Press Releases

    UNEP/303
    26 July 2005

    First Children’s World Summit for Environment Convenes in Japan, Will Send Message to September World Summit in New York

    (Reissued as received.)

    NAIROBI/NAGOYA, 25 July (UNEP) - Around 600 children aged 10 to 14 from 65 countries are gathering this week in Aichi Prefecture, Japan for the first ever Children’s World Summit for the Environment.

    They will share their experiences and voice their concerns on the importance of the environment in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

    The Summit will be presided by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino, who will be accompanied by his wife Imperial Highness Princess Kiko. Their two daughters Princess Mako and Princess Kako, who are respectively 14 and 11 years old, will also participate in the Summit as delegates.

    From 26 to 29 July, each day focuses on a different theme -- energy, biodiversity, water, and recycling -- and the participants are expected to make commitments relevant to each of these themes.

    In addition, the Junior Board, which is made up of 11 children who guide the event, has decided to draft a petition to governments and business leaders, urging them to pay more attention to the environment.

    A giant canvas will also be developed with an environmental message addressed to heads of State and government who will gather in New York at the World Summit in September 2005.

    The Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Klaus Toepfer, said: “This Children’s World Summit is an important event and it comes as a follow-up to earlier adult gatherings in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg. I hope it will be significant in underlining the commitment of young people to the environment.”

    Mr. Toepfer added: “2005 is especially significant. On the one hand, the United Nations celebrates its sixtieth anniversary but, more importantly, world leaders gathering at the World Summit in New York next September are expected to reshape the agenda of the United Nations. It is crucial that issues concerning the future of the environment and the future of children guide their discussions.”

    The Children’s Summit will unfold essentially in the cities of Toyohashi and Toyota City. Its programme includes workshops, presentations and field trips, including an entire day spent at Expo 2005, which is currently taking place in Aichi Prefecture, with the theme “Nature’s Wisdom”.

    The Governor of Aichi Prefecture, Mr. Masaaki Kanda, said: “Through the participation in the environment-oriented Expo, I believe that the children will be exposed to different ways of living on Earth, such as living in harmony with nature and using cutting-edge technology to conserve the environment.”

    The 600 children were selected from over 2,000 applicants, based on the environmental projects of their schools and organizations.

    The Summit is organized by UNEP, the Aichi Prefectural Government and sponsored by the Toyota Motor Corporation, Suntory, the Chubu Electricity Company, Japan Railways, the AEON Environmental Foundation and the Kyocera Corporation.  It is supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank.

    The Children’s World Summit is part of UNEP’s TUNZA programme for children and youth.  “Tunza” means “to treat with care and respect” in Kiswahili.  It is part of a wide-ranging programme to involve children and young people in environmental issues.  Information on the programme can be found at www.unep.org/tunza.

    For more information, please contact Eric Falt, UNEP Director of Communications at tel.:  +81-80-3810-6129 or Theodore Oben, Head of the Children and Youth Unit at tel.:  +81-90-7022-0472.

    Additional information on the Children’s World Summit can be found at www.children-summit.jp.

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