Unleashing the potential of a Young Pakistan

History

The National Human Development Reports (NHDRs) take the Global Human Development Report approach to the national level and are prepared and owned by national teams. They are primarily a policy advocacy tool that are used to introduce the notion of human development to national policy dialogue. They use the human development approach that places people, instead of the economy, at the centre of development. Fundamentally, it is about advancing human well-being by creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential, choose their exercise their own choice, and lead productive, creative, and happy lives.

Since the first national Human Development Reports (NHDRs) released in 1992, local editorial teams in 135 countries have produced over 700 NHDRs with UNDP support. These reports bring a human development perspective to national policy concerns through local consultations and research. National HDRs have covered key development issues ranging from climate change to youth employment, to inequalities driven by gender or ethnicity. This is Pakistan’s first National Human Development Report in over a decade. The last one in 2003, the NHDR on Poverty, focusing on growth and governance, was authored by Dr. Akmal Hussain.

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UNDP Pakistan launched its second National Human Development Report - Unleashing the potential of a Young Pakistan authored by Dr. Adil Najam and Dr. Faisal Bari.

The Report focuses on the youth as a critical force for shaping human development, because Pakistan currently has the largest generation of young people ever in its history, with about two-thirds of the total population under 30 years of age. This includes children under 15 who will be tomorrow's youth. While, youth cohort defined as those between 15-29 years of age, currently forms nearly a third of the country's total population. As a section of the populace that is transiting to adulthood, this ‘youth bulge' will prove to be either a dividend or a disaster for the country, depending on if Pakistan invests in youth by providing them with quality education, quality employment, and meaningful engagement opportunities. However, it is imperative to invest in the youth now, today, while they are still youth; not only to enhance the personal wellbeing of the youth but also to enhance the country’s human development.

This, the country’s first National Human Development Report (NHDR) in over a decade, seeks to understand Pakistan’s human development challenges and opportunities from the prism of 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 surmount these challenges. Offering first-rate analysis and evidenced-based policy recommendations, this Report looks at three key drivers of youth empowerment: quality education, gainful employment and meaningful engagement. These, we believe, are levers of change that can harness the potential of young people and catapult Pakistan on a path of greater human development.

“The real wealth of a nation is its people. And the purpose of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy, and creative lives. This simple but powerful truth is too often forgotten in the pursuit of material and financial wealth” 

Dr. Mahbub ul Haq

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