UNODC Conference emphasises on Youth Engagement Order of Malta - Permanent Observer Mission


UNODC Conference emphasises on Youth Engagement

The Sovereign Order of Malta (SMOM), one of the oldest humanitarian institutions with a history of 950 years, will expand its cooperation with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. This was announced by the Ambassador of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Günther A. Granser, at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) at the Vienna International Centre. The SMOM aims to establish a greater presence of the UNODC Youth Initaitive – a program that was first launched by the UNODC Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section six years ago – in the context of the CND.

According to the UNODC World Drug Report, over 250 million people worldwide are using illegal substances, resulting in dramatic health and social consequences, especially for families and children. In the expert’s view the rapid increase of synthetic drugs continues to be of great concern. Around 250 000 people die every year from direct and indirect consequences of drug use. The costs of drug-related crime and treatment for addicts exceed 700 billion dollars a year.

For this reason, more and more countries worldwide are calling for actively combating the drug production, trafficking and substance abuse. Not only among the international organizations, but also on the political agenda of the superpowers USA, Russia and China the prevention of substance use becomes top priority. This has also been demonstrated by numerous statements delivered at the CND (Commission on Narcotic Drugs), Granser explained. Especially today’s youth has to be aware of the great dangers that substance abuse implies. It is a global responsibility to implement effective and evidence based prevention strategies to protect children and adolescents from initiating substance use.

Within the framework of the UNODC Youth Forum in Vienna, supported by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta, more than 250 international youth representatives had the unique opportunity to gather in Vienna in order to exchange information in the field of substance use prevention, which they then implemented in their home countries. Through individual support, information campaigns, youth events and social networking activities, millions of people can be reached every day.

„The Order is convinced that youth is the most valuable asset for the future and that investing in the safe and healthy development of young people is a contribution to a sustainable future of all of us,“ Granser stated. Therefore, the Order of Malta will do its utmost to give the UNODC Youth Initiative a stronger voice in the CND and its continuous development in order to be able to use its connections to international policy makers to find practical solutions in combating the world drug problem.

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 <<