Bangladesh made significant progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) winning global acclaim. It is expected that the country will be able to continue its success in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well. The SDGs represent a wider spectrum of highly interconnected goals and indicators, so they could pose new challenges for the country. Furthermore, many SDG targets are transnational in nature, transcending national boundaries. Achievement of those SDGs, will thus, depend on collaborative efforts at the regional and global levels. It is essential from Bangladesh’s perspective to understand how peaceful cooperation and prudent diplomacy among the South Asian countries can be conducive in achieving sustainable development. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic brought along with it a new set of challenges and a whole “new normal”. Given the significant setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unlikely that any South Asian country, or any country in the world, will be able to achieve all the SDGs by 2030. It is proposed that if South Asian countries focus on strengthening various types of connectivity, as identified in the five-connectivity model, they can accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, and reduce the adverse impacts of the pandemic in the region.
JEL Code(s): Q01, O11, O20, F55, Q56
Key words: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Inclusive growth, Regional Cooperation,
South Asia, Bangladesh