ISLAMABAD: The SDPI has strengthened its position in a ranking of global and regional think tanks.
The eleventh edition of University of Pennsylvania Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI), was released across the world on Wednesday. Launched by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad, the think tank was ranked at 97 amongst top global (non-US) think tanks.
Moreover, it came in at 14 among the top think tanks of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. It is ranked top among the 25 think tanks from Pakistan included in the list of some 7,815 think tanks (TT) across the globe.
The annual GGTTI ranking index identifies and to recognise the centres of excellence in policy research, to forge knowledge and policy partnerships and to create a global think tank village.
“SDPI has further improved its ranking in the index as compared to 2016 and now stands at 14 amongst top think tanks of the region (15 in 2016) and has emerged at 53 among top independent think tanks with an improvement of two points compared to 2016 in independent think tanks category,” said SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri while launching the 2017 GGTI report.
“Similarly, SDPI has improved its position clinching the 97th position from last year’s 103 positions among top global think tank (non-US).”
It added that in this category, SDPI is the only institute from Pakistan which has been included in the list of 142 top non-US global think tanks. The list is topped by French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), Bruegel (Belgium) and Chatham House (UK). The Brookings Institution of USA is ranked as top think of the world. Speaking on the occasion, SDPI Board of Governors Chairperson, former Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel said that this year’s GGTTI had also listed the top global think tanks whose work on food security and food and water security issues (without ranking them) has globally been recognised.
“SDPI is the only Institute in Pakistan which has been listed for working on these issues,” he said, adding that In the index, SDPI was ranked at 43 among the world’s best trans-disciplinary research think tank and had earned the same ranking for the best quality assurance, integrity policy and procedures.
SDPI has been placed at the 66th as the world’s top environment policy TT and stands at the 61st position for the best institutional collaborator for the second year running. SDPI’s position is 65 among the best advocacy campaigning think tanks, 78 with the best external engagement programme, and 99th for social policy think tank for the third consecutive year.
Dr Suleri was of the view that the importance of independent think tanks has increased manifold amid the populous demands for change, out of the box.
“Think tanks can bridge the policy gaps when the political leadership across the world opts to accept populous demands which might have adverse policy impacts on the geopolitical situations,” he added. The independent think tanks can provide evidence-based policy solutions in such situations, he argued.
Dr Suleri said noted that the importance of think tanks has increased manifold amid the growing needs to address the challenges of food and water insecurity, climate change, urbanization, overpopulation, poor planning and misuse of land and water resources.
Think tanks provide analytical situations and solutions to address one or more of these issues. While thousands of organisations around the world work for the betterment of their people and are backed by the civil society and government, in Pakistan there are barely a few dozens think tanks who are chronically short of funds and increasingly shrinking space in the society.
He urged the government and private sector to encourage and support independent think tanks so that they can provide policy and technical research-based advice to them in the interest of development, growth and welfare of the people. International Islamic University Rector Professor Dr Masoom Yasinzai suggested that the institute must continue its work for the sustainable development in the country.
“I think it is a recognition of Pakistan and not just SDPI and this achievement would help build a soft image of Pakistan in the global community,” he suggested, adding that all national universities of the country should join hands with independent think tanks such as SDPI and work together for the betterment of the society.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2018.