National Level Preparedness for Implementing the Health‐related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Seven South Asian Countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka

The objective of this research is to explore national institutional arrangements for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), describe the roles of different stakeholders in SDG implementation, and identify where gaps may lie at national and regional level. This paper analysed initiatives taken by seven South Asian countries towards implementing the health‐related SDGs thus far. The analysis for the paper is based on the findings of a research project on ‘Research Institutions and the Health SDGs: Building Momentum in South Asia’ conducted in seven South Asian countries led by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan and study conducted by country research teams in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The extent to which SDGs have been localized and implemented varies across the South Asian countries. While, Bangladesh and Bhutan have initiated the adoption of SDGs with development plans and programs, others have established national level institutional structures and coordination channels. An overarching concern is inadequate ownership of the SDGs by the sub‐national governments for implementation and coordination. The level of engagement of non‐state stakeholders such as non‐governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society, think tanks, research institutes, academia, and media, however, varies across countries. This engagement ranges from raising awareness, to consultations, membership in committees, and planning and policymaking.

All authors: Saadiya Razzaq, Said Ahmad, Maisam Najafizada, Sanghmitra Sheel Acharya, Yolanthika Ellepola,  Kashmala Chaudhry, Rabia Tabassum, Mahbub Elahi Chowdhury, Sunisha Neupane, Rajendra Kumar BC, Ugyen Pelgen, Shah Ali Akbar Ashrafi, Gobinda C Pal, Tshering Wangdi and Nabila Kunwal