After a full programme which included stops in Islamabad and Lahore, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi concluded a three-day visit to Pakistan. In the country’s capital, Alhendawi engaged with youth organizations and representatives, UN entities, and government officials in a Youth Forum organized by the United Nations Country Team in Pakistan. With a view to strengthen the UN programmes on youth under the UN System-Wide Action Plan on Youth in the country, several thematic issues were tackled, including education for youth development, health, and youth participation. Discussions focused on strengthening the youth voice and using the performing arts as a tool for development. The Youth Forum also served as an opportunity to present the Global Youth Call to participants.
After the forum, the UN hosted the first donor meeting to support youth development in Pakistan, attended by 11 major donors working in the country.
On the final day, the Envoy’s mission took him to Lahore, where he met with the Governor of Punjab, Mr. Mohammad Sarwar. In Punjab, Alhendawi also engaged with the Provincial Minister of Youth Affairs, Mr. Rana Mashood Ahmed Khan. The Minister thanked the Envoy for support provided by the United Nations, while the Envoy congratulated the Minister on Punjab — the largest province in Pakistan — being the first province to implement a youth policy at the provincial level, stressing the need for appropriate budgetary resources, and a work plan in partnership with youth organizations. In a joint press conference, Alhendawi offered the UN’s continued support to the Ministry.
During a meeting with youth-led organizations, their initiatives and ideas were discussed, as well as ways to combat some of the most pressing issues for young people in Pakistan.
Also while in Punjab, the Envoy met with the Youth Caucus, composed of 84 Members of the Punjab Assembly, followed by a bilateral meeting with the Speaker. Alhendawi praised the important contributions by the Government to reduce considerably the number of child marriages, and the so-called amendment 15A which makes school for children aged 5-16 compulsory, expressing his hope that other provinces would adopt similar laws.
Finally, in an effort to give young people a chance to share and exchange ideas about their vision for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, a dinner was organized with 25 of the leading young entrepreneurs in Punjab. Questions raised focused on how entrepreneurship can be used for social good and advancing youth priorities.