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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.

Hassan Belal Zaidi


Published Date: Dec 11, 2014

‘Politicisation of data’ one reason behind lack of current census

ISLAMABAD: The politicisation of data is one of the major dangers
that faces researchers and policymakers today, and one of the main
reasons why there has not been a census in so long is that every
political party will try to fudge the numbers to give themselves the

On the second day of ‘Pathways to Development’, the
17th sustainable development conference organised by the Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI), policy researcher Asif Memon and
Marc Andre Franche, country director for the United Nations Development
Programme, highlighted the dangers associated with inadequate data
collection and stressed the need for evidence-based discourse in
policy-making circles.

Speaking during a session entitled ‘Data
Revolution: Bringing Data and Evidence to Bear Upon Pakistan’s Education
Policymaking’, Mr Memon said, “Statements made without evidence are
worthless. This is what our attitude should be when it comes to

“The data regime is not a priority. There are no
well-researched impact assessments of projects such as the Benazir
Income Support Programme (BISP). There are reports masquerading as
impact assessments, but they suffer from a lack of basic metrics. The
proper methods are often too expensive and time-consuming, which is why
they are not employed,” he said.

The data that is available is
flawed. “In most cases, the data collection and reporting is not timely.
For example, PSLM data is always two years behind the current year,” he
said. In addition, he highlighted issues with the baseline used by
these surveys.

The Pakistan Social And Living Standards
Measurement (PSLM) data, he said, was based on the 1998 census and did
not reflect the Pakistan of 2014.

“Pakistan will fail to report
that it has accomplished the goal of universal primary education in the
country,” Mr Memon told the audience. “No one knows what is the rupee
amount spent on education in Pakistan,” he said, adding that it was
simple enough to find the dollar amount, but the rupee amount was a
matter of some contention.

“How much does Pakistan spend on a
school-going child,” he posited. The calculation, he said, took them
dozens of man-hours to calculate. In the process, he said, his team
discovered that the federal government only has data on schools in
Islamabad and Fata and it does not count children studying in federal
government-run schools in the provinces.

He said the provinces
told them that they did not count such students among provincial totals
either and that there was difference between federal government-run
schools in the provinces and schools which followed the federal
government syllabus.

There was also no data on army cadet
colleges, which were paid for by the defence ministry. Asking too many
questions of them, he said light-heartedly, would prompt people to ask
him why he was asking such questions in the first place.

One of
the researches, presented by independent consultant Safyan Jabbar, also
highlighted how, when schools were given funds by donors, they spent the
bulk of them on activities such as whitewashing the premises, repair
and maintenance of infrastructure and new installations, with very
little left over for expenditures such as stationery, teachers’ salaries
and utility bills.

UNDP’s Mr Franche observed that a lot of the
people who could help with the problems that were being discussed at the
panel, such as donors and government officials, were not even part of
the current conversation.

Deploring the lack of a fresh census,
he told the audience that Pakistan had the dubious distinction of being
the third country – alongside war-torn Chad and Afghanistan – that had
not carried out a census in over 20 years. He also regretted that most
quality data is very project specific and is not collected at the
institutional level.

To illustrate just how problematic data
collection was, even in the present day, he said that the UNDP had only
been able to track 18 of the 41 indicators for success at the Millennium
Development Goals.

“Some data is better than no data at all,”
said Scherezad Latif, a consultant with the World Bank. But in the same
breath, she also stressed that in addition to being available, data also
needed to be valid and reliable so policymakers could make accurate

The second day of the conference also saw lively
discussion around the ‘Role of Afghanistan in Regional Stability’,
former ambassadors Akram Zaki and Munawar Saeed Bhatti, as well as World
Bank energy consultant Haroon Sharif, academic Dr Moeed Yusuf as well
as the Afghan ambassador Janan Mosazai and Kabul CAA Director, Dr Qasim

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