SKARDU (ILO News): There has been no youth employment strategy or policy over the last 71 years in Gilgit-Baltistan. This situation calls for a coherent and integrated Youth Employment Strategy to make visible impact. This was the conclusion of the consultation on Youth Employment held in Skardu on 6th August 2018.
The Government of Gilgit-Baltistan in collaboration with Prime Minister’s Youth Programme (PMYP) and International Labour Organization (ILO) organized the consultative workshop on “Youth Employment” in Skardu. The workshop, which is part of a series of consultations across the country, was attended by the Government departments from Skardu Division, Academia, Civil Society Organizations, Academia, Youth-led organizations and the youth representing Skardu.
Nine thematic areas relating to Youth Employment were discussed including:
- Education and Training
- Employment opportunities at provincial level
- Youth Employment in Rural Value Chains
- Youth Employment in Mega Development Projects
- Overseas Employment of Youth
- Self-employment and Enterprise Development and
- Social Protection for unemployed Youth.
- Innovative strategies to deal with youth employment
In his remarks, the Chief Guest Mr. Asim Nawaz Tiwana, Secretary Youth Affiars, Social Welfare and Women Development, Government of Gilgit-Baltistan welcomed all the participants on behalf of provincial government and acknowledged ILO and PMYP for support to develop provincial youth employment strategy. Mr. Tiwana said that Pakistan and particularly the Gilgit-Baltistan province had a huge bulk of youth that needed to be taken care of otherwise this may become a threat for society. He said in the province like Gilgit-Baltistan where many youth are out of education and vocational training, there was dire need to develop integrated and inclusive youth employment strategies to address these gaps. Mr. Tiwana further said that Gilgit-Baltistan province had numerous resources and opportunities such as mineral resources, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Fishery, Horticulture etc. that could be leveraged to promote youth employment. He also stated the need to improve the quality of skills and strengthening academia by ensuring linkages with industry. Mr. Tiwana shared that government of Gilgit-Baltistan was in the process of various development initiatives that needed to be considered when developing Gilgit-Baltistan’s provincial youth employment strategy.
The ILO Senior Programme Officer, Mr. Saad Gilani highlighted major issues in youth employment such as underemployment, vulnerable employment and unproductive jobs that need to be addressed. He emphasized on investing in developing policies and action plans for youth employment and to identify new avenues for Youth Employment. He appreciated the commitment shown by Gilgit-Baltistan government in organizing this workshop and for developing provincial youth employment strategy. Mr. Gilani said that under Pakistan’s Decent Work Country Programme (2016-2020), ILO was providing technical and financial support to ILO’s constituents (i.e. Employers, Workers and Government of Pakistan) to create an enabling environment for the creation of decent work for young women and men and would continue its support in this regard. He also indicated that the proposed Youth Employment Strategy would be instrumental in achieving global Sustainable Development Goal # 8.6 which calls for halving youth, Not in Education, Employment & Training (NEET), by 2020.
ILO’s collaboration with Prime Minister Youth Programme to formulate youth employment framework is an example of on-going efforts to create decent work opportunities for youth.
In his remarks, Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan, first vice chancellor of University of Baltistan, appreciated the support provided by the Gilgit-Baltistan government and particularly the Youth Affairs and Social Welfare department so that the standard of young people’s lives could be uplifted. He emphasized on the need to develop a youth employment strategy for Gilgit-Baltistan.
Participants provided detailed feedback and inputs on the proposed Youth Employment Strategy and endorsed the process for its implementation.
This was the fourth Provincial Consultation, after KP, Punjab and Balochistan. Similar consultations are planned for Sindh in the near future.
Other key speakers also shared valuable insights on the occasion regarding youth employment including Mr. Kacho Imtiaz, Mr. Imran Nadeem and Mr. Ashraf Sada (members legislative assembly and member GB Council, province of Gilgit-Baltistan). Minister Education Mr. Ibrahim Sanai also graced the consultation with his presence.