Having grown up in Siberia, the most forested part of Russia, Ludmila Balovneva has always lived close to nature and she understands what its loss would represent. “I painted one happy Planet and a sad one. I’d like to make the Planet happy, clean and kind and then people, who are living on it, would be happy too. If it’s dirty, the planet is sad,” she said.
Ludmila is one of the 2.4 million entrants to the 18 th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment, which saw participation from children from around the world aged 6 to 14. Eesha Chavan, 14, from India took second prize in the global competition. Alice Fuzi Wang, 12, is the regional winner for North America; Li Pik Hei, 13, is the winner for Asia and the Pacific; Renzo Marsino, 14, is the winner for Latin America and the Caribbean; Ryan D’almeida, 14, is the winner for West Asia; Ramy Gamal Abd El Hamed Abd El Razik, 13, won the regional prize for Africa and Patricia Isabel Jesus Santos, 14, won for Europe.
The annual competition, which was launched in 1991 and has a growing following from children in over 100 countries, is jointly organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment, Bayer and Nikon Corporation.
This year’s theme, Climate Change: our Challenge, highlights one of the most critical global challenges of our time. While focusing on climate change, the children’s paintings describe not only the impact of global warming on our planet but also possible solutions such as the use of renewable energy and energy-saving light bulbs, car-pooling, using public transport, planting trees and keeping the planet clean.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP, said ''What we see in these paintings is that children are aware of the challenges facing the planet. Given the opportunity, they can contribute to solutions. We can all learn a great deal from the insight children have about our world and our responsibility.''
Tomoko Yano, Secretary General for the Foundation for Global Peace and Environment also noted: “Among the kinds of environmental problems, climate change is the most serious and common issue influencing all lives and nature on the planet.”
“We have to combine every effort and wisdom to confront the issue for future generations. Our children are the future. They are very sensitive about environmental conditions. We can see their gloom and fear for the future in their unique and creative paintings. On the other hand, they genuinely hope that their future is becoming brighter. They strongly appeal to the global community and leaders that everyone should take action now. We sincerely hope that people around the world will be encouraged by these children’s paintings to work out a solution to our common threat: climate change,” she added.
"The children's pictures are giving one common message to all other people: safeguard our planet Earth", pointed out Michael Schade, Senior Vice President of Bayer AG.
"We are very happy about the great popularity of the painting competition which is one of the most important projects of Bayer's partnership with UNEP. Sustainable development is an integral element of our corporate policy and with our social commitment we strive to contribute to a good future for ourselves, our children and the coming generation," he added.
“The deterioration of the global environment is becoming more serious year after year, and that casts dark clouds over our children and the coming generations”, says Yoshimichi Kawai, Director, Member of the Board and Executive Officer at Nikon Corporation.
“This year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) will take place in Copenhagen. We appeal, together with our partners, on the importance of global environmental preservation to people in the world through the children’s paintings, and we hope they will start taking action to prevent climate change,” he added.
As the global winner, Ludmila won a prize of US$2,000 while the global second-prize and six regional winners have been awarded US$1,000 each. In addition all the winners will get a fully paid trip with a chaperone to the 2009 Tunza International Children and Youth Conference in Daejeon, Republic of Korea (17-23 August). At the Conference, there will be an awards ceremony to unveil the winning paintings on 20 August as well as the launch of the upcoming 19 th International Children’s Painting Competition.
The Award Ceremony for the Painting Competition is a key event of the Tunza International Children and Youth Conference, which will bring together more than 800 young people from over 100 countries to discuss the issues of climate change that impact their lives and will impact the future of the planet. The participants were selected from thousands of applicants based on their outstanding green achievements on their home turf – and the impressive range of initiatives illustrate just how much today’s children and youth understand and want to commit to the environment.
A draft statement prepared prior to the conference states that the participants will mobilize their governments to reach a scientifically-credible and far-reaching new climate agreement in Copenhagen in December. By staking their claim to a low-carbon, resource-efficient, environmentally-sustainable future, the generation that will inherit the planet will also remind the world that they have the greatest stake in the creation of the green economy of tomorrow.
If she could send a message to all the other kids in the world, said Ludmila, it would be: "We need to respect, and not hurt, our planet".
Notes to editors :
About the Painting Competition:
Images of the winning entries can be downloaded from UNEP’s FTP server.
Aside from the global winners, there are regional winners for Africa, Asia and the Pacific, West Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America. The regional winners were announced in April 2009. Each UNEP Regional Office (Bahrain, Bangkok, Geneva, Panama City, Washington DC, and Nairobi) chose regional winners and submitted at least 100 paintings to the global selection.
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 so that they can take actions and inspire others to act for a better world.
For more information on the competition, including the full entry rules and conditions, please visit: http://www.unep.org/tunza/children/
About the Tunza Conference:
The Tunza International Youth Conference is being hosted by UNEP and the UNEP National Committee for Korea with the support of the Daejeon Metropolitan Government and several UN entities including UNICEF, UNFPA, FAO, WMO, UNESCO and UN/DESA, as well as international youth organizations like the World Organization of the Scout Movement and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and private sector partners, such as the Bayer corporation, the Hyundai-Kia Automotive group and Samsung Engineering.
About the Tunza Town Hall
The Seal the Deal! Global Town Hall will be facilitated by the Washington-based nonprofit Global Voices, which has pioneered the use of technology to convene large-scale deliberations to impact policy making.
About the Tunza participants:
The children and youth taking part in the conference were selected from 3,000 applicants on the basis of their environmental projects and how active they are on green issues. This year’s conference is the first time the Children and the Youth are being brought together for the meeting. The ‘children’ participants are 10-14 years old and the ‘youth’ participants are 15-24.
For more information on the International Children and Youth Conference, please visit:
For More Information, Please Contact :
Theodore Oben, Chief of Outreach Unit/UNEP, Tel. +82-10-22884255, Email: Theodore.Oben@unep.org
Anne-France White, Information Officer, Tel. +82 10 58494805, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Mia Turner, Information Officer, Tel. + Phone: +254 (0)20 762 5211
Mobile: +254 (0)710620495, Email: Mia.Turner@unep.org