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Research interests

  Sunil Tankha is Assistant Professor of States, Societies and World Development at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research focuses on development policies and governance, in particular on issues related to infrastructure (electric power and water) and public sector management. He combines research with policy advice, symbiotically generating data and ideas which can help policymakers approach wicked problems with more nuanced approaches. He has worked intensively on four continents, and has substantial country experience in Brazil, Georgia, India, Netherlands, and the United States. In addition, he has worked in several other developing countries, including Argentina and Mexico in Latin America, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka in South Asia, and Uganda in Africa. He speaks English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Hindi and Bengali fluently, and has some knowledge of Dutch, Russian and Urdu. In Brazil, he has studied intensively policy reforms in electric power and water management. He has also prepared reports for the World Bank on involuntary resettlement policies and practices in Ceará and on policies for urban re-development and the promotion of the creative industries in Pernambuco. In India, he has written articles, reports and case studies on participatory water management, and reform in the water and sanitation sector. He has analyzed problems in reforming the power sector in the country. In addition, he has analyzed institutional arrangements for climate change adaptation at the state level. Currently, he is involved in a large project investigating climate change adaptation policies in practices in the Himalayan-Hindukush mountain ranges. In Georgia, he led a project on Civil Society for Development, which involved organizing civil society groups to organize for raising awareness of decentralization and local governance issues. The network and activities developed through this project contributed to the development and passage of groundbreaking legislation in local government, including the provision for direct election of mayors. In the United States he has prepared reports on large scale government procurement policies and their effects on industrial development, as well as on water management in the Texas-Mexico cross-border region.  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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