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Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia

Key Policy Priorities and Implementation Challenges

image of Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia

Global progress on the Sustainable Development Goals will depend to a large extent on the collective action of South Asia to implement them. The sub-region indeed accounts for almost one fourth of the world’s population, 36 per cent of the world’s poor and nearly half of the world’s malnourished children. The sub-region’s success in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, however, hinges on addressing current capacity gaps and strengthening the means of implementation. Recognizing the host of challenges faced by the sub-region, UNESCAP has attempted in the present Report, to unpack the 2030 Agenda at the sub-regional level, outlining tangible, high priority and relevant policy actions that are critical to achieve sustainable development in South Asia. The Report identifies seven key priorities that can help accelerate the SDG achievement in South Asia by leveraging the relationships between the Goals. Based on rigorous policy simulations and evidence, it offers insight into ways a regionally coordinated sustainable industrialization strategy could generate more than 56 million new jobs by 2030 in South Asia, and lift 71 million additional people out of poverty, relative to a business-as-usual scenario. It is hoped that this Report will be useful for analysts and practitioners of development policy in the sub-region and beyond, in stimulating a debate on the ways and means of bringing sustainable prosperity to all in the dynamic and population subregion of South Asia.

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Introduction

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, comprising 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, is especially relevant for the eight countries of South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). Despite the subregion’s economic dynamism and remarkable achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), South Asia still accounts for 36% of the world’s poor and suffers from a number of development and infrastructure gaps. Given its large and growing population, which currently represents nearly a fourth of the world’s population, the subregion has a critical role to play in the global achievement of the SDGs.

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