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UNICEF and the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race advocate for Children and Environment

2016-03-17 14:23 2945

QINGDAO, China, March 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The essential role of children in understanding and being a part of addressing climate change and creating a clean environment was explored today in an exciting encounter with the crew of a yacht that has travelled the world. In the countdown to World Water Day on the 22nd March, UNICEF has joined forces with the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology of Chinese Academy Sciences to highlight the importance of protecting our environment to reduce global warming. 

At a forum entitled “Set Sail for Low Carbon Life”, held during the Qingdao stopover for the Clipper Race, the link between climate change, children and water was highlighted. The panel, which included famous Skipper of Guo Chuan Racing, UNICEF Clipper Race Skipper Martin Clough showcased how young people could be a catalyst for action on how to address environment challenges.
At a forum entitled “Set Sail for Low Carbon Life”, held during the Qingdao stopover for the Clipper Race, the link between climate change, children and water was highlighted. The panel, which included famous Skipper of Guo Chuan Racing, UNICEF Clipper Race Skipper Martin Clough showcased how young people could be a catalyst for action on how to address environment challenges.


At a forum entitled "Set Sail for Low Carbon Life", held during the Qingdao stopover for the Clipper Race, the link between climate change, children and water was highlighted. The panel, which included famous Skipper of Guo Chuan Racing, UNICEF Clipper Race Skipper Martin Clough, UNICEF Specialist for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Yang Zhenbo and Wang Jia from the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology of Chinese Academy Sciences showcased how young people could be a catalyst for action on how to address environment challenges.

Famous Chinese Skipper of Guo Chuan Racing, with young people on the UNICEF supported yacht at Qindao port.
Famous Chinese Skipper of Guo Chuan Racing, with young people on the UNICEF supported yacht at Qindao port.

"Around the world we know that children often bear the brunt of droughts, floods, heatwaves and other severe weather conditions. Such events are putting children at an increased risk of disease and malnutrition, as well as destroying their families' homes and livelihoods," said Rana Flowers, UNICEF China Representative.  "We know that if we are to tackle global warming and achieve the vision set out in the Sustainable Development agenda 2030, we need to empower children and young people to be part of the solution.  We need their ideas, creativity and action to inspire and drive how we protect our environment."

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), globally adopted by world leaders at the UN, outline an ambitious and universal "plan of action for people, planet and prosperity" that represent a historic opportunity to advance the rights and well-being of children and safeguard life for future generations.

"As key stakeholders in this agenda, what we decide to do for children and how we engage them in building the future will ultimately determine whether we are successful in creating a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world," added Flowers.

UNICEF's report on climate change,'Unless we act now -- The impact of climate change on children', shows that 530 million children live in areas where floods are extremely likely to occur and 160 million in areas where drought severity is high or extremely high.

Climate change related droughts and floods can destroy water supplies, or leave them contaminated. A child deprived of adequate water and sanitation before a crisis will be more affected by a flood, drought, or severe storm, is less likely to recover quickly, and at even greater risk when faced with a subsequent crisis. This puts millions of children at risk of death and disease.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the longest non-professional boat race in the world. It has partnered with UNICEF to advocate for child related issues as 12 racing yachts, including a UNICEF team entry, makes its way to 14 ports across six continents throughout its eleven month circumnavigation. This is the sixth time that the race has stopped in Qingdao.

Guo Chuan competed in the Clipper 2005-06 Race and is China's most recognized sailor. He joined the event and reminded audiences of the wonders of the sea and his experiences sailing on oceans. Reflecting on his artic sailing mission, he said "On one hand in the past decade the rapid melting of the ice in the Artic, makes sailing there possible but on the other hand, it is a sign of global warming, that adds new challenges for the environments on which humans and animals rely on for their survival." He hopes the younger generation can increase their awareness of environmental protection and act to address climate change and the impact on our collective future.

Young people including students from the Ocean University of China and the middle schools from Beijing and Qingdao shared their own views and experiences.  Li Yanze, a 16-year-old boy from the High School Affiliated to Remin University of China, one of the Chinese young participants to the COP 21 conference in Paris, shared experiences of meeting with young people from other countries and working together to put the environment high on the agenda.  Hu Shunyi, a 17-year-old girl from Qingdao No. 2 Middle School, announced a youth initiative calling for immediate actions to promote low-carbon lifestyle and save the ocean environment.

As part of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, UNICEF is committed to addressing climate change in its work for and with children.  The scope of this work includes advocating with Governments to put in place climate actions that are child sensitive and take children's needs into account; engage children and youth on climate change and provide a platform for their voices to be heard; and factor climate change into existing programmes to help prevent development gains achieved to-date being reversed. 

In China, UNICEF is working with partners including the NDRC Climate Change office to engage young people into policy dialogue and decision making.  It aims to increase investments in education, training and awareness-raising of children on climate change which will help empower them as important stakeholders and agents of change.

The Clipper Race stopover in Qingdao marks the end of Race 8 of the 14-stage global challenge. Race 9 sets sail on 20 March, meaning that by World Water Day, crew will be in the early stages of their 6000+ nautical mile journey across the Pacific Ocean to Seattle, which is expected to take 31 days to complete. The Clipper 2015-16 Race will finish on 30 July 2016 in London, UK.

Notes to Editors

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the world's longest ocean adventure and is also regarded as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet. At 40,000 nautical miles long and taking almost a year to complete, it consists of twelve teams competing against each other on the world's largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts.

The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors. Around 40 per cent of crew are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training programme ahead of their adventure.

This unique challenge brings together everyone from chief executives to taxi drivers, nurses and firefighters, farmers, airline pilots and students, from age 18 upwards, to take on Mother Nature's toughest conditions. There is no upper age limit, the oldest competitor to date is 74.

Whether they choose to take on  the whole circumnavigation or compete in one or more of eight individual legs, all our crew achieve something remarkable as they conquer some of the world's most challenging oceans.

The overall route is split into a series of global races and a maximum 12 points going to first place ascending to 1 point for twelfth place. The team with the highest cumulative points at the end of the final race wins the series, and the Clipper Race trophy.

The Clipper 2015-16 Race started from St Katharine Docks, London on 30 August 2015 and is the event's tenth edition. Over 690 people from more than 40 different countries will take part, and over 3,000 novice sailors have been transformed into ocean racers throughout Clipper Race history so far.

For more information, go to www.clipperroundtheworld.com.

To download official Clipper Race images and video, please register at: www.clipperroundtheworld.com/mediaportal.

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org

Visit UNICEF China website: www.unicef.cn
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http://weibo.com/unicefchina
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For further information, please contact:

Shantha Bloemen, UNICEF China, +8610 85312610, sbloemen@unicef.org or Liu Li, UNICEF China, +8610 85312612, liliu@unicef.org

Julia Wall-Clarke
PR Manager, Clipper Ventures
E: jwallclarke@clipper-ventures.com
T: +86 1562 1027293 (Chinese mobile)
T: +44 7769 154164 (UK mobile)

Photo - http://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20160317/0861602200-a
Photo - http://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20160317/0861602200-b

Source: UNICEF China
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