International Youth Day

August 12th 2021

“Young people are on the frontlines of the struggle to build a better future for all. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the dire need for the kind of transformational change they seek – and young people must be full partners in that effort.” - UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Observing International Youth Day, we pay tribute to the youth who have maintained their courage to continue working for a drug-free future, even in this challenging time. The ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been a severe challenge on our young generation’s well-being and to their rights. UNODC supports meaningful youth engagement and holds monthly meetings with the previous UNODC Youth Forum members to exchange ideas and to share scientific information aiding the implementation of their local prevention programs.  As a result, one of the youth leaders felt inspired to translate ‘Listen First’ materials into her mother tongue. Eva Djordjevic explains her motivation: “A campaign like ‘Listen First’ will help push discourse and policy towards scientific evidence because many current national drug policies are still largely based on anecdotes, myths, prejudice, and emotional reactions.”

UNODC staff have also had the pleasure to present evidence-based prevention strategies in line with the UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and ‘Listen First’. Staff presented at the second Youth Advocacy Forum in August where youth from across the world gathered to discuss advocacy policies on the issues of substance use among youth, new mediums of advertisement, growing risks of behavioral addictions, the most effective ways of informing the young generation about healthy behaviors and on making better decisions. The online event was organized by the International Federation of Green Crescent (IFGC) and supported by UNODC and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Additionally, UNODC presented at the Global Youth Advocates Summit on August 12th and 13th. Global Youth Advocates Network (GYAN) is a new organization initiated by youth and working for youth. This first summit brought together youth leaders and experts to discuss how to make meaningful change for youth around the world related to substance use prevention.

Learn more here.

Visit the UNODC Youth Initiative website here.

Made possible with the generous support of France.