Is it at all possible?!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Thu 1 December / Dec 2016. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Thu 1 December / Dec 2016. 08:53 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

The Arab Human Development 2016 Report (AHDR) was published in Beirut three days ago, this time titled “Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality”. And it is undoubtedly an extremely important document, packed with figures and terrifying indices to the status of the Arab region and the lost generation of youth!

To reduce the nuisance of actually reading the report, I suggest that copies of the report’s executive summary, at least, be disseminated, at nearly 44 pages, which summarise the scale of the current and imminent catastrophe. And should the current recession in economic development and instability continue, soon, the Arab region will fall to 5th place, out of 6 regions worldwide, right above sub-Saharan Africa!

Most notable in the report, I would say, is the fact that in the discourse of attempting to articulate policies to address the crisis of Arab youth, it did not isolate youth into a secluded social segment, as if on Mars, the way Arab government policies typically do, nor did it address the crisis as though it was subjectively innate of the social segment itself. Alternately, the report addressed the issue in a 3-tier dynamic; political, economic, and cultural, generally speaking, via proposed policies that also aim at enhancing basic and vital sectors, like education, health, and labour, before continuing to address the generation of youth and their problems.

In summary, the report concluded the issues of the generation in 6 main points; first and foremost, is weak political participation, which reinforces the general sense of exclusion, marginalisation, and alienation among a vast segment of our youth. Second, the deterioration of public services, such as education and health, in addition to mismanagement of social variety in society, the dominance of inherent concepts and ideas that hinder gender equality, and the endurance of conflict and disputes that disintegrate developmental achievements.

More so, the report also highlights indices that support the above conclusions; participation turnout rates in the civil and volunteer sectors, as well as in labour and employment, are on the collective average the lowest worldwide, in a time wherein the Arab regional economy is required to provide 60 million jobs only in 2020 to secure the needs of the upcoming generation. On the other hand, we have one of the world’s highest labour immigration rates; by 2050 close to 3 quarters of the population of Arab states will be living in extended conflict and crisis zones, categorised to endure for more than 16 years. Moreover, Arabs have taken the lion’s share of the world’s death tolls of war; 68.5 per cent of the world’s toll of deaths caused by warfare is Arab, in 2014, with a similar chunk of global refuge, at 57.5 per cent, with a ransom 47 per cent of world’s cited internal dislocation count. Meanwhile, over 80 per cent of the Yemini population are in need of urgent humanitarian aid, while half of the Syrian people are either migrated or dislocated!

Next to all that, the Report proposes a comprehensive developmental perspective to address the crisis of our Arab future; the youth, based on the outlook on Arab revolts throughout the year 2011.

Accordingly, the document explain that these revolts were driven by a youth population that is highly affected by the drop in growth rate and the rapid spread of unemployment and corruption in Arab regimes, due to the dominance of tyranny and the absence of governance and transparency, coupled with the sustenance of reinterring economic policies which addressed unemployment via the expansion of the public sector, which in turn gave rise to the variety of massive social, political, and economic problems.

Youth, as a segment, is the gigantic energy and prospective catalyst in the Arab World today; either they become drivers of positive change and progress, or motors of destruction, bringing down whatever left there is of our countries’ frail political stability and security. And addressing this propelling, dynamic, momentous mass via the typical and traditional authoritarian, police dynamic, as described in the report, will only culminate and complicate the gap between the youth and the state; for if we really want to explore a different, brighter future, then we should really be considering instituting a fundamental change in our discourses and the mind set of our officials, as well as a most necessary change in public and official policy, instead of the fruitless view which addresses our youth as though they are from Mars!

Is it at all possible?!

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