By: Sundus Abbas
SDGs project Manager

The importance of human development in Iraq stems from the damage Iraqis underwent as a result of decades of despotism, war and different forms of violence and insecurity. despite all that, Iraq’s strongest asset and real wealth remains the young population that can face all forms of the current and future challenges. As one of the countries that has the largest young population groups in the world “50% of the population are under 19 years old”, this fact has put Iraq under pressure on already scarce economic resources, including food, water, urban infrastructure and public services. It is expected that 5 to7 million additional job opportunities will be needed according to the Iraqi Ministry of Planning. This number may be higher if labor force participation rates increase, especially among women.

on the other hand, these young people can change the world for better، and achieve global development if they have opportunities. In fact,  today's generation can accomplish many achievements, since they are the biggest beneficiaries of technology, this will enable them to create unsolicited or demanded jobs if they got involved in future projects. Hence, with today’s many challenges, particularly the crisis of confidence among young people towards their governments, we must signify the role of youth on sustainable development.
 Although the implementation of the United Nations Plan for Sustainable Development 2030 mainly targets the youth in its endeavor to end poverty and create employment opportunities, but we cannot discuss sustainable development without addressing the role of youth, especially that the first priority of development is to focus on the individual as the main core of development.

A young population pyramid is Iraq’s strongest asset and real wealth with which Iraq can face all forms of future challenges as well as can expresses the values of freedom, justice, fairness and future aspirations, and can ensure the importance of the concept of human development in the material and immaterial empowerment elements that cover education, learning, health, income generation opportunities and the fight against poverty, threats and insecurity and ensure that all people benefit from the fruits of sustainable development by enabling them to enjoy these benefits and enhance their skills, knowledge, living standards and health situation, and encourage the most vulnerable categories to integrate effectively into society, leading to inclusiveness in all social, economic, political and cultural activities, especially youth who should be prepared for the future. Population dynamics will therefore have a critical impact on future development indicators.
looking in depth at the 2030 Agenda, youth issues were addressed in most of the goals directly or indirectly through many targets and indicators, which requires examining the agenda in all its details and not just as a general paragraph in the analysis and reference within the population groups. To name a few, (as example) if we look at the first goal, its targets and indicators related to poverty eradication, we will find:

NO POVERTY: Engage local youth to participate in the development and monitoring of poverty reduction.

And If we look at the overall agenda, the figure below helps us in understanding that youth issues and needs can be affected in different sectors, which requires the development of a youth vision for sustainable development 2030 and cooperation with young people, listening to their priorities and aligning them with national strategies that target youth.

All development partners need to:

  1. Launch and support youth innovation through the expansion of integrated, comprehensive and continuous programs that have a strategic dimension by strengthening the role of youth in society.
  2. Establish special programs in which young people are involved in the dialogue and decision-making process and encourage them towards drafting the points on the most important problems facing the community, and then to find suggested and appropriate solutions to these problems.
  3. Strengthen the role of youth in achieving political and economic development by updating the educational system from an evolving perspective and in accordance with international standards.
  4. Supporting activities in which young people play an active and key role in the development process and in the appropriate social construction.
  5. Provide an environment conducive to innovation, creativity and volunteerism in various fields to be the culture of society.

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