The impact of science was evaluated in terms of the development it brings to the human race. Through time, however, it was recognized that if development is to serve the entire human race, it has to be with or no minimum side-effects; it should last long and required to benefit all concerned. Such kind of thinking led to the concept of sustainable development, Arba Minch University President, Dr Feleke Woldeyes emphasized.

Dr Feleke said it while opening a two-day national symposium on ‘Science for Sustainable Development’, organized by College of Natural Sciences at Lecture Theatre from 26th to 27th April, 2014. Representatives from different universities and reputed institutions and all AMU top officials including students participated in the symposium.

President substantiating his point further said, ‘‘Sustainable development implies progress and improvement in economic, social and ecological aspects. Though, this can be achieved through a holistic contribution of many players, where science takes the major share. It’s therefore, vital to recognize this and use the tool for the intended purpose.’’

Natural Science College Dean, Dr Alemayehu Hailemichael, in his welcome address, said, ‘‘Through 25 years of AMU journey notable achievements have been recorded, one of which is evolvement of College of Natural Sciences as an entity on separate compass. AMU has always encouraged the research activities by allocating required sum. And with the involvement of our trained academic staff more than 50 research activities and projects are underway.’’

The conference started with the Organizing Committee Chairman, Mr Haftom, extending greetings to the dignitaries and participants, assuring an environment where the participants will harvest info, research outcomes, tools and approaches to promote the potential contribution of science towards economic development and learn from the latest developments.

Emeritus Professor, Dr Ermias Dagne, in his terse presentation, ‘Unique bio-resources from Ethiopia with applications in food, medicine and cosmetics: From the view point of a chemist,’ enlightened the gathering by unraveling important properties, economic viability and unknown hazards of edible, medicinal plants & roots and cosmetics i.e. Coffee, Khat, Enset, Dengetegna, Gesho, Wanza, Ficus & Baoba, Balanites and Ziziphus, tooth brush sticks, frankincense, myrrh and Gum Arabic, Kniphofia, Aloe Vera, Anchote, Cassava, Cocoyam, Oil seeds etc.

He reiterated that coffee is an important product of Ethiopia that is culturally linked with its national ethos. Hence, its sale on the road and marketing be made professionally, community be injected with the right knowledge about its socio-economic significance.

Professor Berhanu Gizaw, in his paper on ‘Rethinking compensatory energy harvesting modalities in Ethiopia,’ said, ‘‘Our tropical forest are over exploited, hence the ratio between rising energy demand and population is going haywire. So, it’s must to rethink on exploring the possibility of compensatory energy harvesting to meet the future demand.’’

From AMU six papers were presented by Dr ASN Murty, Belay Melese, Berisha Mekayhu, Dr Abebe Demissie, Guta Wakbulcho and Samuel Abraham on issues like wind power generation, forest carbon stocks, spatial modeling of disparity in economic activity, intracellular Phyto-synthesis, hydrological characterization, geology and characteristics of volcanogenic massive sulfide mineralization etc.

The two-day deliberations generated all pervading energy that saw 19 presentations from the representatives of Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Debre Brihan, Wolaita, Jigjiga, Haramaya and Adama Science and Technologies universities, Ethiopian Institute of Bio-diversity and Oromia Agricultural Research Institute etc.

On the occasion, College of Natural Science Research Coordination office has also came out with the book containing abstracts of 24 accepted research papers.

Research and Community Development Vice President, Dr Guchie Gulie, in his closing remark said, ‘‘The growth of any nation is based on scientific development, therefore, we must put our efforts towards government’s development plan meant for the overall growth of the nation.’’

He appreciated College of Natural Science Research Coordination office for selecting suitable papers and successfully conducting the symposium. He also distributed the certificate of participation to all participants.

Later on the concluding day, all participants were also taken on a tour to Gamo Highlands. A dinner organized at Arba Minch Tourist Hotel on the last day, regaled one and all.

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr Agena Anjulo, while extending his gratitude to all over a dinner at Arba Minch Tourist Hotel, thanked the organizing committee, and appreciated illustrious academicians for attending the symposium. ‘‘Our university is progressing and sharing of experiences on scientific arena would certainly benefit us in various ways,’’ he said.

By Philips Joseph