Considering the recent years' crisis, especially the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia conflicts, not only does achieving the 2030 SDG goals not seem realistic, but the subregion is showing regressing patterns concerning some of the SDGs. South and South West Asia are facing various challenges across all 17 goals. Among them, high vulnerability to climate-related disasters, increased mortality from air pollution, poverty-induced deprivations and inequalities in terms of access to basic infrastructure and services such as education, health, housing, clean energy and sanitation, and the impact of geopolitical dynamics on peace, democracy and human rights are some of the significant issues.
Rather than achieving the 2030 SDG goals, which might not be realistic in most cases anymore, it's more crucial to rescue the goals and get back on track as a priority. In the existing climate, a robust cultivated approach is necessary to find the best and most strategic entry points and action plans to save the SDGs and salvage some of the damage to SDGs experienced by the subregion.
United Nations ESCAP South and South West Asia (ESCAP SSWA) is organizing a Policy Dialogue entitled "Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Development in South and South West Asia, Role of the South Asia Network on SDGs (SANS)" on 08 December 2022 in Islamabad, Pakistan, as a part of the Sixth South and South West Asia Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals. This Policy Dialogue seeks to deepen the engagement between various stakeholders, focusing on potential areas for further strengthening subregional linkages and how such linkages can be channelled into inclusive and sustainable development strategically and efficiently. Considering the role of the South Asia Network on SDGs (SANS) members in their respective countries as well as the subregion, it is essential to identify the strategic areas and methods in which the network could best function. The main focus areas of the discussion are as follow:
- What are the most challenging issues for the subregion? How are they linked with SDGs?
- What are the most strategic interventions ESCAP and SANS can make collectively to bring the SDG progress back on track?