Bhutan along with the global community adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. It is one of the early mover countries in the Asia Pacific region and the country has prioritized SDG 1 on no poverty, SDG 13 on climate action and SDG 15 on life on land as national priorities for implementation. The development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) guides Bhutan in formulation of policies and the national planning process. There are similarities between GNH and SDGs with the three dimensions of social, economic and environment pillars being embedded in the GNH framework. The country’s Five Year Plans outline the national priorities and needs and provide the major means to address the SDGs. High level of alignment can be seen between national priorities and SDGs at the goal and target level yet gaps exist in case of some of the SDGs. Existing institutional structure tasked with oversight of SDGs
implementation in Bhutan needs to be strengthened for better implementation and monitoring. Key implementation challenges faced by Bhutan relate to financing the SDGs and bridging data deficits. The paper identifies the SDGs, viz., SDG 1 on ending poverty, SDG 7 on clean and affordable energy, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 13 on climate action and SDG 15 on life on land for prioritization from Bhutan’s perspective. It considers strengthening the means of implementation at regional level to supplement national action through enhanced trade connectivity, energy connectivity and people-to-people connectivity.
JEL Code(s): Q01, O11, O20, F55, Q56
Key words: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Inclusive growth, Regional Cooperation,
South Asia, Bhutan