Brazil will have a "Youth Ambassador" at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs´ Youth side event

Brasilia, 07 March 2012 - For the first time youngsters from different countries will participate in a side event to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The 55 th Session of the CND will be held on 12-16 March, in Vienna, Austria. The side event is a activity organized by the UNODC Youth Initiative and the objective is to allow the voice of youth to be heard by the policy making body of UNODC, as well as the policy makers of its Member States.

From all around the world, only seven youngsters were selected to participate. Among them, Ruth Itunu Adewonuola, an 18 years old girl from Ceilandia - one of the most vulnerable regions of the Federal District in Brazil - who will represent the country at the meeting.

During the event, "Youth Ambassadors", as they are being called, are going to exchange information, experience, and views on the situation of drug abuse, prevention, and treatment offered in their communities. Moreover, they will have a chance to present their hopes, dreams, and suggestions to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.The event will also allow the youth to network and learn from each other and therefore serve as more effective youth leaders mobilizing their peers to take action about drug use.

Besides Ruth, youngsters from Peru, Kenya, Uganda, Thailand, Pakistan, and Serbia are also going to Vienna.

The Youth Initiative was launched by the UNODC in January this year to engage and empower young people to reflect on the effects of substance use in their schools and communities and to start taking action against it. The Initiative is connecting youth globally through social media to discuss, inspire and learn from each other on the ways of promoting a healthy lifestyles and start creating activities mobilizing their peers, families, schools and communities.

Ruth Itunu Adewonuola

Born in 1993, in Abuja, Nigeria, Ruth Itunu Adewonuola arrived in Brazil when she was 3 years old. Living in Ceilandia for more than 8 years, Ruth joined the Program Jovem de Expressão (Youth of Expression) about 1 year ago, after watching a presentation of the break dance workshop. "I began to attend the classes of Fuzzy, the break dance instructor, and fell in love with the style. I know that maybe I will never dance like him, but I am getting closer", says Ruth.

Violence and drug prevention, as well as the promotion of a comprehensive youth healthcare were introduced to her later, when she started to participate in the Fala Jovem (Youth Talk), a round of conversation among the participants of the Program. "In the beginning I thought it was a group of young people that used to take drugs. Later I found out that it was nothing like that. We propose the topics we want to discuss. We talk about different issues like sexuality, drugs, and alcohol. It is very interesting. I love to talk and to discuss about interesting issues because I learn and have the opportunity to get to know the experience of other youngsters", evaluates Ruth.

In Vienna, Ruth will assume the role of "Youth Ambassador". She will be able to talk about the drugs reality among the youth in Ceilandia, their concerns about it, and propose feasible solutions.

Ruth is part of Jovem de Expressão (Youth of Expression), a program focused on violence and drug abuse prevention, and promotion of comprehensive healthcare for youth in vulnerable situations. The program is an initiative of the Grupo Caixa Seguros (a Brazilian insurance company), in partnership with the non-governmental organizations CUFA-DF (Central Única das Favelas) in Ceilândia, the Cultural Group Azulim in Sobradinho II, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Agenda of the Parallel Youth Event

The Youth Initiative, together with regional and country offices of UNODC, identified a small group of young people from 15-18 years old, from different countries, that participate in activities related to drug issues. This small group is going to join other teenagers from international schools in Vienna. Altogether, 16 teenagers will take part in the activities organized by the Youth Initiative during the 55 th Session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs on 12-16 March 2012.

The Youth Initiative, with the assistance of the UNODC Field Offices, identified a small group of youth from 15-18 years old, from different countries, that participate in activities taking action on drug issues. This small group will be joined by the most active youth among those in the Vienna International Schools. Altogether, 16 teenagers will take part in the activities organized by the Youth Initiative during the fifty-fifth Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which are planned as follows:

  • Preparation - Youth are collecting information about the situation of drug use, prevention and treatment in their communities, as well as their hopes and dreams for improvement.
  • Collective analysis - On the first day of the CND, the youth will be working intensively together with Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section (PTRS) to elaborate together the information they have collected and prepare it to be shared with the CND in different occasions.
  • Youth will present their hopes and dreams to CND in the following occasions:

The side event on drug prevention, on Tuesday, 13 March 2012, 1-2pm. A 20 minutes intervention by the youth is foreseen.

Meeting with the Executive Director for approximately half an hour to share their views and experiences.

The 55 th United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs is the central policymaking body within the United Nations system dealing with drug-related matters, and also the governing body for the drugs related work of UNODC. The Commission monitors the world drug situation, develops strategies on international drug control and recommends measures to combat the world drug problem, including through reducing demand for drugs, promoting alternative development initiatives and adopting supply reduction measures

Link to the CND Programme of Events

More information / Interviews

Andrea Catta Preta

Communication Desk

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Fone: (+55 61) 3204-7206

Cel.: (+55 61) 8118-0910


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