Hong Kong Girl Wins Prize for the Best Painting

A dark hand, symbolizing the destruction of the environment, steals the building blocks of biodiversity in a game of dexterity, thus threatening the natural equilibrium.

But Planet Earth can be saved, for example by using solar energy and wind power or by recycling, symbolized by a second hand.

This is the message of the painting by 14-year-old Tin Chi Ting Coco (pictured above) from Hong Kong, who has been named the winner of the 19th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment.

It was organized jointly by Bayer AG and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as part of their global partnership together with other project partners.

The theme this time was “Biodiversity”.

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“If we don’t act now and protect the animals and our environment, the Earth will be shattered and destroyed,” is how the young Chinese girl sums up her message.

She was presented with her prize during the International Children’s Environment Conference in Nagoya, Japan, along with 11-year-old Katherine Z. Liu from the United States, who took second place, and the regional winners.

The winner in Europe is 11-year-old Hanna Gall from Hungary. The African winner is 10-year-old Gowtham Vigneshwar from Kenya. Sylvia Gong, aged 13, from the United States, submitted the best entry in the North America region.

The prize for Latin America and the Caribbean was won by 10-year-old Enrique Suarez Estrada from Mexico. The winning painting in the Western Asia region was sent in by 11-year-old Charlotte Petra Sakura Chalkley from the United Arab Emirates, and the Asia Pacific winner is Wigavee Rattamanee, aged eight, from Thailand.

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Hans-Dieter Hausner, senior Bayer representative for Japan, presented the children with a sum of money and other prizes on behalf of the company along with representatives of UNEP and the other partners in the project, the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment and Nikon.

The winners have also received an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan, where they are attending the environment conference.

“The painting competition is a true success story. So many children around the globe – from different cultures, religions and countries – take part every year. Furthermore, the children’s paintings can do something thousands of words would not be able to: They can open our eyes,” commented Hausner at the award ceremony.

From October 20 to 26, 2010, in parallel to the UN conference on the protection of biodiversity taking place simultaneously in Nagoya, the children are exchanging experiences concerning the environment and environmental protection and discussing their ideas on the protection of species worldwide.

The Children’s Conference (for children aged eight to 14) and the Youth Conference (for young people aged between 15 and 24) are held in alternate years and are the global environmental summit for the young generation.

These conferences are also an integral part of the partnership between UNEP and Bayer that was formed in 2004. Bayer sponsors the conference as UNEP’s global partner in the area of Youth and the Environment.

With the United Nations declaring 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity, this topic was chosen as the theme of the painting competition. Some 600,000 girls and boys aged between six and 14 from 95 countries submitted paintings.

In addition, a special Chinese painting competition, including campaigns in schools, was held in China with the support of a local partner.

This attracted 2.6 million entries, taking the total number of entries to 3.2 million – an all-time record (2.4 million paintings were submitted from 89 countries in 2009), according to Bayer.

The 20 best paintings from China took part in the selection process of the 19th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment. The winners were chosen by an independent jury consisting of representatives from UNEP, Bayer, the Foundation, Nikon and international art teachers.

The announcement was made today, Oct. 25.

To see the picture gallery with other prize-winning paintings go to: www.childrenspaintingcompetition.bayer.com

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Rakesh Raman