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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.

SDPI Press Release

Published Date: Dec 7, 2016

SDC- Press Release – day 2

2nd Day of 19th Sustainable Development Conference
 
Extremism still flourishing due to wrong policies of state: ANP leader

ISLAMABAD: (Dec 07, 2016): Stressing the need for strategic planning to weed out terrorism and extremism from the society, former Senator and Awami National Party leader Afrasiab Khattak has said Pakistan is a security state where extremism is still flourishing due to the wrong policies of the state.  

He was speaking at a session on “Challenges of conflict and services delivery in South Asia” on the second day of 19th Sustainable Development Conference organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute here on Wednesday.

ANP leader said Pakistan is under severe debt burden, which is growing every year. He said state policies need to be corrected, as in the presence of Afghan policy, peace cannot prevail. 

Afrasiab Khattak said ruling elite does not allow the establishment of local government system, as it doesn’t suite to them. He called for devising a local government mechanism to implement it in letter and spirit.
 
SDPI Research Fellow Dr Shahryar Khan Toru said public goods are the goods funded or directly provided by the state. Highlighting the reasons for poor human development indicators, he talked about political dimensions of public services as the logic behind excludability, information deficiency, and visibility. 

In his closing remarks, ex-Senator Afrasiab Khattak said the state system has limitations and social priorities are floating. Being part of pre-budget consultation, he said, he found nothing concrete about social sector. He also talked about KP facing extremism. Shirin Gul, Adnan Sher and Saadat Ali also participated in the discussion. 

At a session on ‘Regional Economic integration in South Asia and Central Asia’, Majid Aziz, former president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it’s time to rethink over our position with SAARC. He said Pakistan should realize the importance of looking forward to cooperation with countries other than China such as Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, India, etc.

Haroon Sharif, The World Bank Regional Advisor, he said that due to massive global political shifts like Brexit and Trump effect, trade patterns are changing. People need to think differently, promote leadership roles in the region and rise above the traditional narratives, he added.

Afghan Ambassador His Excellency Omar Zakhilwal emphasized on the importance of regional connectivity especially from Afghanistan’s perspectives and how it will open up Central Asia for Pakistan and South Asian countries. 

Former Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen said instead of rethinking our position with SAARC and other cooperation agreements, we need to strengthen the already existing institutions and agreements. She was of the view that trade and transit should be improved first and further enhanced with India as well. 

Chief Economist of Asian Development Bank Guntur Sugiyatro said CPEC is a game changer for Pakistan but there are problems which hinder growth and cooperation identified as energy crisis, low investment, weak infrastructure, low tax returns (less than 10% of the GDP) and a lack of experts and professionals in the relevant sectors. 

Speaking at a session on ‘Markets, Value Chains and Social Networks’, SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qayum Suleri said that there should be regulation on the price charging of fruits and vegetables markets in Swat. He stressed the need to  institutionalize the middle man. He said that the role of women was invisible in fruit and vegetable markets of Swat during the period of conflict and floods. 

Other speakers Dr. Giulia Minoia from Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium, said due to lack of trust between citizens and state in Afghanistan, people have more trust on the social networks active in the local markets. She also highlighted that the market is controlled by elite traders that made use of institutions to manipulate prices in Nangarhar.

Ms Irina Mosel from Overseas Development Institute stressed the need to look beyond physical markets to market system as a whole. She said that humanitarian aid whether in cash or in kind had profound and potentially long lasting impacts on market systems.

Dr Foqia Sadiq Khan, Researcher and Member of Women Action Forum, found the evidence of family and caste capitalism in the textile sector of Pakistan. 

At another session on ‘Distributional Effect of Out-Migration and Livelihood Resilience in Semi-Arid Regions of Asia of Africa’, Kashif Salik highlighted the push and pull factors which lead to migration. He said food security in rural areas is the major reason for internal migration. “Migration has positive impact on the society in the form of poverty reduction, increasing resilience of the poor households, and decreasing inequalities among the rural communities,” he added. The idea was upheld by Fredrick Atieno from Kenya who said: unless migration dynamics and climate change are fully prioritized in our development strategies and implemented in an integrated manner, it will be very difficult to achieve sustainable development for Kenya and other countries.

Zhana Babagaliyeva from Tajikistan said remittances are the key source of development hindered by external factors like economic crisis, irrational use of land and water, rapid rise of population, limited access to basic services, decline in enrollment rate in higher education facilities and high mortality and morbidity rates.

Hassan Rizvi from Lead Pakistan said climate change is one of the exacerbating factors of internal migration. He stressed the need for census to understand dynamics of migration.  

Dr Aliya Khan from Quaid-i-Azam University said Pakistan is fully equipped to deal with international migration but internal migration and its benefits should be more focused. She suggested that Pakistan should introduce registration process for the populations migrating within the country, as has been adopted in India. 

At another session on “SLRC- Making a living in and after conflicts”, Danielle Hout of Secure Livelihood Research Consortium stressed the need to revise policies in favour of vulnerable population and develop an understanding of structural violence towards conflict ridden areas.

Richard Mallett of SLRC commented that people are stuck up in labour markets with no way-out in a post conflict area.“ Being able to work well depends upon access to credit to find solutions regarding unemployment in a conflicted area where job market is saturated and where people want to be entrepreneurs.” 

Another reason for more financial sufferings is that all the investments in bulky assets are lost in conflict, said Paul Harvey of SLRC. He further said people do not migrate due to their social norms and family structure and tend to stick together in case of conflict. 

Senior Journalist Ijaz Hiader said whenever the government issues a structural policy, it is mainly rejected by the people living in the outskirts of Afghanistan. The reason behind is, he said, only Kabul is the digitized population whereas rest of the adjacent areas are highly backward.

At a session on the Future of SAARC, current challenges and potentials for peace, development and prosperity, former Chief Economist Dr Pervez Tahir focused on the intra-regional trade and said trade share between India and Pakistan is comparatively very low whereas volume of Indian exports to Pakistan is more than Pakistani exports to India, due to which trade deficit is being increased.
 
Naseer Memon from SPO said Pakistan stood second last on Human Development Index in the world. With this situation we will not be able to achieve our development goals, he said, adding that our position is even worse than Bhutan in areas like mortality rate. 

Majid Aziz advocate said private sector is not given the chance to trade with neighbours. “We should separate trade from our regional disputes, he said, adding that Pakistan should try to capture regional market like China and India. 
Social activist Marvi Sirmed also focused on the past of SAARC and regional disputes. She added that due to security challenges both India and Pakistan are not able to focus on actual economic challenges. She called upon SAARC to play its enhanced role. She said the trade between India and Pakistan stopped due to dictatorship in Pakistan and SAARC needs to improve its charter to make it align with people’s aspirations.

Social activist Karamat Ali said that regional cooperation is not the bigger challenge if we involve our civil society in it. He said that cancelation of SAARC summit will impact negatively. There should be mechanism to solve bilateral disputes, he said, suggesting completion of SAARC agenda. 

At another session on ‘Minorities in Pakistan’s Legal Framework’, Majid Munir from Aid Pakistan rectified the seven of the nine global human rights conventions and said there is lack of effective implementation strategies by the government. There is also a lack of training and awareness among the actors of society, which is a clear negation of the Constitution.  

Sadiq Arsalan Lilla said that there is a huge gap between the constitutional provisions and their implementation, as they lead to discrimination in the society. Zain Mansoor highlighted the absence of any national law for Hindus and Christians. “There is lack of marriage, property and other social laws for the minorities,” he said, adding that the allocated quota for minorities is also not considered in job market.
 
Jamal Janjua highlighted the form of indirect discrimination and quoted several examples of the metropolitans of Pakistan. The officials also become biased when they learn about the religious beliefs of people.

Shafqat Munir from SDPI regarded the mindset of people to be the core of the discrimination of minorities. The narrow mindedness of Muslim community leads to the exploitation of minority rights. 

The panel was concluded with the recommendation to introduce an umbrella subject of religious studies instead of Islamic studies to promote interfaith harmony within the communities.
Speaking at a session on ‘Interrelation between poverty and inequality’, Chairperson of Benazir Income Support Program Marvi Memon said: “We’ll have to change our social behaviours, if we want betterment in the socio-economic conditions of women, as it is the main hurdle in the way of women empowerment.

She emphasized the need for sufficient data in case of Pakistan to have better understanding of issues. The core objective of BISP is to manage poverty to make sure no one sleeps hungry at night. 

Mustafa Talpur from OXFAM said only 1% people control more that 90% of the wealth of the world and how women and children are more affected by poverty and inequality more in comparison to men.
 
Junaid Zahid presented multidimensional inequality status in Pakistan. Muhammad Tahseen from SAP said that poverty line is same as hunger line. If in Pakistan 40% people are hungry, it is shameful. He said 40 years ago the main demand from women of Bahawalpur was to have facility of toilets and still the demand is same.
 
Abdul Hameed Leghari from Urdu University said 14% households have access to drinking water, 40% have toilet facilities, 88% households have electricity, 44% households live below poverty line. 
Dr Muhammad Yaseen from University of Sargodha said 22% of people’s income is used for food consumption while the poor households spend 43% of their income for the same. 

At a session on ‘Community Driven Development and Social Protection in Conflicts, Sony KC from  National Center for Contemporary Research (NCCR), Nepal said that 2.1 million people are senior citizens which is 8% of the total population of Nepal whereas over 80% of old-age individuals receive pensions from the government. Nepal is one of 21 countries who have introduced national policies for the older people but this system is not transparent at all.  
Yashodhan Ghorpade from Word Bank Pakistan compared the income support programme like BISP and Watan Card with the conflict in Pakistan. He said due to increase in conflict, access to income support programmes has been decreased in the conflict-hit areas. He has also proved in his study that the existence of Taliban is more likely in those conflict areas where girls’ enrolment ratio is low. 

Dr Anita Ghimire discussed the Community Driven Development (CDD) model in conflict areas of Nepal. The role of Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) has empowered marginalized groups (like women) to have knowledge about banks, market, etc. CDD can be effective in conflict areas where state could not reach. However, post-conflict relations of CDD and state should be planned properly to integrate in a better way to have policy coordination.

Dr Ashfaque Hassan, Dean National University of Science and Technology (NUST), said conflict zones affect people’s livelihoods. It is difficult to reduce issues of community in conflict zones of Pakistan. Similarly, income support programmes are still questionable in Pakistan because defining right person for aid is very complex issue for which beneficiary improvement should be brought under observation.
  
At a session on ‘Effective Institutions’ Capacities and Partnerships for Implementing SDGs: A Provincial Perspective’,  UNDP Country Director Ignicio Artaza said Pakistan needs to prioritize SDGs and ensure their implementation through coordination and monitoring. He believed that institutions are linchpins in the implementation of SDGs and they need strong political and financial backing.
 
Dr Amanullah, the chief economist of Punjab, said that 2015 is considered important for sustainable development. 
Miss Khalida Ghous, representative of Sindh government, said that capacity building and coordination among provinces is a key to achieve SDGs this time. She emphasized on structural transformation, integration issues, partnership alignments, interconnectedness, review process and reforms in civil services. 
 
Malik Amin Aslam, Head of KPK Green Initiative, said institutionalization and political commitment behind SDGs’ agenda is a key to achieve them. 

Rabia Manzoor, SDPI senior researcher, emphasized on the performance evaluation of each SDG implementation department. She also discussed structural and institutional reforms for achieving SDGs’ target in this regard. 
Federal Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan said the SDGs framework is good yet more improvements are required. Federal Government needs to embrace SDGs with full commitment and dedication. 
 
At a session on ‘Water Stewardship, Sustainability and the Way Forward for Pakistan’, Former WAPDA Chief Engineer Shamsul-Mulk said a draft of water policy was prepared in 2001 under his supervision and sent to cabinet for approval in 2002 but unfortunately the policy couldn’t be finalized as yet. He said that if we had more water reservoirs then the 2010 floods could be like an ordinary summer flood. He raised a thought provoking question that what we have built for Pakistan?

Dr Zubair Khan said that the provision of drinking water is the responsibility of the local governments but most of the time we don’t have the local government in functioning position as now in the Punjab. 

Former Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel said the irresponsible political discourse is a hurdle to efficient management of water resources. Waqar Ahmed said that Nestle is the first company in the world which adopted alliance in water stewardship in the world. 

Dr. Tariq Banuri from University of Utha, USA said that the arsenic is becoming a major concern for Pakistan but the technology needed to remove it is costly. 

Speaking at a session on ‘Priority Actions for the SDGs and Leave no one behind agenda in South Asia’, Amina Khan, Senior Research Officer, Overseas Development Institute, UK highlighted ‘the importance of leave no one behind’: it puts the onus on governments to reach out to the poorest and most marginalized populations. She said the efforts to leave no one behind are vital in the first 1000 days because the longer the governments take to act, the harder it will be to deliver progress by 2030.’

Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, SDPI Deputy Executive Director, stressed the need for priority actions to accelerate progress on Goal 8 and particularly on youth employment, as the youth of South Asia are being ‘left behind’. “There are too many overlapping institutional roles and responsibilities to deal with youth employment, education and training, accountability mechanisms and monitoring systems,” he said, adding that youth programmes’ outcome is very low due to the lack of horizontal and vertical linkages, and ‘current programmes are not reaching youth in the informal sector.
 
Dr. Naeem Uz  Zafar, UNDP Advisor on SDGs, said that before going to implement SDGs, we must frame our approach around ‘leave no one behind’, as well as identify priority actions to take this ambitious agenda forward in countries including Pakistan. He said that weak governance is one of the biggest constraints in achieving the targets of SDGs. Data availability is another constraint. He suggested that the government should particularly focus on improving or reforming bureaucratic capability through collective action especially through the local governments. 

Dr. Rabea Malik, Director & Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS) said that ‘in addition to identify the marginalized, it is also important to understand the processes of marginalization. 
Former Senator Roshan Khursheed Bharucha said “the world agreed a new set of global goals to eliminate extreme poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030. Luckily, the SDGs cover a wide range of issues, and emphasize an integrated approach to sustainable development, she added..

In another session on ‘Secure Livelihood Research Consortium (SLRC): Legacy of Conflict’, Senior Research Officer at Overseas Development Institute (ODI) UK Georgina Struge said that there are 40.8 million IDPs all over the world due to conflict in 2016. The international donors are focusing on the IDPs to find out their socioeconomic conditions. “Land and asset losses are two major barriers for IDPs which force them not to return to their homeland in selected countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Nepal. 

Dr Vagisha Gunasekara, Lead researcher in Centre for Poverty Analysis, Sri Lanka said tourism contributes to political and subjective economies of Sri Lankan nation. “There is no integration between local economy and the resort economy while sanitation workers now have secure public sector jobs.” She said political affiliation was shaping out major decision-making and access to economic opportunities.  
 
Rachel Gordan said that 1.5 million people were displaced and rest was missing due to conflict in Uganda. The outcomes of conflict were war crimes, mental & physical health issues, and food insecurities, lack of access to basic services like health, education and weaker livelihoods. The government needs to formulate broader policies to reduce outcomes of post-conflicts. 

SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Suleri summed up the session by commenting on chronic insecurity, including food & energy insecurity, natural calamities, lack of employment opportunities etc. The legacy of conflict should be seen from lens of dividend of conflict concept i.e. focusing on players and stakeholders who were shaping and benefiting it. He said that it is difficult to disentangle the factors responsible for migration that could be better answered by qualitative survey. 

In another session on ‘Inclusive south Asian societies- Raising voices for ethnic and religious minorities as equal citizens’, Dr Nathalene Reynolds said that many nations today are dominated by politicians who pursue their personal interests on the expense of intellectualist mindsets. 

Failure of the state institutions to punish people against minorities’ leads to more violence, said Dr Novshran Singh.  State is not fulfilling its duty by not punishing the government servants, who show biasness towards minorities. We need to build inclusive societies that can only be achieved if law and justice prevail.
 
SDPI Senior Advisor Ahmad Salim said the roots of violence in the subcontinent lies in partition. It’s not time to start asking who killed who rather who saved who, he commented.
 
Human Rights Activist I.A Rehman said we do not understand the ideas and practices of politicians and their hidden agendas. “Minority is not a religious issue rather it’s Political issue.” The most privileged person in Pakistan is the rich Muslim and most underprivileged person is the non-Muslim female, he said. 
 
Clinical Psychologist Dr Eisha Tareen said current blasphemy law should be amended and made from primary Islamic source. 

In another session on, ‘Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Resilience Building in South Asia, SDPI Assistant Research Fellow Shafqat Munir said coordinated regional efforts, integrated river basin management and early warning systems are required for resilience in the region. He identified South Asia as the climatic sandwiched region having many ups and downs. He criticized the cancellation of regional dialogues which pose great challenges to the region as disasters have no economic or political boundaries. 

SDPI Research Fellow Dr Imran Khalid identified Pakistan to be the hotspots of floods and droughts. He questioned the policies and management practices of government and suggested to focus on risk management to safe communities from losses from floods. 
 
Young Researcher from Fatima Jinnah Women University Zainab Naeem said that earthquakes are being induced due to anthropogenic activities. She identified artificial dams, fluid injections, carbon sequestitation , temperature and induced radiations as the factors contributing to made-induced earthquakes. 

Salman Danish, another young researcher from Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights (JDHR) said that community planning has proved to be the best source to safe the community from damage.