Bart’s Blog

Hi everyone.

This is my first blog – but I hope to keep these going, feeding back to you all about what’s going on, responding to your ideas and questions, and maybe sometimes reacting to what’s going on in our world.

It was great to meet so many of you at the Tunza Conference in Nairobi, and also to have time to formally discuss Tunza magazine, and get so many of your insights.

And we promised to get back to you – so here’s a follow up to the discussion. Thanks to all who participated … and PLEASE get in touch. There is a comments section below this blog, and there’s Facebook (, too.

I look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for all you interest and support.

Tunza magazine:

A: Where we are

Four issues per year, produced in English, French, Russian and Spanish by Banson … and by others in Japanese, Korean and Chinese, from materials supplied by Banson.
All available through

Combined readership of the English, French, Russian, Spanish and Japanese editions (web and print) is >1million.

This places Tunza second as an environmental magazine to the National Geographic.

Facebook page ( updated 365 days a year.

B: Developments in hand

As a result of contacts at the Tunza conference, we are actively working with TYACs on an Arabic and a Portuguese web edition of the magazine, and have also established a Weibo page (to mirror the Facebook presence) to build an audience in China (where Facebook is not available).

C: Comments from the conference

1. Could TUNZA carry information on educational and job opportunities?

2. Could TUNZA try and publish details (in advance) of forthcoming events of the UNEP. This would help youth and give them a chance to participate?

These are great suggestions – we try to use the Facebook presence to give advance information on UNEP and other relevant activities (including applying for the Tunza conference). We could certainly add a ‘calendar/notice board’ function to the website.

As far as jobs and educational activities are concerned – this is more complex to handle comprehensively, but certainly the calendar/notice board could include details.

While some information will be able to be gleaned by the Tunza team, it is important that readers and particularly TYACs pass on information. SO, PLEASE start posting on Facebook (

3. Efforts should be made to reach the government.

4. Local distribution to libraries and schools must be done.

UNEP arranges distribution. Copies do go to government representatives in UNEP. I should also add, we often have contributions in the magazine from people involved in the international community and in government.

As far as copies to schools and libraries are concerned, resources for hard copies are limited, but it would be great were the Tunza network (that’s YOU) to spread news of the web versions to schools and universities in their areas. Let me know if we can help you.

5. Get local/rural youth involved. Perhaps have them contribute photographs or small stories in their local language.

6. The criteria for publishing must be made clear, so more contributions can be made by the youth.

7. Youth stories and achievements should be carried in every issue. These motivate youth and allows them to connect with people who have similar ideas.

We welcome contributions from youth – and regularly publish contributions from all over the world (the Freshwater issue, for example, has contributions for 15 young people from around the world; the Food issue 7; and the New Directions issue 27).

We regularly seek contributions, posting calls regularly on Facebook ( To improve matters we will now post a list of future issues on and circulate TYACs with forward plans. However, as expressed at the Conference, potential contributors should submit ideas initially, rather than written pieces. It would also be great to get images from readers – and we will post details of what we need (technically) on

8. Availability: ensure both hard and soft copies are available. An archive must be created and the youth must be able to access this.

ALL back issues are always available on line at:

(full archive, plus current issue)

(full archive, plus current issue) Includes Chinese language versions.
(current issue updated daily plus ALL back issues) in English, French, Russian and Spanish, with links to Korean and Japanese editions.

Printed/hard copies are limited – but there are small stocks available. If you need one, contact your TYAC.

9. Provision for translations must be made/try and designate somebody to translate.

Tunza is currently published in 7 language versions:

Chinese ((hard and soft copies)

English (hard and soft copies)

French (hard and soft copies)

Japanese ((hard and soft copies)

Korean ((hard and soft copies))

Russian (soft only)

Spanish  (hard and soft copies)


We are working with TYACs in West Asia and Brazil to organize soft versions of the magazine in Arabic and Portuguese.

Additionally, a Weibo page (to mirror the Facebook presence) has just been set up to reach (potential) readers in China.

We would always be delighted to hear from groups who would be interested in helping with the production of Tunza in additional languages.

10. Could Tunza publish quizzes/competitions?

Tunza used to include both quizzes, and competitions. We will look into reinstating quizzes and crosswords.

11. Should we consider changing the name ‘TUNZA’?

The name, which is used by the whole UNEP youth programme, was researched and tested when it was launched 10 years ago. The Swahili meaning (to cherish) was very much liked, and the word was thought good as it was short, easy to pronounce, and remember and neutral internationally.

Perhaps we should add an explanation of “Tunza” on page 2 – eg.Tunza means to cherish in Swahili.

12. An android app should be considered as it is more popular among the youth! reads well on both Android and Mac platforms. But it is not an app. It would be good to create one, and not difficult, but depends on funding being available.

13. The magazine is too hard for newcomers. Could articles be published in progressive ranks of difficulty, addressing all sections of the youth.

Care is taken with language in English, and it is assumed that the readership has a reasonable command of the language in which they are reading (7 different languages are currently available, with 2 more planned).

The magazine is designed to appeal to 16-21 year-olds, who are involved in or are aiming to be involved in tertiary education.

It would probably be better for the magazine to be produced in more languages, rather than lowering the level of the content included.

14. Can pages be made more engaging with more colours, larger pictures and tips?

Of course design elements can be improved, and we will take this comment onboard. We are aware that, in trying to provide as much information as possible, the magazine is sometimes crowded. It’s a balancing act.

But watch this space – the next issue is evolving!

15. Can small videos related to the magazine can be uploaded on YouTube that can act as trailers to make it more exciting.

We regularly post videos connected with what is in the magazine to Facebook – and these are often on Youtube, The latest, from TED, is on the unexpected ways that Qatar creates and maintains its water supply. We will try and do more.

16. Publish the Facebook Id and contact details on the front page and other TUNZA publications, where relevant.

We try to provide links where we can, but one has to be careful with individuals. We will, however, try to do more, especially on line.

17. Can more details of what is in the magazine be on the cover?

Yes, we will try an include more.

18. Can the covers have more than one picture? Could you use illustrations?

We are having a look at the Tunza ‘brand’ in the coming months, and will try and make the covers a little more exciting. Now we have two TYACs (Europe and West Asia) who are artists, I hope we will be able to include more illustrations.

19. Can the date of the magazine along with volume and issue number be printed in the cover.

We can add the year, but we don’t use the month(s) as the month of publications varies between the language versions – the English, French and Spanish versions appear, typically 2 months before the other language versions. And because of the global coverage we don’t have seasons, either – when it is winter in the US, it is summer in South Africa, etc.

20. Are we publishing and producing something that is not relevant to the target market?

21. Evaluation of the magazine in terms of impact must be made in regular intervals (are we publishing because it is more convenient?)

Is Tunza relevant? We hope so, and a regular 1 million readers would suggest that there are people out there who enjoy the magazine, and/or find it useful. The readership is monitored issue by issue.

We also get daily feedback in terms of comments and numbers of likes, etc from Facebook.

From the conference, the keenness of West Asia and LAC to have Arabic and Portuguese versions would also suggest that there is continuing interest.

More generally, the magazine is a vehicle for communicating issues and ideas that are of concern to UNEP and the international community to a youth audience around the world. Thus, for example, issue 10.3 (published in December 2012) was on food, the topic of a major UNEP campaign in 2013, while the first issue of 2013, freshwater, is in line with the UN’s International Year of Water Cooperation.

But we can always do better and we always want to hear from our readers. Every article on has space for comment, every piece we post on Facebook seeks comment, but we very rarely get any comment at all. So, if you want us to change, tell us how and why, tell us what you like and what you don’t


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This post is also available in: French, Spanish