United Nations Environment Programme environment for development
Children Painting Competition
Japanese Student Wins Asia Pacific Prize for UNEP International Childrens Painting Competition 06/ 06/ 2011

Bangkok, 5 June 2011 - A Japanese student's painting caught the eyes of judges, making it the Asia Pacific winner of the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) annual International Children's Painting Competition. Fourteen-year old Erina Hashimoto's painting, based on the competition theme, "Life in the Forests", beat more than 12,000 entries from Asia Pacific to make her the winner of this year's competition.
The UNEP Tunza International Painting Competition is an annual event that is jointly organized by UNEP, Bayer AG, the Japan-based Foundation of Global Peace and Environment (FGPE) and Nikon Corporation.

Erina's painting conveys the importance of the environment to life on earth and how people around the world can protect the environment and also replace what people have used, such as planting the tree.

"Insects are tiny but they also are a source of precious life on our planet. When I was thinking of the environment, I came up with the idea of watching the world of insects. I tried to look at the window of the world from at their perspective. There I found an interesting and unfamiliar world. Ants are moving busily to find something. A ladybird is approaching. What is the dragonfly trying to do? How marvelous the patterns on its wings are! I found such a lot of species at this small corner of the forest. There are lots of lives in the urban area which we think is apart from the nature. When I was creating this picture, I felt like I joined in their world to live together on the earth. I would like to save the future of the earth with those little lives! If each of us looks at our natural environment with tender eyes, the earth will be changing to an enriched planet, I believe," she said.

Erina's painting, along with other winning entries, will be exhibited at various venues in Japan and other countries and the websites of UNEP and Foundation of Global Peace and Environment (FGPE). 

"We are very happy to hear that an entry from Japan has won the first prize of Asia and the Pacific Region, for the first time. Erina Hashimoto, a 14-year-girl who lives in Osaka, focuses on the little world of insects in the forest and expresses how rich it is with lots of life. Her picture indicates that the natural ecosystem on our planet is basically sustained by those little lives and billions of invisible microbes.

Since FGPE started the competition in 1991, we found every year a variety of expressions on the environment created by children around the world. They were full of ideas and colors, and showed serious concerns with dedications to their homeland and Mother Earth. They always reflected each time's environmental situations and results of efforts or neglect of grown-ups.

And now, we are carrying out the 20th anniversary of competition and planning to have the commemorative programs, together with partners UNEP, Bayer and Nikon. We hope, during the next two decades, we can find only pictures full of beautiful nature and life with children's bright hopes to their own future and the future of our planet," Tomoko Yano, Secretary General of FGPE said.

Erina's entry will move on to the global level, to compete with entries from other regions - West Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and North America. Each region chose a regional winner and submitted a total of 1,490 paints to the global selection. The winners of the global competition will be announced at the Tunza International Children's Conference in Bandung, Indonesia from 26 - 30 September 2011. 

"This year's competition offered children a way to think of actions to protect our environment and they have responded overwhelmingly by creatively showing simple actions we all can take. They have artfully shown that there are actions we can take now," said Mr. Young-woo Park, Regional Director.

Erina wins a US$1,000 cash prize and all-expenses-paid trip for her and an accompanying adult to the Tunza International Children Conference in Indonesia in September 2011.

"We are very proud of the huge number of entries for our Painting Competition - a core element of our partnership with UNEP. The children's paintings are fascinating artworks with a very clear message to all of us: Care about this planet! We must take the concerns and wishes of the many children from all over the world very seriously. I can just encourage everybody to have a look at these impressive paintings", says Michael Schade, head of Corporate Communications at
Bayer.

"Worsening of global environment has become more serious over the last 20 years. Deforestation has been greatly increasing every year around the world, having a serious effect on the life in the forests. The awarded paintings contain children's hope that precious forests and the life in the forests should be sustained. We expect that people all over the world will take action collectively to realize the children's hope. 

It is our privilege to co-sponsor the 20th International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment, and we hope that we will continue to support this competition in future," said Ichiro Terato, Representative Director, Member of the board Executive Vice President
Nikon Corporation

The selection of the regional winner was done by a Jury Committee made up of UNEP staff, representatives from Bayer Thai Co. Ltd., Nikon and art students.

For More Information:

Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, E-mail: satwant.kaur@unep.org , Tel: +662 2882127, Mobile: +6683 9086000

Notes to Editors

The regional winners of the Twentieth International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment are being announced on World Environment Day, 5 June 2011. This year's theme was Life in the Forests. Children aged 6 - 14 were invited to use their artistic skills to show the rich biodiversity contained in the world's forests. This year's painting competition attracted 606,996 entries from 99 countries, which received more than 12,000 entries from Asia Pacific.

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 painting competition has been held since 1990 and in that time over a million entries from children in over 100 countries have received.

UNEP offices in Bahrain, Bangkok, Geneva, Panama, Washington DC, and Nairobi each chose their own regional winners and submitted a total of 1,490 paintings to the global selection. 

The global winners will be chosen by a jury comprised of representatives of the competition organizers. These global winners will be announced at the Tunza International Children's Conference in Bandung, Indonesia from 26 - 30 September 2011. 

All regional and global winners will receive a cash prize (US$ 1000 for the regional winners, US$ 2000 for the first prize winner) as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to the Tunza International Children Conference in Indonesia in September.

A selection of winning paintings will be shown in exhibitions around the world. They will also be exhibited online and will be used for posters, post cards, calendars, and in publications to raise awareness of the need to conserve biodiversity.

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 increase young people's involvement in environmental issues through environmental activities such as Plant for the Planet, International Conferences and Global Youth Gatherings.