The UNODC Youth Forum 2022 took place online from 28 February to 4 March, bringing together young people from around the world to strengthen their knowledge in substance use prevention, engage with one another through interactive discussions, and be empowered to bring a positive change in their community.
The Youth Forum pursues a number of other goals. It is a platform for youth to share ideas, visions, and different perspectives on how to better protect the health and well-being of their peers under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.5. The youth are given great opportunities to network, exchange ideas, and continue their personal growth.
This year's Youth Forum incorporated a special session with Youth Alumni, with participants of previous Youth Fora warmly welcoming the youth participants of 2022 and inspiring them with their own experience with the Youth Forum and Youth Initiative. With the ongoing celebration of a decade since the launch of the Youth Initiative, 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.
UNODC would like to thank the Permanent Missions who nominated youth to participate in this year's Youth Forum: Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, SMOM, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, USA, Venezuela.
We look forward to continued interest from young leaders and Member States on the Youth Forum.
Read the web story here.
This year’s Youth Forum 2022 was a very special occasion, as the year 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the Youth Initiative. During the past decade, UNODC observed 10 Youth Fora held with the participation of 371 young people from 97 countries. And now, as the Youth Initiative steps forward into its next decade of action, UNODC continued to expand the youth community through the Youth Forum 2022. Organised virtually from 28 February to 4 March 2022, this year’s forum brought together 74 young leaders to learn about evidence-based drug use prevention, discuss perspectives on the world drug problem, and be empowered to embark on or continue action on drug use prevention and health promotion.
Read the full report here.
Excellencies and influential representatives!
We are youth, and we are here to speak up for our future and the upcoming generation. We are 74 young people from 43 countries, here on a mission to deliver our message.
With the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed the physical, emotional, and mental struggles of young people, how it isolated youth, and increased vulnerability to substance abuse, showing the need to intensify our efforts. We have a specific goal: for all people to be healthy. In pursuing this goal, we must be committed to prevention now, for the success of future generations.
We call on Member States to encourage investments in prevention efforts because even conservative estimates indicate a 10-time return on every dollar spent. We want to encourage the use of evidence-based and holistic approaches in recognition of the deficits of today’s practices. Help us create a safe environment for everybody and build better futures. Scientifically, it saves lives.
Youth engagement is crucial to ensure we accomplish our global vision that prioritizes health, well-being, substance use prevention, and recognizes youths’ needs. Please recognize the tremendous competency, capacity, and motivation of youth by creating opportunities for involvement in policy and decision-making.
Youth engagement inspires a sense of empowerment and responsibility in young people and supports the development of skills that promote healthy decision-making. We ask you to engage younger generations not only as instruments but as the driving force of the global implementation of evidence-based prevention programs for youth.
Creating a more socially advanced tomorrow starts with gathering communities in activities that inspire evidence-based prevention. We do not want to be treated as adults in becoming. We are aware of what the future needs and what we want in terms of effective prevention. It is of utmost importance that the message being sent is understood.
Especially in hard times, a global pandemic, when everything seems dark, we may find it hard to seek light; but we have a flame within us, which can only be kept alive with your help.
Change lies in your hands, so join forces with the youth for a future we can look forward to.
Youth participants of 2022 are also welcomed by youth participants from previous fora, Youth Alumni, who graciously provided their past experiences and moved the crowd with their compelling speeches during the Alumni Session.
Our youth participants are very active in building their community. They are introducing themselves, finding buddies, and getting to know each other better. In particular, they are also sharing why they want to take part in the Youth Forum, and why this is meaningful to them.
We slowly introduced youth to substance use prevention through light-weight reading materials, and they were quite interested from the start! Youths are asking questions, and commenting on new points they didn’t know before. Way to go team!
One of the key experiences of being part of the Youth Forum is getting to know other young leaders interested in working towards building a healthier and better future for themselves. In this pre-forum task, the participants of the Youth Forum 2022 met with their respective groups through virtual platforms and played a game as an ice-breaker.
Made possible with the support of the Russian Federation