25 March 2004
Japanese Youth Supports UN Counter-Narcotics Efforts
VIENNA, 25 March (UN Information Service) -- The Tokyo-based Drug Abuse Prevention Centres (DAPC) "No! Absolutely No!" campaign against drug abuse in developing countries sets a unique example of what young people can do when they approach a worldwide problem.
A group of six upper-secondary school students from Japan Yumi Sogou, Takashi Yamaguchi, Nishiki Yamamoto, Haruka Kikou, Yumi Kobayakawa, and Manami Shiga presented Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), their latest contribution of US$ 190,000, thus increasing their 10-year total to almost US$ 3.9 million.
"Your contribution in support of our work over the last decade matches the contribution of some of the major donor countries," Mr. Costa said in a meeting with the young ambassadors.
Since 1994, DAPC has been running a nationwide fund-raising campaign in Japanese cities, collecting money in the streets, as well as from the private sector and civil society at large. Each year, six to eight of the most active participants come to Vienna as designated Young Civic Ambassadors to present their contribution to the UNODC.
DAPCs contribution to UNODC is used for grants, ranging from US$ 5,000 to US$ 20,000, supporting non-governmental organizations in developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe in their grass-root activities in drug abuse prevention. So far, more than 300 grants have been given to such organizations in over 90 countries.
DAPC plans to continue this fund-raising campaign until 2008, in support of the goals set by the 1998 UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem.
Before leaving for Vienna, this years young Japanese ambassadors were received by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who is also the head of the national Headquarters for the Promotion of Measures to Prevent Drug Abuse. The Prime Minister praised their contribution to the global effort against drugs.
Three senior DAPC members: Shunzo Abe, Akiko Rath, and Jun Yoshino accompanied the Young Civic Ambassadors during their visit to the Vienna International Centre. Japans Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna, Ambassador Yukio Takasu, also attended the ceremony at UNODC.
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