Unemployment is a perennial issue in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. Sindh is an agrarian economy where industry is mostly concentrated in Karachi. This creates a massive urban and rural divide among the youth to acquire better and equal job opportunities for stability and prosperity.
The government of Sindh, USAID and other providers of development assistance are working on youth empowerment to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16. Vision 2025 prioritizes the creation of jobs and engagement for young people as leaving them vulnerable could pose a threat to the country’s stability. This concept is emphasized in Sindh’s youth policy.
Building on the government of Pakistan’s call for inclusive and lasting peace through development, a panel discussion was organized by the Sports and Youth Affairs Department, Government of Sindh, USAID and UNDP.
The secretary of Sports and Youth Affairs Department, Dr. Niaz Ali Abbas, shared how the department is working on the provision of rights and facilities for the youth. He discussed the approved Sindh Youth Policy and how it is directed to the specific needs of youth in the province and aligned with the agenda of SDG 16.
One of the dominating themes of the event was the need to empower the youth in Pakistan. The discussion led by a panel of notable members from the government, academia, civil society and the youth parliament. The discussions brought together key policymakers and practitioners to share field experiences, institutional approaches and advocate for the adoption of a holistic youth empowerment approach in Sindh in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16. The agenda was to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and to provide access to justice for all.
Various approaches and solutions necessary to address the pressing challenges and opportunities for Sindh’s youth were discussed.
“UNDP aims to increase trust between youth and their communities and also to strengthen citizen-state relations by creating pathways for young people to work closely with state institutions and positively influence programmes and policies that have a bearing on their lives and aspirations,” said UNDP Deputy Country Director, Ms. Naoko Takasu.
“Over recent years, one of USAID’s and UNDP’s key areas of focus has been youth and I would like to reinforce USAID’s commitment to this work,” said USAID Deputy Mission Director, John Smith Sreen.
“We are mainstreaming youth in development, carrying out effective programs focusing on community resilience and economic growth to elevate the participation of youth across social and economic sectors,” he added.
“Youth empowerment is actually the empowerment of Pakistan,” the panel concluded.