Good News Agency – n° 5
Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations, and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day. Good News Agency is distributed through internet to editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address and is available in its web site: http://www.goodnewsagency.org
Good News Agency is a service activity of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979. The Association operates in support to the Lucis Trust activities, the U.N. University for Peace, Radio For Peace International and other organizations engaged in the spreading of a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective.
"Parliaments are the linchpins of good governance across societies”, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) told more than 150 top-ranking legislators from around the world gathered at the UN Headquarters in New York on September 1.
UNDP is working with parliaments in 41 countries, and support for improving democratic governance accounts for more than half of annual programme expenditures. Ninety per cent of countries now have some form of representative legislature, over 60% are multiparty democracies, and the proportion of countries rated as free has more than doubled in less than a decade. Working with the IPU and other partners, UNDP's support for parliaments includes such areas as lawmaking, oversight, and constituency outreach, as well as increasing gender diversity and integrating human rights and environmental concerns into parliamentary work.
UN member states have indicated their willingness to provide the resources needed to improve United Nations peacekeeping operations worldwide, the chairman of a panel examining this issue told reporters in New York on Wednesday, September 6.
The UN Department of Information quoted Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi of Algeria as saying that the central message his Panel on United Nations Peace Operations had for member states in a 58-page report released on Wednesday was: "Make sure that before you send the UN you understand what the situation is, what the implications are, and you go there with your eyes
open." He said the 10-member panel was stunned to learn how poorly equipped the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations was. Particularly shocking, he said, was that the department had just 32 officers at headquarters to provide leadership for 28,000 soldiers around the world, while nine police officers provided leadership for over 7,000 civilian police from 40 countries.
Council of Leather Exports will take action against cattle cruelty.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and 37 European and North American animal protection organizations have agreed to a 60-day moratorium on any efforts to pressure overseas customers of Indian leather from buying such goods in light of assurances by the Council for Leather Exports that the CLE's member groups will take action against cattle cruelty. Among other considerations, the CLE has agreed to halt all purchases of hides originating at Deonar in Mumbai, one of India's most notorious slaughterhouses, where video documentation of injured cattle left baking to death in the hot sun has stirred protests worldwide. The CLE has also agreed to add its voice to those of the Dalai Lama, Sir Paul McCartney, and others in asking the Indian government to take action to enforce existing cattle transport laws, and the CLE will be holding meetings with state government officials shortly. The hope is to stop some truck companies from overloading cows and their calves, as well as bullocks and buffalo, who now often arrive at slaughterhouses injured or dead from suffocation and gouging.
IFLAC – International Forum for the Culture of Peace - has opened Centers In Haifa and in Tel Aviv, as well as a Bedouin Tent of Peace in the Druze Village Ussfeya, on Mount Carmel,
where Israelis and Palestinians create together cultural bridges of peace, understanding and respect. The Opening of the Center in Haifa is on 15th September, and the opening of the Tel Aviv Center will be on September 21. All are welcome. The next meeting in the Tent of Peace will be a Cultural Festival on October 15.
IFLAC’s objective is to help build a Middle East and a world beyond war in the 21st century by means of literature, culture and art. IFLAC is based in Haifa, Israel, and has branches in other 14 countries in the world.
Heads of state or government held a debate on the Dialogue among Civilizations, in a roundtable discussion organised by UNESCO, in co-operation with the United Nations with the support of the Islamic Republic of Iran, at UN Headquarters in New York on September 5, marking the launch of the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations, 2001. The 1998 UN General Assembly resolution proclaiming the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations invites "Governments, the United Nations system, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to plan and implement appropriate cultural, educational and social programmes to promote the concept of dialogue among civilizations, including through organizing conferences and seminars and disseminating information and scholarly material on the subject".
The celebration of the Year provides an opportunity to emphasise that the process of globalisation currently underway is not only economic, financial and technological, but also constitutes a profoundly human challenge to take cognisance of the interdependence of humankind and its diversity.
Rotary Launches Peace Centers at Selected Universities Worldwide
Rotary International has established an international studies center at the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires where scholars can learn diplomacy and skills to resolve conflict and promote international understanding. This center is one of the seven centers that are being established around the world. Factors such as limited democratic participation, resource scarcity, unsustainable economic growth and environmental degradation often contribute to conflict. The vision of the Rotary Centers is that scholars will be trained on how to design and implement policies that address these issues and prevent future conflicts.
In addition to the Universidad del Salvador, the universities selected to operate the Rotary Centers are: Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA (jointly-hosted center); University of California-Berkeley, California, USA; Sciences PO, Paris, France; University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England; University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; and International Christian University, Tokyo.
The Rotary Foundation operates the largest privately funded scholarship program in the world. Each year, nearly 1,300 students receive scholarships to study at colleges and universities worldwide.
VII Conference on Environment Education in Europe
Organized by CEEE - Co-operation for Environmental Education in Europe – the Conference will be held from 26 to 30 September near Udine, Italy. The Conference theme will be: Networks of networks for the Environmental Education: the role, trends and integration of the networks committed to environmental education and sustainability for the development of local, national and European policies. CEEE is an international network dealing specifically with environmental education with the objective of bringing together the various parties committed to this sector in all European countries.
2nd International Memory of the World Conference
UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme promotes the preservation of and access to the world’s documentary heritage. The Second International Conference of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme will be held from 27 to 29 September in Colima, Mexico. The Conference will bring together specialists in preservation and access techniques and policies to discuss new trends in preserving and disseminating archives and library heritage materials. Librarians, archivists, sound and film archivists, historians, publishers, multimedia experts and scientists from all over the world are invited to participate.
Management of Social Transformation
International symposium “In Search of Models for Conflict Prevention”, 25-27 September
This symposium is being hosted by the Centre for Social and Cultural Studies, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (PMB-LIPI). The objectives of the symposium are: to find a more scientific method of identifying the sources of conflicts, to contribute an alternative concept for resolving conflicts, and to lay a foundation for creating an early detection and early warning system to prevent and anticipate conflicts
Nigeria: overseas-based doctors to provide boreholes
Nigerian doctors in the Americas will start a programme next year to drill boreholes in some local communities and thus provide a steady supply of water to residents.
Julius Kpaduwa of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) said a borehole would be sunk in any community visited by an ANPA medical mission.
Nine ANPA missions work in various Nigerian rural communities each year. The association supports each mission with US $10,000 and receives donations in cash and medical supplies from individuals and pharmaceutical industries in the United States.
Chad is to get a US $11-million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for a food security project in Northern Guera, one of the country's most disadvantaged regions. The deal, signed in Rome, meets part of the overall project cost of US $17.62 million. The remainder is to come from the Belgium Survival Fund for the Third World ($3.68 million), the World Food Programme ($650,000), Chad's government ($1.16 million) and the beneficiaries ($780,000). In addition, IFAD will donate $650,000 to the project, whose goal is to promote rural grassroots organisations so that their members can improve food security, their nutritional status and their lives, in a sustainable manner.
The Benin AIDS Foundation has launched a campaign aimed at raising money to help people living with HIV, PANA reported.
The money collected through the campaign, during which people are being asked to donate coins, will go toward paying for basic drugs to treat opportunistic diseases, promote social and professional reintegration and assist widows, widowers and orphans.
Ghana is to receive US $560 million between August and December from international financial bodies and other sources. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed in principle to release US $35.1 million, while the World Bank will also disburse US $134.9 million. Another US $260 million is to be free by the first week of October through Ghana Cocoa Board's syndication with international financial institutions for the purchase of cocoa.
Ninety-two Cuban doctors are to arrive in Ghana before the end of the year to help offset a shortage of medical staff in public health institutions, Ghana's 'Daily Graphic' reported. Health Minister Kwaku Danso-Boafo said the doctors had agreed to wages equal to those of their Ghanaian counterparts.
Benchmarking Industry-Science Relationships, Berlin, 16-17 October 2000
Bringing together some 400 representatives from government, the business sector, public research organisations, universities, as well as technology transfer agencies, the Conference will discuss how industry-science relationships can be improved to the benefit of both economic and innovative performance and the long-term research capabilities of Member countries. Discussion will focus on: regulatory frameworks, (e.g. intellectual property rights), mobility and entrepreneurship of researchers, financing of research (including the role of venture capital) and the efficiency of promotional schemes.
The Korean Government and the OECD will jointly hold a high-level conference under the theme of "International S&T Cooperation for Sustainable Development" on November 15-17, 2000, in Seoul. The conference aims to identify barriers to cooperation and to propose recommendations for international S&T cooperation so as to respond to global environmental problems while addressing the needs of developing countries. The conference will be chaired by Mr. Thorvald Moe, Deputy Secretary General of the OECD, and its results will contribute to the OECD horizontal project on sustainable development.
Los Angeles is at the centre of small surge in solar energy use. The L.A. Convention Center, which housed the Democratic convention earlier this month, has installed 15,000 square feet
of solar panels and has plans for more. City Hall and the Department of Water and Power are next, and the zoo is designing a new entrance made of solar panels. On a national level, the U.S. Energy Department is asking architects to incorporate solar features into their blueprints and working with developers to construct homes that are 50 percent more energy-efficient without adding to the sale price. The most environmentally friendly public school in Washington state opens today. The elementary school in Kent, Wash., is partially powered by solar and wind and warmed by geothermal heat, and it includes a stormwater collection-and-reuse system for irrigation, as well as waterless urinals expected to save about 144,000 gallons of water a year.
International Society for
VIII Conference, "Social Justice and Social Exclusion", September 18-21, 2000
The International Society for Justice Research, a non-profit organization, interdisciplinary in nature, is headquartered in Potsdam, Germany. A network of scientists, working on justice-related issues make up its membership.
The Society aims to promote interdisciplinary justice research, communicate research findings, and advance the application of justice theory and research findings in various fields of practice.
Its Biennial Meetings provide a forum for the scientific exchange of theoretical developments and recent investigations.
An agreement between Governments world-wide committing themselves to harmonize and improve at global level the safety and environmental performance of automobiles and other road vehicles has entered into force on 25 August 2000, thirty days after it was signed by 8 countries or regional economic integration organizations.
Among the signatories of the Agreement are the most important vehicle manufacturing countries, including the United States of America, Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Canada and the Russian Federation, as well as the European Union. The Republic of South Africa and Spain have also signed the Agreement although not yet ratified it, and many other countries are undertaking the necessary legal procedures for also acceding to the Agreement.
The global regulations will address such vehicle components as braking, tyres, lighting and light-signalling, safety glazing, windscreen defrosting and demisting, etc. They will address the commonly agreed performance criteria and limits to be complied with by these components and also harmonized test methods.
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei, visited Ukraine at the invitation of the Ukrainian Government August 28–30, 2000. It was agreed that the issue of decommissioning the Chernobyl plant will be considered as the first priority in the IAEA’s technical co-operation programme for Ukraine within the scope of the 2001–2002 programme. To that end a comprehensive conceptual plan for decommissioning all four units will be prepared by Ukraine with Agency assistance. It was also agreed that the Agency would continue to provide technical expertise to Ukraine throughout the process of decommissioning.
In addition to decommissioning the IAEA will continue inter alia to assist Ukraine with strengthening the effectiveness of its safety regulatory regime, upgrading the safety of its operating nuclear power plants, ensuring the safe management of nuclear wastes, enhancing the country’s nuclear safety infrastructure, and the development of a long term energy policy.
"The environmental situation in some countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States (NIS) remains a subject of concern both for the people in those countries and for the international community. This is why the UN/ECE is making a special effort to help these countries to achieve a sustainable type of development" stresses Danuta Hübner, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE). Consequently, the UN/ECE and the Netherlands Management Cooperation Programme (NMCP) have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on developing and running special programmes for sustainable development in Central and Eastern Europe and NIS. The programmes include a project on rational and efficient use of water and energy resources in Central Asia. Other projects are planned within the framework of the Stability Pact for South East Europe, such as the comprehensive water environment protection programme for the Adriatic-Ionian region, and a programme of demonstration zones for environmental infrastructure projects on water and waste for small municipalities in South East Europe.
Money does grow on trees
National forests are 10 times more valuable if used for recreation and to protect wildlife and water quality than they are if used for logging, mining, and grazing, according to a new report commissioned by the Sierra Club. Measured by these new standards, the forests are worth $234 billion and generate 2.9 million sustainable jobs, found the report, which was prepared by ECONorthwest, an economic consulting firm. In contrast, logging, mining, and grazing on national forest land are worth just $23 billion and provide 407,000 jobs. "Leaving trees standing in most cases can contribute far more to local, state, and national economies than logging," said Ernie Niemi, a coauthor of the report.
One good thing about the melting ice and open water found at the North Pole earlier this month -- they spurred both the New York Times and Washington Post to run editorials talking up environmental protection. The Times reminds us that the White House plays a "decisive" role in all matters environmental, and gives Vice President Al Gore the nod over Texas Gov. George W. Bush on this issue in the presidential race. The Post puts its stamp of approval on new research that suggests that action to slow global warming should not focus solely on reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, but also on other greenhouse gases such as methane.
US National Conference of Environmental Journalists
October 19-22, East Lansing, Michigan, USA
Several topics dominate the agenda of the
10th National Conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists:
threats to the world's freshwater and its wildlife, the impact of cars on the
environment, the US presidential election, and trans-border environmental issues
affecting Canada and the United States. Other sessions will look at the
environmental impact of E-Commerce and genetically-modified foods. A
transportation technology exposition is also planned, adjacent to the SEJ
conference, featuring "green cars" from major automakers, fuel cells,
van pool suppliers, high-speed rail, alternative fuel buses, test-drive
opportunities and more.
The Society of Environmental Journalists is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1990 in order to advance public understanding of environmental issues by improving the quality, accuracy and visibility of environmental reporting.
Stonyfield Farm Inc., a New Hampshire-based yoghurt company, is launching a new national print ad campaign that aims to promote environmental and social causes as well as its own cultured dairy products. Gary Hirschberg, president and chief executive of Stonyfield Farm, calls the campaign concept "ad-tivism," a combination of advertising and activism. The new ads feature well-known personalities like filmmaker and historian Ken Burns and highlight causes that matter to them, from rainforest protection to organic gardening. Stonyfield Farm hopes the do-gooder messages will attract do-gooder customers. The company has also tried to lure activist-minded buyers with messages on its yoghurt lids calling for action on environmental and other issues, and by giving 10 percent of profits to organizations like the Jane Goodall Institute, which promotes wildlife conservation and research.
Rotary Population Summit, September 22 - 24 New Delhi, India
Further to the conference of July 28-30 in Zurich in cooperation with UNFPA (United Nation Population Fund), that brought together 726 participants from 50 countries, Rotary International will hold a ‘Population Summit’ on the theme of world population growth and sustainable development that will address the problems connected with such a perspective and the possible actions that can be taken by Rotarians in the world to help improve this trend and its direct consequences.
Rotary's strength lies in the volunteer service of its 1.2 million membership representing an international network of business and professional leaders implementing a wide range of programs to meet human needs.
VIDES International Meeting on Voluntary Service and Debt Restitution
Rimini, Italy, October 27-29
The theme will be discussed in plenary sessions and in round tables that will focus on how the VIDES voluntary groups in the world restore dignity, speech, time, space and opportunities for children, young people and women.
VIDES is an NGO that draws its inspiration from the Salesian education project. Since 1987 it has been conducting development projects for women, young people and children who live in distressed conditions in Europe and in the developing countries.
Next issue: 29 September.