The idea of holding an International Children's Conference on the Environment in Eastbourne, England in October 1995, came from the Junior Management Board of a local zoo park. This idea was supported by Eastbourne Borough and the East Sussex County Councils, which won the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and eventually secured a major sponsorship from British Airways, whose contribution included the provision of free flights for delegates around the world. Some 800 children from 90 countries attended the Conference. They presented and discussed environmental projects they developed, devised and debated "challenges" to the United Nations and national governments, and participated in study tours and workshops on environmental themes. It was accompanied by an extensive exhibition/display area open to delegates and the general public, and a week long festival organized by the Borough Council and local business for local children and visitors.
During the planning of the conference a Junior Board was established to work closely with the conference sponsors and organizers. This Board comprised members from local schools, foreign nationals and played a vital role in developing the Conference programme, selecting facilitators, devising workshops and study tours. They also introduced and chaired sessions, organized and presented the environmental "challenges" and attracted media interest. Today, the Conference is being considered as a regular event on the global environmental scene.
"These environmental defenders have demonstrated that it is at the community and local level where action to protect the environment acquires its full meaning. In honouring them, UNEP hopes that their example will inspire and guide many other men, women and young people to join the global coalition dedicated to protecting the environment", says Mr. Klaus Töpfer, UNEP's Executive Director.
The award will be presented in Moscow, Russian Federation at the World Environment Day ceremonies on 5 June 1998. This day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to focus global attention and action on environmental issues.
Some 664 individuals and organizations, in both the adult and youth categories, have been honoured since UNEP launched the Global 500 award in 1987. Among prominent past winners are: French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau; Sir David Attenborough, producer of environmental television programmes; Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; Anil Aggarwal, the prominent environmentalist from India; Ken Saro-Wiwa, the environmental and human rights activist from Nigeria who was executed for leading the resistance of the Ogoni People against the pollution of their Delta homeland; the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States; Jane Goodall of the United Kingdom whose research on wild chimpanzees and olive baboons provided insight into the lives of non-human primates; and the late Chico Mendes, the Brazilian rubber tapper who was murdered during his fight to save the Amazon forest.
To forge global links and to implement ideas which can contribute to a more sustainable future, a network of all Global 500 laureates has been formed.
"Leave It To Us" Junior Board
East Sussex BN36 5XN
Telephone: (44 1323) 870 406
Fax: (44 1323) 870 406
Note to Journalists:
UNEP looks to the world community to identify and nominate environmental advocates, so that they too can be recognized for their efforts. Nominations can be obtained from UNEP's Headquarters, Global 500 Roll of Honour, Information and Public Affairs Branch, P. O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya, as well as from UNEP's regional offices.
For further information, please contact
Ms. Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox
Tel: (254-2) 62 3401
Fax: (254-2) 62 3927
Mr. Tore J. Brevik
Information and Public Affairs
Tel: (254-2) 62 3292
Fax: (254-2) 62 3692
UNEP News Release 1998/49