Norway welcomes this very timely debate on enhancing youth mainstreaming in crime prevention policies. We wish to emphasize three important aspects that are relevant in the context of encouraging the participation of youth in policymaking and preventing their involvement in crime.
First: Prevention is the main priority in Norway’s national crime strategy, with a strong focus on youth. The rationale for this policy is obvious: criminal behaviour can become a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape from. Even though measuring the results of preventative action can be challenging, long-term statistics indicate the effectiveness of these efforts. To succeed, preventive work relies on mutual and binding cooperation across different sectors in society. Law enforcement and the criminal justice system are not the main owners of the problem; good solutions and the right measures are best found through cross-cutting policies and cooperation between actors, including government, civil society, schools, andobviously: the youth themselves.
Second: The UN Secretary General’s report “Our Common Agenda” and the Sustainable Development Goals emphasize the need to focus on our youth. They are our future. Unfortunately, we see that many young people are suffering from violence, trafficking, and abuse. Norway is particularly concerned for the high risk increased involvement in crime as a result of the war in Ukraine. In this regard, we align ourselves with the statement made by the European Union.
Third: Empowering crime prevention among young people requires a global approach. One important aspect of this work is preventing the recruitment of youth to violent extremist groups. Research tells us that young people are particularly vulnerable. The UN is well-suited to working with this matter because of the organization’s presence in many conflict areas around the world. The deployment of a UN Youth Advisor to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia is an example of a good practice in this regard. Norway will continue to highlight the need for more such innovative solutions.
Investing in youth is a priority that needs to be cross-cutting across all the SDGs. As we have heard here today, one organization simply cannot do everything by itself.
We look forward to following the rest of today’s debate, and strongly emphasize that the outcomes of this meeting must be followed up through sustained multilateral cooperation.