UN recognises role of sport for the prevention of crime
Not only are conflicts increasingly causing uncertainty, but socio-economic conditions are failing to improve in many unstable or impoverished areas where the young generation is coming of age, with limited chances of entering the labour market. Entire neighbourhoods and districts filled with idle and frustrated young people, with few prospects or options, thus become fertile ground for the gangs and extremists trying to recruit them.
Engaging these young people in disenfranchised areas and addressing their needs has become a matter of utmost importance and an integral part of the global struggle to prevent violent extremism (PVE). Using educational, vocational, cultural and - more and more - physical activities, Governments, NGOs and civil society groups are trying to creatively challenge the minds and the bodies of young people, hoping to empower them with the life skills and values which can prevent their descent into a life of violent extremism and crime, and give them a positive outlook on their future.
Sports are now included in development and prevention programmes of numerous Member States and international organizations, as they tap into this well of positive energy which contributes greatly to young people's health and psyche. To encourage this method further, the UN General Assembly has just adopted a resolution recognizing the role of sport in sustainable development, promoting its importance and recognizing its impact on the empowerment of people.
UNODC's work on Sustainable Development Goal 16 has included an array of crime prevention initiatives, and already embraces the promotion of sports and education. With its Line Up, Live Up method, developed by the Youth crime Prevention component of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, sports and related activities are used to effectively build resilience of at-risk youth, strengthening their life skills in order to minimize risk factors and maximize protective factors.