Cartoonists from Asia-Pacific Win Awards on Earth Day from the UN and Government of France

18 Apr 2012

imagePhoto: Rohan Chakravarty

Bangkok, 18 April 2012– Asia-Pacific cartoons depicting the effects of climate change on children, Chinese cities, the Pacific Islands and mangrove forests won a regional contest sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of France. Cartoonists from Bangladesh, China, India, Lao PDR, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines have been recognized on this year’s Earth Day for their original artwork depicting climate change and human development in Asia-Pacific countries.

The cartoon contest comes under a new partnership between UNDP and Government of France which seeks to assist Asia-Pacific developing countries to promote environmental issues from a human development perspective. The contest reached out to artists from Afghanistan to Samoa over the past four months through a region-wide outreach campaign active in UNDP country offices and French Embassies in more than 24 countries. The regional contest promotes country-level advocacy that encourages artists from Asia-Pacific developing countries to portray issues of concern related to climate change in the region from a people’s perspective. The contest received nearly 200 applications from men, women and youth from across the region. 

Eight artists in total have won awards whose cartoons urge countries to address the human impacts of climate change. First prize awards of US$1000 each go to:

  • Ms. Odding Wang from China, whose cartoon ‘Song for the Seasons’ was inspired by the traditional Chinese calendar, explores the effects of climate change on people’s lives in four Chinese cities – Beijing, Dalian, Nanjing and Tianjin.
  • Mr. Rohan Chakravarty from India, whose cartoon ‘Mangrave Delta’ was motivated by the drastic effects climate change brings to the Sunderbans, highlighted the human suffering brought about from the continued destruction of the world’s largest mangrove forest.
  • Mr. Mexay Daravong of Lao PDR raises awareness on climate change to children in his cartoon and highlights how the burning of fossil fuels for burgeoning private transport needs is harming the country’s air quality, water supply and agricultural livelihoods.
  • Mr. Biliso Osake of Papua New Guinea highlights the “life and death” realities of sea-level rise for people in small island developing states in the Pacific and the need for stronger international support to these countries who have done little to contribute to rising emissions.

Second prize awards of US$500 each went to: Mr. Sadat Ahmed of Bangladesh; Ms. Tong Xin of China; Ms. Elsei Tellei of Palau and Mr. Norman Isaac of the Philippines.

“These cartoons will help to inspire youth from Asia-Pacific countries to work toward addressing climate change and advocate for human development and achievement of the MDGs” said Anuradha Rajivan, UNDP’s Team Leader for the Asia-Pacific Human Development Report series. 

An independent panel of international judges comprised of regional environment experts determined this year’s winners. National newspapers of each artist will be encouraged to run the winning entry to promote people’s environmental concerns this Earth Day.

The inspiring work of these artists is being recognized in the lead up to the launch of the Asia-Pacific Human Development Report, One Planet to Share: Sustaining Human Progress in a Changing Climate, later this year. The flagship Report from UNDP provides concrete solutions to Asia-Pacific countries on how to address climate change while focusing policy attention on vulnerable and poor population groups.

Print quality versions of the winning cartoons are available on request. 

For further information, please contact:

In Bangkok:
Omar Siddique 
Mobile: +66 87 337 2801
omar.siddique@undp.org

In New Delhi:
Surekha Subarwal
Telephone: +91 11 2462 8877 ext. 346
Mobile: +91 98 10153924
surekha.subarwal@undp.org

Read the Cartoon
1st prize: Mr. Rohan Chakravarty from India

Motivation and Description:

My cartoon entry has been motivated by and is based on the drastic effects of climate change noted over the last decade in the Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest situated in West Bengal in India, and in Bangladesh, in the Brahmaputra River Delta on the Bay of Bengal. When referring to the impact of climate change in India, mangrove forests are among the most fragile and susceptible eco-systems. The lives of the natives also depend directly on the mangroves, as it provides them with a livelihood- The Sunderbans are among the region’s largest sources of forest produce, including timber, fuel wood, pulpwood, thatching materials, honey, bees-wax, and a huge number of commercially important fish, crustacean and molluscs. It offers protection from natural calamities- Owing to the mangrove trees’ massive root systems that dissipate wave energy, they are capable of protecting the coasts from erosion, hurricanes and tsunamis. Mangrove trees have an interesting adaptation for survival in the water-logged and saline conditions- Pneumatophores or aerial roots, projecting out of the mud, enabling exchange of gases with the atmosphere.


The cartoon shows a setting of a nearly submerged mangrove forest. As the viewer’s eyes move to the submerged part, they find a transition to distinct bones, representing carcasses of people and livestock that have fallen victims to the wrath of climate change, along with a drowning hut in the background. A crow (a scavenger and hence symbolizing death) overlooks the scenario, perched on a sign board in the foreground that reads “Mangrave Delta” (pun intended).

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