UNODC and the Sovereign Order of Malta's Youth Initiative Order of Malta - Permanent Observer Mission

UNODC and the Sovereign Order of Malta’s Youth Initiative

Youth is the foundation of our tomorrow. Empower youth globally to build safe and healthy futures for themselves and for all of us.

According to UNICEF, about 1.2 billion adolescents live on our planet, which counts for almost one-fifth of the world population. Therefore, the prevention of substance abuse as well as the promotion of the safe and healthy development of young people are an indispensable investment in a sustainable future for all of us and are given a high priority on the UNODC agenda.

The UNODC Youth Initiative supported by the Permanent Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta encourages young people in over 90 countries on all five continents of the world to use their potential and become active in their schools, communities and youth organizations for the prevention of drug abuse.

H.E. Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the UNODC, with conference participants


UNODC Youth Initiative builds a global movement using social networks

  • A space for an open dialogue to inspire each other and to foster mutual learning experiences
  • Youth-friendly scientific information on substance abuse and prevention
  • Propositions and encouragement on what to do for prevention in schools and communities. Check out our discussion guides and challenges!

From youth, to youth, for youth:
Making the Youth Initiative a reality in schools and communities

Every year, UNODC awards small grants to youth organizations working in low and middle income countries. Since 2012, the supported projects have reached 90 000 adolescents and ultimately benefitted over
3 600 000 people. With these grants, youth have successfully implemented prevention and awareness programs, raising activities ranging from photography exhibitions to radio shows, from vocational education programs to parenting skills trainings for families in difficult life situations.

The International Youth Conference at the United Nations Office at Vienna


Youth influencing decision makers at the global level

Every year, the UNODC Youth Initiative brings active young people to Vienna to participate in the Youth Forum. It is a life-changing experience for many participants: juveniles learn from peer activists and leading experts from all over the world and have the opportunity to influence global level policy discussions. Both in Vienna and in New York, young people have delivered statements to official delegates of the United Nations, representing all countries of the world and making decisions regarding their lives and future.

Participation in the UNODC Youth Initiative means:

“feeling that my opinion matters”
“meeting youth from all over the world“
“being able to influence things for real”
“sharing experiences and ideas”
“ongoing activism”

5 continents, 90+ countries, over 3 million youth

Conference participants at the United Nations Office at Vienna


The safe and healthy development of youth is an investment into the future!

The UNODC Youth Initiative was launched initially by the UNODC Drug Prevention and Health Branch and it has involved more than 3.6 million youth in over 90 countries ever since then. Substance abuse continues to be among the most important public health risks globally, and harms millions of people every year. This long-term project is empowers youth to build a healthy and sustainable future for themselves. Youth is the most valuable asset for the future. Investment in a safe and healthy youth is an investment into a sustainable future for us all.

Young people themselves should have the opportunity to take healthy decisions that positively impact their peers and their communities and are accordingly shaping their own as well as our future in a forward looking and innovative manner. The UNODC YOUTH INITIATIVE gives young people a voice, not just towards their peers but also towards international organizations and global policy makers.

Due to the sustainable support of the Permanent Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the United Nations and other UN Member States, the UNODC YOUTH INITIATIVE has been successfully reaching several million young people globally in over 90 countries.

Ambassador Günther Granser with conference participants at the United Nations Office at Vienna


In close cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta, UNODC has published and distributed additional information material to all UN Member States to serve as multipliers in order to raise awareness and further expand its global activities in the field.

For futher information, please visit:

You can find a video about this Youth Initiative and a message from H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations by clicking >> here <<