SDPI's Nineteenth Sustainable Development Conference: 06 - 08 December 2016
Islamabad, Pakistan



Concept Note

Sustainable  Development: Envisaging the Future  Together 
The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Nineteenth Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 6 - 8 December 2016 in Islamabad, Pakistan. 
This year’s overarching theme of the SDC is ‘Sustainable Development:  Envisaging the Future Together’.

Overarching Theme:

SDPI’s flagship series of Sustainable Development Conferences has primarily been focusing on South Asia. Going beyond, the Nineteenth SDC will dilate upon North-South and South-South collaboration and togetherness as highlighted in the UN Secretary General’s Synthesis report 2015 on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

It would focus upon:
  • Cooperation between developed and developing countries for sustainable development
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Human centeredness

Cooperation between developed and developing countries for sustainable development

The global partnership between developing and developed countries for development cooperation has been set as a corner stone in the 2030 development agenda with a clear understanding that the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved until the global development finance architecture embeds inclusivity, integration and universality.

Keeping the failures of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in view, the SDGs indicators have been made stringent which ultimately call for improving upon effectiveness, quality and impact of development co-operation backed by inclusive partnerships, innovative approaches and principles of country level ownership, transparency and accountability. The UN Secretary General’s Synthesis Report (2015) describes that global partnership would strengthen cooperation between the developing and developed countries for achieving the goal of sustainable development. This multi-stakeholder partnership would bring together key development players to pool financial resources, expertise and knowledge to achieve the SDGs.

Starting from Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) in March 2015, to Addis Ababa Finance for Development Conference in July 2015, SDGs in September 2015 and COP21 in Paris end of 2015 -- the global platforms and frameworks -- have emerged as a common call urging for a more result oriented development cooperation between developing and developed countries to build resilience of systems, infrastructures and communities in under developed, least developed and developing countries. 

Though the developed countries did not commit any new funding targets to achieve the objectives of the four global processes for development and resilience building, they did agree for a meaningful global partnership for development cooperation that increases effectiveness of development, accountability and the developing country-led process for monitoring of the quality of partnerships.
Amid this background, in a sense, the responsibilities of developing countries have increased in terms of maximizing the benefits of would-be global partnerships and financial assistance to make their development resilient to all kinds of shocks, be they disasters, climate risks, economic, socio-political and in terms of breach in global commitments. 

The Nineteenth Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) this year with its overarching theme ‘Sustainable Development:  Envisaging the Future Together’ would raise the level of discourse as how to maximize the global partnership for development cooperation between developing and developed countries using SFDRR 2015, SDGs 2015, COP21 (Climate Change Paris Agreement) and other frameworks as lens to make the developed world realize that ‘no one including, women, elderly and marginalized communities, should be left out’ (as promised especially in SDGs) while achieving the overall goal of sustainable development and resilience building across the region. This is only possible when we envisage the future together.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The new global Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations 2015 )  aim “to end poverty and hunger, to protect the planet from degradation; to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives; to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence; to mobilize the means required to implement this 2030 Agenda through a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focussed in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.

Weighing the significance of each of the Goal, the Conference will address questions such as how would donors and development partners re-invent and reimagine their roles? How would the public-private sector be engaged particularly in case of climate change, curb emissions and take actions on mutual understanding as stressed in the COP 21 vision ? How would resilient infrastructures be built to cope with climate and disaster risks to make development sustainable?  How challenges facing gender equality, access to education, clean energy and food security could be addressed?

Human centeredness

The global discourses on rising inequality (social, economic, gender, etc.) despite recorded development, mantra of economic growth failing the poor to come out of poverty trap and similar other dichotomies forced development practitioners and researchers to track growth and development processes that led them to believe that development minus the poor could not be sustainable. Amid this discourse, Joseph E. Stiglitz and Amartya Kumar Sen in their recent works have called for inclusive development to make it sustainable. The notion of human right builds on our shared humanity. These rights are not derived from the citizenship of any country, or the membership of any nation, but are presumed to be claims or entitlements of every human being (Sen 2009) . The focus of the continued discourse is on human centeredness.

The Nineteenth SDC will look at human development with holistic approach and from the people’s perspective. People being the fundamental block of any country, their development – i.e. financial, economic, educational and social -- will result in overall growth and development of a country. The experts at the Conference are likely to come up with proper strategies for people centric development. 

In a peaceful and democratic society, multilateral dialogue and negotiations are pivotal in promoting mutual understanding. These bonds developed between countries stand as flagship undertakings to address and remedy the deep political, economic and cultural divide, both within and without. But once again these corridors can only be seen as an opportunity, unless the national policies take into account the consideration of the most deprived population in decisions regarding public amenities and investment in the capabilities of people in order to reduce socioeconomic inequalities (Sen 2013) .

Conference Sub-themes:

Some panels of the Conference will highlight the importance of investing in people while others on human development. Under the overarching theme, the Conference will have a wide variety of sub-themes including recovering from conflict, the SDGs, trade, economic growth, environment, sustainable energy, education, governance, women’s economic empowerment, minority rights, disaster management and preparedness, climate change, youth employment, gender and demography, gender and democracy and so on. 
Many countries are going through conflict or adjusting to a post-conflict situation. This Conference will especially showcase sessions on this sub-theme, convened by The Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) . SLRC is a six-year global research programme exploring livelihoods, services and social protection in eight conflict-affected countries: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nepal, Pakistan, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. It was established in 2011 with the aim of strengthening the evidence base and informing policy and practice around livelihoods and services in conflict. SLRC is funded by UK aid from the UK government, Irish Aid and the European Commission (EC).

The policy recommendations coming out of the sessions will specifically be presented to policy makers, government officials, civil society members, academicians, private sector and researchers.

Conference Outcomes:

A peer reviewed conference anthology based on papers presented at the occasion will be launched at the succeeding Conference. Keeping up with this tradition, the Nineteenth SDC will showcase launch of the SDC 2015 anthology titled ‘Securing Peace and Prosperity’, a peer reviewed publication, along with other publications.

As done so in earlier SD Conferences, SDPI will compile the policy recommendations from the 20 plus panels which will be communicated to the respective Ministries and at regional level institutions. 

The Conference will provide an interactive forum to meet with experts and to find relevant ideas and solutions in an atmosphere of sharing and exploring. 

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

Last year, SDPI had the privilege to host two back-to-back mega-events, the Eighteenth Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) and Eighth South Asia Economic Summit (SAES) 7 – 10 December 2015. The mega events hosted a total of 225 panellists of which 152 were from Pakistan and 73 from 16 other countries. Panellists came from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, UK and the USA. A total of 3,422 people attended the sessions of the four-day mega events consisting of 4 plenary sessions.

Nineteenth SDC: Conference Format

There will be two to three keynote plenary sessions in which prominent keynote speakers will be invited to address significant areas as highlighted in the overarching theme. The plenary each day will be followed by concurrent sessions / panels on sub-themes. The plenary will last for one hour and 30 minutes while the duration of each panel will be two hours with three to five presentations followed by question-and-answer session.

Dates to Remember:

Submission of abstracts: 15 August 2016 (Indian and Bangladeshi passport holders are encouraged to submit their abstracts by the first week of August so that they can be shortlisted and requested to send their visa clearance documents)
Submission of documents by Indian and Bangladeshi passport holders: 1 September 2016
Submission of Conference papers: 1 November 2016
Nineteenth Sustainable Development Conference: 6—8 December 2016

Call for Abstracts: 

Under the overarching theme, a number of panels based on sub-themes will be organized. Panel write-ups will be uploaded at the Conference website. Speakers are requested to submit their abstracts corresponding and suitably associated to the panel sub-theme objectives addressing the questions specifically being addressed in that particular panel. For details of the panels, authors’ guidelines, submission deadlines, etc., please visit our website 

All abstracts will 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 and will be requested to submit their papers by the deadline. Kindly specify the panel title while submitting an abstract.

List of Panels:

Over 20 panels will be organized at SDPI’s Nineteenth Sustainable Development Conference.  Potential speakers are requested to review and visit the website for updated information which will be uploaded from time to time. 

For further details, please contact the SDC Unit:

Ms Uzma T. Haroon 
Director SDC Unit
Email address:

Ms Imrana Niazi 
Coordinator SDC
Email address:

Sustainable Development Conference Unit
Sustainable Development Policy Institute 
Taimur Chambers, # 10-D (West),
Fazl-e-Haq Road, Blue Area, Islamabad
Ph: (92-51) 2278134; 2278136  
Fax: (92-51) 2278135