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Young people are powerful agents

By Dr.Abdul Razak Shaikh,

International Youth Day,

Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves. While there are many types of spaces, safe spaces ensure the dignity and safety of youth. Safe spaces such as civic spaces enable youth to engage in governance issues; public spaces afford youth the opportunity to participate in sports and other leisure activities in the community; digital spaces help youth interact virtually across borders with everyone; and well planned physical spaces can help accommodate the needs of diverse youth especially those vulnerable to marginalization or violence.

Ensuring that safe spaces are inclusive, youth from diverse backgrounds especially those from outside the local community, need to be assured of respect and self-worth. In humanitarian or conflict prone settings, for example, youth may lack the space to fully express themselves without feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome. Similarly, without the existence of safe space, youth from different race/ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation or cultural background may feel intimidated to freely contribute to the community. When youth have safe spaces to engage, they can effectively contribute to development, including peace and social cohesion.

International Youth Day is observed annually on 12 August. It is meant as an opportunity for governments and others to draw attention to youth issues worldwide. During IYD, concerts, workshops, cultural events, and meetings involving national and local government officials and youth organizations take place around the world.

International Youth Day’s Slogan for 2014 was Youth and Mental Health. For 2015, it was Youth and Civic Engagement. The theme of the 2016 International Youth Day was “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production.

For 2017, the theme of IYD is “Youth Building Peace”. The theme for IYD 2018 was “Safe Spaces for Youth”. In this way, it will go on which recognizes the contributions of young people to preventing conflict, supporting inclusion, social justice, and sustain peace.

International Youth Day (IYD) is an awareness day designated by the United Nations. The purpose of the day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.

The youth cohort, defined as those between 15-29 years of age,

Currently forms nearly a third of the country’s total population.

The youth bulge is an ever-increasing global threat and Pakistan’s majority of the population is youth. No doubt, youth is a resource but if left underutilized and ignored, it can be a challenge for a country. Youth in Pakistan is facing multiple challenges that hinder their endeavor for their own development as well as a country’s well-being. The survey suggests creating and implementing effective youth policies with equal participation of young people as stakeholders. It is also recommended to create coordination among provinces of the country for the purpose of improving youth well-being. The study puts forth the assumption that developed youth make a developed country, so youth development must be taken as a priority task by the policymakers and legislators of Pakistan.

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.

The future of Pakistan – one way or the other – would be determined by those who were between 15 and 29 years of age today. The most useful thing that could be done was to create meaningful opportunities in education, employment, and engagement that could empower our young to unleash their potential, he added.

According to the Study, only 14 out of 195 countries spend less on education than Pakistan while nine of these have a lower Human Development Index ranking than Pakistan. It also stated that 9.45 million children at the primary level were estimated to be out of school in 2015 and to achieve this goal by 2030 Pakistan must increase its net ratio to a yearly growth of 3.8 percent.

It has been suggested Pakistan needed to create 4.5 million new jobs over the next five years and enroll millions of its out of school children in coming years to properly utilize 64 percent of the youth bulge that provides a unique opportunity for its economy to grow faster and sustainably.

Pakistan’s human development challenges and opportunities from the perspective of its youth. 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 overcome these challenges.

There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever. But 1 in 10 of the world’s children lives in conflict zones and 24 million of them are out of school. Political instability, labor market challenges, and limited space for political and civic participation have led to increasing isolation of youth in societies.

Young people are powerful agents of change and progress when they are educated and empowered to participate in decision-making. Yet around the world, too many youths are being left behind. They receive a substandard education or no education at all and find a few decent employment opportunities. They struggle to access basic sexual and reproductive health information and services. Without these tools, young people, young women, in particular, find themselves grappling with poverty, early pregnancy, disease, and other challenges.

UNFPA advocates for the rights of young people, including their right to accurate information and services related to sexual and reproductive health and their right to play a role.



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