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The Pakistan research programme

For decades, active conflict has prevailed along Pakistan’s north-western frontiers, particularly within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Following the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan joined a coalition of nations in fighting the ‘global war on terror’, and the region has since been subjected to numerous US drone attacks and military operations. Internal displacements from Swat and Malakand – two heavily affected districts within KP – saw almost 3 million people flee their homes. Although Internally Displaced People (IDPs) have now safely returned, during the return and resettlement process large swathes of the northwest region were hit by heavy flash floods (July 2010), affecting an estimated 1.2 million people.

The combination of conflict and natural disasters has people in the region impoverished. The crises have also severely damaged public and private infrastructure, limited households’ livelihood opportunities, and reduced local economic activity. Though rapid needs assessments have been conducted by NGOs, little is known about how peoples livelihoods and coping strategies shift over time and throughout conflict. We also lack an understanding of what causes improvements or deteriorations in well-being and livelihoods.

Pakistan is high on the agendas of many development agencies and is one of the highest net recipients of official development assistance (ODA) globally. Much of this aid supports interventions to protect and strengthen the livelihoods of households affected by conflict and flooding, but little is known about the effectiveness of such interventions, not least in terms of whether they are appropriate to the needs, activities and aspirations of those they are trying to reach.

The Pakistan research programme will be guided by three research themes:

  • Compound crises and shifting trajectories: Tracking the livelihood outcomes of conflict and flooding in Northwest Pakistan
  • The challenges of return: (Re)Building resilient livelihoods
  • Effectiveness issues: The role of aid programming in processes of recovery

More information


The team

The SLRC Pakistan Research Programme is being led by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) based in Islamabad, Pakistan.    

Contact us

Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
38 Embassy Road
G-6/3 Islamabad 
Pakistan
Postal Code: 44000
Tel: +92-51-2278134      
Fax:+92-51-2278135
Email: slrc@odi.org.uk
Title Author Summary Country Date
Surveying livelihoods service delivery and governance: baseline evidence from Pakistan Babar Shahbaz, Qasim Ali Shah, Abid Suleri, Mohsin Ali Kazmi and Steve Commins In 2012, SLRC implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in Pakistan aimed to produce data on people's livelihoods, access to and experience of basic services, and people’s perceptions of governance. Pakistan 05/06/2014
Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in north-western Pakistan Babar Shahbaz, Qasim Ali Shah, Abid Q. Suleri, Steve Commins and Akbar Ali Malik This working paper synthesises and assesses evidence from the existing literature on poverty and livelihoods, access to basic services and social protection, and aid and its governance in conflict-affected areas of Pakistan, particularly the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) Pakistan 03/09/2012