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The COVID-19 pandemic which began as a health crisis, has become a monumental human and socio-economic crisis. The ongoing pandemic has devastated South Asian economies, exposing the systemic weaknesses and common challenges faced by the subregion. Inadequate public health infrastructure, widespread informality, existing gender and digital divide and lack of comprehensive social protection systems affected South Asia’s preparedness to tackle the pandemic. Countries in South Asia have suffered economic growth contraction with severe impacts on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), international trade, supply chains and international tourism, leading to loss of jobs and livelihoods and pushing millions of people into poverty in the subregion. Through impacts on economic growth, employment, poverty, hunger, inequalities and other deprivations and planetary health, the COVID-19 pandemic poses serious perils for the achievement of the SDGs in the subregion. Financing of large relief and stimulus packages to address the adverse socio-economic impacts of the pandemic constrains the fiscal space further to undertake investments necessary to achieve the SDGs by 2030. While the crisis threatens to hold back progress towards the SDGs, it also makes their achievement more urgent and necessary for a sustainable and resilient recovery

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Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia +91 11 3097 3700 [email protected]
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