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Deserts, Drylands and Desertification Through the Eyes of Children

15th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment

Nairobi, 23 September 2005 – Children from around the world are being invited to express their hopes and fears about the future of the world's deserts and the issue of desertification in general in this year's International Painting Competition on the Environment.

The Competition is organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE), Bayer AG and the Nikon Corporation. It has been held annually since 1990 and in that time has received over 160,000 entries from children in over 100 countries.

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said: "Children are an important part of our world. They are our future and often they are our conscience. Our children provide the spark, the enthusiasm, the vigour and the idealism that this world needs. They know something needs to be done and we must listen to them. One way in which we can listen to them is by giving them the opportunity to express themselves in art – and by taking their art seriously."

Mr. Katstuhiro Shigemoto, Executive Director of the Foundation for Global Peace and Environment added:"In children’s paintings, we can see their wishes, their sorrow and anger. They genuinely reveal the attitude of adults who tend to act on economic interests alone, rather than protecting the environment. Children are precious seeds of the future. Our role is to prepare cultivated and fertile land, in which the seeds can grow healthily and to blossom into beautiful flowers. Each unique 'flower' of a child's painting attracts attention of people around the world to environmental issues and inspires them to take action together."

The theme of this year’s Competition is Deserts and Desertification, mirroring the fact that 2006 has been designated the International year of Deserts and Desertification and it is also the theme for World Environment Day 2006. The issue of desertification concerns the entire planet. Around 1/3 of the world's population live in drylands. Their degradation and desertification is a very real threat to people's lives and livelihoods, as well as to the health of the planet as a whole.

Children who will be between the ages of 6 and 14 years on World Environment Day 2006 (5 June 2006) from all regions of the world are invited to submit their paintings on the theme to their Regional UNEP Office by 20 January 2006.

Judging takes place in two rounds: UNEP Regional Offices and their partners will select regional winners, while the final selection will be done by UNEP, the Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE Japan), Bayer AG and Nikon.

“Seeing the world through the eyes of a child can open up a whole new perspective for adults too and give them added incentive”, said Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer, and continued: “We are very happy to support the International Children's Painting Competition as one of the important projects of Bayer's partnership with UNEP. Sustainable development is an integral element of all our business and social activities worldwide and with our commitment we strive to safeguard a good future for ourselves, our children and for coming generations."

Nikon President, CEO and COO Michio Kariya stated: "It is an honour for Nikon to participate in this wonderful project as an expression of our growing passion for environmental protection. At a time when environmental challenges bear ominous signs for our planet’s future, we hope that people everywhere will view these children’s paintings with an eye to acting more responsibly in regards to our precious global environment. We encourage children from throughout the world to enter this competition."

Winners for the regional competitions will be announced in April 2006. Winners for the global competition will be announced on World Environment Day, 5 June 2006.

The regional first prize winners and the global winner will each receive a cash prize and a trip for them and an accompanying adult to the 2006 official World Environment Day celebrations (city to be announced). Other prizes include diplomas, plaques, T-shirts, stationary and drawing sets.

The winning paintings will be exhibited at various venues in Japan and other countries, as well as on the websites of UNEP and FGPE. In the past, painting competition entries have been used on UNEP posters, post cards, calendars, in UNEP publications or environmental magazines to be distributed worldwide.

After the Competition, all paintings submitted to the global competition will be stored in the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan.

For full rules – including on guidelines on which country belongs to which region – and information on how to submit a painting, please see the Painting Competition website: http://www.unep.org/tunza/paintcomp15

For more information, please contact Theodore Oben, Head, Children and Youth Unit, Division of Communications and Public Information, UNEP: +254-020 623282; theodore.oben@unep.org

Notes for Editors:

The Children's Painting Competition is part of UNEP's TUNZA programme for children and youth. 'Tunza' means to treat with care and respect in Kiswahili and it is a wide-ranging programme to involve children and young people in environmental issues.

Bayer is UNEP's primary partner for its children and youth activities. The German-based international enterprise with core competences in the fields of health care, nutrition and innovative materials currently supports the TUNZA programme with sponsorship amounting to one million Euros per annum. The cooperation of UNEP and Bayer has been in place for over a decade and covers organizing competitions for World Environment Day, supporting conferences and providing opportunities for young people to participate in environmental study tours and international learning forums.

Entries from Asia and the Pacific should be sent to:

**UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

United Nations Bldg., Rajdamnern Avenue

10th Floor, B-Block

Bangkok 10200, THAILAND

Tel: (66-2) 2881870 Fax: (66-2) 2803829

Email: sarabuddhi@un.org

Entries from Europe should be sent to:

** UNEP Regional Office for Europe

15 Chemin des Anémones, Châtelaine-Genève,

1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, SWITZERLAND

Tel: (41-22) 917 82 79 Fax: (41-22) 917 80 24

Email: roe@unep.ch

Entries from Latin America and the Caribbean should be sent to:

** UNEP Regional Office for Latin America & the Caribbean

Boulevard de los Virreyes No. 155

Col. Lomas Virreyes, CP 11000- Mexico,


Tel: (52-55) 5202 6394 Fax: ( 52-55) 5202 0950

Email: enlace@pnuma.org

Entries from North America should be sent to:

** UNEP Regional Office for North America

1707 H Street, NW, Suite 300

Washington, D.C 20006, USA

Tel: (1-202) 785 0465 Fax: (1-202) 785 2096

Email: bvd@rona.unep.org

Entries from West Asia should be sent to:

**UNEP Regional Office for West Asia

P.O. Box 10880

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

Tel: (973) ) 17812752-17812777 Fax: (973) 17825110

Email: uneprowa@unep.org.bh

Entries from Africa should be sent to:

**UNEP Regional Office for Africa (ROA)

P.O Box 30552

Nairobi 00100, KENYA

Phone :(254 2) 624 284 Fax: (254 2) 623 928

Email: roainfo@unep.org




Further Resources

15th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment

UNEP's Children Website


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