1887

Unlocking the Potential of Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in South Asia

Potential, Challenges and The Way Forward

image of Unlocking the Potential of Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in South Asia

In the wake of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that commits all countries to pursue inclusive and sustainable development, regional economic cooperation and integration has gained new momentum in South Asia, as the broader Asian region is emerging as the new engine of global growth. Often referred to as the least integrated of Asian-Pacific sub-regions, South Asia’s intra-regional trade accounts for about 6 per cent of its total trade, in comparison with 26 per cent among South-East Asian countries. Despite its strategic location at the confluence of Central and South-East Asia, South Asia has also failed to harness the full potential of connectivity and economic integration with neighboring sub-regions. This report examines how countries in South Asia could capitalize on opportunities to cooperate for closer regional economic integration, in particular in the four broad areas of trade and market integration, regional connectivity, financial cooperation, and collective actions to address shared risks and vulnerabilities. It reveals that trade barriers, infrastructural deficits and political divergences have cost the sub-region direly in terms of lost opportunities for exports, in the amount of USD54 billion in 2014 for example. The report underscores the prospects available for South Asian countries to play a stronger role in broader regionalism in Asia-Pacific as well as discusses the unique role of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in facilitating that process.

English

.

Acknowledgements

Under the overall direction and guidance of Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the preparation of the Report Unlocking the Potential of Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in South Asia was led by Nagesh Kumar, the then Head, UNESCAP South and South-West Asia Office (UNESCAP SSWA) and currently Director of the Social Development Division. The core report team comprised Matthew Hammill, Joseph George, Swayamsiddha Panda and Wanphen Sreshthaputra of the UNESCAP SSWA. Hongjoo Hahm, Deputy Executive Secretary for Programmes, provided valuable advice and guidance.

English

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error