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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

Administrative Practice and Social Norms: The Case of Domestic Water Supply

Jan 27

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Sustainable Development Policy Institute, 38 Embassy Road, G-6/3


  • Mr Mukhtar Amed, Analyst 

(Concept Note)


It is widely recognized that poor governance is a major impediment in the provision of public goods. Pakistan is not an exception in this context and a number of studies have indicated institutional misgovernance as a major factor hindering public service delivery in the country. Literature suggests that practices like corruption, political interference, lack of accountability, and patron–client forms of behaviour provide significant explanation of the poor state of governance in Pakistan. This research compares the state of bureaucracy in Pakistan with an ideal state to highlight major diversions in governance with regards to provision of public goods.


Using ethnographic data collected in the case study of domestic water supply, the study examines the significance of social norms: in particular personal relationships and kinship ties. These social norms deeply affect the institutional provision and processes of drinking water to local citizens. Based on the data collected on issues surrounding domestic water supply in an urban union council Nawansher (Abat Abad), the study demonstrates how formal access to water is undermined by institutional practices, kinship ties and social relationships. The case study on water supply enables provides an understanding of how local political leaders subvert the formal authority of a local state institution. By examining the role of Nazim (Mayor), the study draws attention to the micro-dynamics of local governance whereby a local institution is caught between the political interests of the Nazimand the official norms governing the institution. On several accounts, the study explores the state official logics and constraints in providing access to water to local citizens in an impartial way. Contrary to the expectations of local citizens affected by the distribution and management of water supply, the distribution system was designed to serve the political and private interests.


This paper draws attention to the limitations of the formal model of governance which does not pay attention to social and political relationships and porous public–private boundaries. Kinship ties and moral obligations deeply affect the official provision of water. State officials constantly deal with these relationships and face extreme difficulties in upholding public interest. The analyses of access to water supply enable us to examine the intrusion of social norms into official norms on one hand, and the porous public-private boundaries on the other. These boundaries constantly shape administrative practices as well as stakeholder interactions and negotiations. This is the actual landscape of governance in which citizens have to negotiate access to public and collective services.


The event can also be watched live at


Chair: Dr Nafisa Shah, MNA & Chairperson, National Commission for Human Development

Dr  Shehryar Toru, Governance Specialist and Research Fellow, SDPI