UNEP announces Top African Prize for its 16th Global Painting Competition

Africa's Regional winners of 16th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment are announced on Earth day, 22nd April 2007.

Nairobi, 22 April 2007- The United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for Africa is today announcing the regional winners of the Sixteenth International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment to mark Earth Day, 22 April 2007.

This year’s theme was Climate Change. Children aged 6 - 14 were invited to express their hopes and fears about the climate change through the medium of art.

“In my country Burundi, people are facing famine due to the heavy rains on lands without trees, followed by long droughts. This has been the root causes of the bad situation Burundians are living now. To kill the trees is to kill ourselves, because if we do not have trees then we do not have air; if we do not have trees then we do not have rain hence there is no water. Everyone knows that if there is no water, no trees, there is no life. This is what motivated me to depict climate change in that particular manner in my painting. Personally, I want to invite everyone and communities in the world to be sensitized on environmental degradation” said Guy Jayce Nindorera, a thirteen years old boy from the International School of Bujumbura, Burundi who emerged as the regional winner, for his vision of two contrasting scenarios showing the gloomy situation of land degraded to the extreme and against the ideally preserved environment where life would easier. The painting vividly captures the severe impact of a global warming on fragile lands.

A member of various environmental organizations in Burundi including Youth Strategy for Disaster Reduction and Club of Young Children Friends of the Environment, Guy vows to work hard to eliminate poverty within Burundi and generally in Africa, through a clean and sustainable environment.

Mr. Sekou Toure, the Director of the Regional office for Africa said: “I am happy this competition is gaining momentum in the region as there was an improved response compared to the previous year, considering the number of participating countries. The children’s work was impressive with a lot of creativity and detail displayed. The theme was well brought out with relevance to the African setting and it was quite evident that much change is needed to protect the environment. The future of our planet’s environment depends on the children’s generation and the paintings presented their initiatives and ideas in order to accomplish this.” “I strongly encourage more children to embark into this fabulous campaign and to participate in numbers in future editions of our International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment.” He added.

This years painting competition attracted over 363 entries from 16 countries in Africa.

This annual competition is jointly organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE), Bayer and Nikon.

“The children's pictures are giving one common message to all other people: safeguard our planet Earth”, says Michael Schade, Senior Vice-President of Bayer AG, and continues “We are very happy to organize the painting competition as one of the important projects of Bayer's partnership with UNEP. Sustainable development is an integral element of Bayer's corporate policy and with our social commitment we strive to contribute to a good future for ourselves, our children and the coming generations."

All regional and global winners will receive a cash prize (US$ 1,000 for the regional winners, US$ 2,000 for the global), and there are additional special prizes, such as drawing kits and environmental stationery. The regional and global winners will also travel to the official World Environment Day celebration in Tromso, Norway. A selection of winning paintings will be shown in exhibitions in Tromso, Norway and other countries. They will also be exhibited on the Internet. The selected paintings will be used for posters, post cards, calendars, and in publications.

Note to editors:

Each UNEP Regional Office (Bahrain, Bangkok, Geneva, Mexico City, Washington DC, and Nairobi) chooses regional winners and also submits at least 100 paintings to the global selection. The selection of the global winners was made by a Jury comprised of representatives of all the organizers. These global winners will be announced on 5 June 2007 at the main international celebrations to mark World Environment Day in Tromso Norway.

Eventually all paintings submitted to the global competition will be held at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan. The International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment is part of UNEP's TUNZA strategy for children and youth. TUNZA is a word in Kiswahili that means to “treat with care”. The programme aims to provide young people with information and tools on how to “treat Mother Earth with care” and how to act for a better world.

Other winners in Africa will be recognized at a special ceremony alongside the winners of the Essay, Art and Photographic Competition currently being carried out in schools in Kenya, during the World Environment Week 2007. The best entries will be exhibited at a special prize giving ceremony in Nairobi.

The painting competition has been held since 1990 and in that time has received over 180,000 entries from children in over 100 countries.

For More Information Please Contact:

Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson,

United Nation Environment Programme

Tel: 254 20 623084, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 632755,

E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org


Angèle Luh- Sy,

Information Officers,

Regional Office for Africa,

Tel: 254 20 624292, Mobile: 254 (0) 722 429 770;

E-mail: Angele.Luh@unep.org


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