This fall of 2021, UNODC is engaging with youths from Central Asia through a series of National Youth Consultations (in five countries!) to discuss evidence-based substance use prevention, encourage youth empowerment, and support the formation of regional youth networks to further promote youth-centered activities in the field of substance use prevention. Youth events were held in Turkmenistan (35 participants), Kyrgyzstan (37 participants), Kazakhstan (43 participants), and Uzbekistan (47 participants) during October, and a final event pending for Tajikistan in November.
Ms. Elizabeth Mattfeld, UNODC Project Coordinator at UNODC, opened each country-level youth session with a discussion about the importance of youth action, meaningful youth engagement, and the value of science-based drug use prevention strategies. Youth were ready to learn and discuss ways they can make a difference in their local communities and at the national level. Conversations, questions, and answers kept the discussions lively, and the youth were certainly keen on learning and growing!
The UNODC Regional Office in Central Asia is working towards selecting youth participants from the 5 individual youth events to participate in the larger “Regional Network of Youth Organizations and Youth Champions of Change in Central Asia for drug and crime-free, healthy, safe and secure societies” to be held later this November. It will take place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan from 24-26 November and aims to empower young people by establishing a regional network of youth and youth organizations to address issues related to evidence-based drug use prevention and other related UNODC mandates (such as preventing crime, addressing corruption and considering gender dimensions). Also, during the three days, the participating youth will craft a regional youth statement that will be delivered to high-level policymakers to set a strong foundation for youth efforts going forward in the region.
Stay tuned to learn more about what happened at the Youth Event in November!
Thanks to the generous support of the Russian Federation and the Sovereign Order of Malta