In the months September to October 2023, UNODC successfully organized a series of National Round Tables to kick off the Phase II of the project titled “Regional Network of Youth Organizations and Youth Champions of Change in Central Asia for drug-free, healthy, safe, and secure societies.” This project is a joint effort between the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia and Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section, UNODC HQ and is financially supported by the Government of the Russian Federation. The project aims to provide support for the further development of the Regional Youth Network, which was established in 2021 during Phase I of the initiative.
Over 120 young leaders and representatives from national and international organizations dedicated to youth drug use prevention participated in the Round Tables held in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The young leaders of the UNODC Regional Youth Network shared their drug use prevention activities carried out between 2021 and 2022 in each Central Asia country and presented the Charter and Vision of the Network.
The Round Tables were inaugurated with the participation of key officials from the Government of Russian Federation, key ministries, presidential administrations, as well as by Regional Representative of UNODC ROCA, Ms. Ashita Mittal.
During the discussions, the UNODC staff provided an overview of the objectives, outputs, and expected results of Phase II of the project over the next two years. National organizations from each Central Asian country also had the opportunity to present an overview of their national priorities, policies, and the work being done in the field of drug use prevention.
The Round Tables facilitated discussions among young leaders, national organizations, and civil society, providing a platform to explore potential collaborations and develop joint action plans for the successful implementation of the project activities. These gatherings empowered young leaders to identify issues related to youth challenges and generate youth-driven solutions to create a future free from drugs.
The conclusions drawn from the round table discussions in Central Asia highlighted the importance of youth drug use prevention activities and outlined the following priority areas:
• Implementing evidence-based drug use prevention programs and advocating for International Standards on Drug Use Prevention to policymakers
• Strengthening national strategic partnerships among government organizations, youth movements, educational institutions, civil society organizations, and communities.
• Empowering leaders and members of the Regional Youth Network by enhancing their knowledge and skills through cascade training and workshops. ///UNODC Central Asia, 8 November 2023
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