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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.

Sustainable Industrial Development (SID).

Chemicals Hot Spots – Promoting Environmentally Sound Management of Obsolete Pesticides in Pakistan

Partners: SAICM, BSI, EPA

Duration: Two years (First phase)

Location: KP, Punjab & Sindh (one site in each province to be specified)

Team Members: Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja


Industry in Pakistan is mostly either agro-based or agriculture-oriented, therefore, consumption of chemicals is also mainly in the agriculture sector. The largest chemical products consumed in the country are chemical fertilizers; pesticides too have a widespread use.

Following the completion of an earlier study titled, Assessment and Mapping of Chemically Polluted Sites in Pakistan,? SDPI’s project partners held a national workshop to review the scope of toxic and chemicals pollution problems in Pakistan. Participants identified pesticides, hexavalent chromium and lead as the three largest contamination problems in terms of human health risk

It is estimated that a large amount of obsolete pesticides is unsafely stored throughout Pakistan and is located in the provinces of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Sindh and the Punjab. Many of the pesticides are considered highly hazardous pesticides, or pesticides characterized by high acute toxicity and potential to cause illness, injury or death to humans and animals from long-term chronic exposure, as well as damage to the environment.

High temperature incineration is generally considered  the most acceptable option for the disposal of obsolete pesticides. Incineration in cement kilns is considered by international experts to be an acceptable alternative, and one that would be readily available in Pakistan, as the country has a considerable cement industry.


  • To promote the sound disposal and management of obsolete pesticides.
  • To build capacity of the Government of Pakistan to address environmental and health impacts of obsolete pesticides in line with the obligations under the Stockholm, Rotterdam, and Basel Conventions
  • To support the development of a comprehensive action plan to address obsolete pesticides at national level and build local and national capacity to address the pesticides related problems in a manner that is community driven and environmentally sound
  • To minimize hazardous environmental and health impact at the pilot site and demonstrate how pesticides can be disposed of successfully, safely, and cost-effectively using local cement kilns.


  • Selection of priority chemically-polluted sites from the already identified 39 sites in KP, the Punjab and Sindh, by BSI & SDPI from a recent study.
  • Identification and assessment of short-listed cement kilns for hazardous waste disposal
  • Up-gradation/development of specific protocols required for test burning/incineration of hazardous material in a select cement kiln.
  • Development of SOPs, feasibility/action plan/follow ups, training/awareness

State of Brick Kilns in Pakistan

Partner: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Year: 2008-09

The brick production sector in Pakistan depends upon fuel wasting units and techniques, which contribute to air pollution and emissions of green house gases, thus generating negative economic and environmental impacts. Besides, within the sector there are social dilemmas such as bonded labour, child labour, work-place adverse living environments, unhygienic water and sanitation conditions, poor education and adverse occupational health conditions; all of these problems need serious consideration. The sector is one of the major actors in the construction industry and yet due to its peculiar characteristics is reproached as a non-taxpayer and is not recognized as an industry. It is estimated that around one million brick kiln workers work in almost 10,000 brick kilns in Pakistan. Despite the economic importance of brick kilns, very little information is available on the ‘state’ of the brick kiln sector in Pakistan.

SDPI contributed towards filling in this information gap by carrying out two studies, ‘Social assessment of brick kilns’ and ‘Environmental assessment of brick kilns’

Environmental Auditing (EA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

SDPI has laid strong emphasis on capacity development in environmental auditing (EA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA). Consequently, training courses have been designed and organized on EA and EIA for both public and private sectors and NGOs.

In the first ever national conference on Environmental Auditing, organized by SDPI, draft guidelines on Environmental Audit Standard and Practice in Pakistan, Environmental Audit Qualification Criteria and Auditors Certification Process were presented and discussed.

Self-Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART)

SDPI, on the request of the Environment Protection Agencies (EPAs), developed a software called Self Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for industries. This initiative was taken to support the efforts of the government in the implementation of the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS), environmental protection and pollution control in the country.

SMART, based on the self monitoring and reporting guidelines developed by SDPI, will facilitate the process of recording and transmitting environmental data by industries. The EPAs will use the software to receive, analyse and check for compliance environmental data sent by industries. SMART has been developed to assist the industries in generating their industrial emission report electronically and transmitting the same to Environmental Protection Agencies (EPAs). SMART can also help develop national database and statistical analyses of the same to give valuable baseline data for consideration in developing national policies for environment protection and pollution control in the country. Fifty industries from all over Pakistan volunteered to install SMART for testing during a recent pilot phase demonstration of the software. The government introducd the self monitoring and reporting through SMART for the entire industrial sector in the country from March 2006.

Sustainable Industrial Development (SID)

Team Members: Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja

Prior to PEPA-97, the first major consolidated environmental legislation and the only piece of Pakistani legislation dealing specifically with the environment was Pakistan environmental protection ordinance, promulgated in 1983 The ordinance was the principal statement of Pakistan’s national commitment in the field of environment and it fulfilled the urgent need of a legislation to safe guard the national environment. The 1983 ordinance did not have a broad scope. It was limited to creating an institutional base and a high level policy-making forum, the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council (PEPC)2. Five Environmental Protection Agencies (EPAs), one at Federal and four at the Provincial levels were also created under the ministry of Environment, Local Government and Rural Development3. However, EPAs while founded remained practically inoperative for over a decade due lack of funds and support staff. The 1983 ordinance had the provisions for enforcing national environmental quality standards (NEQS) and environment impact assessment (EIA).The Pakistan environment protection act, promulgated in December1997 is an improvement over 1983 ordinance, achieved through an extensive and prolonged consultative process with all stakeholders. Open public hearings were also held in the federal capital as well as in all the provincial capitals, to solicit opinions and discussion. The Act, PEPA-97 was unanimously passed by the National Assembly and the Senate.

SDPI Report on – APFED Showcase Project

Background Information of UNEP, ROAP  SDPI Session:

Local initiatives represent an array of available development solutions to address existing and emerging environmental challenges as well as bear social and economic impacts. Yet, these successful initiatives are not strongly linked to institutional and policy mechanisms for sustainable development throughout the Global South. The reasons being low awareness of existing opportunities, inadequate mechanisms for community-level best practices to feed into sub-regional, regional and global institutions via knowledge and information sharing and technology transfer. The existence of such barriers/gaps has interrupted the organic flow of bottom-up approaches being incorporated into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) process. In part, such gaps are responsible for developing countries’ failure to meet many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is essential that sustainable development includes and integrates both top-down and bottom-up contrivances into the overall sustainable development governance architecture. Therefore, in order to realize sustainable development goals on a larger scale, community-level best practices should be contextualized and replicated across the Asia Pacific region and globally.

UNEP ROAP-SDPI Report on – APFED Showcase Program

Environmental Assessment of Brick Kilns

Partner: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Year: 2008-09

This study was aimed to undertake the assessment of emissions from BTKs (Bull Trench Kiln) with relation to the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards, to tabulate emissions from various types of kilns to draw down a regional comparison, to evaluate the effects of kiln emissions on urban health and to tabulate the mitigation measures adopted by the concerned agencies. It also included the study of the impacts of soil removal related to brick making and to assess the level of public awareness towards environmental issues prevailing in the kiln sector.

The methodology included a review of the literature, meetings with stakeholders and site visits. A team of experts conducted the social survey and assessment of health impacts. The literature review revealed that adequate empirical data was not available for assessment of BTK emissions in relation to the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS). Meetings with health authorities also revealed that although there was a consensus that the brick kiln emissions did have negative health impacts, no scientific data was available. Therefore, an indirect qualitative survey technique centering on interviews with key informants was used for interviewing medical practitioners and paramedics in the study area. Direct field observations were made to assess the impacts of the removal of topsoil on the ecology of the area.

The results of regional studies conducted in regards to various types of brick kilns show that Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln (VSBK) operation reduces green house gases e.g. CO2, CO, SOX, NOX. Apart from the green house gases, the most important matter is the emission of particulate matter both Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) and Respiratory Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) in the respiratory range. The level of dioxins measured in the ash from the brick kilns showed that brick kilns could be a significant source of dioxins releases. The study recommended starting the process of exploring innovative scientific technologies to address these negative effects.