The Third South Asia Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals provided a unique opportunity to the subregion to feed its perspective into regional (the 7th APFSD scheduled in March 2020), and global (the HLPF 2020) processes on the proposed theme of ‘Accelerating action and delivery of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific’.4 In this context, the Third South Asia Forum on Sustainable Development Goals focused on national and sub-regional perspectives and taking stock of the lessons and best practices learned in implementation of SDGs, as well as forward-looking dialogue on partnership to accelerate the progress of SDGs.
The Forum brought together stakeholders from the governments, think-tanks and academia, international community, civil society and private sector representatives on a common platform to discuss how countries in South Asia can cooperate to address gaps and challenges in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and to assess progress on the thematic SDGs for review by the HLPF 2020. To achieve this, the South Asia Forum for the SDGs aimed to:
1. Enhance awareness and understanding on key challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Regional Roadmap to support and complement the sub-regional agenda through sharing of experiences and knowledge.
2. Provide a platform for expert discussions and reflections on sub-regional perspectives and good practices which may accelerate SDG achievement along with challenges related to implementation of the entire Agenda.
3. Support capacity building for countries in the subregion ahead of their Voluntary National Review (VNR) presentations in 2020, building on presentations and experiences of VNR countries at the HLPF so far.
4. Identify ways, through expert discussions to strengthen implementation efforts, stakeholder engagement, follow-up and review, linking national, sub-regional, regional and global processes.
5. Identify needs and opportunities for regional cooperation and delivery by regional and subregional bodies and the United Nations Development System.