Nairobi/Algiers, 5 June 2006 – Sophisticated images of water and life, of desert biodiversity and of deforestation and environmental degradation dominate this year's International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment.
The global winner of the fifteenth International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment is being announced to mark World Environment Day 2006. This year’s theme is Deserts and Desertification, with the slogan "Don't Desert Drylands!" Children aged 6 - 14 were invited to express their hopes and fears about the world's deserts and drylands through the medium of art. In this year's competition, children from 100 countries contributed more than 8,000 paintings.
Speaking at the award ceremony, UNEP's Director of Communications and Public Information, Eric Falt, said: "The response we receive every year to this painting competition shows that children care. It also shows that their teachers, their parents, and their communities care. If we are going to reverse the environmental decline that we know is happening to our land, our seas, our rivers and our air, we all need to care—and to act."
Representing Tomoko Yano, Secretary General of the Foundation for Global Peace and Environment Hisao Fujita said: "In search of the secret for realizing a beautiful and peaceful future, we have recognized that the key to such future lies within our children. Pursuing this vision, we have centered our many activities on promoting environmental awareness to the children of the world. Paintings have a remarkable way of sending profound messages straight into the hearts of the viewers, surpassing any barriers of language, race or country. We have aimed for our children to become familiar with today’s environmental problems, and to express their concerns in their very own individual ways."
The 2006 Global Winner of the UNEP International Children’s Painting Competition is 9-year-old Lau Tsun Ming from China. Speaking about his painting, Ming said: "My picture shows two contrasting scenes of Earth. One is desertified and the other can keep its natural beauty. If people continue to ruin the environment, our surroundings will become dull and nasty."
Three second prizes were awarded to: Daniela Borislavova Karaivanova (12) from Bulgaria, who depicted happy children and animals in a rich and fertile arid landscape; 14-year-old Marchela Ivo Delcheva, also from Bulgaria, whose painting features a hand cupping water and life in front of a backdrop of a degraded dryland; and Biaoyunke Zhang (11) from China, who evokes the delicate balance of desert ecosystems with a picture of an hourglass, supported by children from around the world.
The regional winners were: Africa: Naylee Nimesh Nagda (9) from Kenya; Asia and the Pacific: Silarat Choiechuen (11) from Thailand; Europe: ten-year-old Lukin Licina (Serbia); Raysel Sosa (12) from Cuba; Latin America and the Caribbean: 13-year-old Jonathan Zhang from the United States; and for the West Asian region, 14 year-old Shayam Kousik from Qatar .
All paintings are available to view on the United Nations Environment Programme's website http://www.unep.org/
The three second prize winners, the global winner, as well as six regional winners who had been chosen earlier all travelled to Algiers, Algeria, with their chaperones to attend the World Environment Day celebrations that are being held in the city 1–5 June 2006.
All winners receive a plaque and special prizes such as drawing kits and environmental stationery. The winning paintings will be shown in exhibitions in Algeria, Japan, Germany and other countries, as well as on the Internet. They and other selected paintings will also be used on UNEP posters, postcards, calendars, and in publications.
"We are very happy to support the International Children's Painting Competition as one of the important projects of our global partnership with UNEP”, said Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, and added: “Sustainable development and corporate social responsibility are integral elements of Bayer's mission and with our commitment we strive to safeguard a good future for ourselves, our children and for the succeeding generations."
Hideshi Hirai from Nikon said: "It is a great honor for us to co-sponsor this competition and I’m very impressed by the wonderful paintings. I’m sure that all the paintings will give the people an opportunity to pay attention to the environmental issues."
World Environment Day also marks the launch of the next Children's Painting Competition on the Environment. Please visit www.unep.org/Tunza for more information and full rules.
Notes for editors
The Children's Painting Competition for the Environment is part of UNEP's Tunza youth strategy. UNEP has entered into a three-year partnership with Bayer AG to support the implementation of UNEP's long-term TUNZA strategy for engaging children and youth in environmental issues.
The children's painting competition is jointly organised each year by UNEP, Bayer AG and the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE), and this year for the first time by Nikon. The painting competition has been held since 1990 and in that time has received more than 160,000 entries from children in over 100 countries. Eventually all paintings submitted to the global competition will be stored at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan.
For more information, please contact
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: 254 20 7623084, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 632755, or when traveling 41 79 596 57 37, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Theodore Oben, Head, Children and Youth Unit, Division of Communications and Public Information, UNEP: +254-020 623282; email@example.com
Elisabeth Waechter, UNEP Associate Media Officer, on Tel: 254 20 7623088, Mobile: 254 720 173968, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
UNEP News Release 2006/30