Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia: Key Policy Priorities and Implementation Challenges

Report12 May 2017

Home to nearly one fourth of the world’s population, South Asia has emerged as one of the most dynamic subregions in the world. However, it accounts for 36% of the world’s poor and nearly 50% of the world’s malnourished children. From transport infrastructure, electricity to basic services such as water and sanitation, the subregion remains plagued by major development gaps, barriers and bottlenecks.

Pursued decisively, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) present a timely opportunity for South Asia to eradicate poverty, bridge development gaps and address economic, social and environmental challenges in a coherent manner. Reaching those ambitious Goals has the potential to be fundamentally transformative in the subregion and in light of the disproportionate concentration of the deprived populations living in South Asia, will be essential for the global achievement of the Goals.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia: Key Policy Priorities and Implementation Challenges seeks to unpack the 2030 Agenda at the subregional level and offer tangible means to mainstream the SDGs into national development plans and programmes.

The Report outlines seven key policy priorities to fast-track achievement of the Goals and create the
conditions for sustainable prosperity for all in South Asia, including through harnessing regional cooperation, among the Agenda’s means of implementation.

Based on rigorous analysis and policy simulations, the publication demonstrates that a sustainable industrialization strategy could generate more than 56 million new jobs by 2030 in the subregion, lifting 71 million additional people out of poverty while also embracing low-carbon development pathways. Two years into the implementation of the Agenda, as countries in the subregion strive to operationalize the goals in line with national priorities, this Report is essential reading for development practitioners and policy makers in the subregion and beyond, to stimulate the debate on ways and means to bring sustainable prosperity to the 1.7 billion persons living in South Asia.