Achieving SDGs in South Asia: Opportunities and Challenges
With a quarter of world’s population, 36 percent of the world’s poor and nearly half of undernourished children, South Asia holds the key for global SDGs achievement. The South Asian countries share common challenges in achieving SDGs and the solution lies on developing a framework for subregional cooperation for development. Some of the common challenges that have been identified relate to weak stakeholder engagements, especially with the private sector and vulnerable groups; lack of data availability; employment opportunities for youth bulge; absence of robust monitoring mechanisms; technology and financing constraints. Shared social, geographic, economic barriers; absence of cross-border cooperation and lack of participatory community-led approaches must be answered to implement effective measures for achieving the SDGs.
ESCAP has already identified seven broad strategic policy priorities for South Asia in order to address the key development challenges: creation of jobs through industry oriented structural transformation, universal provision of essential basic services and sustainable infrastructure, universal access to health and education and skills to harness the youth bulge, universal social protection and financial inclusion; sustainable agricultural productivity improvements; fostering women’s entrepreneurship, and enhancement of environmental sustainability through low-carbon climate resilient pathways. SDG achievement can be accelerated by focusing on Implementing these policy priorities. Subregional cooperation, along with the reinvigorated global and regional partnerships and multi-stakeholder engagements, including civil societies, are key to achieving the goals.
To that end, the main goal of the side event is to invite subregional experts and think tanks, to discuss possible options for creating an inclusive subregional cooperation framework which can help the member States in achieving the SDGs.