Press Releases June 2008 - Child Activists Tell their Story - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
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Child Activists Tell their Story

UN children's environment conference to create change around the world

Stavanger/Nairobi, 16 June 2008-A young Australian film maker, an Indian child combating water waste, a 13-year-old organizing clean-ups in Cameroon, and a teenage American recycler are among 700 children from around the world attending a UN environment conference in Stavanger, Norway.

One of the largest international children's conferences in the world, the biannual Tunza International Children's Conference, organized by the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP), takes place on 17-21 June, on the theme 'Creating Change'.

This year, in partnership with the UN Children's Fund UNICEF, UNEP will show the inspiring initiatives of dozens of children from around the world through 'My Story', a series of short video clips that will be posted on the UNEP website

Remarkable examples include a 13-year-old in Australia who is making a documentary called 'A Kid's Guide to Climate Change', for which he interviewed a local indigenous leader, visited a wind farm and a wave generator, and built a model solar car. Meanwhile a 14-year-old in India is campaigning against water waste in his community, a 13-year-old in Cameroon is running clean-up campaigns and tree plantings, and a 13-year-old in the United States has helped organize a recycling drive and collect 100,000 pounds of e-waste.

The Conference, organized by UNEP in partnership with the Norwegian NGO Young Agenda 21 with Bayer AG as one of the main sponsors, brings together children aged between 10 and 14 from more than 100 countries who are engaged in environmental issues. The aim is to increase their environmental awareness and equip them with skills to promote environmental projects in their communities. .

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said:"The 700 children attending the Tunza conference are a powerful sign of the creativity, energy and dynamism that children are capable of to protect our planet. We can all learn from them, and we should all take heart in the fact that increasing numbers of children are becoming a force for positive change as we move towards greener lifestyles."

The participants will present their environmental projects, debate green issues, go on field trips and learn about energy, climate change and fair trade. Hands-on workshops will be held on topics such as becoming an eco journalist, photographing the environment, planning practical environmental projects, and food and climate change.

Delegates will also plant trees in support of the UNEP Billion Tree Campaign. Separate workshops will be held for chaperones on how to support the children's environmental projects.

Anne-Kari Aas Eielsen, chair of the board of Young Agenda 21, said:"Tunza 2008 is an excellent opportunity for children to voice their concerns and to share their ideas, and we are very proud to host this conference. These dedicated young people are the leaders of tomorrow, and their wonderful involvement and achievements at young age will follow them through their lives. If anyone should be able to create change, it must be them!"

Michael Schade, Senior Vice President of Bayer AG, said: "At Bayer we appreciate highly children's commitment to environmental protection. It is very inspiring and wonderful to know that even at a very young age people are personally engaged in taking action to safeguard our planet Earth. The international children's conference is one of the important projects under the UNEP-Bayer partnership. 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."

This is the seventh edition of UNEP's Tunza International Children's Conference-previous hosts have included Malaysia, Japan and Canada. In the last several years, the conference has motivated hundreds of children to go out and take action on the environment.

The conference in Stavanger will also allow the participants to elect a new Junior Board, made up of children from each region of the world who will help organize the 2010 children's conference. Every delegate will also make individual commitments on the individual actions he or she will undertake after going home.

Notes to editors:

The Tunza International Children's Conference takes place every two years to increase children's environmental awareness and equip them with skills to promote environmental projects in their communities. Children from an unprecedented 106 countries are taking part in this year's conference.

The 2008 conference is hosted at the University of Stavanger. Sponsors include the Norwegian Government, the City of Stavanger, Rogaland County Council, Statoilhydro, Sparebank1, Lyse AS, City of Sandnes, Skretting AS, Norad and KNH Harald Haarfagre among others.

For more information on the children's conference, including a full programme, visit:

There will be opportunities for media to interview children from their countries during the conference.

To organize interviews during the conference, and for more information, please contact:

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: +254 20 762 3084; Mobile: 254 733 632 755 or when traveling +41 795 965 737; E-mail:

Or Anne-France White, Associate Information Officer, on Tel: +254 20 762 3088, Mobile: + 254 728600494; E-mail:

Or Theodore Oben, Chief of UNEP's Outreach Unit, on Tel: +254 724 255 247; E-mail:

To book interviews with conference participants, call: +4747501131 or +4747518440




Further Resources

2008 Tunza International Children's Conference on the Environment

UNEP's Executive Director:Children's Environment Conference Creates Change Around the World

UNEP's TUNZA website for Children

Children's Environment Conference Creates Change Around the World

Bayer and UNEP: Partners for Youth and Environment

The United Nations Children's Fund - UNICEF

World Environment Day 2008 Website

Tunza Magazine for Youth - Tunza Vol. 6 No. 1: Kick the habit

Chinese Children's Painting Competition

UNEP's TUNZA Website for Youth

WED Highlights

Young Agenda 21

UNEP's Billion Tree Campaign


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