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.

Climate Change.

Promoting Protection and Solidarity for climate migrants and displaced communities in South Asia

Status: On-going

Donor: The project is funded by Bread for the World (BftW) and implemented by Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA)
Partner Countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Project description:
Climate extreme events (floods, sea level rise, glacial lakes outbursts floods, heatwaves, droughts etc.) are posing serious threats to communities’ survival. In the last two decades, disasters particularly floods and earthquakes, have led to an increase in internal migration.
Conflict and disasters have triggered 33.4 million new internal displacements across 145 countries and territories in 2019 alone (IDMC). According to the latest report of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), disasters have caused 100,000 displacements in Pakistan between January 1 and December 31, 2019. In Pakistan most of the internal displacements occur in rural areas where agriculture associated climate threats are exacerbating existing rural vulnerabilities. This contributes to most of the cases of rural to urban migration seen across the country as people move to earn an income when their livelihoods are devastated by climate change.

The purpose of the project is to build solidarity for climate induced migrants through evidence-based research and sensitizing policy makers and media about climate-induced migration in Pakistan.

Contact person: Maryam Shabbir Abbasi, Project Coordinator, Sustainable Development Policy Institute


South Asia Migration and Climate Change (SAMAC)

Status: On-going

Donor: The project is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Silk Routes Facility (more details at: ) at the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) (website:
Partner countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan

“Climate change is having devastating impacts on communities’ lives, livelihoods and food security across South Asia. Its consequences are so severe that it is increasingly contributing to migration, and this incidence is likely to escalate much more in the years to come as climate change impacts become more serious”, explains the latest Global Report on Internal Displacement by the International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). , In 2018 alone, 17.2 million new displacements occurred globally, triggered by seasonal and recurring weather-related extreme events. There is a growing need to capture evidence of how climate change impacts like drought or sea-level rise are resulting in migration, to inform policies and actions addressing these challenges.
This project’s aim is to carry out qualitative, participatory research to identify the main drivers for climate-induced migration in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Contact person: Maryam Shabbir Abbasi, Project Coordinator, Sustainable Development Policy Institute


Water Stewardship and the Private Sector

Partner: Nestlé Pakistan 
Locale: Pakistan
Time Frame: 2017- ongoing 
Project Team: Dr Imran Khalid, Ahmed Awais Khaver, Samavia Batool
For more information: Ahmed Awais Khaver,
The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) has, over the years, forged a successful partnership with public sector organizations in Pakistan. However, it is also recognized that effective partnership and collaboration amongst for-profit, non-profit and public sector entities is essential for addressing our environmental governance problems.  In this respect, Sustainable Development Policy Institute and Nestlé Pakistan signed a MoU on Mar 24, 2017, to collaborate on the theme of ‘Water Stewardship’ which will promote responsible use of water resources in Pakistan.  Under this MOU, Nestlé Pakistan and SDPI have identified and prioritized opportunities and challenges for sustainable water management, presenting Water Stewardship as an effective means to address this challenge. In particular, this MOU acts as a knowledge dissemination platform on the responsible use of water particularly in the agriculture and industry sector. 
The objectives of the SDPI and Nestle Pakistan partnership are twofold, with focus on water governance advocacy and water management research. Since the signing of the MoU, the two organizations have conducted multiple events in Islamabad and Lahore, with focus on mainstreaming the concept water stewardship in the country’s water governance paradigm. These advocacy events stressed the need of sustainable water management by the private sector and their role in sustainable development. 
SDPI also aims to conduct on-ground research with respect to water stewardship initiatives in Pakistan as well as issues pertaining to irrigation efficiency and groundwater management.  In this context SDPI has developed a policy brief that looks at the role of private sector in highlighting and adopting the concept of water stewardship. The document recommends multiple avenues through which private sector can play a larger role towards improved water governance. The Policy brief was launched at the Sustainable Development Conference in Islamabad during a panel discussion, which comprised stakeholders from the government, private sector, civil society and academia. 
Selected project findings: 
  • Corporate sector entities already involved in implementing water stewardship initiatives can play an integral role in enhancing the capacity of other businesses. This can be done through the formation of a ‘water network’ that comprises businesses as well as research institutes from the government, non-governmental sector, and academia. 
  • Information dissemination is the key to advocacy. Corporate sector entities should ensure that data in terms of water withdrawals for operations and supply chain is made public on a regular basis. Moreover, information in terms of the quality of water that is being extracted or withdrawn should also be made public. This will ensure trust building and confidence enhancement. 
  • No water stewardship initiative can be completed without the involvement of local communities. They should be made an integral part of any initiative that aims to foster sustainable acquisition and use of water resources. 
  • The concept of Water Stewardship should be integrated into national, regional and local water policies and plans in order to mainstream sustainable and efficient water resources management across sectors. Collaborative research initiatives need to be undertaken so as to bridge the information gaps particularly as they pertain to risks due to climate change. 
  • SMEs (working within the water industry and other associated industries with high water usage) have an important role to play in water management and conservation. There is however, a need to build their capacity so that they fully understand water risks and their potential role in water stewardship in terms of collective action.
Project status: 
  • The project was initially designed for the year 2017-18 but has since been extended to 2018-2019.  It is expected that SDPI will continue to work towards effective water governance advocacy and water resources management research during this period. 

Gender and Environmental Migration in selected Districts of Pakistan

Partner: Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction (ICSAP), University of Hamburg

Duration: 2012 to May 2013.

Locale:  Ghizer, Hunza, Badin.

Team Members: Dr. Giovanna Gioli, Talimand Khan


Environment induced migration adversely affects women much more then men. Thus- the Gender and Environmental Migration (GEM) project aims to collect gender disaggregated data on local perceptions of climate change and variability and on adaptation strategies to climate change impact in Karakoram region of Gilgit-Baltistan as well as in the Indus River Delta (Sindh) with special focus on migration as adaptive strategy and its gendered impact.

In this regard the study examines the effects of environmental degradation and climate change on out-migration, desegregating the effects by Gender in these regions with a special focus on migration as an adaptive strategy and its gendered impact.

The project conducted in partnership with University of Hamburg’s Cluster of Excellence, “Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction” (ICSAP), sponsored by the German Research Foundation.

GEM Phase I

Karakoram Region is prone to slow onset of the hazards of climate change such as glaciers melting, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), landslides, erratic rainfall, flash floods and land degradation. Mountain and coastal communities are increasingly abandoning their traditional source of income, agriculture and livestock, resorting to occupational shift and male outmigration as an adaptation strategy to climate change and environmental pressure.

GEM phase II

Sindh, Indus Delta is prone to rapid onset of hazards such as floods, and affected by sea-level rise, storm surge, coastal erosion, and intrusion of saline water into the aquifers. Here communities have lost their means of livelihood (fishery and agriculture) and are forced to adopt alternative livelihood patterns, featuring very high rates of migration.


  • To collect Gender disaggregated data on local perceptions of climate change and variability.
  • To conduct a gender sensitive vulnerability assessment of affected communities.
  • To explore the Gender dimension of environmentally-induced migration, and propose a framework to analyse it.
  • To assess whether migration can be a positive adaptation strategy to environmental pressure, and whether it could enhance women empowerment?.
  • Liaise and interact with local institutions and groups of interest on adaptation policy agendas, and widely disseminate a “Gender and Migration Policy Tool”.


  • Primary data collection
  • Technical report and two academic publications
  • Dissemination of research findings and policy recommendations

Supporting small farmers to adapt to the changes due to El-Nino on Agriculture Sector in Sindh

Donors: NRSP and World Bank

Duration: May 2017- September 2017

Project Team: Dr Shehryar Toru, Syed Mohsin Ali, Ghamz E Ali Siyal 

This baseline study is the outcome of a World Bank project partnered with National Rural Support Program (NRPS) and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). Conducted in four union councils, namely Doulatpur, Kak, Kheerao and Chitori through semi-structured questionnaire, focus group discussions and key informant interviews, the aims to assess and adapt to El-Niño for reducing its impact on agriculture sector with the support of small farmers in Sindh province of Pakistan. 

Climatic change and El-Niño impact are evident from decrease in rainfall, increase in temperature and humidity, change in number of hot and cold days, irregularities in length of growing period, and uncertainty regarding weather forecast. These changes have led to climatic induced disaster of drought, heat stress and floods, which have negatively affected crops, livestock, orchards as well as human health. The prolonged impact of climate change and El-Niño can surely affect frequency and intensity of such weather events. Therefore, adaptation by farmers can help reduce vulnerabilities faced by the agriculture sector.

It is hoped that this document would provide a viable solution about adaptation strategies to improve agriculture sector in Mirpurkhas district. Besides, it can be a good source of knowledge for understanding the impact of climate change and El- Niño in Sindh province.
  • The main objectives of this study are: 
  • To review the agricultural component of Pakistan’s climate change policy and related policy instruments that correlate with the proposed intervention
  • To access the local knowledge about the El-Niño and climate change
  • To review the strategies  used at community level to deal with El-Niño and climate change issue
  • To review the agricultural and livestock practices in target areas 
  • To carry out data analysis to derive actionable recommendations for improving the agricultural practices and climate change adaptation and mitigation in Sindh
  1. There should be a risk planning through community driven development to cope with the impact of El-Niño, (like drought, floods, heat stress and dealing with their outcomes).   
  2. There is a need to initiating trainings to create awareness of area-specific crop inputs, effective water utilizations, climate resilient practices, livestock care and management, and adaptation strategies for climate change, and El-Niño.  
  3. Decrease in toxic fertilizers (having high pH values) to improve soil conditions. Farmers should use fertilizers that possess Ammonium Sulphate, Sulphur potash, and dung for cultivation purpose.
  4. There is a need to increase fodder for animals by planting drought resistant plants and trees (like, Devi, and Babur) to increase fodder supply. 
  5. Early warning system must be improved by providing weather forecast information to people at least three weeks prior for any unexpected changes of rains, temperature e.g. (intensity of rainfall, drought, flooding and storm). 
  6. The government should also reduce documentation issues for increasing formal credit to small farmers. 
  7. The government should provide baardana to small farmers so that they could get support prices and subsidies.
  8. Access to gas should be increased to reduce deforestation.
  9. The government should launch incentive based schemes to support reforestation. 
  10. The government should increase awareness of farmers about Crop Loan Insurance Scheme (CLIS) which not only provides credit but also secures from natural calamities like floods, droughts, etc.

Pakistan @ 100 – Shaping the Future

Donors/Partners: World Bank
Locale: Pakistan
Duration of Project: January 2018 to March 2018
Program/Project Brief:

Pakistan@100 will be a report that discusses options for Pakistan to accelerate growth and ensure its sustainability and inclusiveness over the next 30 years. To do so, it will focus on 6 core issues in six individual notes, one of them being Environmental Sustainability. SDPI will be contributing for the section on Environmental Sustainability.
Other five sections will be:
– Regional Connectivity
– Structural Transformation
– Role of Government
– Financing a Significant Increase in Investment
– Labor Productivity

SDPI aims to inform the future policy making for ensuring environmentally sustainable growth till 2047.
We will be covering four parts under the environmental sustainability section:

  • Water Pollution
  • Urban Air Quality
  • Water-Agriculture Nexus
  • Disaster Risk Management

Every part will try to answer following four questions pertaining to it:

  • Current context for environmental sustainability (and water and climate change). Current opportunities and challenges
  • How can environmental sustainability contribute to growth (and its sustainability and inclusion) in the future (long term – to 2047)? What reforms and/ or investments will be necessary? How are future prospects informed by global megatrends? How will current opportunities and challenges change in the future?
  • What reforms have been attempted in the past? To what extent were they successful? If not successful, why? What role did political economy play in preventing reforms? How can this be addressed in the future?
  • What recommendations going forward, informed by (i) current context, (ii) future prospects, (iii) global megatrends and (iv) lessons from past reform efforts?

Team Members: Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Shafqat Munir, Dr. Imran Khalid, Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, Irfan Ahmad Chatha, Maliha Naveed, Ahmed Awais Khaver

Status: closed

Impact of Climate Change and Food Security on Poverty

Partner: CUTS international

Duration: 2010-2011

Locale: Badin, Bahawalpur and Gilgit

Team Members: Mome Saleem

In Badin fishermen were severely affected due to receding water in the river and increased saline water. The number of fish caught by these fishermen drastically diminished moreover the vanishing fish species resulted in a decreased income for the farmers. Some of the small farmers were forced to leave their profession and look for other ways of generating income. The fishermen lacked other skills and ultimately failed to secure sufficient food for their families. Being a coastal area of the Arabian Sea, Badin was hit by the floods and the intensity and frequency of the floods is increasing with time; increasingly affecting livelihood of the local residents. In the mountainous region of Gilgit, increased frost in the fields and melting glaciers are becoming impediments in the yield of crops making marginalised and small farmers vulnerable to food security.

Decreased livestock, production of crops and decreased numbers of fish resulting from catastrophes such as the floods have resulted in poverty and have attributed to the loss of livestock and crops during these calamities. On the contrary there has been no planning at the policy level to help these people adapt to the changing climate thus making survival difficult for them. Farmers suggest that training based on the adoption of climate friendly technologies & use of climate change resistant seeds can help alleviate the problem of poverty.

The study “Impact of Climate Change and food security on poverty” in Pakistan was conducted by SDPI in collaboration with the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS International). SDPI with its nationwide established network and skills in the field of research facilitated in data collection and data management of the information gathered from three of the eleven agro ecological zones in Pakistan. The three agro ecological zones included Badin, Bahawalpur and Gilgit selected on the basis of the difference in geographical features, climate and agricultural practices thus presented a difference in the resultant impact of climate change on indigenous agriculture, food security and livelihood. The study enhanced an understanding of the impact that climate change has on agriculture, so that required measures can be taken to raise awareness and suggest measures for coping with climate change induced problems.

The first round of the study entailed a survey of small and marginal farmers, and fishermen, whose livelihoods are highly dependent on natural resources and local climatic conditions. It aimed at understanding their perceptions about climate change and its occurrence, and the impact on their incomes and food security. The second round encompassed a survey of professionals studying issues of climate change, either through scientific tools of measurement and observation or through their work on communities affected by climate change. The overall objective was to aggregate the perceptions of these stakeholders, both national and international, and establish the impact of climate change on agriculture, fisheries, and livestock.

Measuring the Vulnerability of Households to Climate Change – A Capacity to Adapt Perspective

  • To identify adaptation measures and strategies adopted to combat the effects of climate change
  • To identify the drivers of and barriers to adaptation and the choice of the particular/alternative adaptation strategies
  • To explore whether all the adaptations are a response to climate stimuli??
  • To explore the factors affecting the formation of perceptions and that how does variation in perception regarding climate change (perceived changes in either temperature, or precipitation or both in temperature and precipitation) affects the nature of adaptation strategies.?
  • Based on the analysis, to draw policy lessons.?
Structured Questionnaire?
Three structured questionnaires were used for data collection to meet survey objects, including i) Household questionnaire (male and female) ii) Questionnaire for in-depth Interview, and iii) Questionnaire (guidelines) for Focus group Discussions (FGDs)
Field Visit and Meetings with Different Stakeholders ??
  • Meeting at Ayub Agriculture Research Institute (ARRI), Faisalabad
  • Meeting at Jhelum (Punjab Province) with Farm-household
  • Meeting with NGO working on climate change vulnerability of poor
  • Meeting at Pakistan Meteorological Department?
  • Meeting at Pakistan Meteorological Department?
  • Meeting with Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC)
  • Report of Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with female farmers

Climate Change and National Security

Team Members: Shakeel Ahmed, Mome Saleem

Year: 2011


Traditionally, national security has been analyzed through the lenses of physical threats from invaders, extremist groups, whether within or outside of the country, and social or political unrest which may lead to destabilization. Historical evidences confirm this argument through a chain of events right from the beginning of civilization. A number of examples can be quoted on this front and the most recent are the terrorist attacks on United States of America (USA), the wave of terrorism in Pakistan and the Naxil movement in India, so on and so forth. For traditional threats, traditional mechanisms were and are used to tackle the issue.

Now, in addition to the above mentioned threats, the world is witnessing a new threat to global and national security in the form of climate change. Climate change is currently a much debated phenomena at all levels. The global community is working on different aspects of climate change. In 1992, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was created to look after the climate change debate and to devise the policy to combat it. Unfortunately, UNFCCC could not produce any substantial results and extremely vulnerable countries and communities are still waiting for right interventions.

Climate Change Driven Migration

Partner: CSE India

Year: 2011

Locale: Sindh

Team Members: Shakeel Ahmed


The Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, is assisting SDPI in studying livelihood patterns in Pakistan and how climate may affect these patterns. As climate change impacts may trigger migration from some areas to urban cities, the project is endeavoring to establish whether these big cities will be able to accommodate the migrants displaced due to climate change. The research will cover both aspects; whether the cities have the capacity to absorb such migration and whether there is some kind of a policy which will allow the comfortable transition of migrants. The study is also investigating the possibility and extent of conflict between the migrants of climate change and the receiving population of the big cities. The project was implemented in the province of Sindh.