Press releases

Friday 04 Jun 2004

Focus on your world: UNEP launches international photographic competition on the environment

Professionals and amateurs alike are today being urged to unclip their dust caps and load up their cameras for the world’s biggest environmental photo competition.

Barcelona/Nairobi 4 June, 2004 - Professionals and amateurs alike are today being urged to unclip their dust caps and load up their cameras for the world’s biggest environmental photo competition.

As part of the annual World Environment Day celebrations in Barcelona, Spain, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is launching its fourth International Photographic Competition on the Environment, sponsored once again by Canon Inc.

Nineteen parallel launches in addition to Barcelona are planned in key cities and centres around the globe including Beirut, Buenos Aires, Dakar, Berlin, New York and Tokyo. (See notes to editors)

The competition, called “Focus on Your World” and centred on the theme “Celebrating Diversity,” will run until 24 October, 2004 and is open to all nationalities and ages.

Also supporting the competition are JAL (Japan Airlines), TIME Magazine, National Geographic Society, and Earth Report/Television Trust for the Environment.

A Gold Prize of $20,000 will be awarded to the winner of the General category, which is open to applicants aged 25 years or over. There are also separate categories and cash prizes for “Youth” and “Children”.

Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, said: “The previous three competitions have proved highly successful, generating huge interest within the photographic world and significant public awareness of environmental issues globally. We are again extremely grateful to Canon for its sponsorship and those companies and organizations who will be promoting this important event.”

Fujio Mitarai, president and CEO of Canon Inc., said:“Our corporate philosophy is kyosei, which means living and working together for the common good. In accordance with this philosophy, we believe that a harmonious coexistence with nature and the environment is essential for society to achieve sustainable development. I hope that the photographers participating in this competition, through the images they have captured, will be able to share the kyosei philosophy ideal with the world.”

The fourth competition has, as in the previous ones, secured the full support of the United Nations family through the United Nations Department of Public Information and more than 20 agencies who are members of the United Nations Communications Group.

To restore Planet Earth, its people, wildlife and ecosystems back to health requires sound science, assessments and policies, suggested Mr Toepfer. “But it also requires an unleashing of the human spirit with its capacity for compassion, fairness and respect. Images have, since primitive times, been sources of inspiration and contemplation able to reveal the joy and tragedy of our place in the world,” he added.

“I hope the pictures submitted for the fourth competition will, like those from the previous ones, help catalyze the political and social changes needed to reach our goals and targets on issues from water and sanitation to wildlife, waste and poverty reduction. I hope they will also delight and illuminate, while bringing to the notice of the global public new names and a new generation of talented photographers,” he said.

Notes to Editors

The UNEP International Photographic Competition on the Environment 2004-2005 will be awarding Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes in each of the General, Youth and Children’s categories.

The Youth category is open to young people aged 15 to 24 years old. The Children’s category is open to anyone aged 14 or younger.

The new competition will not distinguish between different technologies, with analog and digital submissions judged side by side.

The distinguished panel of judges, headed by Takeyoshi Tanuma of Japan, will include Sebastião Salgado of Brazil, Raghu Rai of India, and Susan Meiselas from the U.S.A., all world famous photographers.

Cities Launching the Competition
Africa: Dakar, Nairobi, Pretoria
Asia Pacific: Bangkok, Beijing, New Delhi, Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo
Europe: Barcelona, Brussels, Geneva, London, Paris, Moscow
Latin America and the Caribbean: Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro
North America: New York
West Asia: Beirut

Full details of the competition’s rules and regulations; information on how to submit photographs in both hard and electronic formats and an application form can be read and downloaded at www.unep-photo.com
 
World Environment Day (WED), commemorated each year on 5 June is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

WED was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of UNEP.

Information on the day, logos, posters, fact sheets and ideas on how to celebrate WED can be found at www.unep.org/wed/2004

For More Information Please Contact Eric Falt, Spokesperson/Director of UNEP’s Division of Communications and Public Information, on Tel: 254 20 623292, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 682656, E-mail: eric.falt@unep.org or Nick Nuttall, UNEP Head of Media, on Tel: 254 20 623084, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 632755, E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

UNEP News Release 2004/26

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