventions. It is therefore
the role of the centre, Mrad explained, to meticulously monitor available
opportunities in ESCWA countries, sort them according to national needs of
member states, and link them up with regional and global capacities and

ETC’s board of governors held its first meeting in the
presence of member country representatives. These were, by alphabetical order
of participating countries, Muhammad Ahmad Amer of Bahrain, Princess Sumaya
bint El Hassan of Jordan, Abdul Aziz bin Muhammad Al Souailim of the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia, Moeen Hamza of Lebanon, Mustapha Jarrar of Palestine, Najmeddine
Daood of Sudan and Noureddine Sheikh Obeid of Syrian Arab Republic.

ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf presided over the
opening session, where participants reviewed the Centre’s rules of procedures as
adopted in the UN Economic and Social Council in 2010. On that basis, Princess
Sumaya bint El Hassan was elected chairperson of the Board and Abdul Aziz bin
Muhammad Al Souailim vice-chairperson. The session was followed by the first
meeting of the Board, chaired by Princess Sumaya, to discuss financial, administrative
and technical matters as well the Centre’s work plan for the coming two years.

ETC kicked off its activities immediately the next day with a workshop
on "Intellectual Property (IP) and Technology Transfer for Universities and
Research Institutions." It aimed at developing IP assets and strategies and
managing technology transfer for universities and research institutes in ESCWA
member states. Participants included professors and experts in this field from
different global institutions. The workshop was organized in cooperation with
the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the UN Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) office in Jordan.
ETC aims to enhance capacities in developing
national management systems; developing, transferring, adapting and applying
technology; selecting technologies appropriate for the region and facilitating their
development and improving the legal and commercial framework for technology
transfer. The Centre also aims to enhance technological and scientific
knowledge content of major economic sectors in member countries, such as the
construction industry, industrial technologies, energy, agriculture, water, new
materials, as well as information and communication technology.