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LAHORE: “Currently, 64 percent of Pakistan population is younger than 30 years of age. The country now has more young people than it has ever had, and this is forecasted to continue to increase until at least 2050. Because the youth have the power to transform a country’s future, they could be the engines of development. Or their disillusionment could lead to social unrest. We cannot empower our youth through distribution of laptops only, rather green jobs for women and youth are need of the hour. The unemployment rate among degree holders is three times higher than the overall unemployed people. Though Pakistan can reach its peak through the power of youth, but we are not even able to at least educate or employ half of them.”

These views were expressed by the speakers and participants of a public seminar, on “Green Skills for Youth: Towards A Sustainable World,” organized by WISE – Women in Struggle for Empowerment, in connection with International Youth Day 2023, here at a local hotel on Friday. A large number of young girls and university/college students joined the event.

Speaking on the occasion, Bushra Khaliq Executive Director WISE said that over the last decade, young people have increasingly been viewed as a key demographic group within Pakistan.

This youth bulge will only grow in the coming years. Thus, it can be reasonable to state that the social, political, and economic fortunes of Pakistan are closely tied to the development and empowerment of its young people.

The smartest investment the country can make today is to capitalize on its young generation and provide it with the ability to adapt, learn and innovate solutions to address challenges that pertain to poverty, education, health, the economy, and the environment, she emphasized.

Talking about problems being faced by youth, she said one of the major obstacles for Pakistani youth is the absence of employment opportunities. Pakistan has the 9th largest labor force in the world, which is increasing every year. The saddest part is that the unemployment rate among degree holders is three times higher than the overall unemployed people.

She said today, the world is embarking on a green transition. The shift towards an environmentally sustainable and climate-friendly world is critical not only for responding to the global climate crisis but also for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A successful transition towards a greener world will depend on the development of green skills in the youth population.

The green jobs contribute to preserving or restoring the environment either by supporting environmentally-friendly processes or through the production of green products and services. Young people need to be well-equipped with green skills so that they can successfully navigate this changing environment and leverage the opportunities that it presents, she added.

The seminar was also addressed by Professor Irum Khalid, Head of Political Science Department, Punjab University, Muqadass Majeed, a young writer and student of Sociology Department of Punjab University, Esha Shahid, Clinical Psychologist, Amina Afzal, Project Manager WISE and Sahib-e-Asra, a Pakistani athlete, Ishrat Nawaz- a rowing player from Lahore College for Women University, Roshni, a student of Punjab university and Anam Khan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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