South Asia is home to 1/4th of the global population, but only accounts for 4% of the world's annual renewable water resources. It is estimated that by 2050 between 1.5 to 1.7 billion people in the region will be exposed to water scarcity. With these projections and challenges, regional cooperation and collaborative transboundary water management is critical. Our Conversation brought together stakeholders from the region to discuss what will it take to build a stronger regional transboundary water collaboration—what are the benefits, opportunities, and challenges to it?
Our 16th #OneSouthAsia Conversation focused on exploring opportunities for collaboration in the higher education sector in South Asia. The event brought together policymakers and practitioners from the region to discuss the challenges and benefits of working together in areas including research, innovation, knowledge exchange, peer review and quality assurance. The Conversation built on our latest report Regional Integration for Higher Education Development: Options for the South Asia Region.
Our 15th #OneSouthAsia Conversation explores ways to bridge gender gaps in intraregional trade and entrepreneurship in South Asia and lays out pathways that will further integrate women in economic growth across the region. It focuses on opportunities and impediments to more inclusive trade and businesses, with a spotlight on cross-border approaches and how women’s participation can be strengthened.
The 14th OneSouthAsia Conversation focused on collaborative action needed across countries in South Asia, particularly of the Indo Gangetic Plain, to tackle air pollution. The conversation brought together a panel of representatives from governments of the Indo-Gangetic Plain and was held in partnership with the Centre of Excellence for Research in Climate Change and Air Pollution, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.
The 13th OneSouthAsia Conversation focused on collective action and collaboration needed across countries in South Asia to adapt and build resilience to climate-related disasters and challenges.
The 12th #OneSouthAsia Conversation, explored the potentials and constraints of greater economic collaboration between South Asia and Southeast Asia. It built on the World Bank's latest analysis on Deepening Linkages between South Asia and Southeast Asia, which explores new approaches to revitalize trade and economic links between the two regions, focusing on areas like digital, environmental goods, and services.
South Asia is among the most vulnerable regions to climate risks. More than half of all South Asians, or 750 million people, were affected by one or more climate-related disasters in the last two decades. The 11th OneSouthAsia Conversation focused on the ways South Asian countries can leverage innovation and technologies to build climate resilience and collaborative cross-border solutions.
South Asian countries can tap the immense digital potential with better infrastructure, improved digital skills, enhanced digital inclusion and protection. Also, more can be done to unlock opportunities by improving access to capacity and connecting currently disadvantaged landlocked countries; boosting cross-border digital payments cross border data flows.
The nascent power trade among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal is poised to expand as nations harmonize energy policies, hydropower and transmission plans, technical specifications, and commercial requirements. A #OneSouthAsia Conversation explored the benefits and challenges ahead.
Governments can help the private sector create jobs by easing restrictions on investments so companies can open trade offices, build manufacturing plants, and license services in a neighboring country. Also needed are transboundary industry meetings and women’s networks -- low-cost actions with high impact.
Rapid advances in digital platforms, AI, Big Data, and other technology offer ways to improve social services and job opportunities throughout South Asia. A key step is for the region to work together on policies that narrow the digital divide and set data governance protections for all.
About 95 percent of South Asians are breathing air that fails international safety standards. Dirty air from brick kilns, wood stoves, vehicles, and industrial plants blows across national boundaries and requires a collaborative response.
Plastic pollution is choking the major rivers and seas of South Asia, affecting the health and livelihoods of 2 billion people. The World Bank is working with all eight nations to build a circular economy for plastic and find innovative substitutes for its use.
Seamless Bangladesh-India transport links can boost national incomes, speed up shipments, and cut costs, benefitting millions. Steps needed include simplifying border procedures, adding multimodal options, and fully adopting the 2015 Motor Vehicles Agreement.
South Asia has the lowest rate of women entrepreneurs among global regions. To rebuild after COVID-19, South Asia needs women-led businesses to drive innovative services and products, create jobs, and close gender gaps.
The pandemic pushed food prices up 10% in South Asia. Regional cooperation can help stabilize food supplies by easing trade barriers and managing climate change impacts on crop production.
Regional cooperation to find solutions to shared problems can help South Asia rebuild after COVID-19. Intraregional trade, for instance, is only one-third of its potential with an estimated gap of $23 billion.