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Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs

USMAN DAR's
Message to youth

Our world today has more than 1.8billion young people between the ages of 10-24 years, majority of whom are concentrated in developing countries, such as Pakistan. Disadvantaged, these young people are facing higher levels of poverty, economic inequality and political instability compared to youth in rich and stable countries. This development challenge is most visible in Pakistan where dynamic demographic shifts are occurring. Having suffered one of the highest global instances of terrorism in the last two decades, Pakistan is the fifth most populous and one of the youngest countries in the world. Currently, it has the largest generation of young people ever recorded in national history. Sixty-four per cent (64%) of Pakistanis are below the age of 30, and 29% are aged between 15-29 years.

Majority of our youth is living in an environment of multidimensional and intersectional vulnerability to socio-economic disparities, educational inequality, food insecurity, unprotected rights, and weakened rule of law. Youth illiteracy stands at 30%, Majority of youth do not have access to recreational facilities (libraries, cinemas, parks etc.) in their localities.Roughly 44% of Pakistan’s total electorate comprises youth. The country has more people in the working age (15 to 64), than those who are older (65+), or children (15years). Youth between 15-29 years make up 41.6% of Pakistan’s total labour force (between 15-64 years). Four million Pakistani youth attain working age every year. To absorb this populace into the job market, our country needs to create 4.5million new jobs over the next five years (0.9 million jobs annually). These pertinent realities raise hard questions for our country’s future, which must be addressed as a matter of top national policy priority and human security. Therefore, and under the dynamic leadership of the Honourable Prime Minister, the Government of Pakistan has embarked on an unflinching quest to find and apply viable solutions that can mitigate these challenges by transforming the country’s youth bulge as a force multiplyer for progressive socio-economic and political change Our world today has more than 1.8billion young people between the ages of 10-24 years, majority of whom are concentrated in developing countries, such as Pakistan. Disadvantaged, these young people are facing higher levels of poverty, economic inequality and political instability compared to youth in rich and stable countries. This development challenge is most visible in Pakistan where dynamic demographic shifts are occurring. Having suffered one of the highest global instances of terrorism in the last two decades, Pakistan is the fifth most populous and one of the youngest countries in the world. Currently, it has the largest generation of young people ever recorded in national history. Sixty-four per cent (64%) of Pakistanis are below the age of 30, and 29% are aged between 15-29 years.

As a first step in our national journey towards youth empowerment, I am honoured to present a first ever comprehensive National Youth Development Framework (NYDF) of the Government of Pakistan. The NYDF envisions three critical youth-centered investments -- the best that can be made in Pakistan’s future: 1) Quality Education; 2) Gainful Employment; and 3) Meaningful Engagement. With the three ‘Es’ as cross-cutting concerns, the NYDF identifies strategic, practical and timely investments in six major thematic areas as its scope of work to be executed through collaborative action by Federal and Provincial Governments at national, provincial and grassroots levels.

The NYDF’s vision stems from a core belief that today’s youth are the drivers of tomorrow’s prosperous Pakistan. Their voice and participation are key parts of sustainable development and important for long-term policymaking. Therefore, and through this Framework, the Government commits to place young Pakistanis at the center of its transformative national agenda and include them at all levels of socio-economic and development decision- and policy-making.

The NYDF will serve both as the Government’s raison d’être as well as its blue-print to create a national eco-system whereby youth are provided constitutional recognition, social protection, and gainful opportunities through unprecedented pro-youth legislation that will lead to a sustainable platform for action, i.e., a multi-year National Youth Development Programme. Towards this goal, our Government will work earnestly and methodically, by leading bipartisan political affirmative action for pro-youth policies as well as by leveraging public-private partnerships and global alliances for pro-youth equities.
Our best hope for a new and changed Pakistan is supporting economically productive, politically responsible and socially integrated youth who espouse the values of merit, equity, volunteerism, inclusivity and tolerance. And so, this Framework will be the Government’s compass and barometer for our collective journey to positioning Pakistan’s youth as Kamyab Jawan (successful youth) - in all spheres of life.

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