UNDP launches “We Can End Poverty” photo contest

14 May 2010

Johannesburg — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with Olympus Corporation and the Agence France-Presse (AFP) Foundation, launched the second annual Picture This photo contest today in Johannesburg, South Africa. The contest, titled Picture This: We Can End Poverty, seeks to show the inspirational work that is being done in many countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight goals agreed on by world leaders to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

“Through the photo contest this year we want to show that the MDGs can be reached, even in the poorest and most disadvantaged countries,” said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, at the launch of the contest.  “We hope that the contest will bring much needed attention to the quickly approaching deadline for achieving the MDGs, and motivate people and governments in developed and developing countries to redouble their efforts in the fight against extreme poverty.”

This year’s competition is particularly important, as it coincides with the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals to be held in September in New York. The Summit will bring together world leaders to boost progress against poverty and commit to a concrete action agenda to achieve the MDGs by 2015.

UNDP Goodwill Ambassador and internationally-acclaimed actor Antonio Banderas is one of five judges who will choose the winning photos. “We are at a defining moment in the fight against poverty.  The challenges of achieving the MDGs cannot be overcome by a single person, organization or government.  All sectors of society need to be mobilized in a call to action for the big push to 2015. This photo contest is the type of initiative that will bring all these different groups together in order to bring attention to the urgency of achieving the MDGs.”

An exhibit featuring the winning photos will be held during the Summit to put a human face on the MDGs.The contest is open to amateur and professional photographers worldwide. Contestants may submit up to three different photographs, focusing on progress towards one of the eight MDGs, preferably in a developing country.

The eight goals are:

  Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  Achieve universal primary education
  Promote gender equality and empower women
  Reduce child mortality
  Improve maternal health
  Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  Ensure environmental sustainability
  Develop a global partnership for development

The deadline for entries is by midnight EST 16 July, 2010.

The other four judges who will choose the winning photos are professional photojournalists: Alexandra Avakian and John Isaac, both award winning photographers, as well as Mark Garten, Head of UN Photo and Paola Messana, AFP Bureau Chief in New York.

In addition to three winners in each of the professional and amateur categories, there will be one “People’s Choice” award. The winner of this category will be selected by the public, who can vote on the photo entries displayed on the Picture This website. The top rated three photos in each of the professional and amateur categories, as well as the “People’s Choice” winning image will be displayed on the sponsors’ websites and shown in at least two exhibitions in Japan and the United States.

The first prize winners in the professional and amateur categories and the “People’s Choice” winner will be flown to an awards ceremony and launch of an exhibition in September in New York.

“The AFP Foundation is once again very pleased to support this photo contest,” said Robert Holloway, Director of the AFP Foundation. “We believe it will give an opportunity to amateur and professional photographers everywhere to show the world how ordinary people around the world are dealing with achieving their most pressing development challenges.”

President of Olympus, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, said from Tokyo, “We hope that through this initiative, people around the world will be inspired by images showing that the simplest of actions, no matter who you are or where you live, can make a real difference in the effort to halt extreme poverty. The time has come for the
world to realize that we all have a role to play to achieve the Goals, and that regardless of where we live or what we do, we all have the potential to contribute to human development in our countries, communities and villages.”

The 2009 Africa-centred Picture This: Caring for the Earth competition resulted in an international traveling exhibit (Geneva, Johannesburg, New York, Osaka, St Louis in Senegal, and Tokyo), and extensive media coverage for the contest itself, its winners and participants, as well as the issue of climate change and environmental degradation in Africa.  Picture This: Caring for the Earth.

For more on the 2010 Picture This: We Can End Poverty photo contest, visit: http://picturethis.undp.org

For more on the Millennium Development Goals and the September MDGs Summit, visit: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/

Contact Information

In Tokyo: Toshiya Nishigori,
Tel.: +1 81-3-5467-4875
toshiya.nishigori@undp.org

In Johannesburg: Maureen Mundea
Tel.: + 27 11 6035513 or Mobile: + 27 716718734;
maureen.mundea@undp.org