Indigenous youth and climate activism take centerstage at WIPO Photography Prize 2021-2022

Published January 10, 2022, 12:12 PM

by John Legaspi

Capturing the impact of climate change

In August 2021, the world recognizes the significance of today’s youth in building a better world. While this has been the central theme since the creation of International Youth Day, last year’s observance highlighted the roles the youth are taking when it comes to sustainability. Leaders empower the youth to take action as they will be the future movers, taking care of a dying planet. Lucky for Mother Earth, there is no shortage in that department as young people are aware of her current state and are doing whatever it takes for people to stop and take notice.

Artwork from World Intellectual Property Organization

One of the ways they present their climate activism is through their art. It is all around us, from visual arts, music, film, and down to the thing they can do through their smartphones, which is taking photographs. Recognizing the youth’s creativity in protesting about the planet’s wellbeing is World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with its WIPO Photography Prize for Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Youth 2021-2022.

Launched last year, the project is on a mission to promote copyright over creative outputs, such as photographs, while encouraging the indigenous and local community youth to express themselves through a creative call to action on a highly relevant and pressing global issue, that is climate change.

“Through this activity, WIPO aims to celebrate and make widely known the creativity of Indigenous and local community youth, as well as raise their awareness on how copyright can be used to protect their creativity expressed in the photographs,” the organization says. “Participation is meant to encourage Indigenous and local community youth to express themselves on this issue of immense global significance.”

With the theme “Climate Change and Climate Action: Mother Earth through our Lenses,” WIPO tasks the youth to capture images that showcase the impact of climate change on their communities and practices, indigenous or modern, that mitigates its effects. Entries must be supported by a brief description or short video on how the photograph relates to and expresses their feelings about the theme.

The contest is open to members of Indigenous peoples or local communities located in one of WIPO’s Member States under 30 years old on the closing date. The Philippines is a WIPO member state. Winners will receive a variety of awards, including photography equipment and related software licenses with a total value of up to $3,500 (1st place), $2,500 (2nd place), and $1,500 (3rd place), as well as photography-related training and mentoring opportunities.

Photographs will be judged according to their adherence to the theme, expression of the theme, overall impact, originality, creativity, artistic expression, personal expression, and visual appeal, among others. The brief descriptions or short videos accompanying the photographs will also be considered. Submission of entries ends on Jan. 22, 2022.

Learn more about WIPO Photography Prize for Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Youth here or submit your entries now at