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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.

The need for decentralised governance
By: Raja Taimur Hassan

Today’s world is totally different from that of the 20th century. There is increased democracy, a growing trend towards urbanisation, an increasingly interconnected world (through globalisation), and a revolution of information and communication technologies. All these major transformations demand new patterns of government organisation: a more decentralised governance system. We cannot run modern-day businesses through old practices.

Many developing countries have already adapted to these transformations and have been successful in designing and implementing different aspects of decentralised governance systems in their own socio-economic and political contexts. Some developing countries are about to join the race of the developed world. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula for decentralisation. Different countries can have different trajectories of decentralisation according to their country’s socio-political scenario. However, a bonafide decentralisation has three major components which include deconstruction, delegation and devolution. The question that may arise in one’s mind is: why does a country need decentralisation?

The answer is that the people at the local level want to take decisions on their own and true decentralisation allows people to decide their fate. Decentralisation produces creative and good leadership. When you empower local leaders, they come up with innovative local innovations and solutions. It increases the capacity for development and reduces corruption. Political devolution can have a positive impact on the accountability of a government and the sustainability of the democratic process. Moreover, it promotes public service delivery, increases political participation and spurs economic growth.

Pakistan has a very interesting history of local governance. The country has witnessed three local government systems since 1959. Each time, attempts for decentralisation were made in the era of military governments, whether it was the time of General Ayub Khan or General Ziaul Haq or General Pervez Musharraf. Military dictators’ love for local governments might be explained by their wish to get larger public support to prolong their reign. However, all these attempts to decentralise governance ended in failure because there has been no clear devolution of powers.

The irony is that the local government system never flourished under political governments. This is, perhaps, due to fragile political conditions throughout the 68 years of independence and a dearth of political leadership. After colonial rule, we inherited strong bureaucratic institutions and weak representative institutions, where public officials have only had a limited role to play. After independence, a strong patron-client relationship between the bureaucracy and the military establishment also weakened political institutions. Pakistan had almost 35 years of military dictatorship and while the bureaucracy ruled, political parties continued to dither.

That is not to say that only bad things happened. Pakistan has good stories to tell, too. The 1973 Constitution, the 2009 National Finance Commission Award and the 18th constitutional amendment are some major landmark events which strengthened democracy and the federation. And all this happened during the rule of democratic governments.

Furthermore, for the first time in the political history of Pakistan, we had a smooth political dispensation and transfer of power in the May 2013 general elections. Political stability has strengthened the democratic culture. Now, Pakistan is heading towards achieving another milestone by holding local government elections, as a third-tier of administration, throughout the country by the end of this year, hopefully. This devolution of power at the local level would definitely steer the country to the next level of prosperity, growth and development. For that, mobilising political support and ownership at the national level for strengthening local governments is the need of the hour.


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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.