Asset 1

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: 25

Published Date: Jul 1, 1999

The Case Against Kalabagh Dam (W-48)

Shaheen Rafi Khan, SDPI
1999

Intorduction

The Kalabagh Dam project comes at an important confluence of events. It reflects a crisis of governance, where decision-makers are at odds with an increasingly vocal society. Among other things, this stems from a concern that Kalabagh could trigger irreversible degradation of the Indus River Ecosystem. Also, the global and regional context for assessing large dams like Kalabagh is changing, with conventionally described irrigation, flood control and energy benefits being viewed through the prism of sustainable development.

The key imperatives, transparency and good governance, were never a factor in the formulation of the project.  Thus, the technical specifications have undergone numerous revisions because of perceived concerns in the NWFP regarding seepage and inundation of surrounding areas, a problem that could have been resolved had affectee communities been consulted. Politically, the dam has been a non-starter as its benefits are viewed as accruing to the Punjab, at the expense of Sind and the NWFP, with both provinces the victims of water deprivation, ecosystem degradation and social displacement. The arbitrary manner in which the Punjab has appropriated water from the Indus River Basin in the past does not set a precedent for credibility. The issue of resettlement and rehabilitation is a contentious one, as there is outright mistrust of the government’s offer of compensation.  Finally, increasing cost over-runs and mounting donor reluctance to finance a large and environmentally controversial project of this nature, give the lie to the government resolve to press on with building the dam; in particular, the government’s present fiscal insolvency precludes an investment of this magnitude.

An important factor in good governance is decentralized and consultative decision making. By contrast, the reality has been the very antithesis of this , with policy decisions being made  in a highly centralized, politically coercive — the belated decision for consensus notwithstanding — and technically flawed manner. WAPDA, the administrative and technical authority on large water projects, appears bent upon an ex-post vindication of a politically motivated step.  Regrettably, when the need is for broad-based stakeholder consultations, as a basis for  informed and democratic decision making, the existing trend points towards even greater centralization. For instance, the rotating chairmanship of the Indus River System Authority has recently been converted into a permanent appointment, provincial resolutions against Kalabagh have been given short shrift, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) has consistently ignored the matter and community concerns continue to be met with blatant disregard.  Small wonder then that the political leadership in the smaller provinces and civil society are up in arms against Kalabagh.

Section 1 of the paper examines the official water availability claims used to justify the Kalabagh Dam.  This is followed by an assessment of the arguments traditionally advanced in favor of large dams.   Section 3 assesses the ecological and social displacement concerns, which have acquired center stage in the calculus of aid donors and international bodies such as the World Commission on Dams. Section 4 presents a low-cost alternative to Kalabagh Dam and is followed by the recommendations in the concluding section.