ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) today signed an agreement that will help ensure that Pakistan’s efforts to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals are guided by evidence, research and open policy dialogue.

The two-year cost-sharing agreement, amounting to US$500,000, will support the publication of National Human Development Report and UNDP’s quarterly publication, Development Advocate Pakistan, which showcases high-quality research-based analysis.

UNDP Country Director Ignacio Artaza said, “Sustainable development depends upon high-quality evidence-based research. The agreement with SDC will create a platform for policy dialogue to support Pakistan’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Dr. Stefanie Burri, Head International Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Pakistan, said, “As we celebrate half a century of development cooperation with Pakistan, the SDC welcomes this opportunity to showcase the hard-won lessons we have learned over the years, and to ensure Pakistan’s impressive bank of knowledge and expertise is deployed in support of its development goals.”

Building on the success of the ground-breaking National Human Development Report focusing on youth concerns and prospects in Pakistan published in May this year, the next issue of the report will focus on the persisting inequality that hampers social mobility and sustainable development. The report will examine in detail inequality of opportunity in Pakistan, whilst also reflecting on income and consumption inequality.

Development Advocate Pakistan, launched in 2014 and published quarterly ever since, has consistently provided informed analysis and commentary on key national issues such as civil service reform, water security, and FATA mainstreaming. In 2018, the periodical will focus on technology and development, the agenda for the new government, drivers of inclusive growth, and urbanization.

Dr Adil Najam, the lead author of the National Human Development Report on Youth, and Shakeel Ahmad, Assistant Country Director Development Policy Unit UNDP, also spoke on the occasion.