International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe hopes cross-country's involvement at Buenos Aires 2018 will help the bid to see the event return to the main Olympic Games programme.
Cross-country running last appeared at the Olympics in 1924 at the Summer Games in Paris, but it will feature at the Youth Olympics in the Argentinean capital next month in what is billed as a new and innovative format.
The event will mark its Youth Olympic Games debut.
Coe is hopeful its appearance could mark a stepping stone in efforts to return the discipline to the Olympic Games.
"It has long been our desire to see cross-country running back in the Olympic Games," Coe said.
"We see the inclusion of cross-country in the programme for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires as the first step towards its return to the main programme of the Olympic Games.
"Cross-country is the endurance bedrock on which all middle and long distance running is based and we believe it deserves this recognition."
Cross-country will form a central part to distance events at the Youth Olympics, with two stages of competition set to feature.
The first stage will see athletes in the 1,500 metres, 3,000m and 2,000m steeplechase compete in heats of their individual event.
The second stage will see all athletes from the three events compete in a cross-country race.
Placings of athletes in both the individual event and cross-country will be added to determine the final finishing positions.
The athlete with the lowest score will be crowned as the overall winner.
The IAAF said the results of the cross-country race will be adjusted to reflect separate rankings for the 1,500m, 3,000m and 2,000m steeplechase respectively.
Medals will be allocated accordingly in the three individual track disciplines.
A total of 48 boys and 48 girls will be entered into distance events at the Games.