No Laughing Matter, 2020 "A Caribbean Reef Shark with a broken jaw possibly due to a fishing injury."
Waste Management and Pollution Control

12 September 2022 - The planet is in trouble.  Every young person knows that the climate is changing and ecosystems are under duress. In small island countries pollution levels continue to rise.  Even the most remote island communities are experiencing build-up of wastes that cannot be easily managed or removed, damaging local habitats and impacting the health of island communities.

This is why GEF/UNEP’s ISLANDS Programme is a partner in Art Partner’s #CreateCOP27 with a call for young creative people in small island countries to respond creatively to the climate emergency and pollution crisis. #CreateCOP27 is an annual art contest designed to raise awareness about the important climate change-related decisions that need to be taken by leaders at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP27 being held in Egypt in November 2022.

ISLANDS is amplifying this call to young people in small island countries to ensure the voices of islands’ youth are heard clearly across the ocean, and in the corridors of COP27.

“Young people from small islands have the most to lose as both pollution and sea levels rise, threatening homes and futures,” said Melanie Ashton, Coordinator of the ISLANDS Programme. “The ISLANDS Programme is here to turn the tide on this pollution. And we hope that ISLANDS will act like the traditional conch shell, with it’s clear and ancient call, raising awareness of youth of these opportunities, and of the world, to the plight of small islands.”

In the Pacific, 14 islands are working through the Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island Developing States (ISLANDS)(ISLANDS is already used above so should we just repeat to make it consistent?) project to build a future where hazardous chemicals and harmful wastes are safely managed and sustainably disposed.

The ISLANDS Pacific project is implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The project is being implemented in Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

“We’re really keen to see a strong Pacific voice come through this competition and urge all our Pacific communities to submit your entries – let’s amplify our Pacific voice and tell our Pacific stories,” said Mr Joshua Sam the Hazardous Waste Management Adviser at SPREP.

“Our future, and that of our planet is in our hands – we can make a difference, lets show our Pacific realities and aim for stronger outcomes for our Pacific survival at COP27 this year.”

The contest is an open invite to all creative people aged 14-30 to submit their work in any medium including, but not limited to, photography, docu-style and experimental film, performance art, spoken word, musical compositions, fashion design, new media and social media projects.  Eight finalists will be awarded cash prizes of $10,000, $5,000 and $2,000 and an additional 20 creative people will receive honourable mentions by a globally recognize jury of experts.

All finalists and the 20 honourable mentions will have their work exhibited in a virtual exhibition hosted by and featured on @artpartner Instagram with over 362,000 followers.  Their work will be further featured on the website.

#CreateCOP27 is an open call competition organized by Art Partner with support from UNESCO Regional Office for South Africa, the GEF/UNEP ISLANDS Programme with special media collaboration from EcoResolution and Fundación Populorum Progresso.

Applications opened on September 8 and will close on October 16 2022. 

For more information on the competition and how to apply, please visit: CREATE COP27

ISLANDS is a Global Environment Facility-funded programme of UNEP that is working to reduce and manage the build-up of hazardous materials and toxic chemicals on 33 Small Island Developing States worldwide.

The Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island Developing States (ISLANDS) program is a $515-million, five-year initiative backed by the Global Environment Facility (providing $61 million) and partners, and implemented with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Inter-American Development Bank. Participating countries include: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cabo Verde, Cook Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Union of Comoros, and Vanuatu.

Photo: Submission to the COP26 competition by Andre Musgrove form the Bahamas. No Laughing Matter, 2020 "A Caribbean Reef Shark with a broken jaw possibly due to a fishing injury."