South Asia is home to 1.4 billion people, or roughly one-fifth of the global population, and is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. The region’s impressive technological and economic advances of the last decade have not always reached the general population, leaving millions living in poverty with inadequate health care.
Many areas of the region are affected by political strife, civil unrest, armed insurgencies and frequent natural disasters, and experience weak and sporadic coverage of basic social services, particularly in the critical sectors of health, water and education. These factors continue to threaten the survival and development of the most vulnerable members of the population, children and women.
Progress has been made in improving the wellbeing of children in South Asia, and most indicators show a positive trend. But much more needs to be done if the region is to meet its goals to improve the survival, growth and healthy development of its most valuable resource – children. Children carry the potential to revitalize this region – to eliminate poverty, accelerate human development, and most importantly, to lay the foundations of lasting peace and prosperity.