The Emirates Environmental Group’s (EEG) 18th edition of the Environmental Drawing Competition was a huge success, as it recorded the participation of more than 122,393 students from 508 schools from all over the country taking part including schools with special needs.
This unique, one of a kind, nation-wide annual Environmental Drawing Competition helps the student community to understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment, to supports building knowledge and enhancing the necessary skills required to address complicated environmental issues, as well as envision and come up with practical solutions that can be taken to ensure the health of the planet and the conservation of its resources.
The competition was based on 3 powerful themes: –
- “Bring Back the Wildlife”, was developed for the students in the age bracket “6 to 8 years”.
- “Nourishing the 8 Billion”. Was chosen for the students in the age group of “9 to 11 years”.
- “Envisioning & Embodying Goal 17 at COP28”. Was the topic that was selected for the students between the ages of “12 to 14 years”.
To applaud the winners of this year’s competition EEG conducted a standalone awarding ceremony on 23.5.23 at the Ismaili Centre, Dubai. The Awarding Ceremony exhibited the amazing art works of the winning students with strong environmental messages, creating a bright and colourful scene. Each of the marvellous drawings held a unique perception of current environmental challenges and demonstrated hope, which the youth hold for a sustainable future.
Mrs. Habiba Al Mar’ashi , EEG Co-Founder and Chairperson warmly welcomed the students, teachers, press and other honorary guests and highlighted “Amongst the important lessons that we have learned in our more than 3 decades of journey is that when young people are engaged and given the right tools and support to be aware of environmental challenges and issues around them, they become quite creative and receptive, resulting in active engagement and serious actions in ways that positively impact the environment and their overall well-being.”
She further added “Environmental Drawing Competition is an annual programme that provides a very creative and fun learning opportunity to the student community and empowers young people to make the world a better place for the environment, for people and all other living creatures.”
She further highlighted that when selecting the topics utmost importance is given to ensure that the students are exposed to the right topics and issues that affect the national as well as international environments. For Example the topic of “Bringing Back the Wildlife”; According to the Living Planet Report published in 2022, it states that there is an overwhelming drop of 69% of monitored population of all vertebrates (mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles & fishes). This is due to a range of factors including habitat loss, over exploitation, pollution etc…. Under this topic, students are asked to draw their favourite vertebrates that are currently endangered, that they think must be preserved and what life would be like if their population rises again. Are any vertebrates endangered in UAE? Can human beings co-exist with them and live sustainably?
As for the topic of “Nourishing the 8 Billion”. The Chairperson shared that “In November 2022, a United Nations Report declared that the world has crossed the 8 Billion People mark. An increasing population means that more people need the adequate resources to live. One of that crucial resource is food. As climate change progresses, the food production is facing challenges. Students were instructed to draw how we can produce food in a sustainable manner and feed the growing population. As the population of UAE increases, can we achieve food sustainability? What innovative technologies should be used? Can new sources of food be adopted, indigenous sustainable crops?
Continuing on the important of moulding the future generation to be environmental stewards, the depth and complexity of topics are taken into consideration when selecting and allocation the topics. The oldest and last group of students in the age category of 12 – 14 years were given the topic of “Envisioning & Embodying Goal 17 at COP 28”
She further elaborated that in terms of highlighting the importance of environmental sustainability and taking actions, the UAE has started taking solid steps towards achieving a sustainable future. To further show the commitment, UAE bid itself to host (United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change – Conference of Parties) UNFCCC – COP 28 in 2023. The questions that were required to be addressed by this group of students was; How can COP 28 play a pivotal role in the progression and achievement of the 17 UNSDG’s? Can governments, corporations, residents, Indigenous communities etc…unite to tackle the issue of climate change?
In concluding, Mrs. Habiba expressed her gratitude to the commitment of the supporting entities as well; that included the Emirates Schools Establishment who played an active role in circulating the invitation and encouraging schools from all over the UAE to participate, the Ismaili Centre for providing the venue support for several years now. The companies; Al marai, Dabur and Rainbow who provided hampers that contained a variety of products, in addition to a number of hotels who provided hotel vouchers for the teachers of winning schools.
The judging of the competition was conducted by a panel of professional artists representing academia, art galleries and exhibition centres.
- Ms Maya Haddad – Head of Sustainability – Ajman University
- Ms Zaahirah Muthy – Managing Director – Zee Arts
- Mr. Mahfuz Rahman – Artist
- Ms. Pari Sagar – Artist
The winners of EEG’s Environmental Drawing Competition 2023 were:
|Category||School Category||Position||Schools||Name of Student|
|BRINGING BACK THE WILDLIFE 6 – 8 YEARS||Regular Schools||Winner||GEMS Modern Academy||Shiven Markandeya|
|1st Runner Up||The Indian Academy Dubai||Syed Ali|
|2nd Runner Up||The Indian High School, Al Garhoud Campus||Saanvika Sarath|
|Persons with Disabilities||Winner||Abu Dhabi Autism Center||Nasser Alawi|
|1st Runner Up||Abu Dhabi Autism Center||Nasir Baawada|
|2nd Runner Up||Abu Dhabi Autism Center||Noura Al-Abadi|
|NOURISHING 8 BILLION 9-11 YEARS||Regular Schools||Winner||Al Salam Private School||Maaz Amin|
|1st Runner Up||Dubai International Academy – Emirates Hills||Anaya Agarwal|
|2nd Runner Up (Tie)||GEMS Our Own English High School Al Warqaa Girls||Umaiza Makandar|
|The Indian High School, Al Garhoud Campus||Dhwani Manalikkatil Subi|
|Persons with Disabilities||Winner||Sultan Bin Zayed School 2||Khaled Mohammed Issa|
|1ST Runner Up||Sultan Bin Zayed School 3||Tarim Youssef Hassan|
|2nd Runner Up||Al Sila Center for Care and Rehabilitation||Reem Ayman|
|ENVISIONING & EMBODYING GOAL 17 at COP28||Regular Schools||Winner||Sharjah Indian School||Hida Fatima|
|1ST Runner Up||Delhi Private School-Dubai||Kiara Martins|
|2nd Runner Up||Ocean Kids||Trisha Nikhilkumar Sayani|
|Persons with Disabilities||Winner||Al Noor Training Centre for persons with disabilities||Farheen Waseem|
|1ST Runner Up||Abu Dhabi Autism Center||Khalfan Al Suwaidi|
|2nd Runner Up||Al Noor Training Centre for persons with disabilities||Rahadil Rashid|
EEG is an accredited NGO of the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and also a member of the United Nations Global Compact, ensures that when designing and executing its programmes to directly tackle several UN SDG Goals. This particular competiton tackled goals; #3: Good Health and Well-Being, #4: Quality Education, #7: Affordable and Clean Energy, #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities , #12, Responsible Consumption and Production, #13: Climate Action, #14: Life Below Water, #15: Life on Land and #17: Parnerships for the Goals.