Vienna (Austria), 14 December 2022 – Today, the world is blessed with its largest generation of youth in history. For the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), working for and with youth is crucial to accelerate change and advance progression towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Empowering youth and ensuring they participate in the decisions affecting them is crucial to building more inclusive, equitable and just societies resilient to present and future challenges and threats.
If young people are involved in problem solving and have a voice in decision-making processes, if they are empowered and given the right opportunities, they can be effective agents of change and innovation. They can be a progressive force towards building a sustainable future for all.
Fittingly therefore, UNODC's strategy for 2021-2025 identifies the meaningful participation and empowerment of children and youth as one of three cross-cutting commitments to be embedded into all of its programmes. To implement this commitment, UNODC has drawn upon its network of UNODC Youth Focal Points to develop the Youth Empowerment Accelerator (YEA!) Framework, which will further youth mainstreaming and meaningful youth engagement across the Office.
The YEA! Framework was launched yesterday at the Austrian Chancellery in Vienna, where state secretary Claudia Plakolm highlighted the importance of meaningful youth engagement. UNODC Director John Brandolino, speaking on behalf of Executive Director Ghada Waly, emphasized, “We know that to defend and protect their rights, youth need fair access to, and the opportunity to participate in, justice systems.”
Through the YEA! Framework, the Office will strengthen ongoing youth mainstreaming actions and develop new ones, in order to promote meaningful youth engagement, so that initiatives are not only implemented for youth, but also co-created with youth.
The framework promotes a number of UNODC initiatives working for and with youth. To learn more about them, please visit the UNODC Youth Website.
The UN has emphasized meaningful youth engagement with the creation of the Youth 2030 Strategy in 2018, several references in the Secretary General’s report 'Our Common Agenda’, and the foundation of a new UN Office on Youth Affairs, which was confirmed at the General Assembly in September 2022.