ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Pakistan launched its National Human Development Report (NHDR) that focuses on youth, primarily because Pakistan currently has the largest generation of young people recorded in its history.
The NHDR report said that 64 percent of the total population is below the age of 30, and 29 percent is between the ages of 15 and 29.
“It is currently one of the youngest countries in the world and the second youngest in the South Asian region after Afghanistan,” the report said.
The report title “Unleashing the potential of a Young Pakistan” was launched in Islamabad on Wednesday. It seeks to understand Pakistan’s human development challenges for the future.
“It focuses on how to improve human development outcomes — by empowering young people, addressing the root causes of the obstacles they face, and by proposing innovative ways to surmount these challenges,” UNDP said in a statement.
The report examined three key drivers of youth empowerment: quality education, gainful employment and meaningful engagement.
Written by Dr. Adil Najam, dean at Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University and Dr. Faisal Bari, associate professor of economics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), the Pakistan NHDR accentuates the critical role played by quality education, steady employment and meaningful engagement.
The report uses the Human Development Index (HDI) to measure overall achievement, emphasizing three main aspects in a country’s policy-making: people, opportunities and choices.
Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Interior and Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, who attended the launch of the report, said: “It is essential to include young people at all levels of decision-making, because voice and participation are a key part of the human development approach and important for long term policy-making.”
Neil Buhne, the UN resident coordinator, said: “Never have the opportunities for social, economic and political progress been so great. Nor have the challenges facing us ever been more pressing. Being aware of this opportunity, the United Nations in line with the Government of Pakistan’s Vision 2025, has prioritized working with youth as a key pillar of our work across the board.”
Dr. Adil Najam, co-lead author of the NHDR, said: “The future of Pakistan — one way or the other — will be determined by those who are between age 15 and 29 today. The single most useful thing that the rest of us can do is to create meaningful opportunities in education, employment and engagement that can empower our young to unleash their potential.”