The newspaper chain Metro International has announced the launch a photo competition focused on the issue of climate change ahead of the Climate Summit at the UN on 23 September.

“To quote UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: ‘Climate change is not a far-off problem, it is happening now, with real consequences,’” said Afsane Bassir-Pour, Director of the UN Regional Information Centre in Brussels.

The theme of the Metro Photo Challenge is My Green City, and it is open to anyone, anywhere.

Metro International’s decision to dedicate its challenge to the issue is a sign that change is in the air, she said. It is the 10th photo competition carried out by the newspaper, and the world’s largest such event, according to Metro.

The Metro Photo Challenge will be launched on 23 September, the day of the Climate Summit at UN Headquarters in New York. The grand prize will be a four-day trip to New York.

Bassir-Pour initiated the collaboration with Metro in 2010, when she saw the newspaper in the Paris Metro. At the time, she was working on a competition for the best ad campaign on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, and asked the newspaper’s managers if they would agree to run the winning advertisement. “They immediately accepted. They sent it around to the other Metros, and lots of them around the world used those ads.”

Three more such collaborations ensued – in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
The photo competition will be promoted to the newspaper’s 18 million daily readers in 24 countries, as well as by the UN’s network of information offices around the world.

“The key goal is always to activate and motivate our readers with topics that will challenge,” said Francisco Contreras, Metro’s Global Marketing Director. “We believe that the collaboration will inspire our readers and photographers from around the world to participate in this year’s challenge.”

The Metro Photo Challenge was introduced in 2004 in Sweden and ran globally for the first time three years later. Last year, 40,000 photographers submitted more than 120,000 images, according to Metro, which is published in more than 150 cities in 24 countries.

The UN Secretary-General is calling on leaders of governments, finance, business, civil society, the public and private sectors to bring to the Summit bold, ambitious plans to reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience and mobilize the political will needed to achieve a meaningful universal agreement by 2015 that would limit the rise in global temperature to less than 2-degrees Celsius.