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African Laureate of UNEP 20th International Children Painting Competition Announced today on World Environment Day

Monica Adhiambo Arego of Kenya wins the First prize

Nairobi, 5 June 2011 - The United Nations Environment Programme's Regional Office for Africa has today declared Monica Adhiambo Arego of the Limuru Girls High School in Kenya, the regional winner of this year's International competition on the Environment.

The theme of this year's competition 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.

Monica Adhiambo Arego's painting was selected by a jury composed of the representatives UNEP and Bayer, two of the main organizers of the Children competition, out of 1072 entries received by the Regional Office from thirteen countries around Africa.

Her painting illustrates the importance of forests in Africa: how forests, through their vital functions as a cross-sectoral service utility, are a key component of the environment and a source of livelihood for diverse biodiversity species.

Fourteen years old Monica said: "I wanted to show how forests are home to large numbers of flora and fauna. A forest is a community of plants, animals, and micro-organisms. It is a complex ecosystem as it is not only a habitat but also provides watershed protection, and should therefore be conserved. Left alone, the forest can be self-regulating in sustainability and be resourceful for all creatures of the earth." "It feels great to be a winner and more so when you are campaigning for a worthy course like forest conservation, I feel that my efforts are fruitful. She added.

Monica's view on forests conservation is that it should start with individual efforts, as we are all responsible for the ecosystems.

The Regional Director of UNEP in Africa, Mounkaila Goumandakoye said: "It is very promising and rewarding to see that this competition, as a key component of our strategy to engage the children and youth in positive environmental actions, is gaining a greater impact across the continent, ushering a new generation of future environmentally conscious young leaders who will make sounds decisions in protecting our environment and promoting sustainable development."

This year's painting competition attracted 606,996 entries from 99 countries. UNEP offices in Nairobi, Bahrain, Bangkok, Geneva, Panama, and Washington DC 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.

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 been received.

Mr. Ichiro Terato, Representative Director, Member of the board Executive Vice President of the Nikon Corporation said: "Worsening of global environment has become more serious for 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."

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

Note to editors:

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.

For More Information Please Contact:

Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson, United Nation Environment Programme on Tel: +254 20 7623084, Mobile: +254 (0) 733 632755, E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

or Angèle Luh- Sy, Information Officers at the Regional Office for Africa, on Tel: +254 20 7624292, Mobile: +254 (0) 731 666 140; E-mail: Angele.Luh@unep.org

The winning painting illustrating the importance of forests in Africa



Further Resources

UNEP TUNZA (Children and Youth)

UNEP Regional Office for Africa


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