Sport can be a powerful tool to engage youth and promote positive values, building resilience to violence, crime and substance use. With this in mind, UNODC's 'Line Up Live Up' initiative has been rolled across the world in recent years, offering a sports-based, life skills training curriculum designed to help young people in vulnerable settings.
Most recently, Line Up Live Up, part of the Youth Crime Prevention through Sport initiative under the Doha Declaration Global Programme, partnered with UNESCO and the Ministry of Public Health of Lebanon to organize a four-day Training of Trainers in Beirut.
One of the many impacts of containment measures, including confinement, is the limitation of young people's participation in public life and sports events. Indeed, these were often part of their pre-pandemic daily routine and as has been observed, society's most vulnerable are often those most affected by the dramatic decrease in participation opportunities.
To counter this in Kyrgyzstan, UNODC and the Ministry of Education and Science recently partnered to provide children and youth across the country with opportunities for positive engagement and to foster physical activity and social inclusion during COVID-19.
UNODC and the world football's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to step up their joint cooperation to address threats to sport posed by crime.
The MoU, which was signed at UNODC's Vienna-based headquarters by UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly and FIFA President Gianni Infantino during the 'Tackling Corruption and Crime in and through Sport' event, also pledges to consider ways in which football can be used as a vehicle to strengthen youth resilience to crime and substance use through the provision of life-skills training.
Countries around the world are grappling with the many harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including health and socio-economic impacts. Young people are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions the pandemic has caused, and many are now at risk of being left behind in education, economic opportunities, and health and wellbeing during a crucial stage of their life development. Many of the hardships faced during the COVID-19 crisis are also known risk factors associated with crime, violence and drug use, and may expose youth to increased victimization and involvement with crime during and after the pandemic.
To contribute to the global effort required to continue supporting and engaging youth during the COVID-19 era, UNODC, in the context of the Youth Crime Prevention component under the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, is organizing a series of online workshops on youth crime and violence prevention during and after the pandemic in different parts of the world.
Tackling crime in and through sport, protecting the credibility of sport and enhancing the strategic partnership between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were the key issues discussed by the Executive Director of UNODC, Ghada Waly, and the President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, who met virtually on Tuesday, 21 July 2020.
Ms. Waly said that "to build back better post-COVID, we need sport to achieve more inclusive, just and safe societies". She underlined that sport is key in promoting gender equality and female empowerment, as well as the inclusion of vulnerable populations.