The National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR) is a long-term 12-year partnership with Swiss Association of Research Partner Institutes (SARPI), funded by SDC and Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). At present NCCR is being implemented in 48 countries involving 102 institutions. In Pakistan, the program is focused on analyzing the state policies, institutional changes, and livelihood strategies of people living in and around forest areas of NWFP.
The unique aspect of this project is that researchers working on this project are enrolled as PhD/MSc students either at universities in Pakistan or Switzerland. The students compile their thesis based on the research conducted under this project. SDPI researchers would be supervising three batches of PhDs over the next four-eight years. Phase one of this partnership was successfully completed this year and an edited volume Forests, Livelihoods and Relations of Power in NWFP (Pakistan) is now being edited. The University of Zurich would publish the volume.
SDPI is the Regional Scientific Coordinator of NCCR South Asia.
Mapping the Food Security Situation in Pakistan: This project, carried out in collaboration with the World Food Program of the United Nations, came to fruition with the official launching of the final report on the World Food Day (Oct.16th, 2004). This was the first study of its kind in Pakistan aimed at mapping the food security situation in rural Pakistan at the district level.
Environmental security covers a vast area with diffuse causes and heterogeneous impacts. Its best articulation, both in terms of conceptual clarity and operational significance exists in the term ‘poverty-environment nexus’, which merits a simple explanation. Resource dependent communities subsist on the lowest rung of the poverty ladder. Their growing numbers stand in stark contrast to the degrading ecosystem which forms the basis of their livelihoods. The opposing pulls have given rise to a phenomenon, referred to in the literature as the poverty environment nexus. In other words, degradation and poverty react negatively in a vicious downward spiral. However, communities rarely degrade the resource base from which they draw sustenance. They only do so when vested interests drive a wedge between them and their natural heritage. The denial of resource rights, management failure and perverse economic incentives are some of the key triggers for this adverse phenomenon.
This study undertakes an integrated analysis of linked ecosystems within a poverty context. The analysis assesses the dependence of the poor on ecosystem services; identifies the anthropogenic and natural drivers of degradation; evaluates the impacts and; proposes measures for remediation. The analysis focuses on both spatial and thematic linkages — across ecosystems and sectors. By the same token, remediation also is envisaged outside the box.
Partner: CUTS International, DFID
Duration: April 2005 to December 2008
Trade, Development and Poverty Linkages (TDP) is a project being carried out in 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Europe with the support of Netherlands Agency for International Development and Department for International Development (DFID). It aims at strengthening linkages of trade, development and poverty reduction through focusing on distributional affects of development gains.
SDPI and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) organized a conference on regional strategy for linkages in trade development policies. In association with the Foreign Trade Institute of Pakistan, SDPI discussed “Mainstream development through trade policy.” The discussion focused on issues of trade and its linkages and impact on gender, employment, development, poverty etc. In collaboration with Actionaid Pakistan a training of print and electronic media representatives was also held to emphasize the importance of rational distribution of gains of development. The purpose of the training was to enable the media personnel to define development in social and human perspective.
Partner: Ford Foundation, NOVIB and Action Aid Asia
Team Members: Dr. Abid Qaiyum suleri, Shafqat Munir
SDPI firmly believes that challenges facing the South Asia region should be tackled through adapting joint regional strategies. This is a South Asia regional initiative carried out through the South Asia Watch on Trade Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) network of which SDPI is a member.
SAWTEE and SDPI worked on the project entitled “Farmer’s Rights to Access and Benefit Sharing from Plant Genetic Resources”. Project aimed to raise issues of small farmers, especially those pertaining to their patent and property rights on the bio-diversity resources, and related traditional knowledge.
This was six-year program, (comprising of two phases of three years each) funded by the Ford Foundation, NOVIB and ActionAid Asia. Various studies were conducted in this program, it primarily focused on raising the level of debate on issues related to the protection and promotion of farmers’ rights in the WTO era at the level of civil society, public sector, and policy makers and conducting research on vital issues. These studies analyzed the possible opportunities for, and threats within the multilateral trading system to farmers of the Hindukush-Himalaya (HKH) region. During the first phase, SDPI produced 12 briefing papers, two research reports and an online database of medicinal plants found in Pakistan- the first of its kind in the South Asia.
During the reporting period, SDPI reviewed a draft Bio-diversity Act following a national consultation that was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment. The synthesis report prepared by SDPI along with policy recommendations was submitted to Bio-diversity Secretariat – Ministry of Environment in order to update the act. SDPI also held a special panel on Farmers’ Rights in its annual conference, which addressed the food security crisis of the the region.