Brain Drain Hinders Sustainable Development

Nearly 11 million people in Iran  (or 15% of the population) hold a  university degree.Nearly 11 million people in Iran  (or 15% of the population) hold a  university degree.

Science Minister Mohammad Farhadi said on Monday that sustainable development, among other things, requires dealing with migration, preventing brain-drain, managing the urbanization process, and increased cooperation among countries.

He was addressing the Population and Resources Panel of the 13th Annual Meeting of Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum October 2-4 in Kyoto, Japan.

While high population and lack of resources pose great challenges to nations, urbanization, migration, and brain-drain have exacerbated the situation, he said, Mehr News Agency reported.

 “With a population of 80 million, Iran is the 17th most populous country in the world. It is also home to nearly 3 million refugees.”

Noting that 11 million people in Iran (around 15% of the population) hold a university degree, he said the phenomenon of brain-drain or human capital flight, however, has had adverse effects on national sustainable development.

“When a country allocates huge resources for training and educating its people, the migration of highly qualified citizens to other countries becomes a matter of great concern.”

Today, there is a need for global cooperation to tackle this problem. “We are in need of new ideas that can curb brain-drain and human capital flight. Concerted efforts should be made to create the conditions for the return of experts to their own country.”

Farhadi singled out brain drain as a major global concern due to its impact on a nation’s development. “Without skilled manpower, a country or a region cannot achieve sustainable development,” he underscored.

  Mutual Responsibility

Another persisting issue is internal migration (or urbanization). The World Cites Report 2016 published by the United Nations in May indicated that 70% of the Iranian population will live in urban areas by 2030 (globally the figure is 60%).

According to local officials including Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi, the rate has already surpassed that figure and currently stands at 73%, a 50% increase since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“Both the country of source and destination are responsible for providing support and facilitating the mutual mobility of skilled people and enabling the transfer of knowledge.”

This will be to the benefit of all and will transform brain drain to brain gain, he told the panel.

According to IRNA, Founder and Chairman of STS Forum Koji Omi called for expansion of scientific cooperation with Iran in a meeting with Farhadi on the sidelines of the event.

Touching upon Iran’s progress in the field of science and research, Omi voiced STS’ willingness to foster broader cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

“Iran is one of the leading countries in the field of science and technology and should play a pivotal role in STS activities,” he noted, expressing readiness to explore ways of expanding cooperation.

Taking stock of positive contributions by STS vis-à-vis the challenging global issues, Farhadi said Japanese institutions could be efficacious in addressing present-day human problems with the help of science and technology.

Established in 2004 as a non-governmental organization, STS has 81 members from 28 countries, including Iran.

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