The African Union Commission Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (HHS) organized the continental youth forum on drug use prevention 06 – 10 November, as a side event to the High Level Session on Addressing Substance Use and related Mental Health Disorders among Youth, Women and Children scheduled from 08 – 10 November.
The Honourable Elvis Nkandu (MP) Minister for Youth, Sport and Arts of the Republic of Zambia officially opened the first ever continental youth forum on drug use prevention. He expressed the Republic of Zambia’s commitment to supporting youth development and entrepreneurship, and the strong sense of combatting drug abuse and trafficking by the government as many Africa’s young people have fallen victim, there by experiencing academic difficulties, mental related illness and juvenile justice system issues. ‘’This forum is a testament that the AU and Africa’s leaders believe in the youth, that, they have a huge role to play in drug use prevention and the potential to develop collaborative partnerships with Adults, making youth important problem solvers’’ Minister Nkandu, added.
Dr. Olubusayo Akinola, the Head of Division for Social Welfare, Drug Control and Crime Prevention, expressed optimism of in-depth knowledge exchanges, experience sharing, commitment and dedication in arriving at a common position at the end of the 5-day training and engagement, from the brilliant young minds of Africa. The youth consultation is also very imperative as it comes at a time, the continent is celebrating the Africa Youth Month, with the theme: ‘’1million Next Level is Knocking: Youth-led Movement that Transcends Borders’’ in recognition of the significant contributions of Africa’s largest demography – Youth, in almost every single sector of the continent’s socio-economic development. Protecting the youth is protecting our shared great-future towards achieving Agenda 2063, the Africa We Want.
The youth forum is expected to place emphasis on developing drug use prevention interventions and ensuring access to evidence-based treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration services. The urgent need for further strengthening supply reduction efforts, as recognized in pillar III of the AU Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention reigns supreme.
The first ever youth consultation on drug use prevention in Africa was attended by youth leaders from AU member states, youth trainers from across the globe and youth activists from the Republic of Zambia.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union (AU).