Press Release

Afghan youth has the potential to lift the country out of poverty

23 July 2017
Afghan youth has the potential to lift the country out of poverty
Afghan youth has the potential to lift the country out of poverty

Kabul, 23 July 2017 – The Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs and the National Assembly (particularly the Upper House) with technical and financial support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has brought together 124 youth from 34 provinces of Afghanistan for the second Afghan Youth Parliament meeting.  These enthusiastic young people aged between 18 – 30 (33% women, 5% nomadic communities and 3% people with disabilities) convened, today, for the second meeting of the Afghan Youth Parliament in the new Afghan Parliamentary building.

At the Youth Parliament young people have the opportunity to discuss issues relevant to them and their communities, such as; youth participation, health, employment, education and sports. Such discussions take place in plenary sessions within the 5 day congregation. The end product is proposals to the Afghan government to consider for implementation.

“Just as in the National Parliament House, Youth Parliament is an opportunity for members to engage in the democratic processes, use evidence-based reasoning and identify challenges and local solutions”, said H.E. CEO of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Dr Abdullah Abdullah.

Data from the Central Statistics Organization of Afghanistan (CSO, 2017 estimates) show that 46.2 per cent of the total population of Afghanistan is below the age of 15, while the age group 15-34 makes 32 per cent of the total population, hence making Afghanistan one of the countries with the youngest populations.

The Sustainable Development Goals insist that no one should be left behind. The members of the Youth Parliament of Afghanistan work to ensure exactly that. To support and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, moreover, to help pave the way for a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan”, Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, UNFPA Representative.

In addition, these numbers call for more attention, more investment in youth in Afghanistan and it is critical that such investment happens now, in order for Afghanistan to capitalize on the potential of the huge youth population and to realize a demographic dividend.

UNFPA is working with different partners inside and outside the Afghan government to ensure realizing a demographic dividend which has the potential to lift Afghanistan out of poverty. The initiatives that UNFPA started with different Afghan Ministries under its youth programme include; the development of a National Youth Policy, National Youth Strategy, a National Action Plan to Eliminate Early and Child Marriage, organization of the Youth Parliament, starting the free telephone help line known as the Youth Health Line initiative, creating youth-friendly health facilities called the Youth Health Corners. UNFPA is actively working with the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Education to enrich school curricula with family life education related issues.

The Youth Parliament is, therefore, an important intervention which provides youth a place at the table. Such a place will ensure the voice of the youth of Afghanistan is heard and they are involved in decision making that affects their lives.