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Extension of UNEP-Bayer partnership on youth and the environment


Millions of young people engaged worldwide:

Leverkusen / Nairobi, – A global partnership on youth and the environment that engages millions of young people worldwide – launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bayer AG in 2004 – will be extended to the end of 2013. Projects implemented under the partnership range from tree planting, the development of educational materials and creative competitions to the convening of major children and youth conferences and strengthening youth representation at major global events. Bayer will invest 1.2 million Euros annually in support of projects carried out under the partnership.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said, “Youth and children represent over 37% of the world’s population. Their future will be shaped by our action to protect the planet. The partnership with Bayer aims to step up efforts to facilitate young people’s access to vital information on the state of the planet, to invest in their initiatives and to ensure their voices are heard in the international arena.”

Dr. Marijn Dekkers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, said, “We are looking forward to continuing this successful partnership with UNEP that strikes such a chord with young people throughout the world. We are committed to initiating constructive dialogue with and supporting young people who are interested in environmental issues. After all, they can make a valuable contribution through their justified interest, critical awareness, commitment and passion for environmental protection.”

Through the partnership, UNEP and Bayer create opportunities for young people and children to expand and share their environmental knowledge and skills and to put into practice concrete environmental protection ideas. What began as a pioneering project in 2004 has now become a public-private partnership that serves as a model for both organizations.

Activities under the UNEP-Bayer Partnership

Tunza International Youth / Children’s Conference – a summit held every year on an alternating basis for youth (15 to 24-year-olds) and children (8 to 14-year-olds). The aim is to encourage young environmentalists to network, exchange ideas and interact with the experts on environmental issues. In addition, youth meetings on a regional level are organized every year, too. The word “Tunza” means “to treat with care and affection” in Swahili, the official language of Kenya, where UNEP’s headquarters is based. TUNZA is the chosen title for UNEP’s overall outreach strategy targeting youth and children.

The Young Environmental Envoy Program – established and organized by Bayer in 1998, is an environmental education initiative with an Olympic spirit that involves a one-week study trip to Germany. Over fifty young people from eighteen countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia have participated each year, so far.

Children’s Painting and Photo Competitions – The number of children taking part in the UNEP-Bayer International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment has grown fifty-fold since the launch of the partnership. In 2010, 600,000 children from 95 countries submitted paintings on the topic of “Biodiversity”. A parallel competition in China attracted over 2.6 million children.

Another creative competition, using the medium of photography to enhance environmental awareness, is “Ecology in Focus”. It targets young photographers in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Around 1,700 gifted young people take part each year.

TUNZA magazine – produced for and by young people, the magazine is published quarterly. Each issue is devoted to a specific environmental theme. The printed and online editions, published in English, Spanish and French, attract more than one million readers every year.


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