Wednesday - October 05, 2011

Bayer and UNEP honour winners of International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment

13-year-old winner from the Philippines urges global community to increase environmental protection efforts / 4 million pictures from 99 countries / Launch of the new painting competition with the theme: “Green Communities” / UNEP boss Steiner: “Responsible young people are the United Nations' most valuable asset”

Leverkusen, October 5, 2011 – A small girl opens a drab curtain showing felled trees and dead animals against a polluted landscape. She opens the curtain – and her gaze falls on a colorful forest with a variety of plants and animals. This is the image with which 13-year-old Trisha Co Reyes from the Philippines won the International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment 2011. She was now honored, together with the runner-up and the winners from the various regions, by Bayer and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) during the Tunza International Children and Youth Conference on the Environment taking place in Bandung, Indonesia.

With the United Nations declaring 2011 the International Year of Forests, the theme chosen for the 2011 competition was “Life in the Forests”. “I wanted to show both sides of the forest: that which is threatened by environmental destruction and its beauty at the same time,” said Trisha, who had been inspired to paint her picture by taking walks through the forest in her home country, adding: “Forests are essential for life, but today their destruction has become a global problem. We need to value the biggest biological treasure our Earth possesses so that we will still have forests in the future.”


The girl from the Philippines won the International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment by beating 4 million rivals from 99 countries, an absolute record in the history of the competition. When Bayer was first involved in 2004, there were only around 10,000 entries. Founded in 1991 by the Japanese Foundation for Global Peace and Environment, the competition has been continually expanded as a permanent fixture in the global partnership between Bayer and UNEP and is also supported by Nikon. In the 20th year of its existence, 600,000 children from all around the world took part. In addition, another 3.4 million girls and boys from China aged between six and 14 entered a special competition organized with the help of a local partner.

Children formulate the claim of future generations
“Since the beginning of the 1990s the world has changed substantially, and the challenges are steadily increasing – for example with regard to creating jobs for young people and countering environmental destruction,” said Achim Steiner, Vice-General Secretary of the United Nations and UNEP Executive Director. “What has remained the same is the talent and inspiring pictures of children from all over the world that have caused millions of people over the years who have seen them in exhibitions and calendars and on postcards and the Internet to stop and wonder, think again and act.”

Addressing the 1,400 or so conference participants from around 100 countries, host Steiner added: “Responsible young people are the United Nations' most valuable asset.”

“We take the fears and hopes expressed by the children in their paintings seriously. The commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development, which are both of major importance for future generations, is an integral part of our corporate philosophy,” said Dirk Frenzel, Head of Public Policy and the Environment in Bayer's Communications Department at the awards ceremony. “The new record number of entries in the painting competition, and the Tunza conference and the great response to it, are further milestones in our global partnership with UNEP.”

The environment conference was opened by two honored guests: the Indonesian Vice-President Professor Boediono and the Indonesian Environment Minister Professor Gusti Muhammed Hatta.

13-year-old German girl wins competition in the Europe region
This year, 13-year-old Marylène Schröder from Leer in Lower Saxony won in the Europe region. “The great diversity of plants and animals is essential for the balance of our global ecosystem”, said Marylène. Like global winner Trisha, the runner-up – 14-year-old Erina Hashimoto from Japan, who also won the regional competition in Asia-Pacific – and the winners in the other regions of the world, the German school student received a certificate, cash and non-cash prizes and had her expenses for attending the environment conference paid. The winners in the other regions were 13-year-old Prerika Chawla from the United States (North America region), Lara García, aged 9, from Argentina (Latin America and Caribbean region) ,14-year-old Monica Adhiambo Arego from Kenya (Africa region) and 14-year-old Alya Al Kaabi from the United Arab Emirates (West Asia region).

Launch of the 2012 painting competition with the theme: “Green Communities”
The subject of the new painting competition is “Green Communities.” Children from all over the world are invited to commit to paper their ideas on environmental protection in important living areas such as towns and cities, forests, oceans or the atmosphere. The paintings should offer answers to the question: “What don't you like or what makes you unhappy about the way Nature is treated in these living areas?” And especially to the question: “What wishes and hopes do you have for environmental protection?”

The competition is open to all children who will be between the ages of six and 14 on June 5, 2012 (World Environment Day). Closing date for entries is February 15, 2012. The paintings must be on DIN A4 or A3 paper. The first and last names, age, address, telephone number and email address of the entrant or his/her parent/legal guardian must be written on the back. Any type of painting materials may be used. The pictures must have been exclusively painted for this competition.

Entries must be sent by post to the UNEP Regional Office for Europe at the following address: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Regional Office for Europe, International Environment House, 11 - 13 Chemin des Anémones, 6th Floor A & B Blocks, 1219 Châtelaine - Geneva, Switzerland.

Young global environmentalists adopt “Bandung Declaration”
More than 1,000 children and young people voiced their unqualified support for environmental protection at the environmental summit in Indonesia. With their sights set on the UN Sustainability Conference “Rio +20” in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, they adopted the “Bandung Declaration,” in which they called on the global community to step up its efforts in the search for solutions in the interest of sustainable development. “We […] are united in calling upon world leaders to move to a sustainable development pathway that safeguards the Earth and its people for our generation and generations to come,” was the first sentence of the manifesto.

“Reshaping Our Future Through Green Economy and Sustainable Lifestyles” was the motto under which the young environmentalists attending the conference on Java discussed fundamental approaches for tackling environmental problems such as climate change, extinction of species and the shortage of water and, at the same time, for opening up new perspectives for economic growth – for example through renewable energies, resource-saving production methods and sustainable lifestyles.

“With their enthusiasm, young people can play a key pioneering role in the matter of environmental protection. All the participants of the environment summit have shown this – they are involved in specific projects and, as such, are setting an example. They convince others and help to make environmental protection becoming cool in their countries too,” added UNEP boss Steiner.

UNEP-Bayer partnership
The painting competition and the environment summit are two out of a dozen projects that Bayer organizes jointly with UNEP and supports every year with a total of EUR 1.2 million. The current agreement on the partnership established in 2004 runs until the end of 2013. Other joint activities in the areas of youth, children and the environment include regional environmental summits, the “Bayer Young Environmental Envoy Program”, a photography competition in Central and Eastern Europe and the “Tunza” youth magazine.

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