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Article Published In Vol.9 (May-June 2021)

Sub-Regional Cooperation and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: The Role of BIMSTEC in South Asia

Pages : 233-240, DOI: https://doi.org/10.14741/ijmcr/v.9.3.6

Author : Dechen Bhutia

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The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral and Technical Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an emerging regional grouping that consists of seven member states namely – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand and acts as a bridge between South and South East Asia. In the course of two decades since its formation in 1997, the region has identified fourteen priority sectors ranging from trade, energy, transport, poverty and public health to climate change, culture and people to people contact. With a population comprising of nearly 1.5 billion people, roughly 22% of the world’s population, the region also faces huge developmental gaps in spite of high economic growth in the recent decades. All the seven member nations adopted the 2030 Agenda in 2015, a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 Targets to be achieved by the year 2030. At this juncture, it would be timely and appropriate to reassess the group’s efforts towards its stated priority sectors and align them with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals thereby achieving meaningful regional cooperation. In doing so, preliminary focus on three core sectors that could act as a catalyst for the region’s development could be envisaged namely – Trade, Transport & Connectivity and Tourism or 3T’s in the BIMSTEC region. The paper shall identify the challenges faced by BIMSTEC member states in these three core areas and how effectively dealing with these challenges will help in addressing the sustainable development goals in the future.

Keywords: BIMSTEC, Sub-Regional Cooperation, UN, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), South Asia.

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