UNODC Celebrates World Children's Day

© UNODC/Carla McKirdy

Vienna (Austria), 20 November 2020 — On 20 November, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) joins the global festivities around World Children’s Day. This year’s celebration is especially important, as it marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of both the Declaration and the Convention on Children’s Rights.

Mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses and doctors, government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community elders, corporate moguls and media professionals, even international organizations, can play an important part in promoting and celebrating children's rights.

In 2020, UNODC celebrates World Children’s Day with the release of two sets of awareness-raising materials through the Listen First initiative. The ongoing project aims to increase science-based support for drug use prevention efforts, and ultimately make an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities.

Listening to children and youth is more than just this project’s motto — it is the first step towards helping them grow healthy and safe. This has never been more important than it is now, during an ongoing global pandemic that limits social interactions.

The growing number of Listen First materials now include Science of Active Listening and Science of Play. Active listening and engaging in conversation are crucial to helping children feel reassured and even reduce their anxiety.

Active listening skills improve relationships, build confidence and help children to manage and resolve conflicts, contributing to healthy child development and well-being. Science also shows that engaging in play can improve children’s cognitive abilities and contribute to brain development —  making early childhood the perfect time to learn through play. Play is the foundation for the development of social skills, self-control and friendships; all critical life skills linked to substance use prevention in later years.

On World Children’s Day, UNODC marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child highlighting actions to promote the healthy development of children —such as engaging in active listening and play— to build a better world not just for children, but for everyone.

These materials are part of the #scienceofcare campaign, that develops new and interactive ways to #ListenFirst and promote the healthy development of children and youth. All materials can be found at

New #ListenFirst Materials: