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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.

Urban flooding threat
By: Ghamz E Ali Siyal
THOSE fortunate enough to have access to a proper drainage pumping system and sanitation in their neighbourhood might be safe during the monsoons — but millions of others across the country should get ready to deal with urban flooding. By 2050, Pakistan’s population would have swelled from 207 million today to 242m. Almost half the people will be living in the urban areas. There is an immediate need for an improved urban infrastructure.
SDG 11 targets the reduction of losses in cities from water and other disasters to protect vulnerable communities. The rising incidence of urban flooding — caused by torrential rains, flash floods, storm rush or overflowing rivers — has obstructed sustainable development.
Karachi, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Rawal­pindi, Peshawar, Lahore and Faisalabad have all faced urban flooding and its attendant devastation during the monsoon season. Measures to cope with flood risks are administered by provincial and other authorities, such as the Met department, disaster management bodies, the irrigation department and the military. But they may not always be successful. The provincial disaster management authorities continue to warn of heavy rain patterns that cause urban flooding.
True, some efforts have been successful in reducing urban flooding and can be emulated. For example, the Leh Nullah in Rawalpindi is subjected to drainage flows from Rawalpindi and Islamabad and from rainwater from the southern part of the Margalla Hills — three pressure points. A project was initiated by the government in 2016-17 to clean up the Leh Nullah and the storm-water drains at vulnerable points. A clear improvement was witnessed after the effort.
Are our cities prepared for the approaching monsoon season?
Another solution for improving the urban system focuses on developing smart cities. The idea, discussed in Vision 2025, is to improve the resilience of cities. The Vision 2025 document discusses urbanisation and smart cities together with infrastructure to facilitate urban development. This is fine but the question remains: when and how will urban governance be implemented? It is worth searching for possible solutions to urban flooding in international case studies.
One example is of the ‘Wait…’ campaign in New York City, which provides unique solutions to deal with urban floods. The campaign asks urban residents, particularly of the Brooklyn area, to avoid the use, as much as possible, of water during rainstorms. This reduces pressure on the drainage system and helps flush out rainwater from urban areas. This campaign uses volunteers to send text messages to residents before the rain starts to avoid the use of water during rainfall. It is found to have made quite a difference.
To their credit, commercial enterprises have also highlighted ways of reducing urban flooding, often by giving examples. One solution is found in China, where urban flooding has increased over the years. It involves the creation of ‘sponge’ cities; Wuhan is one example. ‘Sponge’ cities ‘hold, clean and drain water in a natural way’, instead of just channelling away the rainwater. It can help in the reuse of water for gardens and urban farms, recharging depleted aquifers, and cleaning and processing flushed water for other purposes. Similarly, rooftops gardens in Europe store rainwater and reduce pressure on the drainage system during the rains.
Yet another solution focuses on separating the drainage system from rainwater — something that many cities are looking into. Installing separate infrastructure can reduce the pressure on the drainage system during the rainy season.
Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to minimise the damage caused by the monsoons in the cities is simply to keep the drainage system unclogged, as discussed in the Leh Nullah example; regular cleaning of storm-water drains is needed, ensuring that pipelines are not choked with sediment, debris, waste, etc. Unfortunately, poor municipal services and non-functioning local governments hinder this most sensible of measures. In large cities, such as Karachi, clogged storm-water drains have caused streets to be flooded with dirty water and disease-causing waste.
When such basic measures are not taken, it is perhaps difficult to imagine the government rising to the challenge and studying international measures that have turned vulnerable cities into clean, green, livable spaces. Nevertheless, these examples can provide a blueprint for ways to minimise losses from urban flooding — especially in conjunction with local solutions.
There are several innovative solutions being applied in different part of the world. Along with examining these and seeing how appropriate they are to local conditions, suggestions for viable options must also be taken from students of city and town planning, urban development, architecture, etc, apart from engaging the development authorities. We would do well to begin now, before the problem of urban flooding exacerbates as it has done over the decades.


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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.