Nagoya 2010: 'Tunza' conference unites young voices on biodiversity

Nagoya, Japan, 26 October 2010 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in cooperation with the Aichi Prefectural Government and the City of Nagoya, has been hosting the 2010 International Children's Conference on the Environment in Nagoya, Japan from 20-26 October 2010.

The International Children's Environment Conference brought together over 220 children and chaperones from around 40 countries and is taking place simultaneously with the UN conference on the protection of biodiversity.

In this forum the children were given the opportunity to share their experiences concerning the environment, climate change and environmental protection. The event also gave them the chance to discuss the state of biodiversity and what they can do to protect species worldwide in their own lives.

The conference saw children debate on the sustainable use of biological resources, the implementation of laws and ways to deal with invasive species. Nikon offered them a nature experience program which showed the children the connection between living creatures (biodiversity) and games with themes relating to biodiversity.

The outcomes of these discussions will be a declaration on biodiversity that is to be presented to the high-level segment of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity tomorrow.

The participants also participated in field excursions, including a field trip to the biodiversity-rich Komono Town, where there was a tree planting ceremony, and where the children learned about diverse Japanese species of trees and biodiversity sanctuaries around Mount Fuji.

The children also took part in an eco-generation workshop organized by Samsung Engineering, with experts presenting on biodiversity; common problems affecting the biodiversity globally and their solutions. They also used the opportunity to share and learn about the ecosystems of different nations, and expressed their concern for Mother Earth by preparing so-called "Biodiversity Maps" of their regions.

Winners of the International Children's Painting Competition were awarded during the conference with cash prizes and certificates. The international painting competition is jointly organized as part of a global partnership with UNEP, the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE), Bayer and Nikon-In.

The painting competition is clearly a success story with many children from different cultures, religions and countries taking part each year. The competition this year had an outstanding 3.2 million entries from 95 countries.

The winner was 14-year-old Coco Tin Chi Ting from Hong Kong, who was named the winner of the 19th International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment, along with other regional winners from Europe, Africa, Latin America, West Asia, Asia Pacific as well as North America.

Adressing the conference UNEP spokesperson Nick Nuttall remarked: "These competition paintings and the winners are sending a clear message to governments that enough is enough: that extinction must end and that the tiger or the elephant, must not become a mythical creature to this and future generations."

The theme for this 19th Painting Competition was 'Biodiversity: Connecting with Nature', in keeping with the United Nation's International Year of Biodiversity 2010. Next year's painting competition promises to be just as exciting with the theme: "Life in the Forests" - in keeping with the United Nations International Year of Forests 2011.

Notes to Editors

TUNZA is a word in Kiswahili (the common language of most East African countries) that means to "treat with care".

The programme is based on a strategy that 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.

UNEP works in partnership with Children from all over the world. Children are represented by Junior Board which is elected every two years during UNEP's TUNZA International Children's Conference.


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