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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.

Social Sector Development.

Gender Analysis of Education Budget and Budgeting Process

Partner: Plan International
Duration: 25 May 2018 to 20 Sep 2018
Team Members: Rabia Manzoor, Rabia Tabassum, Waleed Ikram, Vaqar Ahmed, Junaid Zahid and Saleem Munir
Project Brief/Concept:
This study provides a gender analysis of public sector budgets in education sector. An in-depth analysis of pre-primary to secondary level education budgetary allocations and spending at federal and provincial (Punjab and Sindh) level for the period of 2016-18 has been conducted through a gender lens. We also analyze the budget making processes in Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh provinces with the aim to provide recommendations for gender-responsive allocation and spending. This study broadly analyzes the budget making processes at the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, and provincial departments of education in the Punjab and Sindh to see the outcome of gender responsive budgeting and allocation of gender-based funds.
Besides, the study covers the following objectives: 
  • Gender disaggregated analysis of education statistics in federal capital, Punjab and Sindh for gender specific need assessment in education sector
  • Assessment as to whether education budget allocations are adequate for the school level requirements  through Gender disaggregated analysis of education sector budgets at pre-primary and secondary level
  • Gap analysis of budget-making process and education policy in context of gender responsiveness
  • Devise advocacy messages and policy recommendations for further policy outreach and advocacy to gain gender parity in education sector
Key Activities:
  • Desk Review and Data Extraction
  • Data Analysis (data on education indicators and education budget)
  • Key Informant Interviews (KIIs)
  • Stakeholder Consultations

Rapid Assessment Study for Development of Gender Responsive Campaign Strategy and IEC Manual

Partner: WHO

Locale: Dadu, Jamshoro, Nawabshah, Kasur and Muzaffarabad

Team Members: Shafqat Munir


SDPI has worked with World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct for them a Rapid Assessment Study for the development of Gender Responsive Campaign Strategy and IEC Manual regarding health impact of agrochemicals being used in agriculture sector of Pakistan. A full rapid assessment research report, a campaign strategy, a brochure, posters and other IEC material in English, Urdu and Sindhi languages were prepared.


According to the Rapid Assessment Study report, the use of agrochemicals in Pakistan has increased drastically during the last 50 years. Pesticides are used in high quantities during the process of growing major crops such as cotton, sugarcane, paddy and vegetables that have put the health of millions of agriculture workers at risk, especially in the cotton growing districts of rural Punjab and Sindh. Women in these districts are particularly vulnerable to pesticides as they are responsible for picking cotton, growing vegetables and helping men in the application of pesticides. The health problems faced by these women often remain unreported and untreated in the absence of proper health facilities available in rural areas, lack of data collection and lack of research facilities.

The report further says despite a number of policy reforms, the health and agriculture sectors in Pakistan remain unresponsive to the health needs of the poor farmers. Women farmers are the major victims of this policy deficit. Stereotypical social and cultural gender perceptions that deny women’s role as an active contributor to the economy of Pakistan is the main stumbling block in underreporting both of women’s contribution as well as health hazards that they get exposed to while working on farms. This phenomenon in turn excludes women farmers from yielding benefits of whatever little programs or policies available on quality pest management program, education and awareness about safe handling of pesticides and health practices, compared to their male counterparts.


Through this rapid assessment, WHO wants to develop a gender sensitive communication strategy to create awareness about the safe handling of agro-chemicals. SDPI teams carried out this assessment in 5 target districts (Muzaffarabad-AJK; Jamshoro, Dadu, Hyderabad-Sindh; and Kasur-Punjab) under the WHO Gender and Health Programme component as part of the One UN Gender Equality Interventions.


The Rapid Assessment report says the government should develop a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for formulating rules and regulations to regulate markets of agrochemicals and to prepare guidelines for safe handling of such hazardous chemicals. Such framework should be developed in consultation with important stakeholders such as relevant government ministries and line departments (especially health, education, population, labour and the food sector); representatives of famers, media, civil society, agrochemical industry etc.

The relevant policy guidelines and protocols for administering the hazardous chemicals, regulating their sale, purchase & storage should be widely disseminated in local languages by using all possible means of communication. Such guidelines should be in non-technical language that may be easy to understand for a layperson.   The policies should be made to enable actors in agrochemical supply chain (manufacturers; distributors; and retail sellers) to design and launch gendered advocacy campaigns on health and safety issues around agrochemical usage.

The Rapid Assessment report provided a base for development of a campaign strategy manual and IEC Material. The campaign strategy manual has been prepared to undertake a gender responsive communications campaign and training programme to create awareness among farming communities at household level in five selected villages in Sindh, Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Dadu, Jamshoro, Nawabshah, Kasur and Muzaffarabad). The Manual provides key technical information and strategic guidelines to undertake a successful communications and awareness campaign among farming communities at household level with proper messaging to protect people, men, women and children from toxic risks of agrochemicals. Social mobilizers, community and local religious leaders, communications teams from INGOs, NGOs, government departments (health, education and agriculture) and agrochemical producing companies may use this manual for launch of an outreach campaign through media and other local channels and to conduct training of farming communities and other stakeholders on safe use and handling of agrochemicals.

Benefitting from this comprehensive manual, the campaigners, communications practitioners from government and non government sectors and multinational companies can draw up their talks and presentations to deliver to the relevant communities and stakeholders on the subject while conducting communications and training programmes in gender perspective.

National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS)

Partner: UNEP, Ministry of Environment

Duration: 2008-09


SDPI owes its inception to National Conservation Strategy of Pakistan. The strategy pre-pared in 1992 contained a recommendation about establishing an independent policy think-tank that is SDPI. Since its inception it has been working on various aspects of sustainability following a multidisciplinary approach. SDPI signed a memorandum of understanding with United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for joint activities in Pakistan

One such joint venture was the preparation of a National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) that SDPI prepared for the Federal Ministry of Environment (MOE) and UNEP. NSDS focuses on achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially poverty alleviation and enhanced human development. The Strategy, based on a coordinated, participatory, and continuous process of analysis, debate and consensus, has integrated the economic, social and environmental objectives of Pakistani polity and is being developed upon the recognition of the direct linkages between environmental management and poverty alleviation.

NSDS is focused on key sectors, including agriculture, water, energy, forestry, waste management and sustainable production and trade. It not only incorporates existing policies, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and Vision 2030 to shape an integrated cohesive strategy, but also defines the institutional and financial mechanisms to operate this strategy. The idea is to bring environment and climate change policies into all facets of policy, particularly into development and investment decisions. The Strategy provides for the establishment of a National Commission for Sustainable Development, which would motivate, plan, and coordinate policies and programs contributing to sustainable development in Pakistan, with the active participation of all stakeholders for the prosperity of present and future generations.

Pakistan’s NSDS was launched along with other South Asian NSDSs in an international moot hosted by UNEP regional office Thailand. The national launch of NSDS was carried out during SDPI’s annual conference in December 2009.

The Relationship between Education and Religious Discrimination in Pakistan-Analysis of Curriculum and Pedagogy in Pakistani Schools


Duration: 2010-2011

Team Member:  Afsheen Naz, Fayyaz Yaseen, Muhammad Arif Naveed, Muhammad Salim Khwaja, Gulbaz Ali Khan, Dr Humaira Ishfaq, Muhammad Azhar


Education is widely acknowledged to have a central importance in creating pluralistic societies. This is particularly relevant to Pakistan which is ethnically and religiously diverse society consisting of more than 180 million people. It is the nature of education that can either promote social cohesion amongst diverse groups or create anxieties between them. Most important in this context are the curricula, textbooks and the educators. The messages contained in the textbooks combined with the attitudes of teachers and their methods to deliver these messages greatly influence the values of the taught towards the diversity in the society.


  • To find out to what extent religious minorities are represented in these school curricula
  • The degree to which biases against religious minorities result from how these minorities are portrayed in the educational system (through both curriculum and pedagogy)
  • The degree to which biases that have resulted from the educational systems have led to discriminatory or extremist actions against religious minorities in Pakistan¬—whether at the level of youth, the community, societal leadership, or extremist groups

SDPI, in collaboration with International Center for Religion and Diplomacy conducted an extensive study of curricula, textbooks, pedagogy and attitudes of students towards religious diversity, in both public schools and madrassas in Pakistan. SDPI researchers reviewed school textbooks for Grades 1-10 produced by the four provincial textbook boards (being taught during 2011) as well as selected madrassa textbooks. They also conducted in-depth interviews and focused group discussions with school teachers and students in four provinces, interviews of education experts and case studies of religious discrimination against non Muslim students.


The findings of this study are published in the report “Connecting the Dots: Education and Religious Discrimination in Pakistan” that was launched by US Commission on International Religious Freedoms. The report reveals that pejorative treatment of minority religions in the textbooks and the biased attitudes of teachers lead to the discriminatory attitudes of students towards religious diversity. Analysis of the data shows the negative portrayal of non Muslims in the textbooks as well as in the teachers’ attitudes towards and their teaching practices – both in public schools and madrassas. This study shows that the role of non Muslims in the formation, development and defense of Pakistan is altogether omitted from the educational discourse. The attitudes of public school teachers are often prejudiced towards the religious diversity and reflect bigotry. The study provides the evidences of prejudiced attitudes of teachers being passed on to the students hence transmitting the negative perceptions and stereotypes in the education system. The report presents the case studies of the discrimination faced by non Muslim students within the school environments, often by their peer groups and teachers, alongside a sheer vacuum of any institutional arrangement to address such discrimination. The study also suggests a number of reforms – for both public schools and madrassas – ranging from the production of new textbooks free from biases, training of the teachers to respect the religious diversity, to establish institutional mechanisms to address the incidents of discrimination against non Muslim students.

Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development in Mountain Regions (SARD-M)

Partner: FAO, ICIMOD

Year: 2008


Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has initiated the project Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (SARD-M) to investigate the state of agriculture and its role in sustainable development in mountainous areas. The project also studies the policy environment and rules and regulations relating to mountainous agriculture and high value crops. SDPI carried out a study of “NWFP Agriculture Policy 2005” SDPI did the SWOT analysis of Agriculture Policy and also prepared guidelines for better development, coordination and implementation of policy. The study also looked into how coherence among different stakeholders can be improved to attain the perceived objectives of sustainable development. Recommendations were proposed in practical approaches and tools or better interagency coordination in the design and implementation of SARD-M interventions. The final findings were shared in a regional meeting that was held at ICIMOD secretariat in Kathmandu in August 2008.


There should be a defined time line for implementation of policy; the role of each department should be clearly defined and department should be made responsible to meet targets and mandate; policy should also lay down the process, how all stakeholders would be involved in the decision making process; there should be a special program for inclusion of women in decision making; policy should also give some attention to off-season introduction of vegetables; there is need for focused interventions for improvement of research institutes and departments; budget allocation to achieve the objectives of policy should be enhanced and clearly define.

Promoting Freedom of Belief & Challenging Discrimination in Transition States

Partner: MRG

Duration: 2012 to 2015

Locale: Punjab, Sindh, KP, Balochistan

Team Members: mome Saleem, Dr Humaira Ishfaq, Afsheen Naz


The study aims to find the international framework and mechanisms that exist to protect religious freedom and evidence of Pakistan’s commitments to these framework and mechanisms. The study discusses the importance of awareness among minorities in Pakistan about international frameworks, their rights to religious freedom and their real time experience about freedom of religion. It further discusses the understanding of Pakistan’s majority community as well as the country’s obligations to protect religious freedom.

Primary data was collected from different areas of Pakistan. Key informants of the study include religious minorities, government officials, civil society organizations, political leaders, journalists and social activists.


  • Primary and secondary data collection and analysis
  • A report on the status of religious freedom in Pakistan is being drafted.
  • Training of Hazara community on religious freedom has been conducted. The contents of the training included domestic and international laws pertaining to religious freedom, peace building, advocacy and non-violent ways of conflict resolution.
  • Film on the subject of religious freedom
  • Online training course


  • The state has not been able to provide protection to religious minorities in Pakistan. The translation of international conventions and framework in the domestic law stays a dilemma.

Disaggregating Recruitment: Uncovering the Expectations, Obligations, and Hidden Steps in the Labor Migrant Recruitment Process

Partner: New York University, Abu Dhabi

Locale: Peshawar, Swat, Abbottabad, Mirpur, Dina, Jhelum, Muzaffarabad, Dhirkot

Time Frame: Nov 2016 to July 2017

Team Members: Syed Ali Wasif naqvi, Waseem Iftikhar Janjua


Concern over the lives of non-skilled labor migrants in Gulf Co-operation Council states have resulted in multiple studies of migrants’ living and employment conditions in the host countries. However, it is becoming increasingly recognized that migrants’ circumstances are directly influenced by the information, expectations, and obligations migrants have before leaving their home countries. This research project, therefore, situates itself in Pakistan as a major contributor of GCC unskilled labour force. Through this pilot project, the study will try to understand the misinformation, expectations, obligations and relationships low-skilled labour migrants have before leaving Pakistan. A rather innovative approach is being taken in this project and all project participants will receive cell phones to collect data at micro-temporal intervals via an app-based survey questionnaire. The goal is to understand the process of labour recruitment — how information, expectations, and obligations change as aspiring migrants attempt to leave for the GCC. To maintain a gender balance, the number of participants will be maintained for a better understanding of the issues surrounding the aspiring migrants.

Project Status:

Project team is in the first phase of implementation. App is being developed for the smart phones and participants are being recruited.

Project Focal person, Syed Ali Wasif Naqvi; (

Data Revolution

Partner: Department for International Development (DFID).

Locale: Pakistan
Time Frame: May 2014-September 2016
Project Team: Saadiya Razzaq, Sheheryar Haq, Junaid Zahid, Waqas Imran, Rabia Tabbasum, Irfan Chatha and Hassan Waqas.
For more Information:


One of the themes of Alif Ailaan programme is the data and evidence component. Under this component, SDPI, as an implementing partner, is working preparing ‘Data Depository.’ The data observatory provides a nexus for the development of a national discourse around education data and evidence. Therefore, Alif Ailaan and SDPI aims to turn the online data depository into a clearing house for data, news, and research related to education in Pakistan. 


The objective of the data portal is to create an online portal containing all relevant public data in the country. The idea is also to make these data open source easy to access and use. The data is useful in informing the public about various aspects of social and Economic sectors in Pakistan and influences data regime in the country. The medium-term objective for the Pakistan Data Portal is to become the main source of education data for all relevant stakeholders. The long-term objective is to expand further from education data and incorporate data on other sources. A significant portion of this work, therefore, involves communication with stakeholders and the general public.