This year the competition asks young people up to age 15 to write a letter about why water is precious. Up to 60 UPU member countries and an estimated 1.5 to 2 million youth normally participate in the competition annually.
“Coming from Africa, I fully appreciate the importance of water for our planet and the social and economic implications this resource can have in countries and the world,” says UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, who hails from Kenya. “We are delighted that our competition is focusing attention on a very relevant global issue among millions of people around the world, and we’re looking forward to reading about young people’s perspective on the matter.”
Participating member countries are currently holding the competition at the national level. They have until 30 April 2013 to submit the letter that will represent them at the international level. International finalists will vie for the UPU’s gold, silver or bronze medals.
This year, the compositions will be judged by a jury of experts including Ivan Draganic, water programme specialist at the United Nations Development Programme Office in Geneva, Stefanie Neno, communications manager at UN-Water, Adrián Puigarnau, programme manager at the Stockholm International Water Institute, and Ryan Rowe, communications officer at The Water Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Winners are expected to be announced in August 2013.
The 2013 competition theme was chosen to coincide with the International Year of Water Cooperation and the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015. Access to water ensures the health and well-being of humans and protects nature. According to the United Nations, the world has achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water. Despite this, 11% of the world population still does not have access to safe drinking water.
Since 1971, millions of young people all over the world have participated in the competition at national and international levels. The competition aims to make young people aware of the role postal services play in our societies, develop their skills in composition and the ability to express their thoughts clearly, and foster their enjoyment of letter writing.International letter-writing competition