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Remarks by Nick Nuttall, UN Environment Programme Spokesperson at the Awards Ceremony for the UNEP International Children's Painting Competition

Nagoya, 24 October 2010-Welcome one and all.

What a great pleasure it is to speak here at the UNEP International Children's Painting Competition.

When you look at what these young people have achieved in terms of art-well it just gets better and better and more brilliant and accomplished with every year this competition goes by.

It is fitting that this year's winners were asked to reflect the theme of biodiversity.

Only a few subway stops away from this awards ceremony here at Nadya Park, governments from across the globe are trying to advance a decisive response to the loss of life on earth0-the individual plants and animals and the forests, freshwaters and other systems they support.

Fitting too because the origins of human art are firmly linked with biodiversity.

When you look at the paintings from thousands of years ago in caves across the world, it is almost invariably depicting wildlife sometimes real and sometimes mythical.

Some of the early European cave art was of aurochs-ancient, wild living, cattle that are now extinct.

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.

Fitting too because this ceremony in happening in Japan-not just the host of COP10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. But a country where art runs in the very blood of its people, from the professional to the amateur.

Whether it be the ancient tradition of ceramics, to landscape paintings or more recently manga, art is at the centre of Japanese life.

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UNEP spokesperson Nick Nuttall