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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.


Women’s Access and Ownership on Micro-Credit in Rural Areas of Pakistan


Year: 2008.

Introduction:As an acknowledgement of the enormous gender disparities that exist in the society, SDPI, yet again, set upon a study to evaluate the ground realities with regard to the micro-credit program offered by the Rural Support Programs Network.

As rural areas are tradition bound, a balance had to be maintained in addressing the practical and strategic gender interests. The research primarily focuses on gender inequality and social exclusion. The effort intended to provide policy advocacy to the government on pro-poor policies and capacity building for local governments for improved social sector services.

The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund is one of the major donors to micro credit schemes in which 25% of the total borrowers are women. The study focused on the dynamics thus created by these 25% borrowers of micro- credit in the social structure of the communities.


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

Review of Gender Justice Protection (GJP) Project


Year: 2012.

Team Members: Mome Saleem


The Gender Justice Protection (GJP) program was a flagship program supported by DFID and managed and implemented by UNDP and UNOPS. In order to review the output of GJP, SDPI was approached by DFID to conduct independent assessment of various projects carried out under GJP.


  • Assess the extent to which the project has achieved the overall purpose and outputs and contributed to goals as set out in the logical framework.
  • Assess the quality of project outputs, and provide comments on the extent to which they have enabled the project to achieve its purpose.
  • Provide an analysis of the sustainability of activities that were funded under GJP.
  • Provide an analysis of the strategic impact of the project while using monitoring data from the sub-projects and from reports by the PMU.
  • Provide up to three case studies suitable for media use, detailing particular experiences and impact of the project and showing results and benefits to recipients
  • Identify lessons learned from this project and provide suggestions for long-term inputs which DFID and others could provide to strengthen Gender Justice in Pakistan.

The review looked at the work, management and impact of partner organizations that were actively involved in the three thematic areas of GJP. Management issues within the GJP in terms of program design and implementation have been discussed. It examined the relationship of DFID with UNDP and UNOPS on the one hand and the relationship between these actors and the PMU on the other.  It also looked at GJP-PMU relationship with sub-project partners in a strictly management context.  The report also assessed the overall project impact, sustainability and exit strategy.

Women’s Land Rights in Pakistan

Partner: Action Aid Pakistan, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) & IDRC.

Year: 2008.

Team Members: Nazish Brohi, Wajiha Anwar


There has been very little research to determine how many women own land-? or how many control land-? With the understanding that deprivation from an unequal opportunity to land ownership is a structural and systemic gender barrier, that is both, the cause and effect of  marginalization, this research was undertaken to address this knowledge gap and draw inferences and examine causality behind a woman landlessness, poverty and the status of women in Pakistan. It aimed to provide an informed base and strong case for policy makers, state institutions, development organizations and practitioners to redress the historic and contemporary marginalization of women from power equations. The study is the first of its kind on the issue, in depth, extensive and multi phased to cover all facets of the debate. It contained research and analysis, broadly through a policy and law review and an examination of the current position regarding women’s ownership and control over land. It also examined the land administration structures and judicial precedents, reflecting the implicit trends. It also assessed the role of the State in according women land rights through land reform. The research holistically explored women landlessness, both the process and the outcome, and systemic barriers in place. It also ‘tested’ its findings through analyzing cases where women have ownership of land and explore the possibilities that could emerge if this right is accorded, assessing different models proposed for ensuring women’s right to land.

The research spanned rural areas across all the four provinces of Pakistan, drawing on both national laws, existing policies, statistics, literature review and analyzing land related institutions and structures, as well as field work; qualitative data gathered through interviews, surveys, Focus Group Discussions, life histories, narratives and case studies.


Promoting Debate on Inclusive Economic Reforms


Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) has carried out in-depth dialogue between policy makers, economic experts, and public implementing agencies on key economic reform issues.

The dialogue series was supported by structured feedback from citizen and business communities to provide a clear perspective on the level of receptiveness and support to broad reforms in tax and energy sectors. These activities will form the baseline for Economic Growth Unit’s programme on energy and tax reforms.

The evidence-based research and dialogue during policy symposia had also brought out specific knowledge products that will act as a baseline for measuring impact of current and future policies in tax and energy sector.

Programme Objectives

  • Generate focused policy discussion around key economic reforms to prepare political parties and civil society for difficult structural reforms that will require public support
  • Support policy dialogue on energy and tax with structured feedback from common citizens and business community in order to channel wider public views into the policy reform process.

National Consultation on Budget 2015-16

  • Towards a Fair & Just Fiscal Policy in Pakistan

National Consultation on Budget 2014-15

  • Budget 2014-15 Economic Context + Policy Response (By: Sakib Sheran)
  • Public Debt Management (By: Ali Salman)

Programme Update

  • Comparison of Federal & Provincial Education Budgets 2014-15 & 2015-16
  • SDPI Pre-Budget Proposals 2015-16
  • Punjab Growth Strategy – Comments by SDPI
  • Rationale for Tax Reforms in Pakistan
  • Academic Outreach and Engagement
  • Summary of findings on Pre-budget Survey on Economic Reforms (Urdu version)
  • Summary of findings on Pre-budget Survey on Economic Reforms
  • Energy and Taxation Reforms – Household Analysis from Pakistan
  • Energy and Taxation Reforms – Firm Level Analysis from Pakistan
  • Policy Symposium on Taxation & Energy Reforms
  • Draft Study: Reforming Tax System in Pakistan
  • Pakistan : Energy Sector Appraisal
  • Tax Reforms in Pakistan
  • How to solve Pakistans power crisis

For details contact Dr Vaqar Ahmed (

Strategies adopted by Communities to combat Violence against Women

Partner: UNDP

Duration: 2010-11

Locale: Select districts of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa

Team Members: Mome Saleem


Having conducted several extensive researches related to gender issues and women empowerment, in May 2009, SDPI in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) focused its expertise towards finding cost effective, sustainable and unexplored solutions for combating Violence against Women (VAW). The basic objective of the research study was to investigate and mainstream community solutions and strategies for combating VAW, involving positive masculinity.  Action oriented research to end VAW revolves around the rationale that VAW does not concern an individual or only women but it is a dilemma for the community as a whole.

To test the working and authenticity of the concept the research study focused on documentation of the best practices adopted by the communities. The geographical coverage of the project was Burewala, Sialkot, Daska, Kasur, Gujranwala, Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Karachi, Khairpur, Badin, Sukkur, Tharparkar in Sindh, Jafarabad and Usta Muhammad in Baluchistan and Haripur, Abbottabad, Badabair, Manshera and Batgram in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.


The survey tools used were:

  • Review of available literature (secondary sources) on the subject,
  • A collection of case studies
  • In depth interviews with the survivors of VAW,
  • In-depth interviews with the stakeholders identified as  social capital (explained below)
  • Informal meetings with the communities with best practices
  • In-depth interviews with formal and informal institutes including police and local elected members.
  • Individual meetings with the policy makers.
  • Consultative meetings with the stakeholders at the provincial level.

Purposive sampling is based on;

  • Liaising with the CSOs/local media to identify target communities/case studies,
  • Reviewing police records that show community action against violence,
  • Media reports both electronic and print.


The study has helped produce new knowledge by documenting best practices adopted by local communities for reducing Violence Against Women (VAW) in the form of an anthology. Engaging men for combating VAW is yet another solution focused towards empowering women. Social inclusion/encouragement/ of men who are ridiculed as providing weak support to women/victims has helped reduce gender antagonism among the communities with best practices. Men with positive masculinity have been made into role models during the National Consultative meetings held at provincial and federal levels. The study has also looked into the complex interplay of formal and informal institutional mechanisms to combat VAW. Further more, the study has successfully raised awareness about the social capital and its potential at both the provincial and federal level through the consultative meetings and a strong advocacy campaign including seminars, newspaper articles and lobbying with policy makers. Policy advocacy of the research with policy makers at the national level has helped gain valuable inputs for innovative and cost effective policy recommendations from the grass roots.

Gendered Situation Analysis in the Textile Sector of Pakistan

Partner: ILO

Year: 2010.

Locale: Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi, Hub, Hattar and Sialkot.

Team Members: Gulbaz Ali Khan


Gender equality is a fundamental human right and is instrumental in achieving poverty alleviation and social and economic development goals. The International Labour Organization (ILO) is currently implementing a project, Promoting Gender Equality for Decent Employment. The project intends to enhance the capacity of stakeholders to inform, design and implement gender sensitive policies and programmes and create more gender equal employment in the textiles sector. This sector contributes 8.5 percent of Pakistan’s overall GDP and also accounts for more than 62% of total exports. Similarly 38% of total labor force is employed by this sector and within this women are increasingly contributing in the growth of this sector, mostly working as labor. However, gender dimensions of employment in the textiles sector were not explored.
Therefore, ILO planned to conduct a gendered situational analysis in consultation with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) as a lead organization and Pakistan Readymade Garments Technical Training Institute (PRGTTI) as a partner organization to attain gender-aware baseline information upon which to base sector specific interventions.


  • To understand the gender dimensions of employment in textiles sector
  • To identify decent employment opportunities
  • To analyze training needs
  • To map and analyze stakeholders and institutions


The project is based on a Desk Review of secondary data and information, Focus Group Discussions, Key Informant Interviews, Case Studies and a Consultative Meeting. Both quantitative and qualitative tools are employed. To capture the gender perspective of the employment trends, employment opportunities, skills acquisition and training needs, Key Informant Interviews (KII’s)  are also conducted in the urban as well as rural regions.


The study highlighted the gender dimensions of employment in the textile sector especially the fact that women are only employed for very few trades in the textile sector (such as stitching & quality assurance). Generally employers are biased against women employees and they are rarely offered permanent contracts. They are also deprived of paid maternity leave, functional day care centres among other facilities. It was also observed that career progression chances for women were higher in large textile units as compared to small and medium units. The study which was carried out in six districts of Pakistan also revealed that skill acquisition opportunities for women were very limited and often they were forced to work on selected limited trades.


The study recommended the establishment of job placement centers under the relevant ministry to facilitate women’s placement in the textile sector through a formal channel. It was also recommended that the Ministry of Women Development should play an active role in ensuring that complaint redressal mechanisms were in place and functional. It was also suggested that the ministries of textile and commerce should introduce “We invest in decent employment opportunities for women” award for entrepreneurs to improve work conditions for women employees. The recommendations of the study are being shared with relevant policy making forums.


Success stories of Women Parliamentarians

Year: 2008-09.


In a society where women are marginalized and their contributions are not acknowledged, SDPI feels that the recent induction of a large number of women into the political process especially in the Parliament should be supported. To undermine the general debate against women entering the All male dominion, the civil society should be motivated to support and encourage women to actively participate in the political process of the country.

In order to activate a process of support and motivation in the general public, substantial groundwork is essential. It is important to signify how women have always contributed positively towards the political process whenever they were given a chance.


SDPI planned to provide evidence that it is most important to have women in Parliament by documenting and highlighting the successful Women parliamentarians. To prove the point, the project established success and devotion of the women parliamentarians that they brought to the issues they worked on.


This study greatly contributed towards improving Gender Equality and Women Empowerment. The study also contributed to History, and helped develop women as Political Role Models. It gave an insight into how much a woman can achieve whenever and where ever she is given an opportunity. This study is an excellent guide for students of political science in our country, and also for young parliamentarians looking for guidance.

Country Gender Profile Study

Partner: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Year: 2008


Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has undertaken Country Gender Profile Study with a purpose to understand the gender equality perspective; gaps between gender policies and their implementation; chronic and emerging gender issues with a social change and development perspective. The period of focus was 1999 to 2007. The underlying principle was to analyze the policy environment, socio-cultural context, customary practices, changing norms, traditions and human behaviors having impact on women and men’s socio-economic development in Pakistan.


The report has two main objectives: to draw attention to the chronic as well as emerging gender issues in Pakistan; and to enhance and expand JICA’s understanding on gender gaps in Pakistan. The thematic focus of the study is on the sectors of education, health, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and economic empowerment.

The research was designed to incorporate the men’s perspective on gender as an equal potential partner in the context of social and economic development. The report aims at facilitating change and improvement in the Status of women through evidence based analytical research and expanding debate on the present status of women and men.

Gender Disparity in Primary and Secondary School Attendance Ratio In Chakwal and Vehari

Partner: Plan Pakistan

Year: 2010

Locale: Chakwal and Vehari

Team Member: gulbaz Ali Khan


The literacy rate in Pakistan is extremely low, only 60 percent of all school going children aged (5-14) attend primary school. The ratio of girls enrolled in primary education is much lower than boys. Only 56 girls for every 100 boys attend primary school. This situation becomes worse at the middle and secondary tiers of schooling. An increase in dropout rates and a decrease in enrolment rates becomes prevalent especially in the case of girls. Limited access to schools, the traditional view of girls as purely home bodies and security concerns are considered as factors that have an adverse effect on their education

To find out the exact reasons associated with non-enrolment and drop-out rates of girls at primary, middle and secondary levels of schooling, Plan Pakistan has initiated a study in consultation with the SDPI. Outcomes of the study will be used by Plan Pakistan to develop its programme to address the root causes of the issue, and for developing a stronger campaign on girl’s education and protection and to link it with the Plan international campaign “Because I Am a Girl (BIAAG)”. The study will focus on Plan Pakistan’s operational areas such as District Chakwal and Vehari.

Literature review and desk reviews are underway and SDPI has organized some focus group discussions to finalize its preparation before primary data collection & its analysis.