Ministries in Finland

Dear Sir/Madam,

With reference to the nominations for the Champions of the Earth Awards for the year 2011, we would like to render our strong support for the candidature of Mr. Mika Vanhanen in the thematic area "Inspiration and Action".

The Ministry of the Environment has been very impressed by the achievements of Mr. Vanhanen, as the founder and coordinator of the ENO Programme. ENO - Environment Online is  a global virtual school and network for sustainable development and environmental awareness. After its establishment in  2000, thousands of schools from over 120 countries have taken part in its activities.  Among many other things,  the ENO Programme has been participating in UNEP´s Billion Tree -campaign. Since 2004, about  3,5 million trees have been planted by schools around the world.  This year alone, 5 000 schools in 134 countries joined the ENO Tree Planting Day on the 21st of September, planting approximately 600 000 trees.

In recent years, the ENO Programme has attracted  recognition both nationally and internationally. In April 2009 the ENO Programme was chosen as one of the winners of the Energy Globe Award.

We believe that through Mr. Vanhanen the Champions of the Earth Award would, indeed, be a recognition to all those tens of thousands of young people and thousands of teachers around the world, who by participating in the ENO Programme activities have shown their commitment to work together for a better environment and a more sustainable future.

Yours sincerely,

Tuula Varis
Mrs. Tuula Varis
Director, UN and other multilateral cooperation
International Affairs Unit, Ministry of the Environment
PO Box 35, FIN-00023 GOVERNMENT, Finland
tel. 358-50-361 6437

Dear Sir/Madam,

we have learned that Mr. Mika Vanhanen is a candidate in the Champions of the Earth competition under the thematic area Inspiration and Action.

Over the years, we have been following with great interest and enthusiasm the inspirational work and action by Mika Vanhanen for the establishment and functioning of the ENO network school, in fact since some ten years. A great number of Finnish and international citizens and students have joined him in his initiative for sustainable development. As a result, thousands of schools in about 130 countries now belong to the ENO network and contribute to it.

On behalf of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, we should like to strongly support Mika Vanhanen's candidature for this Champion of the Earth Award.

Markku Aho
International Environment Policy
Department for Development Policy
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

A Testimonial for Mr. Mika Vanhanen

Mr. Mika Vanhanen has been exemplary in his capacity as pedagogue. He has successfully worked as a teacher and later as a leader of an innovative project. In his work, Mika Vanhanen has internalised the notion of world citizenship as a commitment to building a world order that offers a real opportunity to fully realise the whole dimension of humanity, irrespective of state borders and cultural boundaries, with all the responsibilities this entails. He has moved with ease "from inspiration to action".

I can warmly recommend Mr. Mika Vanhanen as deserving of an international recognition.

Best regards,
Ritva-Sini Merilampi

Dr. Ritva-Sini MERILAMPI
Counsellor for Education
Ministry of Education / International Relations
Meritullinkatu 1, HELSINKI              
P.O. Box 29