Concept Note


The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-fourth Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 6 – 9 December 2021 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Beyond the Pandemic: Leaving No One Behind.

The Twenty-fourth Sustainable Development Conference will be a forward-looking conference and a reflection on the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic. What are some of the lessons learnt during these challenging years? What can be done to catch up with the missed targets and how can they be compensated for the time loss; and how well are we prepared for future disasters? What were some of the opportunities gained or lost during this time frame and as seen through the prism of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? What midcourse correction strategy can be adopted to steer towards sustainable development in the coming years? These are some of the questions that will be addressed.

The post-pandemic economic recovery will depend upon several factors which require a comprehensive discussion. Among other factors, ability of national and sub-national governments to: (i) plan for building back better, focussing on resilience of the hardest hit communities in terms of health, food, livelihood, and other shocks of the pandemic, and ensuing natural hazards/disasters, (ii) ensuring adequate budgets for relief and recovery, (iii) form partnerships with private sector and non-governmental organizations, and (iv) efficient use of existing and donor resources in health and other social sectors will be critical. While most developing countries have enjoyed debt relief until now, repayment capacities could get tested during next year and beyond possibly triggering the need for further rounds of borrowing. All this has implications for financial sector resilience and macroeconomic stability, particularly budget deficit and inflation which in turn could hamper drive towards poverty reduction and mitigation of inequalities.

In the perspective of uneven recoveries and pandemic aggravating the inequalities, the upcoming SDC may pick up debate on redefining and reshaping the post-pandemic new development agenda and required shifts in current policies, debate on how to be inclusive in these policies; and leave no one behind during the pandemic and beyond. These and many more sub-themes will be covered in the sessions during the span of the Conference. This may help us take stock of the responses to the pandemic and identify post-pandemic policy challenges with a futuristic perspective.


Speakers are invited to submit their abstracts against a relevant sub-theme of a panel. A list of panels will be shared at the SDC’s weblink along with authors’ guidelines. Before submitting an abstract, speakers are requested to click on the active link of the panel title, review its focus, sub-theme, objectives and the specific questions that the panel will address under the overarching theme of the Conference. Deadline for submitting an abstract is 23 August 2021. Potential speakers are requested to specify the panel title while submitting their abstracts. The abstract should be between 150 – 200 words. Please submit your abstract to and indicate the title of the specific panel it is being sent for.

All abstracts go through a software review for originality and if cleared will be reviewed by an editorial committee. Only those speakers with short-listed abstracts will be informed to submit their draft papers by 1 November 2021. The paper should not exceed 6,000 words.

For details of the panels, authors’ guidelines, submission deadlines, etc., please continue to visit the given weblink:

Information at this link will continue to be updated regularly along with the list of panels.


A peer reviewed conference anthology based on papers presented is launched at the succeeding Conference. Keeping up with this tradition, the Twenty-fourth SDC will showcase launch of the SDC 2020 peer reviewed anthology titled ‘Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19’; and, SDPI’s’ Journal of Development Policy, Research & Practice’ along with other publications. Previous SDC anthologies can be viewed and downloaded from the given link:

The Journal’s published volumes can be downloaded from

Each Sustainable Development Conference is about reaching the policy makers and relevant stakeholders and sharing with them key policy recommendations. As done so in the previous SD Conferences, policy recommendations from the panels and plenary sessions are communicated to the key policy makers attending the Conference and also uploaded at the Conference weblink.

The Conference will provide an interactive forum with researchers, experts and scholars from different disciplines and to find relevant ideas, best practices and solutions in an atmosphere of sharing and exploring.

SDC keynote plenary sessions and panels will be broadcast live on SDPI’s web-based TV ( and Facebook live for wider dissemination.


SDPI’s Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference was held from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of the Conference was ‘Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19’. Due to the pandemic, it was the very first time that the annual Conference was held on a virtual platform with speakers hosted from the following 26 countries: Afghanistan, Africa, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, China, Ecuador, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. Of the 45 sessions, there were 9 plenary sessions and 36 concurrent panels. During the four-day Conference, 193 speakers joined from Pakistan while another 63 came from the countries mentioned above. It was attended by an audience of over 6,800 from 84 countries.
For further details, please contact the Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) Unit at

Ms Uzma T. Haroon
Director SDC Unit

Ms Imrana Niazi
Senior Coordinator SDC

Ms Tayyaba Hanif
Associate Coordinator SDC