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 first tested and piloted in Brazil in 2017 and will be implemented in a number of countries across the world, including those in Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and South America.
The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace recognizes the power of sport to drive social development and promote tolerance, respect and social inclusion - areas reflected in UNODC's own work under the Doha Declaration Global Programme.
As the lead United Nations organization to combat and prevent crime and drug use, UNODC recently launched a unique initiative, making the link between sport, life-skills development and crime prevention. Through building on the wide reach, positive values and popularity among youth that sport has, the organization uses this as a vehicle for transferring life-skills to young people that live in crime-prone neighbourhoods.
Opened in 2011, the Estrutural Olympic and Paralympic Centre offers members of this impoverished and vulnerable community built around a landfill on the outskirts of Brasilia a safe and healthy space. With UNODC's own programme using sports to help prevent youth from becoming involved in crime and drugs now underway, we visited this centre to speak some of the people there and hear their story:
Tatiana, a mother of two who says that sports offers a safe space away from street violence; Ana Julia, 11, who has seen improvements in her health since coming to a sports centre; Guilherme, 13, who goes to the centre almost every day after school and says that his studies have improved; and Romualdo, a teaching and learning manager at the Estrutural Olympic and Paralympic Centre, who says that sport is essential in building citizenship and learning key values in life.
Herbert Gustavo Simões is one of two lead trainers working with UNODC in Brazil as part of the Doha Declaration Global Programme sports initiative which looks to build vital life skills among 13 - 18 year olds to keep them safe from violence, crime and drugs. He is also a Professor at the Catholic University of Brasilia with postdoctoral research experience at University of Miami in the area of physical education and exercise physiology. He is also a keen sporting enthusiast and is currently ranked as one of the world's fastest 110 metre hurdlists in his age bracket.
We spoke with him to get his views on how sports can best be used as a tool to prevent crime and promote peace and development.
"How can sports be best used as a tool to prevent crime and promote development and peace?"
Carmen Sílvia Grubert Campbell is one of two lead trainers working with UNODC in Brazil as part of the Doha Declaration Global Programme sports initiative which looks to build vital life skills among 13 - 18 year olds to keep them safe from violence, crime and drugs.