Vienna (Austria), 19 May 2021 – The world today is home to 1.8 billion young people, the largest generation of
youth in history. Investing in youth is the key to building a better tomorrow, as their energies, learning abilities and resourcefulness
make them great agents of change.
At the same time, youth are particularly vulnerable to crime, violence and drug use. Certain factors at the individual,
family, community, and societal levels make them especially likely to participate in crime. For example, low literacy and
early school drop-out, weak parenting skills or family distress, the availability of drugs and arms, unemployment and weak
rule of law all increase the risk of criminal behaviour.
COVID-19 pandemic has worsened many of these risk factors for young people worldwide, from forcing schools to shut down
and worsening youth unemployment to impeding the delivery of important health and wellbeing services.
Recognizing the importance of safeguarding young people from crime to enable them to become positive actors of change,
UNODC has made the protection, participation and empowerment of youth one of the three cross-cutting commitments of its Strategy for 2021-2025.
Empowering youth and enhancing their resilience to crime through healthy living and life skills training programmes
Investing in the healthy development of young people is a major component of UNODC’s efforts to prevent youth involvement
in crime. For instance, UNODC’s <a href="https://www.unodc.org/dohadeclaration/en/news/2021/02/unodc-forges-new-partnerships-in-peru-to-advance-youth-crime-prevention-through-sport--despite-the-pandemic.html" rel="nofollow">Youth
Crime Prevention through Sport (YCP) initiative</a> uses sports and sports-based learning to teach young people key personal
and social skills and to engage their communities, helping to create safe public spaces for positive youth development.
Through sports, UNODC reinforces youth and community resilience to crime, even in the middle of the pandemic. An example
is the recent <a href="https://www.unodc.org/dohadeclaration/en/news/2021/02/unodc-forges-new-partnerships-in-peru-to-advance-youth-crime-prevention-through-sport--despite-the-pandemic.html" rel="nofollow">partnership
with key actors in the sports and youth areas in Peru</a>, which has helped to empower youth with new skills and reinforce
their well-being through a series of online events, learning courses and training sessions revolving around sports.
<h3>Mobilizing families and communities to address the conditions giving rise to crime</h3>
UNODC also mobilizes young people’s families, schools and communities to address the conditions that give rise to antisocial
behaviour and crime before they appear.
For instance, in Central America and the Caribbean, UNODC’s <a href="https://www.unodc.org/ropan/en/DrugDemandReduction/strong-families.html" rel="nofollow">Strengthening
Families Programme</a> supports parents with children between the ages of 10 and 14 to prevent drug abuse, crime and other
risk behaviours in youth.
<h3>Strengthening youth crime prevention through the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice</h3>
Reflecting on the significance of this challenge, strengthening youth crime prevention will be the focus of several side
events throughout the 30th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice happening this week in Vienna
Young people are our most precious resource to build safer, healthier and more just societies. To enable them to achieve
their transformative potential, through the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and beyond, UNODC will continue
its efforts to safeguard and empower history’s largest generation of youth.