Paradigm shift in growth policy as research shows economic inequality is harmful for sustainable growth

Feb 19, 2018

Islamabad, 19 February 2018 – A report titled “Inclusive and Sustainable Development: Analytical Basis and Policy Framework” was launched today by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report, authored by eminent Pakistani economist Dr Akmal Hussain, overturns long-standing beliefs to show that economic inequality is harmful for long-term sustainable growth. The report’s findings will be instrumental in shaping policy directions in the coming years.

The Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal, said: “Since the formal adoption of Agenda 2030 by UN member countries, the Planning Commission has been committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Pakistan and ensuring the gaps realized in the previous Millennium Development Goal era are timely addressed. This report’s strength lies in its relevance and applicability to the current development landscape in Pakistan as it provides policy recommendations in the context of increasing vulnerability to climate change challenges, water scarcity and changing dynamics being brought by CPEC.”

Speaking at the launch the United Nations Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne said, “Inclusive and Sustainable Development remains the core principle of the UN system’s support to the Government of Pakistan. Evidence-based research, policy debate and dialogue are crucial to initiate a discussion on fostering inclusive and sustainable development so that no one is left behind – which is a fundamental principle of Agenda 2030. The UN system will continue to provide support to the Government of Pakistan by offering high-quality policy advice; especially at the provincial/ regional levels; and facilitating dialogue between the state, the private sector and civil society.”

The Secretary, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform Mr. Shoaib Ahmed Siddique, said: “This report will serve as a focal point for the debate in Pakistan on how to best reduce inequalities and will create a standard for the design of inclusive development policies. It is part of the larger initiative of the Planning Commission to strengthen links between research and policymaking.”

The report provides evidence-based recommendations for combating many of the diverse challenges Pakistan faces, calling for equitable growth through participatory development, reducing regional disparities, providing universal health, education and social security, and mobilizing women and youth in the workforce. It also recommends regional cooperation to battle climate change, and comprehensive planning to rehabilitate and manage water infrastructure.

The report reinforces Pakistan Vision 2025 by providing an analytical basis and specific operational policy initiatives for achieving inclusive and sustainable development in Pakistan, including measures to increase gender equality and enhance women’s participation of women in economic, social and political development; entrepreneurship opportunities for youth, women and minorities; climate change resilience; addressing water challenges, utilizing hydropower potential, and strengthening the role of local governments in participatory democracy and inclusive development.

Dr Akmal Hussain authored the Report as part of activities of the Advisory Council on Inclusive and Sustainable Development established by UNDP to assist the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform in proposing recommendations around key development issues. Co-authors include Khawar Mumtaz, Khalid Mohtadullah, Dr Bashir Ahmed Khan, and Imtiaz Ali Qazilbash.

Contact information

For more information, please contact:

Fatimah Inayat, Communications Analyst, UNDP, +92 51 835 5650 or

Umer Malik, Policy Analyst, Development Policy Unit, UNDP,

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Pakistan 
Go to UNDP Global