Sept 19, Colombo: The Commonwealth Thursday launched a development index that ranked the development and empowerment of young people in 170 countries worldwide.
The first Youth Development Index (YDI), offers an inter-country comparison of the environment for young people aged 15 to 29 across five key areas: education, health, employment, civic participation and political participation.
The Index, which ranges from 0-1, 0 being the lowest youth development and 1 the highest, has ranked Sri Lanka in the medium category at 72nd place out of 170 countries with an overall score of 0.67.
"The Index raises awareness both of successes and of investment needs, it will help identify and share good practices between countries, and will enable the tracking of progress over time," Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said launching the YDI and its accompanying website and report today.
Sri Lanka was among the Top Ten Countries in Civic Participation ranking at the 7th place with a score of 0.456.
In the other key areas, Sri Lanka is at 26th place in education with a score of 0.739 and at 16th place in Health and wellbeing with a score of 0.799.
In Employment the country ranked at 28th place with a score of 0.634 while in Political Participation it was at 28th place with a score of 0.375.
Sri Lanka is ranked 47th out of the Commonwealth nations in terms of education spending as a percentage of GDP, yet has high levels of youth literacy ranking at 16th.
In the South Asian region Maldives ranked higher than Sri Lanka at 62 with a index of 0.689 mainly due to its high scores for Health and Well- Being and Employment indices.
Elsewhere in the region, India ranked 98 out of 170 countries, Pakistan 89, Bangladesh 84 and Nepal 142.
However, Maldives had the highest Youth Bulge of all the countries and Sri Lanka had the lowest in the region.
Relatively more countries in the Commonwealth had larger youth bulges when compared to global averages. Ten of the 54 Commonwealth countries have a large youth bulge above 18%. This demonstrates a focus on youth development is vital within the Commonwealth as larger youth bulge countries tend to receive a lower YDI score.
This is potentially a cause for concern as large youth bulges are associated with poverty, social unrest, and conflict.
The countries with the highest overall YDI score in The Commonwealth are Australia, Canada and New Zealand.