Strengthening youth engagement in anti-corruption efforts

Vienna (Austria) – 26 April 2021. The Civil Society Unit (CSU) co-organized and participated in two important events in April with the aim of boosting youth participation. The first was the ECOSOC Youth Forum 18-21 April 2022, and the second was the Launch of the Youth Integrity Advisory Board on 22 April as part of efforts to promote the role of youth voices and mainstreaming youth participation.

The CSU alongside the Regional Office for Eastern Africa organized a side-event at the ECOSOC Youth Forum entitled “Improving gender equality through access to justice, inclusive policies and meaningful participation for women and girls”. Youth participants shared best practices on ensuring equitable access to justice for young women and girls, gendered impacts of the digital divide during and after COVID-19 pandemic, and in what ways are youth, including women and girls, are particularly vulnerable to the threats of organized crime.

Panelist Suzanne Silantoi from NGO in Kenya, Africa Practice, mentioned that when women make complaints within the justice system they face two major obstacles: the first is the social stigma and the second is the lack of professionalism of the institutions dealing with the reports.

Barbara Nyatizhova from Uganda Youth Development Link, stressed that “There are structural factors that need to be addressed if we want to see a real difference”, namely in the general improvement of the socio-economic conditions of young girls and women that render them more vulnerable and exposed due to their gender.

Ishaan Shah from NGO Stolen Dreams, said “The ECOSOC Youth Forum is a good start for the UNODC including youth in the decision-making processes”. Ishaan and Barbara are Youth Focal Points within the “Stakeholder Engagement for the Implementation of the UNTOC” project.

The CSU also presented at the inception meeting of the Youth Integrity Advisory Board on 22 April, which forms part the Global Resource for Anti-Corruption Education and Youth Empowerment (GRACE) Initiative. The Advisory Board is made up of 25 young people aged between 18-30 from all regions of the world. They will work on youth empowerment, youth participation, sustainable development, integrity, ethics and anti-corruption at the community, country, region and/or global levels. The CSU informed the Board how youth-led CSOs can effectively engage stakeholders in the implementation of UNCAC as the CSU continue to help mainstream youth-led organization in the activities of UNODC.