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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.


Exploring Public-Private Partnerships in Forestry

Partner: Sungi Development Foundation and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Year: 2008

The pre and post-colonial periods witnessed changes in the state of forest related institutions and management. This has been the cause of deforestation and loss of community livelihoods. The record illustrates that poor communities, small forest owners, rights holders, non-owners, women, and grazers who depend traditionally on forests for their livelihoods were steadily marginalized. Forest management, designed with the specific aim of conservation, proved unable to cope with the multiple and often conflicting interests. The commercial loggers, private developers, government and military agencies, hunters, and impoverished communities placed it under strain.

The National Conservation Strategy (NCS) 1991, triggered a donor-led forestry reform process. It promoted participatory community-based forest management. A number of donor-driven initiatives followed, including the 25-year Forestry Sector Master Plan (FSMP), the government’s National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) 2001, and the National Forestry Policy 1991. All of these strongly endorsed the involvement of communities in forest management. There is consensus among critics, however. that the reform process is no different to the enforcement, anti-community laws and regulations it has supplanted. The critics view the process as being donor-led and unfriendly to communities. who express ignorance of a process which, purportedly, addresses their concerns. Consequently the reforms lack ownership, both among communities and the forest department.

The global surge of interest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as sustainable development agents, suggests a role for the private sector in natural resource management (NRM). This paper assesses the scope of forestry sector PPPs to address sustainable development concerns. Global examples demonstrate that PPPs offer scope for remediation, linking sustainable forest management with assured livelihoods for forest dependent communities. PPPs in forestry in the Pakistani context as partnerships between two entities mutually benefiting each other in some manner is not a new concept. We compare existing PPPs in the forestry sector against a pre-defined norm to see how they measure up, adding several recommendations in the process.

Competing for Access to the Forests of Pakistan

Partners: The National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South & Zurich University (Switzerland), Development Study Group at the Department of Geography, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Pakistan)

Year: 2008-09

The NCCR Pakistan Research Group analyzed forest management in Pakistan, having a very high deforestation rate. The common assumption is that this is the result of forest overuse by the local population. In Pakistan’s mountain regions, people indeed are dependent on forests as their main source of fuel, as pasture areas for livestock, and for timber to construct houses. In addition, farmers at-tempting to increase their cultivable land are often tempted to push back the edges of forests. In order to counter these practices, and influenced by global development discourses, the government of Pakistan has adopted the strategy of joint forest management (JFM) in view of ensuring sustainable forest management.

The NCCR/SDPI research highlighted two crucial issues. First, it showed that the basic assumption underlying the new state policy is erroneous. In fact, the most important factor currently contributing to deforestation in Pakistan is the organised, illegal exploitation of forests by a “timber mafia”. Secondly, though well intended, the donor supported JFM continues to replicate the policing attitude of state official towards local forest users: very often, JFM committees are controlled by local elites, are fully depending on the authority of the Forest Department staff, and do not take up problems and issues raised at the local level. As a matter of fact, the JFM initiative so far has not been able to overcome the mistrust between state officials and local forest users at the detriment of forests.

NCCR/SDPI researchers in Pakistan have communicated their research findings not only to the academic world, but to state officials or local stakeholders as well (e.g. through workshops, newspapers, etc.). In addition, realising the lack of trust and communication between state officials and common people as a core problem hindering the effectiveness of JFM, they launched a pilot project in which independent persons (such as researchers and local NGOs) attempt to mediate between the two. Though demanding a lot of patience and mediating skill, results indicated that a breakthrough is possible especially when addressing the difficulties of local level state officials as well.

Deforestation and Climate Change

Year: 2011


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has provided a platform to the international community to negotiate and take measures for climate change mitigation. REDD+ has emerged as an incentive based mitigation mechanism to address the potential role of forestry of up to 17-25 % reported share towards GHG emissions reduction. Pakistan is a low forest cover country but has a significant potential for REDD+.
In December 2010, SDPI launched a programme, the Development and Capacity Building Support Initiative for its pioneer work on REDD+ in Pakistan. SDPI played an important, neutral and central role to support REDD+ development and implementation in Pakistan. For this purpose, MoUs were signed with key stakeholders (project developers, implementers, beneficiaries etc.). Institutional capacity was built through two-trainings, special lectures were delivered in the Punjab for capacity building, 3 Forest Assemblies and 3 Roundtables were arranged in KPK for awareness raising, 3 Seminars were arranged in Islamabad for highlighting the legal issues and challenges, special recommendations were sent to Federal Government and stakeholders for REDD+ support, strong institutional networking was done through SDPI’ PCI, Faisalabad Agenda 2011 was declared through stakeholders’ positive involvement for REDD+ support by relying on and sharing indigenous and available resources and expertise of participating institutions in it, and a policy paper was published that provides a roadmap for REDD+ in Pakistan by keeping in view the requirements of voluntary and compliance carbon markets.

Dilemmas in participatory forest management in Northwest Pakistan: a livelihoods perspective

Partner: The National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South & Zurich University (Switzerland)

Team Members: Dr. Babar Shahbaz

Year: 2008-09

The book “Dilemmas in participatory forest management in Northwest Pakistan: a livelihoods perspective”, written by Dr. Babar Shahbaz (Visiting Fellow, SDPI), published by the Zurich University, was formally launched during a workshop on 27th July 2009 at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad Pakistan

Transversal Package Project: The impact of development intervention disparities on the poverty – environment nexus: contextuality development interventions

Partner: The National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South & Zurich University, Switzerland.

Team Members: Dr. Babar Shahbaz

Year: 2008-09

Status: Closed

The project addresses the issues of development interventions and power relations within various actors of forestry sector in Pakistan, Tanzania and Laos in the context of poverty-environment nexus. The basic research idea of this project is to contribute to a spatially explicit understanding of the forests-livelihoods nexus (in mountainous areas of Northwest Pakistan) by mapping and studying decision making on environmental ser-vices among involved stakeholders at mesoscale (e.g. district-level) . Insights gained in the Northwest Pakistan are also compared with similar studies carried out in South East Asia (Lao PDR) and East Africa (Tanzania). Based on the research studies, a socio-economic atlas of NWFP is being published by SDPI.

REDD+ Awareness Raising and Outreach

Donors/Partners: World Bank/ REDD+ Office

Locale: Islamabad

Duration of Project: 18 months (March, 2017-September, 2018)

Program/Project Brief:

The overall aim of the REDD+ Awareness Raising Outreach Campaign is to promote REDD+ messages and knowledge in the society through application of standard norms and processes


The campaign under this project aims to affect all relevant stakeholders; various authorities at different levels, technocrats, central and local administrative authorities, religious, political, community and military leaders, opinion leaders, NGOs, civil society, donors and media and last but not the least the general public.

SDPI has been utilizing its extensive affiliation with the subject and expertise in the field of research, advocacy and networking, along with its forthcoming initiatives/collaborations. For which SDPI is assisting the Government of Pakistan in preparing, designing, launching and implementing a powerful awareness raising campaign related to REDD+ interventions in Pakistan.

Through the launch of this REDD+ Awareness raising campaign, SDPI is taking all relevant stakeholders on board i.e. from grassroots to technocrats to develop critical mass through a vibrant engagement with media, religious scholars, parliamentarians, all line departments and community leaders. Social and traditional media (both print and electronic) will also extensively be used.

  • Objectives:
    To devise and launch an awareness raising campaign to create an enabling environment for effective implementation of REDD+ Readiness Activities in Pakistan.
  • To devise a strategic communication plan to engage all relevant stakeholders including policy makers, technocrats and central and local administrative authorities, local Communities, religious and political leaders, general public, NGOs, and religious and academic scholars.
  • Developing a short documentary video highlighting Pakistans status and commitment to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
  • To organize awareness raising seminars on REDD+ and relevant mobilization activities that would also include women and marginalized segments of the society.

Work/activities accomplished:

  • Field Visit of journalists
  • Panel discussion at SDPI’s Annual Sustainable Development Conference
  • Pre-COP Consultation on COP23 and REDD+ Implementation in Pakistan.
  • REDD+ Journalism Awards, 2017
  • Regular publishing of newspaper articles (4 articles by SDPI staff and other by journalists)
  • Mid Term Report Submission

Team Members: Shafqat Munir, Junaid Zahid, Sadaf Liaquat, Shakeel Ramay

Status : close.