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Fuwa to promote Green Olympics

Updated: 2006-12-21 15:04

A nationwide environmental awareness campaign featuring the 2008 Beijing Olympic mascots and Chinese celebrities will kick off early next year through a 3-year project launched on December 18 in Beijing by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Chinese government.

Entitled "China Environmental Awareness Program (CEAP)", the project seeks to raise public awareness about environmental issues through media campaigns built around high-profile national events such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Shanghai Expo in 2010.

"Creative media campaigns are a good way to generate public interest on environmental challenges and to encourage people to actively respond to these concerns," said Yang Lan, one of China's top television journalists while speaking at the ceremony.

"The Olympics provide a unique opportunity to spotlight environmental issues at a national and global level and get people everywhere involved in environmental work," said Yang, who was one of the ambassadors for the Beijing 2008 Olympic bid.

To be launched in early 2007, CEAP will raise awareness among decision makers and the general public on environmental issues, a critical factor highlighted by Premier Wen Jiabao as one of the major reasons behind China's severe environmental problems earlier this year.

"To respond to the very issue on top of the government agenda, our challenge and goal will be to raise awareness and convert environmental knowledge into a change in behavior, attitude and practice, " said Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China, when addressing the launch.

According to Malik, the national campaign will focus on issues of air pollution, climate change, access to clean water and sustainable consumption through a variety of media vehicles such as public-service announcements, documentaries and TV shows.

Through a newly established partnership between UNDP and the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), the official Olympic mascots, the "Fuwa", representing the five elements of nature and four animals from diverse regions in China, will be linked to environmental messages in a series of animated public service announcements to be broadcasted on Chinese television and on the monitor screens within the Olympic facilities and stadiums.

"In addition to the Olympic mascots, the UNDP-BOCOG partnership will feature transporting athletes on fuel-cell buses through the Olympic compound to promote clean public transport, showcasing environmentally friendly materials and solutions used in building the Olympic facilities and establishing an education center inside the Olympic venue to raise public awareness on innovative approaches to water conservation, " said Yu Xiaoxuan, director of the Environment Department of BOCOG.

Along with the national campaign, CEAP will also adopt tailor-made approaches to enhance environmental consciousness of different social sectors and groups, including plans to introduce Green MBA programs in Chinese universities, training Chinese journalists covering environmental stories and an award-scheme to recognize Chinese environmental leadership, supported by a series of targeted local campaigns with special attention placed on women and children in Western China.

The project is a joint effort between UNDP, the State Environmental Protection Administration of China (SEPA), and the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) under the Ministry of Commerce. It is funded by Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel producer, committed to promoting technologies on energy-efficiency and CO2 emission reduction, and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.