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Foundations for the Future

Building Quality Human Capital for Economic Transformation and Sustainable Development in the Context of the Istanbul Programme of Action

Number of pages: 98

Publication date: 01 May 2016

Author: Daniel Schensul, Kathrin Weny and Rachel Snow

Publisher: UNFPA


The Istanbul Programme of Action for the 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) over the decade from 2011 to 2020, adopted by UN Member States in 2011, affirmed the centrality of investing in human capital and recognized the widespread barriers that LDCs face in making these investments and in providing all young people with a nurturing environment.

For the majority of young people living in LDCs, opportunities to fulfil their potential and contribute to a better world have expanded in the past 20 years, but they remain curtailed by countless barriers. This report profiles these populations by studying their age structure, geographic distribution and well-being across a range of factors essential for realizing a demographic dividend. While significant gains have been made in primary education and child health, wide gaps remain between girls and boys, and poor and rich, and barriers grow as children become adolescents and youth, setting the stage for long-term costs.

The report follows young people from childhood into adolescence and adulthood, as they pursue education, empowerment and employment and seek to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Finally, it explores the rapid demographic, social, economic and environmental changes LDCs face, including insecurity, crises and disruptions that threaten tenuous recent gains.

The report was prepared for a ministerial pre-conference forum held in the lead up to the Mid-Term Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action. Entitled “Building Quality Human Capital for Economic Transformation and Sustainable Development in the context of the Istanbul Programme of Action,” the forum was co-sponsored by UNFPA with the Governments of Bangladesh and Türkiye and the Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.  The summary and outcome of this forum are presented in the report.

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