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Arab Human Development Report 2016. Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality

Published at a time when countries are developing in earnest their plans to implement the 2030 Agenda, the “Arab Human Development Report 2016: Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality” strongly echoes this assertion. It calls on Arab States to invest in their youth, and to empower them to engage in development processes. This is a critical and urgent priority in its own right, and it is a prerequisite for achieving tangible and sustainable progress on development and stability for the entire region. The report makes two key arguments for investing in young people in the region.

First, that while young people between the ages of fifteen and 29 make up nearly a third of the region's population, another third are below the age of fifteen. This “demographic momentum” will last for at least the next two decades, and offers an historic opportunity which Arab countries must seize.

Second, the report underlines that the wave of protests which has swept through a number of Arab countries since 2011 with youth at the forefront has led to fundamental transformations across the entire region. Some countries have seen new national constitutions, free and fair elections, and a widening of the public participation sphere for previously excluded groups. Elsewhere, however, systems which had maintained stability came under serious challenge, with protracted conflict ensuing.

This report emphasizes that empowerment and engagement of youth at this important juncture in the history of the region is essential for laying new and more durable foundations for stability.
The report explores the many challenges which youth in the Arab region continue to face. Many continue to receive an education which does not reflect the needs of labour markets. High numbers of young people, particularly young women, are unemployed and excluded from the formal economy.
Young people without livelihoods find it difficult to establish an independent home and form their own family units. The risk for these young people is that instead of exploring opportunities and discovering future prospects, they experience frustration, helplessness, alienation, and dependency.

Excerpt from chapter 7  "Exclusion, mobility and migration"

The chapter reviews migration patterns to and from the 22 Arab countries, and the profile of young migrants in the GCC and in Western OECD countries. It then examines youth’s reasons to migrate and possible exclusion factors, and envisages the role of migration policies in receiving or sending states, before emphasizing the role of inclusion in the migration process. Lastly, the chapter highlights impediments to the mobility of labor. The chapter emphasizes the range and diversity of capabilities allowing youth to migrate in sizeable numbers to other countries inside the region, as well as outside the Arab region.

Chapter 6 "The effects on youth of war and violent conflict"

Table of contents

The executive summary

Read more from the UNDP HDR page