RCE Youth Biodiversity Art Challenge Awardees

In 2022, the Global RCE Service Centre at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), in partnership with UNESCO, held the RCE Youth Biodiversity Art Challenge.

The Challenge put a spotlight on the species, habitats, and ecosystems that we need to work to protect, and asked participants to create works of art with a focus on SDG 14 (Life Below Water) or SDG 15 (Life on Land). Submissions were received across two categories (Animals & Plants and Habitats & Ecosystems), with 39 entries coming from 15 countries, from participants aged under 15 through to 35 years of age. Artworks were expressed through a range of mediums, including drawings, paintings, craft work, digital art, and photographs. Below are the awardees - congratulations to all!

Click on the 'Animals & Plants category' and 'Habitats & Ecosystems category' buttons below to see the winners within each category.


Click on each artwork below to see it displayed in full.

1. Outstanding
Maxine Bryant Fratta

My painting is inspired by The Mbaracayu Nature Forest Reserve, located in Paraguay. This Nature Reserve needs to be protected because is one of the last primary forests standing in Paraguay. It represents two important ecosystems: The Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado and it is home to many animals including the Jaguar, and the Tapir one of my favorites mammals. The Mbaracayu forest and the communities around it face many challenges, such as forest fires, and dangerous illegal activities like marihuana cultivation and poaching. Some of the actions that communities can take to maintain and protect this forest, are:

a)  NO starting a fire near the area. Most of forest fires were caused in the country by human action. Therefore, raising awareness in schools is so important. We, students, can also influence our communities and protect our forests.  And

b) Raising awareness of the need to protect our natural resources and animals through rallys and digital campaigns mobilizing youth. '' NO starting a fire, NO animals hunting, NO trashing''

2. Acknowledged
Bukunmi Oyewole

The Big Catch - Big fishes are a rare sight these days. The big fishes are going farther and deeper into the big seas and oceans majorly because the waters are being polluted. One of the fishermen I documented even lamented that back in the days, he did not have to go far before catching sufficient fishes. Fishing by the seashore was enough. But these days, the waters have been so polluted that he has to really toil before getting fishes, even if he travels farther into the sea. If our waters are kept clean and unpolluted, it'll be a more habitable home for our dear fishes, and also, we will see more of these big fishes around. They will not be a big deal to us anymore.

Emily Dolan

This is a watercolor painting of a forest. This piece speaks for all ecosystems with trees that are essential to our survival on earth. I chose to paint a forest because they are constantly being cut down and neglected. Trees gift us with clean air to breath and provide habitats for over 80% of our planet’s biodiversity. Humans use trees for wood and paper products and as a result, forests are being cut down. Deforestation is a leading cause of climate change. We need to put our attention on protecting these beautiful and vital ecosystems that are being destroyed. Careless has gotten in the way of keeping our environment safe. Planting new trees is a fabulous way to help the planet. You can volunteer your own time to caring for trees to ensure their survival. Try your best to support forest-friendly companies and last but not least, advocate for climate change solutions!

3. Honourable Mention
Asif Ahmad Siddiqui

Deforestation is a man-made disaster for wildlife and major cause of habitat destruction we should all stand against.
Habitat loss refers to the disappearance of natural environments that were once home to specific plants and animals. There are three major forms of home ground loss: home ground destruction, home ground degradation, and home ground fragmentation.
Habitat destruction isn't the sole threat facing life, but it's quite probably the largest. Today, it's happening at such a rate that species are getting close to disappearing in extraordinary numbers. Scientists warn that the earth is experiencing a sixth mass extinction that may have "serious ecological, economic, and social consequences.

Chidchanoke Kasetpibal

This painting is a collaborative work of me and my students aged 3 to 4 years old. The mediums are washable paint, watercolour and white canvas paper. As we always talk about nature on a daily basis - what we see in our outdoor spaces, parks nearby or on television - this specific work reveals the children’s understanding of our ecosystem.

This painting talks about the elements of the earth from the children’s perspective. Green represents grass and trees. Blue is for water, which they often call this tone of blue “Mizu Iro” in Japanese. Red and pink are the symbols of fire.

Our ideas to protect the earth are simple yet practical. We should not leave the water running in the sink or else the river might dry up. We need to be gentle when we play outside with the trees and their branches as they might get hurt. And lastly, snakes are not always scary so we have to remember to be kind to them.

Gungun Chauhan

I feel the environment should be protected as it is a gift from God and humans should not destroy it. Beauty is eternal, perhaps we should preserve it for everlasting joy of all the creatures. We all should at least once per year clean the natural areas as civilians. Our community can protect it in many ways, for example make a day every month dedicated to nature, as nature doesn't say anything, but provides us with everything.