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September 20, 2019

Call to invest in health, education

Lahore

September 20, 2019

LAHORE: A consultative meeting held here Thursday in a hotel, in preparation of the 25th anniversary of the ground breaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) by an NGO and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) articulated the civil society organisations’ ICPD +25 agenda, focusing on Pakistani youth.

The specific objective of the meeting was to assess the progress made over the past 25 years in Pakistan post ICPD and to develop recommendations for government’s agreement to national commitments that reflect realities and urgent needs of country’s population and development issues.

The meeting objectives and presentation on ICPD +25 were highlighted by Noor Imran from an NGO, sharing some of the results that have come out of their work with UNFPA in different provinces.

Dr Muhammad Nazimuddin of another NGO said the first thing Pakistan needs to do using national and international sources was to meet the unmet need for education and health services.

We need to build schools in every village. Unfortunately, we did not invest in this development and this has led to massive unemployment. Skills development institutes are required to train youth. We have to drastically change education and health department. This is a consultative process that is happening in the UN. Let us work together for achieving SGDs 2030.”

A panel discussion followed after this which was led by Nabila Malick to get recommendations from the participants for the Nairobi conference. Afzal Sulehri, Director Youth Directorate, Youth Affairs and Sports, Balochistan said, “We can achieve anything if we are sincere in our purpose. Our youth is exceptionally talented but they do not have the right direction. Effective counselling can help resolve many issues if we all join hands.” Dr Shakir Qayoom Khanzada Additional Secretary/Director Sports and Youth Affairs, Sindh said, “Almost all commitments of Cairo summit relate to youth. Use digital platforms to spread awareness. Social taboos should be gotten rid of through introducing direct or indirect knowledge about population in syllabus in our schools. Active involvement on social media is the need of the hour.”

Rasheeda Panezai, President Family Planning Association of Pakistan, said, Youth must not get despondent, hopeless or dissuaded. Skills development is the need of the hour so youth can feel empowered. We are very hopeful that one day we will achieve our goal. Shoaib Ahmed Shahzad, Technical Assistant UNFPA said, “Youth needs to realise that the change needs to come from within them first.

The participants recommended that skills based education should be introduced in all institutions. Grooming of our social circles and discussion of taboo topics in school classes should be introduced. Measures need to be taken to get legislation made for all of the above. Appointment of psychiatrists and healthcare workers for the transgender community was suggested. Special persons need to be taken care of.

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