Crime prevention through sports

As part of its efforts to support the implementation of the Doha Declaration, UNODC has launched a global youth crime prevention initiative that builds on the power of sports as a tool for peace. The initiative aims to promote sports and related activities to prevent crime and to effectively build resilience of at-risk youth. Strengthening the life skills of youth is a key objective in order to minimize risk factors and maximize protective factors related to crime, violence and drug use. By enhancing knowledge of the consequences of crime and substance abuse and developing life skills, the initiative seeks to positively influence behaviour and attitudes of at-risk youth and prevent anti-social and risky behaviour.

Sports for development and crime prevention

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underlines the growing contribution of sports as a tool for peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect. It also highlights the contributions that sport can make to the empowerment of communities as a whole, to individuals (particularly women and young people) as well as to health, education and social inclusion.

More specifically, sports offer an important opportunity for building life skills of at-risk youth that allow them to better cope with daily life challenges and move away from involvement in violence, crime or drug use.

Youth as agents of change

Through partnerships with Governments, sports organizations and civil society, UNODC will conduct national and regional youth-oriented awareness raising sports initiatives to further promote civic values and disseminate the benefits of sport in keeping youth from becoming involved in crime and violence.

Youth will be placed at the centre of outreach activities as agents for change. By sharing their experiences on how sports and life skills training helped them to stay away from crime, youth will engage and reach out to other at-risk youth.

Line Up Live Up

Line Up Live Up - UNODC's evidence-informed and sports-based life skills training curriculum - has been designed as a unique tool that transfers the accumulated expertise of the United Nations and other partners in implementing life skills training for crime and drug use prevention to sport settings. 

Through the Line Up Live Up programme, sports coaches, teachers and others working with youth in sports settings can target valuable life skills, such as resisting social pressures to engage in delinquency, coping with anxiety and communicating effectively with peers, through a set of interactive and fun exercises.

The training programme has been implemented in twelve countries across the world, ranging from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East to Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Download the publications


UNODC forges new partnerships in Peru to advance youth crime prevention through sport, despite the pandemic

UNODC forges new partnerships in Peru to advance youth crime prevention through sport, despite the pandemic

Countries around the world are grappling with the many harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including health and socio-economic impacts. Peru is one of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean most severely affected by COVID-19 in terms of public health outcomes. The social and economic impact is also considerable, and young people are extremely vulnerable to the disruptions the pandemic has caused, with major effects on their education, economic opportunities, and well-being. Many of the hardships faced by young people during the COVID-19 crisis are also known risk factors associated with crime, violence and drug use, and may expose youth to increased risks for victimization and involvement with crime during and after the pandemic.

UNODC's new Line Up Live Up publication unveils four years of data and research, showcasing sport as a critical tool for youth crime prevention

UNODC's new Line Up Live Up publication unveils four years of data and research, showcasing sport as a critical tool for youth crime prevention

When international experts gathered at UNODC's headquarters in Vienna back in 2016 to develop a sport-based intervention that would help reduce youth crime and drug use, the guiding principle was that it had to be informed by existing evidence on what did and did not work. Building on this, and recognizing the evidence about the benefits of developing life skills among youth, UNODC created the  Line Up Live Up curriculum. A first for UNODC, this 10-session programme combined sports activities with life skills training for youth aged 13 to 18. Some four years later, the programme has now been piloted in 12 countries worldwide, building life skills among more than 13,000 youth and working with 900-plus trainers. 


Rule of Law Conversations: Ep1 - The Rule of Law: a Pillar of Democracy

In episode 1 of UNODC's new interview series, 'Rule of Law Conversations', the Doha Declaration Global Programme chats to Betsy Apple, Advocacy Director and Head of Democracy and the Rule of Law Division at the Open Society Justice Initiative, about these and other issues on this critical topic.

Education and Youth Engagement

Sport has great potential to empower youth and help them find the right path in life! Don't you agree? The #LineUpLiveUp global initiative on youth crime prevention uses sport to empower young people from marginalized communities and help them develop essential life skills that increase adaptive and positive behaviour addressing vulnerabilities that are linked to violence, crime and drug use.