Panel Discussion on 'Promoting Regional Cooperation in South Asia for Achieving SDGs' at the SDPI’s Twenty-second Sustainable Development Conference on 'Sustainable Development in a Digital Society'

4 Dec 2019
Islamabad, Pakistan
By invitation only

With a quarter of the 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 in 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.

The recent ESCAP Report evaluated South and South-West Asia subregion’s progress on SDGs and observed that the subregion leads to good health and well-being (Goal 3) and decent work and economic growth (Goal 8). However, it is moving in the wrong direction on clean water and sanitation (Goal 6), responsible consumption and production (Goal 12) and climate action (Goal 13).

ESCAP has already identified seven broad strategic policy priorities for South Asia in order to address the SDGs and 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, is key to achieving the goals.

While the United Nations ESCAP South and South-West Asia Office (ESCAP-SSWA) is organizing a ‘Panel Discussion on 'Promoting Regional Cooperation in South Asia for Achieving SDGs' at the SDPI’s Twenty-second Sustainable Development Conference on 'Sustainable Development in a Digital Society' on 4 December 2019, a side event to launch EIF-UNESCAP project on “E-Commerce Capacity Building for women-led SMEs in South Asia is also being organized on 4 December 2019.