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Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Southeast Asia is one of the regions where the 2030 Agenda faces some of the most difficult challenges, such as natural disasters caused by climate change and economic and population pressures. The Asia and Pacific Sustainable Development Goal Progress Report for 2022 reveals that Southeast Asia needs to be on track to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Nevertheless, as one of the regions most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, a unified call to accomplish the goal has been issued.


Even though each country in the region has different priorities for its ongoing development programs, there are commonalities that present opportunities to strengthen regional cooperation. Rapid urbanization puts a strain on local communities in many countries, especially when it comes to planning for public services and infrastructure in cities. Moreover, climate change and natural disasters have repercussions on local communities. The region also faces increasing inequality between and within countries, as well as an aging population, and there is a clear need to protect the fundamental needs of vulnerable groups.


The SDGs are being implemented throughout the region. However, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific highlighted that the pace of change in the area still needs to be accelerated. Participation and engagement in the creation and execution of sustainable development strategies, policies, and initiatives are necessary to achieve sustainable development. The Southeast region uses the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process, a crucial and useful tool for countries to evaluate and present national progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda. A good example is the government of Timor-Leste, which ensures that responsibility for the review is shared among all stakeholders by supporting and financing civic organizations that help ministries in the review process, including through outreach to rural areas and the provision of information to agencies. Meanwhile, stakeholders, particularly the private sector, civic organizations, and academia, are crucial in ensuring that collective efforts are inclusive and people-centered.

Even though the 2030 Agenda is mostly carried out at the national level, the Sustainable Development Goals also depend locally. While Southeast Asian countries have made significant progress, they still have a long way to go. With a firm emphasis on the SDGs, the current United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) also sheds light on the advancement toward achieving the 2030 Agenda. This calls for the active participation of multiple agencies and stakeholders, as well as the coordination of collaborative actions across sectors and related contributors.


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