The UNDOC Youth Forum 2020 took place from 02 – 04 March 2020 at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna in the framework of the 63rd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. UNODC would like to take this opportunity to extend its gratitude to the Government of the Russian Federation and the Sovereign Order of Malta for their support in funding the UNODC Youth Initiative. Additionally, UNODC expresses gratitude to the Government of South Korea for providing supplementary resources. All have directly supported the UNODC Youth Forum over the past years, making it possible for youth from middle- and low-income countries to participate.
We would also like to thank the many representatives from Permanent Missions who worked hard to identify and nominate outstanding youth in a timely manner to participate in this year's Youth Forum 2020. Our team is convinced that your considerate interest and support have been greatly contributing to our mandate to empower youth leaders countering the world drug problem. This year, we received the highest number of nominations, a total of 101 nominations, demonstrating growing support for youth leadership and participation.
The Youth Initiative is experiencing steady growth, and we anticipate that growth to continue in the future. Hosting such a complement of diverse youth leaders worldwide and giving them a stage and voice in health and drug policy would not be possible without the Permanent Missions' involvement in the nomination process.
For the Youth Forum 2020, the UNODC would like to thank the following countries, as well as the Sovereign Order of Malta, for their nominations: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, The Gambia, Ghana, Israel, Jamaica, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA.
Read the full report here.
“Excellencies, influential representatives, ladies and gentlemen, We would like to express how honoured we are to be given the floor to speak on behalf of youth from all over the world. We are a group of 39 youth from 32 countries with the responsibility to help you understand the needs of nearly 13% of the world population.
We call on the Member States to - Start effective science-based drug use prevention efforts as early as possible so future generations can live healthier lives. Drug use prevention needs to start as early as infancy and childhood with programs that help parents be better parents and help children grow and develop. The International Standards on Drug Use Prevention is the foundation for selecting effective interventions at all developmental levels.
We call on the Member States to - Focus school-based and community-based prevention efforts on the development of skills, including leadership and communication skills. Only knowing about drugs does not change behaviour. Still, we know that learning skills such as decision-making, communication, stress management, and developing self-esteem are critical in helping young people be healthy and safe.
We call on the Member States to - Provide opportunities for youth to become leaders and find solutions that will lead to healthier communities. Youth need positive adult role models that will encourage them to think critically, respect diverse opinions and take action.
We call on the Member States to - Integrate a system that addresses and promotes mental health care as a foundation for healthy individuals and communities. Youth around the world face social inequality, conflict situations, trauma and abuse, stigma, and discrimination. Sometimes we need emotional and psychological support to negotiate these challenges.
We call on the Member States to - Work together with civil society to provide genuine support and safe spaces for persons who use drugs and their families.
We call on the Member States to - Empower youth to be change-makers and help their peers and friends make decisions. We are the ones that make an impact in our communities. Youth are not just the leaders of tomorrow; we are the leaders of today. Today we call on you to take action now and together. You have the power to create a healthy community for everyone.
If you ask us how you can do that, we will tell you to get everyone involved! Come together right now to make a better reality - turn our dream into reality."
Thanks to the generous support of the Russian Federation and the Sovereign Order of Malta