Vienna (Austria), 14 April 2021 — As part of the UNODC Youth Initiative, the Youth Forum connects young people from around the globe and empowers them to become active in their communities for substance use prevention and health promotion. The initiative includes participatory thematic discussions facilitated by UNODC experts, and supports the youth in developing a joint statement to be delivered to the delegates of the CND — the policy making body of UNODC.
The dire effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a challenge to overcoming the world drug problem, as evidenced by the joint statement delivered by the CND on its opening day.
However, despite these difficulties, UNODC is determined to build upon the youth community and support the Youth Initiative by placing an impetus on digitalization. As the first ever virtual Youth Forum, UNODC strengthens its commitment to continue empowering youth while veiling for their health and safety amid the pandemic.
Today, the youth took the virtual stage of the 64th session of the CND during its Plenary, to deliver the 2021 Youth Statement; the result of a month of hard work and preparation on the scope of UNODC’s work — from evidence-based substance use prevention to epidemiology and the vulnerabilities to substance use.
“We believe that everyone has a role in drug prevention,” they said. “And that for us to succeed in this goal, we must do it together by creating opportunities for success and empowering youth in a meaningful way.”
Delivered by Ms. Alexandra Bravo Schroth (Peru) and Mr. Emmanuel Mirus Ponon (Philippines), the joint Youth Statement urged Member States to include youth in the policy-making process for drug prevention, and requested they “raise youth voices and provide more platforms, opportunities, and positions for youth to actively contribute to policy-making decisions, supportive services, and drug prevention strategies.”
In their consensus statement, the youth committed to “using our shared effort and passion, we will create a drug-free environment for children and the generations to come.”
The 2021 Youth Forum participants will continue participating in events alongside UNODC Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section (PTRS) and the larger UNODC Youth Initiative throughout the year.
The Youth Forum is an annual event organised by the UNODC Youth Initiative in the broader context of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), bringing together young leaders nominated by Member States who are active in the field of drug use prevention, health promotion and youth empowerment. The Forum is a place to learn and discuss evidence-based substance prevention, allowing youth to exchange ideas, visions and different perspectives on how to better protect the health and wellbeing of their peers.