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High-level debate on the theme “Enhancing youth mainstreaming in crime prevention policies” – Discorso pronunciato dal Rappresentante Permanente d’Italia all’ONU a New York, Ambasciatore Maurizio Massari

Mr. President, Distinguished delegates,

As recalled in previous interventions, today’s debate stems from the latest resolution on crime prevention and criminal justice, submitted by Italy in the fall of last year and consensually adopted by the General Assembly with more than 100 co-sponsorship.

The fundamental message of that resolution is that the fight against organized crime must be carried out in a holistic and integrated manner, taking into account all relevant dimensions – crime prevention, administration of criminal justice, rehabilitation and reintegration – and being constantly cognizant of the profound interrelation between the respect of the rule of law, the full attainment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the realization of the most related sustainable development goals.

In no way such an approach can be effectively pursued without mainstreaming the role and the needs of the youth in crime prevention and criminal justice policies. Hence, the proposal included in last year’s draft resolution, subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly, to dedicate a specific debate to this fundamental theme.

The exposure of the youth to violence and crime as well as to potential delinquency is increasing worldwide due to several factors, such as conflicts and social marginalization, economic challenges, institutional deficiencies, the lure of organized crime and the distorted and malign use of online platforms. The impact of the pandemic has exacerbated most of these factors, further aggravating the vulnerability of young people.

To respond to this situation, it has become imperative to support the promotion and effective implementation of multi- sectoral policies which can help young people to assimilate the values of tolerance, integrity and respect of the rule of law, thus building individual anti-bodies against criminal influences and behaviors. Such policies should aim at promoting sound lifestyles – through school counseling and informal educational programs – and at creating social integration and job opportunities, especially through recreational activities, sport initiatives and individual skills training.

These objectives and principles are not new, having been reflected, already decades ago, in the United Nations Guidelines for the prevention of juvenile delinquency. They are also echoed in the 2015 Doha Declaration and in the 2021 Kyoto Declaration.

Similar principles have also been clearly reflected in a series of multilateral initiatives, such as the project on “Global Resource for Anti-Corruption Education and Youth Empowerment”, recently promoted by UNODC.

What is required, therefore, is not a supplement of analysis or the better specification of recipes, but rather a stronger mobilization of efforts and resources towards objectives and policies that have already been identified. Such a mobilization must also be based on the awareness that this can only be a whole-of-society endeavor, in which all stakeholders have to provide their own contribution.

Italy firmly believes in this approach and its national institutions are strongly committed to work together in this direction. Over the years, various branches of the Italian Government have initiated and carried out initiatives ultimately aiming at reinforcing youth crime prevention. It is the case of a program of initiatives managed by the Ministries of Education and Justice to raise educational standards among the youth in relation with lawfulness and the rule of law. Other important initiatives have been launched, under the coordination of the Ministry for Youth Policies, to tackle youth marginalization and malaise, especially in the post-Covid context, and also by the Ministry of Interior to raise awareness among youths, parents and teachers about on-line security.

Proper attention is being paid in Italy not only to crime prevention, but also to the rehabilitation of young offenders and their reintegration into society, which is the best way to prevent that crime are reiterated in the short, medium or long run.

Mr. President,

It must be acknowledged that, over the last years and thanks to the initiative of the Secretary General, the United Nations have increasingly mainstreamed the role of youths into their agenda and activities. The launch of the Youth 2030 Strategy, the regular association of youths to major UN Summits and Conferences, the proposal to establish a Youth Office in the UN Secretariat and the other youth-related and future-oriented proposals contained in the OCA report, are all indications of this positive change.

Italy strongly supports this approach. We believe in full that youth voice should be permanently incorporated in all major UN policy setting events and processes.

I thank you.