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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.

Number of Downlaods: 12

Published Date: Jun 1, 2001

Environmental Security in Pakistan – Are There Grounds for Optimism? (W-63)

Shaheen Rafi Khan


Conventionally defined, the term security refers to the defense of sovereign states against violent attack, either from states or from terrorist or revolutionary groups within their borders. As such, security has an impersonal and organized aspect. Defined in more generic terms, security connotes conditions that make people feel secure against want, deprivation and violence. Environmental security is a subset of human security. By numbers and by the magnitude of their activities, human beings are causing rapid bio-geochemical changes in the Earth system. The term ‘activities’ is synonymous with unsustainable development processes.

The absence of sustainable human development charts two paths to degradation: the direct route and the indirect route through social inequity and injustice. This increases the vulnerability of the poor to degradation. In turn, the poor are driven to prey upon the environment, a condition described as the poverty-environment nexus. Pakistan’s performance by sustainable human development criteria has been found wanting. Its social and environmental indicators show a marked degree of inequity, injustice and advanced stages of environmental degradation.

Two case studies illustrate the insecurity-conflict nexus. An interesting paradox is presented, reflecting the interplay of social and economic forces. In the Dir-Forestry case these forces have established an almost surgical divide between the antagonists. Namely, communities are arrayed against a consortium of vested interests. Institutional redress mechanisms (official investigations, judicial recourse) lack transparency. Ultimately, they are subservient to powerful economic forces. There are very real risks that the combination of rapid deforestation and continued exploitation of the communities will escalate into large-scale violence. In contrast, the Kalabagh Dam study presents a different dialectic. While economic and environmental interests separate the antagonists, the lines of conflict are blurred by their social construction. Powerful lobbies exist on both sides of the divide, both with an interest in increasing water allocations. The government, as is its wont traditionally, defers to these lobbies, resulting in an uneasy compromise. But it is a compromise driven by power rather than environmental or social logic, which underscores its fragility.

Environmental security is a still evolving notion that covers a vast area with diffuse causes and heterogeneous impacts.  In order to study environmental security—or rather insecurity—in the context of Pakistan, this paper will first briefly review the competing perspectives on environmental security.  The next two sections will root the discussion in Pakistan’s development experience—first outlining the paths to environmental degradation and then assign the impacts of such degradation on the human security of the poor in Pakistan.  This will be done in the context of sustainable human development criteria, focusing in particular on the resulting environmental impacts, the growing vulnerability of the poor, their responses, the induced insecurity and conflict potential.  A simple environment-security model, which is the formal setting for this paper will also be presented.  Finally, 2 case studies will be presented to highlight the application of the concepts developed in the chapter with a focus on the institutional prerequisites for transparent and effective governance.