Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia: key policy priorities and implementation challenges

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the world leaders in September 2015 represents a transformative framework to spur national actions to end poverty and hunger and build an inclusive and sustainable world. Encompassing 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets, the ambitious Agenda presents a historic opportunity to make development more inclusive, equitable and sustainable and to end extreme poverty and provide a life of dignity to all within a generation. It is of particular relevance to South Asia, a region accounting for 36% of the world’s poor and nearly half of undernourished children. Given the weight of the subregion in the world population, extent of poverty, hunger and other deprivations, global progress on the SDGs would depend on their achievement by South Asia. South Asia’s economic dynamism and promising prospects provide confidence in the subregion’s ability to transform itself and build a sustainable future for all. A determined political will is, however, required if the subregion is to expeditiously adopt and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To do so, the subregion will need to mainstream the SDGs into national development plans and budgets as well as reorient growth frameworks to be inclusive, equitable and promote low-carbon development pathways.

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