Najam’s Research Headlines NHDR Launch in Pakistan

Adil Najam presents a copy of the Pakistan National Human Development Report on Youth to the Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal.
Adil Najam presents a copy of the Pakistan National Human Development Report on Youth to the Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal.

A major research initiative spearheaded by BU Pardee School Dean Adil Najam culminated in the publication of the Pakistan National Human Development Report (NHDR) on Youth, which was launched in a series of events and activities in Pakistan this week.

Najam was one of the two co-lead authors of the report, released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The National Human Development Reports (NHDRs) take the Global Human Development Report approach to the national level and are prepared and owned by national teams. Najam led a multiple-year research process with a Pakistan-based research team.

The research team developed a Pakistan-specific methodology for calculating a district-level human development index (HDI), which was calculated for each district and region in Pakistan over six prior waves spanning a decade. The main focus was on the emerging youth bulge in Pakistan and policy options for utilizing it for a positive youth dividend. 64 percent of Pakistan is aged less than 30 and 29 percent is between 15 and 29 years of age.


The formal launch of the report was held in Islamabad on May 3, 2018, and was presided by the Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal. Dean Adil Najam presented the findings of the report, including its key findings. He pointed out that the process was designed to be highly consultative and was a ‘listening exercise’ in which an estimated 130,000 Pakistanis were engaged.

The event was attended by government ministers, members of parliament, diplomats, leaders of international organizations, and representatives of national development organizations and civil society. The report launch was also attended by over 400 young Pakistanis from across the country. The event included an exhibition of youth initiatives, a panel discussion with young entrepreneurs and ended with a concert.

The launch and the findings of the report have been extensively covered by the Pakistani media and were the subject of multiple editorials and editorial comments. Najam published op-eds based on this research (herehere and here); and was interviewed by several news outlets (here and here). The Minister of Planning and Development announced that the government intends to undertake multiple development initiatives based on the findings of this research.

The research led by Dean Najam has been widely reported in the Pakistan media, including most major TV news channels and major newspapers which have written editorials and op-eds based on it. Some examples can be found here, here, here, here, here and here. The report and its related documents can be downloaded here.

Adil Najam is the inaugural dean of the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University and former Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He has studied and been involved with the UN Human Development Reports since their initiation in the early 1990s. Read more about him here.