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In 2007 FPWC organized the first “SunChild International Environmental Festival” This unique event is since then held every second year in Yerevan and is the only environmental festival in the whole Caucasus region. From October 14th to 18th 2011 the third edition of SunChild Festival took place.The aim of the festival is to bring nature, wildlife and environment into the focus of public attention and increase the knowledge about these issues among Armenian citizens and especially among children and youths.
In October 2011 more than 5000 people among them many children and youth attended the film screenings, lectures and events of SunChild 3rd International Environmental Festival. The event was covered by all major media in Armenia. There was also a broad regional media interest in particular from Georgia.
In the film program of SunChild 3rd International Environmental Festival 80 films from 30 countries were screened in an informational and a competitive section. Most of the film screenings were open for the public free of charge and accompanied by public Q&A meetings with film-makers, environmentalists, artists and other personalities dedicated to film, culture and/or nature. For the special children film program 2000 children and youths from the capital as well as from the regions had the opportunity to visit the screenings.
The festival had three juries with international members who selected the festival winners in different categories. The jury for the best film about environmental Issues was chaired by Flo Stone (President and Founder of the Washington Environmental Film Festival/ USA). John Burton (Director of World Land Trust/ UK) headed the jury for the best wildlife film and the jury for the best film made by a film maker minor 16 made its decision under the guidance of the famous Armenian botanist Dr. Eleonara Gabrielyan.
SunChild Festival’s overall objective is to be an open forum for dialogue about environmental issues in Armenia and the South Caucasus region. To foster this dialogue FPWC organized from October 15th to 17th a conference under the title: “The role of civil society and private actors in Wildlife Protection in the South Caucasus” In particular the conference aimed to encourage discussion about how private actors and civil society can contribute to wildlife conservation and the protection of wildlife against poaching, habitat destruction and illegal animal keeping. The event was organized with the support of OSCE, World Land Trust and VivaCell-MTS.
The interest in the topic among international organizations, NGOs and government representatives was high as the number of conference attendees proved. More than 150 participants not only from Armenia but also from Georgia, Iran, Great Britain, USA and Germany joint the lectures and workshops during the conference. Among the discussed topics were: the role of film making and media in wildlife conservation, wildlife in captivity as a regional problem, global experiences in land purchase for conservation, new methods in environmental education.