BEI President Farooq Sobhan was invited to chair a session of a seminar on ‘Interpreting SDGs for SouthAsia: In search of a regional framework’ in Dhaka

Date: 20 November 2018

The studies will also seek to design a regional framework to support delivery of the SDGs in the countries

Experts from South Asian nations on Tuesday stressed the importance of regional cooperation in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the region, at the opening ceremony of a two-day research-policy meeting.

They also said that a regional framework should be in place to improve the lives of millions of the region.

They opined that it will be difficult to bring results up to the expected level from implementation of SDGs without the collective effort of the stakeholders.

Centre for Policy Dialogue, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asian and the Pacific and German-based Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung  jointly arranged the meeting titled ‘Interpreting SDGs for South Asia: In search of a regional framework’ at a local hotel in the capital.

The event will launch a research project which will include studies from nine South Asian countries. The studies will focus on the perspective of delivering the United Nations 2030 agenda.

The studies will also seek to design a regional framework to support delivery of the SDGs in the countries.

CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya, in a key-note paper on the issue, said that the goals and targets of SDGs could not be implemented in isolation as these are more inclusive, transformative, integrated and universal, and inter-related.

He said that regional issues are also directly mentioned in some targets of the goals.

He said that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was doing little to develop a regional cooperation plan to accelerate the process of implementation of the goals. 

He also said that think-tanks and research organisations in the region could provide knowledge-inputs in identification of priorities, regional means and instruments for supporting SDGs and institutional set-up for pursuing SDGs regionally. 

They can also set up a mechanism to review and follow up the state of implementation of SDGs in South Asia, he added.

Prime Minister’s international affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi said that many of the targets of SDGs could not be accomplished at national level as these needed regional and international cooperation. 

These goals will not bring results if the countries don’t work collectively, he said.

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) South and South-West Asia head Nagesh Kumar said that regional cooperation was important for the region as it lagged behind in many areas like end of poverty, hunger and child malnutrition.

India-based Research and Information System for Development Countries director general Sachin Chaturvedi stressed importance on cooperation in the fields of environment, migration and various cross border issues related to SDGs. 

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Asif Ibrahim stressed engagement of regional trade bodies like SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the implementation process of SDGs.

Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) secretary general M Shahidul Islam, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute president Farooq Sobhan, Bhutan ambassador to Dhaka Sonam Tobden Rabgye, Maldives ambassador to Dhaka Aishath Shaan Shakir and FES resident representative Tina Blohm, among others, spoke at the meeting with CPD executive director Fahmida Khatun in the chair.

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