About Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia

Inaugurated in December 2011 in New Delhi, the ESCAP Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia (ESCAP-SSWA) promotes regional cooperation for inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in South and South-West Asia. It serves 10 countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

South and South-West Asia has emerged as one of the most dynamic subregions in the world. However, it has lagged behind in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. Despite substantial progress, in particular on reducing the number of people living in abject poverty, South and South-West Asia still accounts for one of the world’s biggest concentration of people facing poverty, hunger and malnutrition. Vast gaps in terms of social and physical infrastructure development within and between countries also persist. The subregion is also one of the least integrated in the world, partly due to its poorly developed land transport corridors and transport facilitation.

Four of the ten countries in the subregion are least developed (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal), while three of those (Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal) face additional constraints due to their landlocked characteristics.

Against this backdrop, the ESCAP-SSWA Office has developed a comprehensive work programme, covering analytical and normative work, policy support and advocacy and technical assistance. It focuses on the following priority areas, as mandated by the ESCAP Commission:

  • Inclusive growth, accelerating the achievement of the SDGs, women’s economic empowerment, and the post-2015 development agenda
  • Transport connectivity, trade and transport facilitation for regional economic integration
  • Regional cooperation for food and energy security and disaster risk reduction
  • Assisting least developed and landlocked developing countries build their productive capacities and implement the Istanbul and Almaty Programmes of Action