Youth Action

What footsteps have we left in a decade?

June 23rd 2022

Since 2012, the UNODC Youth Initiative has connected youth around the globe to empower them to become active in their schools, communities and youth groups to advocate for substance use prevention and health promotion. When it was first launched at a side event during the 55th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), “Mobilizing for Prevention of Drug Use: The Development of International Prevention Standards and the Youth Initiative”, there were only 20 participants from a handful of countries.

In the course of 10 years, the Youth Forum has steadily grown, and the Youth Initiative continues to encourage young people to reflect on the potential impact of substance use in their schools and communities, and to start taking effective and evidence-based action to prevent substance use. The establishment of networks such as the Youth Initiative is particularly important for joint action and mutual support, and this is especially so at times when the world and youth are suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But what footsteps have we left? The past decade is marked by events, successes and wonderful moments for and by youth. Over 440 youth from 101 countries have been part of the Youth Initiative, providing them with knowledge and opportunity to interact with other young leaders from around the world who are similarly interested in advocating for youth empowerment and in creating a better world for upcoming generations.

As part of this celebration, we proudly showcase a video to highlight the impact young leaders have had, and how they are positively influencing their community. It portrays the future of today, and the power they carry within them. With this reflection on the past decade and listening to the impact youth can have on their communities, we are reminded again of our commitment to empowering youth to work towards preventing drug use and supporting their work and voices.

The UNODC Youth Initiative continues to strive to achieve the SDGs 3, 5 and 16 and bring the voice of young leaders to the forefront. As the youth leaders of the Youth Forum 2022 have called for action, let’s join forces with the youth for a future they (and the generations to come) can look forward to.

Made possible with the support of the Russian Federation and the Sovereign Order of Malta