Through a policy simulation process, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific has identified the top policy priorities that will enable South Asian countries to fast-track action on the SDGs.
The recommendations include a push to create 56 million new jobs through sustainable industrialization policies, and infrastructure for transport, water and sanitation, electricity and ICT services.
12 May 2017: Through a policy simulation process, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has identified the top policy priorities that will enable South Asian countries to fast-track action on the SDGs. The recommendations include a push to create 56 million new jobs through sustainable industrialization policies. Among other priorities, ESCAP highlights the need for infrastructure for transport, water and sanitation, electricity, and information and communication technology (ICT) services.
The policy priorities are published in an ESCAP report, titled ‘Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia: Key Policy Priorities and Implementation Challenges.’ Seven priorities are identified. Besides sustainable industrialization and infrastructure development, the authors recommend: providing universal access to education and health, in view of South Asia’s “youth bulge”; providing universal social protection and financial inclusion; addressing food security and hunger through sustainable agricultural productivity improvements; promoting gender equality and women’s entrepreneurship; and enhancing environmental sustainability through low-carbon, climate-resilient pathways.
ESCAP notes that the TFM and LDCs technology bank will be critical for South Asian countries to develop low-carbon growth paths.
Countries are urged to make institutional improvements, for example through decentralization policies, as well as enabling stakeholder participation in the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs at all levels. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides for a global technology facilitation mechanism (TFM) and technology bank to be established to assist the least developed countries (LDCs); ESCAP notes that these mechanisms will be critical for South Asian countries to develop low-carbon growth paths.
ESCAP estimates that around US$5 trillion will be needed to provide the necessary infrastructure in the region by 2030. The report’s authors suggest that some of this could be raised through expanding the domestic tax base and entering into public-private partnerships (PPPs).
ESCAP is encouraging the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and its member countries to undertake follow-up and review of the SDGs at the sub-regional level, feeding into the regional-level process in the framework of the Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development (APFSD). ESCAP also recommends that South Asian countries cooperate on managing data to accurately track progress on SDG implementation.
Almost one-quarter of the world’s population lives in South Asia, including more than one-third of the world’s poor, and almost half of all malnourished children. [ESCAP Press Release] [Publication: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia: Key Policy Priorities and Implementation Challenges]