ISLAMABAD - Executive Director United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Anthony Lake said on Friday that millions of young people around the world were waiting for a greater action by the international community and giving all young people the tools they need to improve their own lives would foster a generation of economically independent citizens, "fully engaged in civic life and able to actively contribute to their communities." He shared these views with reference to the UNICEF report "2011 State of the World's Children report entitled 'Adolescence: An Age of Opportunity" launched on Friday. The report carries startling revelations about child abuse in Pakistan. It says, in Pakistan, the challenges facing adolescent girls and boys are immense. Entrenched poverty and limited access to education contribute to serious and ongoing issues, such as pervasive physical and sexual abuse, early marriage (especially for girls) and trafficking within and across borders. Many young Pakistanis work long hours for little or no pay, often in hazardous situations. At times entire families can become bonded labourers, spending their lives working in harsh environments such as brick kilns to repay family debts. In some regions of Pakistan, adolescent boys are particularly at risk of recruitment and indoctrination by non-state entities. The report says that strong investments during the last two decades have resulted in enormous gains for young children up to the age of 10. T he 33 per cent drop in the global under-five mortality rate shows that many more young lives have been saved, in most of the world's regions girls are almost as likely as boys to go to primary school, and millions of children now benefit from improved access to safe water and critical medicines such as routine vaccinations. The UNICEF report states that there have been fewer gains in areas critically affecting adolescents. More than seventy million adolescents of lower secondary age are currently out of school, and on a global level girls still lag behind boys in secondary school participation. Without education, adolescents cannot develop the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the risks of exploitation, abuse and violence that are at height during the second decade of life. "Adolescence is a pivot point - an opportunity to consolidate the gains we have made in early childhood or risk seeing those gains wiped out," said Anthony Lake. "We need to focus more attention now on reaching adolescents -- especially adolescent girls -- investing in education, health and other measures to engage them in the process of improving their own lives," he added.