March 31, 2021 at 6:55 pm
Chitral Times Report
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar chaired a High-Level Policy Forum organized by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives here in Islamabad on Wednesday. The forum was attended by Mr.Usman Dar, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Parliamentary Secretary Ministry of Planning, Parliamentary Secretary Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC), Parliamentary Secretary National Health Services Regulations & Coordination, Dr Adil Najam, Prof. David James, Member Social Sector Dr. Shabnum Sarfraz and senior officers from different Ministries/Divisions participated in the forum. The forum was also attended by youth representatives, young men, women and trans youth, and also included disabled youth and minority representatives. In this inclusive session, the youth presented the priority action agenda which was a culmination of intensive series of policy dialogues steered by the Planning Commission, engaging over 75,000+ youth participants. In his welcome note, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Mr. Jehanzaib Khan highlighted the role of youth in building the country’s future, and the need to empower this youth and engage them in policymaking. Intensive efforts were made by the Planning Commission to meaningfully engage the youth of the country, which included: consultations, dialogues on gender mainstreaming, youth’s mental health, disability and youth, overseas youth forum, youth survey (with 16,500 responses), youth padlets, and Kamyab Jawan Youth Pulse portal survey (with 40,100 responses).
The deliberations helped in formulating youth priorities to guide investment into youth policy and programs in Pakistan. The forum featured youth voices from across the country and beyond, with young Pakistanis highlighting various challenges confronting them as young people and proposing actions for the Government to address the situation and help youth in advancing on various avenues. Over 70 young people connected virtually and spoke at the forum, ranging from PhD and post-doctorate candidates studying and working outside of Pakistan, to shopkeepers, delivery boys, farmers and Qaris based in hard-to-reach districts of Pakistan. Dr Adil Najam elaborated upon the three Es emerging from the National Human Development Report 2017, and discussed the 80 percent of Pakistan’s youth’s intent to vote, a feature unique to Pakistan. Dr David Canning, lead author for Pakistan Situation Analysis 2020, highlighted the need of serious and urgent policy moves to create job opportunities for the four million youth entering the working age every year. He also emphasized on introducing policies to empower female youth.
Mr. Usman Dar shared the progress made by the Kamyab Jawan Programme which was appreciated by the audience. Usman Dar said that the government has taken a number of initiatives for youth empowerment under the umbrella of Kamyab Jawan Programme. He said that more than 8000 thousand young entrepreneurs have received business loans under Kamyab Jawan’s Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme. Usman Dar added that another 7000 to 8000 youth will get loans by the end of June this year. “Our government has constituted National Youth Council for the first time in the history of this country. We are presently working on National Youth Development Index to ensure evidence based decisions in the future”, added Mr. Dar Mr. Dar underlined the importance of creating a federal body for youth affairs alongside ensuring youth focussed institutional reforms. Member Social Sector, Dr Shabnum Sarfraz gave a brief overview of the exercises undertaken by the Planning Commission and shared the key priorities emerging from the nation-wide consultations i.e. better educations, skills-development, empowerment and employment opportunities.
Dr Mohsen Gul, represented the youth of Pakistan and tabled the National Youth Action Agenda, comprising of priority interventions emerging from this national consultation exercise. In his closing remarks, moving onwards, Minister Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar emphasized the next steps, of not just limiting the youth’s role to consultation, but also in strategizing and developing implementation strategies for youth interventions. He advised the youth to work on accountability frameworks and encouraged them to hold the governments responsible for the commitments it makes for the youth. Kamyab Jawan program will look at all the dimensions of youth development in terms of youth, this includes health, wealth, and knowledge, said Asad Umar In High Level Policy Forum the youth collated their challenges and proposed key solutions to address the same.