The UNODOC conference in Vienna emphasises Youth Engagement
A further expansion in the cooperation between the Sovereign Order of Malta and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), based in Vienna, has been announced by the Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Ambassador Günther A. Granser, at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at the Vienna International Centre, on 16 March. The Order of Malta aims to establish a greater presence of the UNODC Youth Initiative – a program that was first launched by the UNODC Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section six years ago and which took place this year from 12 to 14 March.
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 for the seventh annual forum. 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,” Ambassador Granser stated. Therefore, the Order of Malta will do its utmost to give the UNODC Youth Initiative a stronger voice in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs 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.
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.