On 14 March, a high-level side event on the margins of the 66th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs was organized by Japan, with the support of Peru and the UNODC Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Section, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Drug Abuse Prevention Center’s (DAPC) fundraising efforts in supporting drug use prevention around the world. The DAPC Grants Programme aims to strengthen capacity of civil society in implementing evidence-based substance use prevention with a focus on youth empowerment, so that youth can take more active roles in supporting the health and well-being of their peers. The contributions made to this project are derived from the mobilization of youth from DAPC, who raise funds within their communities to donate to UNODC to support youth-centred drug use prevention activities. This initiative is truly from youth to youth, for youth.
DAPC started to raise funds for this cause in 1993, which were contributed to UNODC starting in 1994. Since 2012, the DAPC Grants Programme have been managed by the Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Section, and have benefitted 139 projects in 55 countries, reaching developing countries from all regions of the world. Projects are guided by the UNODC/WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, which summarizes currently available scientific evidence on interventions and policies found to be effective in preventing drug use. With these grants, grantees have engaged with youth, teachers, parents, and other community stakeholders to implement prevention and awareness-raising activities in schools and communities. Activities range from photographic exhibitions, radio shows to training schoolteachers on social and emotional skills, parents on good parenting practices, out-of-school youth on income generation, or peer educators on how to scale up prevention efforts in their schools and communities.
In 2023, DAPC is celebrating 30 years of fund-raising efforts to assist drug use prevention activities around the world, and organized a high-level side event at the 66th session of Commission on Narcotic Drugs to commemorate this milestone. The Prime Minister of Japan opened the high-level event by commending the long-standing efforts by DAPC and UNODC, and urging that these efforts must be continued on from generation to generation. Prime Minister Kishida also hoped that the collective wisdom and ideas of young people would result in ground-breaking ideas. Ambassador Hikihara Takeshi also emphasized the importance of engaging with civil society and multi-stakeholders in addressing the world drug problem. Executive Director Ms. Ghada Waly also applauded the multiple generations of young DAPC volunteers in Japan who have collected the contributions to support drug use prevention since 1993, and further commended their dedication to helping their peers around the world to live and be healthier.
The side event also included a documentary clip on the past 30 years of DAPC, highlighting the different milestones achieved, followed by a commentary from Mr. Akira Fujino, President of DAPC. Mr. Fujino also chaired the Youth Panel of young speakers representing the donor country and beneficiary countries. Grantees from Lao PDR, Montenegro, Peru, and Türkiye shared the positive impact they were able to make in their communities through the DAPC grants, including good practices, experiences, challenges and lessons learned through their projects. It was a good opportunity for sharing effective strategies and sparking new ideas, and particularly commemorative that the youth participants of the UNODC Youth Forum 2023 were also present at the side event. The young leaders observed how youth could be meaningfully involved drug use prevention projects, and for some, it also served as an introduction to a potential source of funding that could support their affiliated NGO’s prevention efforts back home.
Congratulations to DAPC on reaching a significant milestone, and deep appreciation on the longstanding partnership with UNODC, as we all look forward to fruitful collaborations on preventing drug use, and supporting the healthy development of children and youth.