Statement at the High-level Debate on the Theme “Enhancing Youth Mainstreaming in Crime Prevention Policies”

Jason Mack
Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
New York
June 6, 2022


Thank you, Mr. President.

Young people are key agents of change in creating a better future and have great potential to advocate on behalf of themselves and their communities.

In the Kyoto Declaration from the 15th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, we committed to mainstreaming youth in crime and violence prevention policies, programs and practices. To advance these commitments, we need to prioritize early investment in youth programming and addressing the evolving threat of gangs and urban crime, particularly with regard to preventing and countering the recruitment and involvement of youth.

Empowering young people can advance public policy goals aimed at reducing crime and violence. Encouraging young people to support public policies aimed at reducing crime and violence builds resilience. By involving them in decision making, education, skills training, entrepreneurship, and job creation it empowers them and provides them with alternative lifestyles to drug and gang involvement.

Internationally, the United States supports anti-gang programs targeting youth in high-risk situations including in those areas where gang-related violence is a leading threat to citizen security. The United States is partnering with civil society and the private sector to give youth the support and skills necessary to reduce the likelihood that they will be lured into gangs and other violent criminal groups.

In designing, implementing, and evaluating these programs and policies, we need to meaningfully engage young persons to ensure their perspectives are integrated into the lifecycle of a program. Youth have immediate insights on the challenges they face and helpful solutions.

The Kyoto Declaration also committed to mainstreaming a gender perspective into crime prevention. Crime prevention policies and programs, including those focused on youth, should take a gender-responsive approach, recognizing that people of different genders experience sexual and gender-based violence, crime, and the justice system differently.

Conducting a gender analysis for policies, programs, and public diplomacy is a proven best practice, and one the United States is committed to implementing.

Including the perspectives of girls, adolescent girls, and young LGBTQI+ persons is also essential in ensuring that crime prevention policies reflect the lived realities of youth and address root causes of crime and violence, including gender-based violence.

Preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a cornerstone of the United States’ commitment to promoting democracy, advancing human rights, and furthering gender equality.

Incorporating youth in all these efforts is a crucial component vital to their success.